#1 ‘Iron Man 3′ Vs. #16 ‘The Conjuring’
#3 ‘Despicable Me 2′ Vs. #14 Star Trek Into Darkness’
#4 ‘Hobbit: Desolation Of Smaug’ Vs. #13 ‘Oz The Great And Powerful’
#5 ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ Vs. #12 ‘World War Z’
#6 ‘Fast & Furious 6′ Vs. #11 ‘The Croods’
#8 ‘Gravity’ Vs. #9 ‘Man Of Steel’
How They Got Here: Monsters University might well be the most stealthy of all the films that grossed more than three-quarters of a billion dollars worldwide. The film was the seventh-largest domestic grosser of the year, and did near double that abroad. Pixar’s representative in the tournament turned in the second-largest gross of all films from the John Lasseter hit machine, second-largest G-rated film, and is Pixar’s third biggest overall film ever. Thor: The Dark World continues the Marvel superhero juggernaut, and it did particularly well in China, Russia and the UK. While the hammer-wielding hero pales compared to Iron Man, the sequel bettered the original film in both domestic and overseas for a total tally of $645 million.
The Bottom Line: Thor 2 cost $170 million to make, per our experts, and because Marvel is so stingy to everyone but Robert Downey Jr, there are modest participations here that amount to around $12 million. Monsters University cost $200 million, and that include pricey paydays for returning voicers like John Goodman and Billy Crystal. Participations clocked in at around $13.5 million.
The Winner: Neither gains much of an edge because each is the second installment of a franchise, though Thor 2 probably amps up expectations of the next installments of Marvel’s biggest jewel, The Avengers. So we go to the profit numbers. According to our experts, Monsters University will return $179.8 million to Disney, besting the $139.4 million that Thor 2 returns to Disney. Total cash-on-cash return edge goes to Monsters University, at 1.36 to the 1.32 turned in by Thor 2. Disney is the big winner here, but Monsters University advances.
How They Got Here: Frozen is an unabashed success for Disney’s animation unit. Usually it is films with the Pixar logo that drive the studio’s animation fortunes, but not this time. Frozen opened against The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and while the latter came out of the gate setting records, it cooled while Frozen kept going to surpass the $1 billion worldwide gross mark. This week, it sold 3.2 million units on DVD and Blu-ray, even as the film remains in theaters. The Great Gatsby, Baz Luhrmann’s sumptuous 3D adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel classic, turned in a $50.1 million opening weekend, and though it finished behind Iron Man 3, it didn’t wilt in the summer heat and delivered the sixth-largest opening weekend for a film that didn’t top the box office in its opening weekend.
The Bottom Line: Unfortunately for Great Gatsby, Luhrmann doesn’t work cheap, and he had pricey talent as well in Leonardo DiCaprio. Our experts peg the production budget around $107 million, while Frozen cost $150 million. There are gross players in The Great Gatsby, and, most importantly, it is decidedly a one-off with no sequel on the horizon. Frozen will lead to all kind of franchise-y things, from sequels to stage shows.
The Winner: This one’s a rout. Based on the criteria here, and placing an emphasis on franchise building, the clear winner in every category is Frozen, delivering over $400 million in profit to Disney, while Gatsby’s profit to Warner Bros and Village Roadshow Pictures is $58.6 million. Sorry, old sport, in the time that it would take John Travolta to mispronounce Idina Menzel’s name, this one became a blowout. Frozen moves on.