Blood-Sipping Bella Leads Hollywood Bid to Halt Box Office Slide

Hollywood studios will have to count on holiday-season releases, including a new “James Bond,” to head off a third year of shrinking U.S. box-office sales after summer films failed to match the 2011 record.

Studios will end the summer with $4.27 billion in U.S. and Canadian ticket sales, down 3 percent from the high of $4.4 billion set in 2011, Hollywood.com Box-Office said yesterday in an e-mailed statement. They’re still up for the year.

Filmmakers had more misses this summer, as movies including the Universal Pictures action adventure “Battleship” and Tom Cruise’s “Rock of Ages” from Warner Bros. held back results. There were also fewer surprise hits. A year ago, sales were bolstered by “The Help” and “Rise of the Planet of the Apes.” The researcher counts revenue from the first weekend in May to Sept. 3.

“It certainly puts additional pressure on the fall and holiday periods to do well,” Paul Dergarabedian, president of Hollywood.com Box-Office, said in an interview. “It’s all product-driven. You can’t have any misfires if you want to break a record.”

Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. (LGF) will release the final film in the “Twilight” teen-vampire series about Bella Swan and Edward Cullen on Nov. 16.

Major releases in late 2012 also include “Skyfall,” the new Bond film scheduled for Nov. 9 release by Sony Corp. (SNE) and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. MGM is also a partner in the Dec. 14 picture “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” joining with Time Warner Inc. (TWX)’s Warner Bros. to produce three films based on the book by J.R.R. Tolkien.

Studio Rankings

Warner Bros., based in Burbank, California, leads the U.S. box office with 2012 revenue of $1.2 billion as of Aug. 26, according to Box Office Mojo, an industry researcher. The studio’s top film is “The Dark Knight Rises.” Comcast Corp. (CMCSA)’s Universal Pictures is second, at just less than $1.2 billion.

The top film of the summer was “Marvel’s The Avengers” from Walt Disney Co. (DIS), which has collected almost $618 million in domestic sales, according to Box Office Mojo.

Total 2012 domestic revenue stood at $7.43 billion as of Aug. 26, up 3.8 percent from the same period a year earlier, according to Hollywood.com. Attendance is up 2.6 percent. Full- year 2011 sales were $10.2 billion, down 3.4 percent from 2010. That year, revenue dropped less than 1 percent to $10.57 billion from 2009’s $10.6 billion.

“Battleship,” made for an estimated $209 million, took in $65.2 million in the U.S. and Canada and $303 million worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo. “Rock of Ages,” with a $75 million production budget, had $38.5 million in domestic sales and a global total of $50.1 million, according to Box Office Mojo.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael White in Los Angeles at mwhite8@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net

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