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The 15 most impressive* box office performances of 2012 so far

We’re officially halfway through 2012, and if you’re an obsessive box-office junkie like me, that means it’s time to reflect back on the past six months at the movies and give credit to some of the best box-office performances. (Theoretically, it’s also time to think back to box-office disasters like Battleship, John Carter, and That’s My Boy, but we’ll save that for another time…)

There have been loads of strong performers with sensible budgets, so it was difficult to whittle down the slate (sorry, Safe House and Contraband, you were thisclose to making the cut!), but whittle I did. Thus, here is my totally-up-for-debate list of the 15 Most Impressive* Box Office Performances of 2012… so far. READ FULL STORY

FIRST LOOK: Marvel unveils top-secret 'Avengers' short film 'Item 47' -- EXCLUSIVE

The existence of Marvel’s latest short film has been stirring speculation for weeks, though no one knew for sure exactly what it was, who stars in it, or what the title means.

What is Item 47? Now, finally, some answers.

The film is the latest in the company’s series of shorts dubbed “One-Shots,” a comic book term for stories that wrap up in one issue. Lizzy Caplan (Party Down, pictured) and Jesse Bradford (Flags of Our Fathers) star as a down-on-their-luck couple who find one of the discarded alien guns from the finale to The Avengers — and proceed to make some incredibly bad decisions.


Stunt coordinators from 'Spider-Man,' 'Dark Knight,' and more talk worst on-set injuries

“I don’t think it’s anything to be proud of, being hurt,” says Amazing Spider-Man stunt coordinator Andy Armstrong. “It’s invariably a mistake, something gone wrong, a miscalculation.” And most of the time Hollywood’s top stunt men nail the ever-more-intense action sequences that pack thrill seekers into theaters every summer. But sometimes things do go wrong, and when you’re, say, driving an airborne car that’s rigged to explode, the consequences can be devastating. We asked a bunch of prominent stunt pros about their most brutal accidents.


'Avengers' coming to Blu-ray September 25th, with massive Marvel mega-set

The Avengers has already made enough money to pay for two dozen Hawkeye spin-offs. But all the big movies you so enjoyed watching in May inevitably become the movies you watch in September, dreaming of the days when summer vacation seemed like it would last forever. So let it be written, so let it be done: Avengers is hitting Blu-Ray on September 25th. Watch the trailer for the home release below:

'The Avengers' hits $600 million in U.S. box office


Joss Whedon, you are now officially the second member of the $600 million club.

Walt Disney Pictures announced today that The Avengers will likely pass through the $600 million portal of domestic box office greatness today, becoming only the third film to do so. Titanic first broke the barrier when it topped out at $600.8 million after its initial domestic run (adding another $57.9 million during its 3-D re-release last spring), and director James Cameron’s 2009 follow up Avatar set the likely still-safe record of $760.5 million in U.S. box office receipts.

Where The Avengers will eventually end up on its theatrical run remains an open question. READ FULL STORY

'The Amazing Spider-Man': How could its debut stack up against past superhero box office?

When Spider-Man debuted 10 years ago on the first weekend of May, it broke through what seemed at the time to be an unbreakable box-office barrier, becoming the first movie ever to earn over $100 million on its three-day opening weekend — $114.8 million, to be exact. That was a whopping 27 percent improvement over the previous record-holder, 2001’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, which banked $90.3 million over its first three days of release. A new really high-water mark for box-office achievement had been set, and as Hollywood began to truly understand the financial potential of comic books, the ensuing decade of blockbuster cinema was born.

Ten years later, according to The Hollywood Reporter, tracking reports estimate the debut for Sony Pictures’ reboot of the Spidey franchise, The Amazing Spider-Man, at $125 million or more. While that is certainly good news for Sony, Andrew Garfield’s spandex-clad web-slinger is nonetheless swinging into quite a different marketplace. A $125 million debut just doesn’t quite mean what it used to, but figuring out what it does mean isn’t all that easy, either. Here’s why: READ FULL STORY

Joss Whedon action figure to accompany Comic-Con documentary DVD -- EXCLUSIVE

The man who brought The Avengers to the big screen, created Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and resurrected Firefly from the dead as Serenity has finally gotten what he deserves.

An action figure.

Toy versions of Joss Whedon will be packaged along with collector’s DVDs of Morgan Spurlock’s geek-culture documentary Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope, and Entertainment Weekly has the exclusive first look.


Box office report: 'Madagascar 3' roars with $60.4 million debut, holding 'Prometheus' at No. 2

Six weeks ago, The Avengers entered theaters and blew everyone’s expectations out of the water with its record-breaking $207.4 million debut.

In the weeks that followed, though, the box office fell into a bit of a slump. Expensive tentpoles like Battleship and Dark Shadows outright bombed, while major studio fare like What to Expect When You’re Expecting and The Dictator underperformed, and even Men In Black 3‘s number one opening felt weak given its predecessors’ strength.

Last weekend, Snow White and the Hunstman exceeded industry expectations, giving Hollywood hope that summer 2012 might live up to the hype that The Avengers had suggested. This weekend, Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted and and Prometheus continued to ease any fears that the box office was in trouble with robust debuts in first and second place, respectively. These hefty starts helped the Top 10 films gross $169.6 million, up a whopping 30 percent over the same weekend in 2011, when Super 8 topped the chart. READ FULL STORY

Box office update: 'Prometheus' leads Friday with $21.4 million, but 'Madagascar 3' will win weekend

The box office continued its major recovery on Friday following weeks of disappointing returns, as Prometheus and Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted  both opened forcefully, building on Snow White and the Huntsman‘s success last weekend.

Ridley Scott’s Prometheus topped the box office on Friday following strong midnight showings with an impressive $21.4 million haul. The $130 million R-rated picture is headed for a weekend gross of about $56 million, but surprisingly, that won’t be enough to earn first place for the weekend. READ FULL STORY

Box office preview: 'Prometheus' and 'Madagascar 3' duke it out


Charlize Theron, you’re about to get knocked out of the top spot…by yourself. The Oscar-winning actress, who stars in last weekend’s chart topper Snow White and the Huntsman, has another blockbuster hitting theaters this weekend: the Ridley Scott-directed sci-fi epic Prometheus.

Anticipation is high for the film, but it will face stiff competition from fellow newcomer Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted, which will give families their first viable moviegoing option in a while.

The two films should lead the box office to its strongest results in weeks. Here’s how the Top 5 might shake out:

1. Prometheus — $56 million

Fox has been cagey about linking Ridley Scott’s $130 million sci-fi thriller to his original Alien film, which grossed $79 million in its original run in 1979, but buzz has built among cinephile fanboys nonetheless. Prometheus has the potential to become this year’s Inception — a thinky, effects-heavy thriller that catches on with mainstream audiences. Inception grossed $62 million in its opening weekend in July 2010, but Prometheus might start a little softer — even with 3-D ticket prices. Without a major star like Leonardo DiCaprio, some casual moviegoers (especially female ones) will not rush to the theater, and the film’s R rating may keep younger patrons at bay. Men will almost certainly make up the predominant audience — and enough of them should show up to put Prometheus in first place. If the film garners strong word-of-mouth, it could become a runaway smash. This weekend, though, it may find about $56 million.

2. Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted — $48 million

The original Madagascar earned $193.6 million in 2005. Its sequel, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa earned $180 million in 2008 — but it finished with $603 million worldwide. For DreamWorks, it was a no-brainer to greenlight a third installment, and although it may not reach the heights of its predecessors domestically, strong international sales are all but guaranteed. The $145 million 3-D picture is the first animated family option since The Lorax debuted 14 weeks ago (I’m not counting The Pirates! Band of Misfits, which hit theaters in late April), and entertainment-starved kiddies will fill seats. Still, animated sequels like Kung Fu Panda 2 have seen diminishing returns in recent years. (That picture only opened to $47.7 million vs. the original Kung Fu Panda‘s $60.2 million debut haul.) Thus, I’m thinking a $48 million weekend is probably in store. Of course, it could surprise and top the chart as well!

3. Snow White and the Huntsman — $26 million

Kristen Stewart and company may dip by about 55 percent in the face of competition, which would give the film, which received a “B” CinemaScore grade, $100 million after ten days.

4. Men In Black 3 — $13 million

The action-comedy is losing 3-D screens to both Madagascar and Prometheus, and the zoo-themed animation will cut into family business. Thus a 55 percent drop seems likely.

5. The Avengers — $12 million

The superhero ensemble has been notching strong holds sine its debut. Another 45 percent drop would put it at about $11-12 million for the three-day frame.

Stay tuned to EW for full box office coverage this weekend, and follow me on twitter for breaking, up-to-the-minute box office updates.

More on
Prometheus — EW Review
Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted — EW Review

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