NEW YORK – This year, the summertime box-office brawl could be more brutal than ever, with more than two dozen $100 million movies hitting screens -- and a macho monster hunter, a buff ancient warrior and an animated ogre all duking it out for audiences and dollars.
“Moviegoers migrate from one big blockbuster to the next each weekend, and it becomes difficult to sustain your box office,” said Paul Dergarabedian, president of Exhibitor Relations Co. (search), a Los Angeles box-office tracking firm. “You may be No. 1 one week, and the next week you may be No. 2, 3, 4.”
The first epic out of the gate this season — a vampire flick called "Van Helsing" (search) — is already stumbling. The movie about a hero who fights monsters saw its revenues fall more than 60 percent in only its second week.
And though "Troy" (search), which opened last weekend, reportedly cost an estimated $200 million to make, it made less than $50 million in its U.S. debut.
The box office promises to be clogged with family films in June. Joining "Shrek 2" (search), which opens this weekend, will be the next Harry Potter installment, “Spider Man 2” and “Garfield: The Movie.”
Last summer was a record one for the industry, bringing in nearly $4 billion at the box office. But does Hollywood have the right stuff this year to get people back in those seats?
So far this season, attendance is down 25 percent from the same time last year. But there’s still hope: Summer hasn’t even officially begun, with Memorial Day weekend still a week away.
Some are optimistic and see this summer’s lineup of flicks as a better mix, with fewer sequels and more adult fare. And movie chains think a crowded field of films can actually be a good thing.
“It’s excitement around the box office,” said John McCauley, senior vice president of marketing for Loews Cineplex Entertainment Corp. (search). “People should come to the movies every week because there’s all this entertainment marketing going after each movie.”
Fox News' Dagan McDowell and Catherine Donaldson-Evans contributed to this report.