2 May 2013 3:00 PM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Nearly every studio is gambling on at least one costly original concept film this summer, raising the stakes even higher than usual for the busiest moviegoing season of the year.

Distribs and exhibs are on edge, given that box office revenue and admissions are down 11% so far in 2013, and are saying their prayers that the May-to-August lineup will be strong enough to pull the movie business out of its hole.

More than $2 billion in production and marketing costs is riding on the forthcoming crop of risky original titles that include “The Lone Ranger,” “Pacific Rim” and “World War Z.” While Will Smith is one of the biggest stars in the world, his turn as an army general in post-apocalyptic sci-fi film “After Earth” is also far from a slam dunk. And, in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings, will summer audiences be ready for “White House Down,” about domestic terrorists blowing up the U. »


- Andrew Stewart

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