In a world where blockbusters are about more than just movies, we proudly bring you our First Annual Summer Movie Blockbuster Trademark Extravaganza! Come for the fun trademark facts, stay for the trailers.

In 2014, the Summer box office grossed over $4 billion. The top five grossing movies were:

  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Transformers: Age of Extinction
  • Maleficent
  • X-Men: Days of Future Past
  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

What do all of those movies have in common? Other than digital (and other – ahem) enhancements?

Trademarks! And lots of them. You see, today’s tentpole movies are as much about brand-building as they are about entertaining. Sure, $100 million at the domestic box office is great, but it is nothing compared to the multipliers big Summer movie’s can experience via merchandising. That is where trademarks play an important role – a fact that is not lost on movie studios. As you will see, attorneys for the major studios have been hard at work pursuing trademark protection for this Summer’s potential blockbusters.

Here are our top five to keep an eye on:

 1. Avengers: Age of Ultron

Studio: Marvel (a subsidiary of the Walt Disney Company)

Release Date: May 1, 2015

Marvel had two of its movies make it into the top five for the Summer movie box office in 2014. With Avengers: Age of Ultron, it is likely to continue the winning streak. To date, The Avengers is the third highest grossing move of all-time (not adjusting for inflation) with over $1.5 billion on box office receipts. Reports indicate that Marvel (and Disney) stacked up another $1 billion plus in receipts from selling merch related to The Avengers.

Marvel and Disney, knowing where their bread is buttered, have 11 pending federal trademark applications for AVENGERS AGE OF ULTRON. Check out this Variety article if you want a longer read about Marvel’s plans for merchandising Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Most Viewed Trailer: 70.7 Million views

2. Tomorrowland

Studio: Walt Disney Pictures

Release Date: May 22, 2015

This movie is not about a future where George Clooney is no longer a bachelor. At least, we think.

Even so, with Clooney involved, you know Disney has high expectations for this film. Disney has had federal protection for the mark TOMORROWLAND since 1970. Who doesn’t remember their first ride on Space Mountain? I didn’t scream once. I swear (Kevin wrote, as he trembled at his computer).

In any event, with seven pending applications for the mark MILES FROM TOMORROWLAND, Disney appears prepared in the event Mr. Alamuddin’s movie captures the hearts and minds public.

Most Viewed Trailer: 9.2 Million views

3. Jurassic World

Studio: Ambling Entertainment and Legendary Pictures (in association with) Universal Pictures

Release Date: June 12, 2015

I loved Jurassic Park. It was the highest grossing film of 1993. I say, “Clever girl,” at least once a week. I love Chris Pratt. Last Summer, he led Guardians of the Galaxy to the top of the box office. This movie has the makings of a box office and merchandise juggernaut (Kevin said, pretending certain sequels do not exist). With eight pending federal trademark applications, everyone involved seems to believe that dinosaur-sized dollars are in the future.

Most Viewed Trailer: 55 Million views

4. Inside Out

Studio: Pixar Animation and Walt Disney Studios

Release Date: June 19, 2015

Last Summer, for the first time since 2005, we were deprived of a Pixar release. The last Pixar movie to top the Summer box office was 2010’s Toy Story 3. I am a sucker for Pixar movies and hope that Inside Out is a return to form. Even if it is not, Disney and Pixar certainly have reason to believe that their five pending federal trademark applications are certainly worth their weight in gold. Reports indicate that Disney has made over $10 billion from merchandise based on the Pixar franchise Cars despite the lukewarm reviews both Cars films received.

Most Viewed Trailer: 5.3 Million views

5. Minions

Studio: Illumination Entertainment (Universal)

Release Date: July 10, 2015

This headline from USA Today, “At Universal, Minions ‘have become our Mickey Mouse,'” says it all. The popular characters from the highly successful Despicable Me franchise are taking center stage this summer, and they have big plans. Despicable Me was the fifth biggest movie of Summer 2010. Despicable Me 2 jumped up two spots to be the third biggest movie of Summer 2013. Minions looks to repeat that feat and become the biggest movie this Summer. If you have learned anything from this post, you already know how valuable the Minions are as a brand. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that there are six pending trademark applications for MINIONS.

Most Viewed Trailer: 27.7 Million views

Every good movie has a moral. The moral of this blog post: Be like a studio executive and protect your trademarks. You never know when one could be worth billions of dollars!