Steven Spielberg's Big Summer

Super 8
Super 8

'Super 8' ruled the box office this weekend, grossing $38 million, far more than industry-watchers expected.

And this is just the first of a slew of movies Steven Spielberg's involved in that will hit theaters this summer and over the course of the year.

In fact, thirty years after Raiders of the Lost Ark, we'll see an unprecedented number of films connected to the legendary filmmaker.

Unlike the slew of summer sequels, Paramount's 'Super 8' didn't have the benefit of a familiar franchise or big brand to draw viewers. Instead, Spielberg's name, as Executive Producer, served as the big brand, along with Director J.J. Abrams. Considering how the trailer and marketing campaign kept so much about 'Super 8' top secret, the promise of Spielberg and Abrams legacy was key to draw audiences. And Spielberg's original fan base turned out in force-- 71% of Super 8's audience is over age 25, far older than a typical Sci-Fi Film.

Spielberg is also the Executive Producer on two other films expected to rule the summer box office. In July both Paramount's third "Transformers" film and "Cowboys and Aliens," which Universal's distributing, hit theaters.

People may think of Spielberg as a director, but as these three big films indicate, he has far bigger reach in Hollywood as a producer and executive producer. The 24 movies Spielberg Directed have grossed $3.8 billion in the U.S. alone. But his producing career is far more massive - he's produced 56 movies which have grossed $5.3 billion in the US.

Then there's Spielberg's production company, DreamWorks Studios, which he co-runs with Stacey Snider. We're about to see the first big crop of films from the studio since it restructured in 2008 with financing from India's Reliance Entertainment and a new distribution deal with Disney . DreamWorks Studios is launching four films between August and December, and it's quite an eclectic mix - horror film 'Fright Night, man vs. robot boxing epic 'Real Steel,' movie-with-a-message 'The Help' and World War I epic 'War Horse.'

Spielberg really is everywhere this summer - he's the executive producer on TNT's alien invasion TV series 'Falling Skies' which starts on Sunday.

But Spielberg certainly hasn't given up directing - he directed 'The Adventures of Tin Tin' which Paramount is releasing December.

Questions? Comments?