It has come to the attention of a certain writer that summer is normally big business for the entertainment industry. However is this summer an anamoly? Last summer was completely underwhelming when we talk about box-office numbers. What we’re going to do is examine the validity of that claim. We’ll start with the opening Friday in May which is the unofficial start of summer and we’ll go all the way through the second weekend in August. We’ll go over opening weekend receipts since those are the best indicators, they’ll also give us a feel for audience tastes in regards to these films. All box-office numbers courtesy of www.boxofficemojo.com. Check them out if you need to know the numbers for your favorite feature films. Without further ado, let’s crunch some numbers.
The Breakdown: Here we have two Marvel staples launching the summer’s in there respective years both without a true contender opening with it. Iron Man 3 opened with Shootout at Wandala (212k) and Spidey’s biggest foe was period piece Belle (106k)
The Stats: Iron Man 3 had the second largest opening weekend ever with $174.1 million. Second was the Michael Bay helmed, meathead comedy Pain & Gain, and rounding out the top three was the Jackie Robinson biopic 42. Meanwhile, this year The Amazing Spiderman 2 opened at $91.6 million followed by the Cameron Diaz lead comedy The Other Woman ($14.4 million), and lastly the religious film Heaven in for Real continued it’s surprise run with another 8.6 million.
Winner: Duh! Iron Man 3. It alone grossed more then last year's top three films of that weekend. Combined with the two other films we get a strong 187.6 million dollars from those top 3. Meanwhile 2014 managed 114.6. A difference of -73 million dollars so far.
The Breakdown: Our new opening features this week were a classic book adaptation with a modern spin in the Leonardo DiCaprio led The Great Gatsby, and an R-Rated comedy in Seth Rogen and Zac Efron’s Neighbors. Both trying to fight off the massive films released a week earlier.
The Stats: Gatsby opened pretty strong with 50 million which would’ve been good enough to take the weekend this year. However it wasn’t enough to topple Iron Man which only dropped 59 percent and finished with 72.5 million. 2014's Neighbors won the weekend with 49 million. Rounding out the top three in 2013 was Pain & Gain with 5 million more. 2014's silver medal went to Spidey who couldn’t hold against the R-Rated romp and got 35.5. Third place went to The Other Woman 9.6.
Winner: Neighbors takes this weekend since it finished atop and was able to take down the lackluster Sony sequel. Finishing one million dollars below Gatsby on one tenth it’s budget makes Neighbors a financial winner as well. The week ends with another 34.4 million dollar loss for 2014 over the previous year. That brings our difference to 107.4 million in favor of 2013.
The Breakdown: A sequel and a rebirth this week. Star Trek: Into Darkness opened up against the awesome, indie flick Frances Ha,while Godzilla opened against a strong Disney sports film in Million Dollar Arm. That’s a key to this battle.
The Stats: Star Trek: Into Darkness performed admirably finishing with 70.1 million, Iron Man 3 holds well again with just a 50 percent drop finishing at 35.7. Gatsby in his second week goes for 23.9 million. This year we had the King of the Monsters opening well…monstrously hitting 93.1 million. Neighbors takes a small hit at 25 million, and carrying the rear was Spidey with 16.8 million.
Winner: It’s good to be the King…Godzilla wins the weekend. His haul helped this year take it’s first victory finishing at 134.9 which is 5.2 million more then 2013’s total. This weeks victory puts a small dent in the difference putting it at 102.2 million in the red thus far for 2014.
The Breakdown: Two sequels once again, however their predecessors have very different box offices. Fast 6 follows the very profitable fifth one which saw a rejuvenation thanks to some key additions. On the flipside Days of Future Past follows X-Men: First Class which wasn’t profitable only making 146 million domestically while costing 160 million.
The Stats: Fast 6 grossed 97.6 million with minimal competition from The Hangover III (41.6) and a few indie films, and the disappointing animated feature Epic. Meanwhile X-Men:DOFP opened against no competition and still only made 90.8 million dollars opening weekend. It’s toughest competition was from Godzilla which had made most of it’s serious money, and the Adam Sandler comedy Blended which got awful reviews.
Winner: Fox’s MARVELous mutants may have a better film, but Vin Diesel and The Rock help Fast 6 take the checkered flag. With 135.9 million this week from the top three that’s a good week however the strong performance from this weeks podium gave it 176.1 good enough to add another 40.2 million to the deficit for this year leaving it at 142.4 million in the red as we move into June.
The Breakdown: In the first week of June we have an intriguing matchup between magicians and a scifi vehicle versus the mighty Disney bringing a pretty fierce Angelina Jolie. After Earth M. Night Shyamalan’s 130 million dollar scifi adventure featuring the normally reliable Will Smith…and his annoying son Jaden. Maleficent is a send up of the classic Disney film Sleeping Beauty in which we get an origin for the wickedest fairy you’ve ever seen.
The Stats: Unfortunately for Shyamalan his film wasn’t even the most profitable film opening this week, no the magician crime film (yep) Now You See Me (29.3 million) dethroned it in that regard, however Fast 6 once again won the weekend with 35.1 million, which is awful. After Earth managed just 27.5 million. Maleficent (69.4 million) easily defeated it’s running mate the Seth MacFarlane helmed western comedy A Million Ways to Die in the West, which did exactly that…died. Grossing only 16.7 million in it’s maiden voyage.
Winner: Maleficent by first round knockout! Grossing three times as much, and doubling Fast 6’s production in this same spot it’s an easy win. The top three in 2013 totaled 81.9 million, while 2014's strong top finisher helped the week finish at 108.6 million giving this week a 26.7 million dollar advantage helping dig them out of the giant hole they’re in. The total so far is 115.7 million dollars less than 2013.
The Breakdown: 2013's top film in this spot was the micro budget horror flick The Purge took the top spot it’s opening week over the under-performing The Internship (17.3 million). Last year however was a good ole dog fight. You had the sappy YA romance of The Fault in Our Stars against a Tom Cruise scifi venture in Edge of Tomorrow.
The Stats: The Purge cost just 3 million to make and it made back 10 times that amount finishing at 34 million. Fast 6 took in 19.6 million while Now You See Me pulled another 19 million. Giving the weekend a 72.6 million dollar amount. Last year was even more surprising. The Fault in Our Stars wasn’t suppose to make 48 million it’s opening weekend. A film based on a YA romance novel costing 12 million to make made back four times it’s budget on this week. Silver medal went to Maleficent with 34.3 million more, and bringing up the rear in the podium was Edge of Tomorrow with a disappointing 28.7, which was still more than 2013's third or even second place finisher.
Winner: You’d think making ten times your budget would be enough to win, however that’s not the case The Fault in Our Stars surprising run against great competition gives it the win. Score one for the ladies who came out in flocks for this tearjerker. With another win 2014 narrows the gap another 38.4 million taking it to 77.3 million in the hole.
The Breakdown: Warner Bros. takes a crack at rebooting the origins of the World’s oldest boy scout, and does it’s best to be edgy. Meanwhile last year saw a comedy (this time a sequel) once again in 2014 top the box office. Man of Steel opened against the new Simon Pegg/Nick Frost flick This is the End, while 22 Jump Street opened against a heavyweight in another sequel How to Train Your Dragon 2.
The Stats: Man of Steel pretty much lit the box office on fire with 116.6 million in it’s opening weekend, not even counting the 12 million from Thursday. This is the End managed 20.7, and taking the bronze was the still going strong Now You See Me with another 11 million. In 2014 Jump Street squirreled out 57 million, How to Train Your Dragon 2 got 49.4 out of this weekend pie. And lastly Maleficent keeps on keeping on with another 18.5. Given these results they ought to change the title to Man on Fire where’s Denzel at?
Winner: Man of Steel. How’s this a contest, it made over 110 million certainly past that magic number. It helped the 2013 weekend to finish with 148.3 million, 23.4 million more than last years total of 124.9. This increases the deficit back up to 100.7 million in favor of last year.
The Breakdown: This weekend it was all about the Monsters who took on a sequel comedy in Think Like a Man Too. Rated R comedies had been the trend last year, and so to see this PG-13 film top the box office was a surprise. Meanwhile in 2013 Pixar showed it still has name recognition despite it’s recent spell of sub-par fair.
The Stats: Even with high pressure competition from not only a still thriving Man of Steel but also World War Z the pixar sequel Monsters University managed to wrangle in the top spot with 82.4, World War Z had a strong debut as well with 66.4, and in third last year was Supes himself adding another 41.2. This year however suffered from a lack of a major release this week especially with Jersey Boys pretty much dead on arrival. Think Like a Man finished with 29.2, second was 22 Jump Street staying strong in it’s second week with 27.4, and in third was How to Train Your Dragon 2 with 24.7. These totals mean 2013 finished with 190 million from it’s top three, while 2014 made only 81.3 million dollars. Doubling the deficit to a whopping 209.4 million!
Winner: The eyes have it! Or in Mike’s case…eye. It goes to the Monsters! That was a thrashing of the grandest kind hopefully July will be kinder than June was to 2014. Last summer had a few more tricks up it’s sleeve so let’s see how it went down in the last week of June. Which had five weeks, and kind of throws off our color scheme…regardless color switch!
The Breakdown: 2014 finally got the type of opening out of a film it needed this summer in Michael Bay’s fourth crack at a Hasbro toy line, meanwhile an animated film kept pace with a heavy-hitting summer comedy, and Channing Tatum pulling some patriotic stuff! While The Heat had to contend with White House Down no major release decided to try and open alongside Optimus Prime and his band of misfit toys.
The Stats: Transformers 4 subtitled Age of Extinction opened at 100 million (supposedly) while in second we got repeat performances in the silver (22 Jump Street with 15.8) and bronze (How to Train Your Dragon 2 making another 13.2) while fourth place went to last weeks topper Think Like a Man Too. 2013 had a pretty good week with Monsters University once again topping the numbers at 45.6. The Heat opened with a solid 39.1 million while World War Z continues to carve out the cash adding 29.7 more to it’s domestic. These put the weekly totals at 114.4 for 2013 and 129 for this summer giving 2014 a reprieve from getting a mud-hole stomped in it. And it lowers the deficit to only 194.8 thanks to a narrow 14.6 million dollar advantage
Winner: Oh it hurts so much to say it…Transformers: Age of Extinction. Getting that one hundred mil is nothing to sneeze about! It’s something Paramount will love even though most anyone over the age of 17 that saw it would tell you something along the lines of “Damn that was boring, and long”. A wins a win, and when you can’t hold off another release that’s in it’s second week you can’t beat the Bay. Speaking of the Director, over or under 4 hours and 37 mins for the Directors Cut of TF4?
The Breakdown: This week we get Dreamworks newest animated bread and butter feature going against the returning Autobots, and Melissa McCarthy. Along with Gru’s return to the big screen we got the film adaptation of the 30’s radio and 50’s television show The Lone Ranger which disappointed despite having star power in Johnny Depp. This year debuting with Tammy was horror film Deliver Us From Evil, and a pretty good coming of age film Earth to Echo.
The Stats: Despicable Me 2 was just that at the box office (in a good way) totaling 83.1 in it’s maiden voyage. The Lone Ranger managed to pull 29.2 million and The Heat made a respectable 24.7. 2014 however saw a plummet. Transformers: Age of Extinction 63% drop making 37 million. Tammy opened with 21.5, and 22 Jump Street still making money with another 9.8. Mind you these are Fourth of July numbers. A holiday which normally sees pretty great numbers, Despicable Me 2 was the third highest grossing film for this particular weekend…ever, Tammy…21st.
Winner: Easy. Gru and his minions just laid some smack down on everyone. With that huge opening weekend, and two other competent performances 2013 took in 122.5, while last year had pedestrian numbers all around finishing with a smidge less than half of the previous year at 68.3. Giving last year a 263.5 million dollar cushion. That’s a whopper of a comeback needed to secure a close game.
The Break Down: This week we get a matchup of sequel whose predecessors had different critical acclaim. 2013 it was Grown Ups 2, the sequel to the successful, but terrible 2010 original. Releasing with it was the Guillermo Del Toro film Pacific Rim. On the flip last year saw the return of Caesar in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes which opened mostly solo, with only Richard Linklater’s incredible Boyhood but even that only got a limited release. That being said as Mills Lane would say “Let’s Get It On!”
The Stats: Grown Ups 2 opened in second place with 41.5, Despicable Me 2 continued it’s reign with another 43.8 million and rounding out the podium is Pacific Rim making 37.2. This year DOTPOTA showed exactly what Caesar was talking about when he said “Ape…Strong” as his second big screen venture whipped everything in it’s path all told it made 72.6 which was more than every film finishing from the number 2 through 50 spots COMBINED! Speaking of the other films Transformers: Age of Extinction made 16.3 million, and Tammy made 12.5. But there in lies the problem with no solid counter-programming all the other films had weak numbers and really hurt the weeks box-office.
Winner: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes wins the week with it’s amazing totals, however 2013 continues it’s tear. With the three solid showing it totaled 122.5 million, while 2014 made only 101.4 giving 2013 the 21.1 million dollar difference upping their lead to 284.6 million.
The Breakdown: Well now here’s an interesting matchup! This week we have two “horror” films, at least that’s what they’re suppose to be. Opening with The Conjuring we have three other films that were suppose to beat it to the top. We had children’s film Turbo, comic-inspired sequel Red 2, and straight comic adaptation R.I.P.D. all of them failed. Last year another kids film in Planes: Fire & Rescue, and an R-Rated comedy in Sex Tape tried to take down the micro-budget sequel to the micro budget original in The Purge: Anarchy.
The Stats: The Conjuring raked in 41.8 million to top the box office, Gru and Cru continue it’s fantastic sophomore run with 24.9 more. And in third was the new animated feature from Fox Turbo which managed 21.3. 2014 saw DOTPOTA continue it’s reign with 36.2 million. The Purge: Anarchy made 29.8 almost tripling it’s production budget. While Planes: Fire & Rescue didn’t fair nearly as well as it’s previous entry only mustering 17.5 (the previous scrapped together 22.2 on it’s way to 90 million). But to my earlier point The Purge: Anarchy was more thriller than horror, and I think that threw off some of the perspective audience.
Winner: The Conjuring takes a close win! It won it’s week against stiffer competition although the final tallies were as close as they could possibly be. With a total of 88 million 2013 beats 2014’s 83.5 that is a 4.5 million dollar difference giving 21013 a 289.1 lead. Man this is getting really bad.
The Breakdown: Hugh Jackman will go head to head with Lucy and her superior brain power. The Wolverine opened 2 years ago and had a pretty good weekend against some less than stellar competition, meanwhile Luc Beeson and Scarlett Johansson team up for Lucy which had some competition from The Rock and his “epic” Hercules. A funny little aside is that both of these films had a Woody Allen movie against it. 2013 saw Blue Jasmine and last year we got Magic in the Moonlight. That being said let’s get to the numbers!
The Stats: The Wolverine had a decent weekend making 53.1. The Conjuring did a great job in it’s second week collecting around 22.2 and with the bronze are Gru and Despicable Me 2 with yet another 16.4. Lucy (43.8) managed to ever so slightly lay the smackdown on The Rock and Hercules (29.8). Girl power indeed. DOTPOTA reign in another 16.7 million. Overall a mediocre week for 2014 was topped by two mediocre films, while 2013 had a decent film with no competition.
Winner: Johansson beats Jackman since she had better new competition and handled it. Lucy and it’s compatriots however lose the overall battle to The Wolverine by the slimmest of margins. 1.9 million dollar difference (91.7 to 89.8). That’ll raise the difference to 291 million dollars in favor of 2013.
The Breakdown: This week we have a really interesting and easy battle here. We have the Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg action film 2 Guns, and opening alongside it is the animated sequel The Smurfs 2. There was also a brilliant, yet independent film in The Spectacular Now (Go see it!). This year we got the Marvel space opera Guardians of the Galaxy, which opened along the James Brown biopic Get on Up so lots of variety here. We have pretty much anything you’d wanna see.
The Stats: 2 Guns performed way worse then they assumed collecting 27 million and topping the box-office in spite. Speaking of falling on your face The Smurfs 2 fell on it’s face and still finished third at 21.3 it doesn’t come near it’s over 100 million dollar budget. Silver medal goes to The Wolverine in it’s second week with 21.3 more. Guardians of the Galaxy kills it making a lot more money then anyone thought it would. It was initially tracking around 65-70 million, it made 94.3…damn! Lucy grabs the second spot with 18.2, and Get On Up grabs 13.5 from the crowd. Unlike 2013, last year was ridiculously top heavy year as one film grabbed the kings share of the box office, and with good reason.
Winner: Guardians of the Galaxy…duh! It’s gone on to be one of the highest grossing films of last year (more on that later) and that started here. More importantly this helped 2014 close the gap on last year. 2013 totaled 65.8 in the top 3, while this year took 126. That is a 60.2 million dollar difference and narrow gap to 230.8
The Breakdown: It’s going to be the dystopian wasteland of Elysium up against the pizza-eating heroes that are the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Opening along with Elysium were We’re the Millers, Planes, and Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters. While the Turtles contended with new entries Into the Storm, The Hundred Foot Journey, and Step Up All In. At the same time dealing with the smash hit from last week in Guardians of the Galaxy. How did it fair in our last weekend of the summer movie season?
The Stats: Elysium wasn’t as strong as it should’ve been coming off of Neil Blomkampf’s previous success with District 9. It still lead the weekend with 29.8 while other newcomers We’re the Millers (26.4) and the animated feature Planes (22.3). So the love was pretty well spread out amongst all the new releases. On the contrary, this year it was cowabunga dude! Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ruled with a 65.5 million dollar opening week. Meanwhile, Guardians of the Galaxy grabbed 42.1 and in third with a 17.3 million dollar weekend was the new disaster film Into the Storm. So not as much congestion here. Let’s get to this weeks winner and then our thoughts!
Winner: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was a revelation at the box-office in the same light as it’s silver medalist this week. It wasn’t tracking near 65 million and yet it did exactly that. For the weekend Elysium and crew brought 78.5 million to the table this weekend, but that was TMNT’s weekend alone. That said last year’s box-office was 124.3 million further lowering the distance between this year and last. These top two titles have lead to the 1st and 4th biggest opening weekends in August, and a record-breaking month altogether. 2013 will finish 184.4 million ahead of this year.
The Final Breakdown: Though the quality last summer was superior to the previous year, our summer of 2014 was behind the 8-ball off the jump with the failure of The Amazing Spiderman 2 going against the phenomenon that is Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark. One of the biggest points that changed this battle was July which was 1.3 billion in 2013, but only 771 million last year. So there’s your explanation. What do you guys think? What reasons do you have for the box-office being way lower last year despite improved quality? I’d be interested to hear your thoughts. How do you think this year will fair overall?