Was this the most brutal movie summer? It certainly felt that way. Tons of massive films completely tanked at the box office, and some of our most highly anticipated movies were huge disappointments. But this summer also beat last summer for total ticket sales. Here are the summer's biggest winners and losers.
Back on May 1, we asked you to predict the summer's biggest surprise flops, and you did pretty well, calling the failures of After Earth and Lone Ranger — but also predicting doom for World War Z. So here are the results, via Box Office Mojo...
Iron Man 3.
This film cost $200 million to make and has grossed $1.2 billion worldwide, or near-Avengers numbers. Just 245 of you predicted this movie would bomb.
Despicable Me 2
One of the biggest surprises — this film cost $75 million and made $806 million worldwide, to date. A way, way bigger success than the first film, which everybody's watched on home video by now. Only 219 people predicted this would flop.
In terms of ratio of budget to box office, this is probably the year's biggest hit — it cost just $3 million to make, and took in $84 million worldwide. Does this mean we'll get to see Lena Headey go on a murderous rampage in The Purge 2 in a few years? That would be awesome.
We didn't do a poll of surprise hits this year, for some reason — but this film was definitely the smash hit that almost nobody saw coming. Made for just $20 million, this film took in over $220 million worldwide, showing that a smart, heartfelt horror film can do really well.
The fourth-most successful Pixar movie of all time, in terms of domestic box office grosses. It cost an estimated $200 million to make, and has taken in $687 million worldwide. Almost nobody predicted this would fail.
Man of Steel
Now we're getting into slightly more controversial territory — 1,280 people predicted this Superman reboot would fail, completely. In fact, this film took in around $650 million worldwide, making it the 10th most successful superhero film of all time domestically. It cost around $225 million to make.
This is the End
Seth Rogen's apocalyptic comedy was another huge surprise smash — just in the U.S. alone, it's taken in over three times its production budget, although it's barely done any business overseas. (Possibly because a lot of the celebrity-culture humor doesn’t translate so well.)
World War Z
Nearly 5,200 people predicted this movie version of Max Brooks' zombie classic would fail — and instead, it triumphed, making $526 million worldwide. The globe-trotting storytelling probably helped boost its overseas take. It reportedly cost $190 million to make, although with the extensive reshoots it's hard to tell.
Star Trek Into Darkness
This was a film that almost nobody predicted would tank — and in fact, it did really well, particularly overseas. It's taken in a respectable $459 million worldwide — although in the U.S. it did slightly less well than the 2009 film. With a budget reported at around $190 million, it's definitely okay. But not a home run.
This film is still in theaters, so its numbers could improve — but as of right now, it's the least successful X-Men movie of all time, in the U.S. (It just has to scrape up another $20 million to beat X-Men: First Class.) But with $351 million in global box office on a budget of just $125 million, this film is still a great success. Over 1,800 of you thought this movie would bomb.
This film wasn't a smash hit, by any stretch of the imagination, but it did make back its $100 million production budget in the United States. And worldwide, it hit a decent $253 million — so if you use the "worldwide gross should be at least double the production budget" rule of thumb, it made money.
There were a lot of reports that this movie's opening weekend was disappointing — but this film had a low enough budget that we're betting it'll make money in the end. It's only been out a few weeks, and Kick-Ass 2 is already close to making back its budget domestically. And it's doing okay overseas, thus far. If you check back in a month or two, this movie will probably be in the black.
This film was definitely a disappointment, in terms of box office. Domestically, it's done about half as well as the first movie, although it's still in theaters. Still, thus far, it's taken in $235 million and it only cost a reported $105 million to make — so it's already a pretty respectable hit. Over 3,400 of you predicted this movie would fail.
Yep, we're putting this in the "hit" category — because it's probably made enough money worldwide to offset its disappointing U.S. gross. Made for a reported $190 million, this film grossed only $100 million domestically — but it's hit around $400 million worldwide. And it's one of the biggest hits in Chinese history. If this film can just eke another $20 million or $30 million overseas, then you can definitely consider it a hit. Some 1,700 of you thought it would be a flop, and after it opened in the U.S. we thought you were right.
The World's End
Too soon to tell, but it seems to be doing well thus far, especially considering its small budget. It's already been a pretty big hit in the U.K.
The biggest flop of the summer, and quite possibly of the year. This film cost $130 million to make and barely took in $61 million worldwide — unlike a lot of these other films, R.I.P.D. died overseas as well as domestically. After this movie and Green Lantern, Ryan Reynolds must be a tad bummed.
The Lone Ranger
A ton of you predicted this movie would bomb — and you were totally right. In retrospect, it's hard to believe how much money the studio spent on this film, including shooting a whole "werewolf" storyline that got scrapped. Some reports place the budget of this film as high as $250 million, and it made just $230 million worldwide.
I feel sad about this one, because it's a cute movie. Not an enduring classic of our time, but a fun enough animated comedy, with Paul Giamatti pulling his weight as a grouchy snail. In any case, it cost $135 million to make and pulled in just $148 million worldwide.
This is another movie that's done astonishingly well overseas, but it bombed so badly in the U.S. that the overseas box office couldn't compensate. Overall, this film has taken in about $183 million, on a production budget of $130 million. For a movie that was really aiming to launch a new franchise, it's a pretty sad result.
Percy Jackson: The Sea of Monsters
In its opening weekend, the second Percy movie took in way less than half what the first Percy got, $14 million versus $38 million (for a four-day weekend.) And the first Percy just barely did well enough to justify a sequel. It's pretty clear that Percy 2 is not going to be a solid hit, although it's only been out for a few weeks.
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones
There was a big article in Variety on August 20 predicting that this $60 million film would only make $20 million in its opening five days, and that figure would put it on track to lose a lot of money. In fact, the film scraped just $14 million, way below Variety's dire forecast. This one seems to be on track to fail pretty badly.
White House Down
Not really science fiction — but still one of the summer's biggest flops. And worth mentioning, since its failure could portend the beginning of the end of Roland Emmerich's dominance over summer tentpoles. Could Emmerich bounce back with the long-awaited sequel to Independence Day? (And is the Singularity movie he was making with Ray Kurzweil basically dead now?)
Neill Blomkamp's second movie is a fun action movie, but not by any means in the same league as District 9. Still, we're clinging to hope that this film will scrape out enough box-office money to count as a modest hit — right now, after a few weeks in theaters, it's made about $140 million worldwide, on a $115 million budget. It's doing well overseas thus far, and maybe it could still wind up being a worldwide hit, the way Pacific Rim did. (But probably not.)
So are blockbuster movies doomed? Not any time soon. But this tweet from Brad Bird sums everything up:
The lesson Hollywood should draw from this summer: GOOD FILMS SUCCEED. The lesson Hollywood WILL draw from this summer: ORIGINAL FILMS FAIL.— Brad Bird (@BradBirdA113) August 29, 2013