This Summer in ... Movies
WINNER: Robert Downey, Jr.
Robert Downey Jr. has every reason to be a smug asshole right now, because Iron Man 3 proved he holds both Hollywood and moviegoing audiences in the palm of his hands. Not only did the movie open to $174 million (the second-highest opening ever in America), it earned a staggering $1.2 billion worldwide by the end of summer. Which means that whatever Downey Jr. negotiates for Iron Man 4 and, more importantly, The Avengers 2, will continue to work in his favor.
LOSER: Armie Hammer
Where exactly The Lone Ranger went wrong is still up for debate; the stars are blaming critics, while critics and audiences are blaming, you know, lack of quality. Regardless, after the film's disastrous opening weekend ($29 million), one thing is clear: Armie Hammer's career as a leading man is probably over.
WINNER: Fast and Furious Franchise
Six movies in, the Fast and Furious franchise is still cruising right along; the latest opened to nearly $100 million before snagging $238 million, domestically, and $548 million overseas. Naturally, a seventh movie is already in production for next summer.
Unfortunately, for every Fast and Furious Six, there were a handful of sequels that either bombed with critics or at the box office (or in many cases both). Among the biggest offenders: The Hangover III; Red 2; The Smurfs 2; Grown Ups 2; and Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters.
WINNER: Henry Cavill
After enduring a career with more disappointing events than, oh I don't know, Superman Returns, Henry Cavill finally struck gold with Man of Steel, Hollywood's latest attempt at making Superman happen. Audiences ate it up with a spoon -- enough to earn the film nearly $300 million domestically, as well as a much-anticipated sequel. (Now if only the same could be said about Ben Affleck.)
No matter how you slice it, R.I.P.D. was arguably the biggest bomb of the summer, earning just $32 million off a reported $130 million budget. RIP, haha, ugh.
WINNER: The Anti-Blockbuster
Perhaps hungry for something other than superheroes, car-racing and explosions, audiences latched onto a number of smaller -- but critically acclaimed -- movies this summer. Standouts include Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine, which is poised to win star Cate Blanchett a Best Actress Oscar, and Lee Daniels' The Butler, which topped the box office the last two weeks.
LOSER: After Earth
The only thing worse than After Earth's dismal box office performance ($60 million off a $130 million budget) is the annoying fact that someone in Hollywood is still letting M. Night Shyamalan make movies.
WINNER: Horror Movies
Continuing a trend that was previously reserved for the fall movie season, low-budget horror flicks like The Purge and The Conjuring did very well with summer audiences this year, profiting with numbers typically reserved for blockbusters. (The Conjuring did especially well, earning $132 million by the end of its run.)
It's over, you guys -- at least until the next Avatar, anyway.
Laffers like This Is the End, The Heat and We're the Millers once again proved to be good alternative programming for summer's macho-driven lineup. The latter was an especially big hit, thanks to strong holds that will likely push it past the $100 million mark. Great news for Jennifer Aniston; bad news for audiences who will have to suffer through her next three bombs.
LOSER: Fruitvale Station
Poised to become this summer's legitimate Oscar contender, Fruitvale Station underwhelmed with audiences on its way to a (still pretty decent) $15 million run. The Weinsteins will now have to rely on a DVD campaign in the fall if they want to bring Fruitvale to the Kodak.
WINNER: Now You See Me
Although not that many people talked about it, the psychological thriller Now You See Me caught on big with audiences, earning a cool $116.5 million at the box office.
LOSER: Pacific Rim
Robots and 3-D initially sounded like a recipe for success; but even with decent reviews, this big-budget blockbuster couldn't even pass the $100 million mark. Not that I ever thought I'd say this, but where's Michael Bay when you need him?
WINNER/LOSER: Animated Movies
Tentpole animated movies like Monsters University and Despicable Me 2 (hi again, sequels!) predictably performed well -- but not enough to hemorrhage the underwhelming returns from movies like Turbo, Planes and Epic.