This Summer in … Movies
This year’s summer movie season was remarkably weird; with as many hits as bombs, the tune to the last three months might as well have been a sad trombone. Who came out on top? And who will probably never see the light of summer again? Check out the winners and losers of the summer movie season, below.
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.