A look back over summer 2015’s blockbuster movies

The summer movie season’s now over. Therefore, it’s time to look back over this summer’s blockbuster movie fare, and see what original fare did well and what didn’t, based on the criteria I’ve previously laid out.

I’ll split everything into “success,” “broke even” (within ±10% of its budget), and “flop,” all based on domestic box office figures. I will mention global box office if relevant. All figures are from Box Office Mojo, and are as of this writing.

Success

  • Avengers: Age of Ultron
  • Pitch Perfect 2
  • Spy
  • San Andreas
  • Paper Towns
  • Dope
  • Inside Out
  • Ted 2
  • Magic Mike XXL
  • Minions
  • The Gallows
  • Ant-Man
  • Trainwreck
  • Southpaw
  • Ricki and the Flash
  • The Gift
  • Shaun the Sheep Movie
  • Straight Outta Compton
  • Max
  • Sinister 2
  • Insidious Chapter 3
  • Jurassic World
  • Poltergeist
  • Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation
  • Vacation
  • War Room
  • No Escape

Broke even

  • Hot Pursuit: $35 million budget, earned $34.6 million domestic ($51.4 million globally).
  • Mad Max: Fury Road: $150 million budget, earned $152.9 million domestic ($374 million globally).
  • Entourage: $30 million budget, earned $32.4 million domestic ($44.6 million globally).

Flop

  • The D Train: earned $670,000 on a $3 million budget.
  • Tomorrowland: $190 million budget, earned $93.1 million domestic ($208.3 million globally).
  • Aloha: $37 million budget, earned $21.1 million domestic ($26.3 million globally).
  • Terminator: Genisys: $155 million budget, earned $89.4 million domestic ($409.5 million globally).
  • Self/Less: $26 million budget, $12.3 million box office.
  • Pixels: $88 million budget, $71 million domestic ($185.8 million globally).
  • The Fantastic Four: $120 million budget (per Wikipedia), $52.7 million domestic ($146.2 million globally).
  • The Man From UNCLE: $75 million budget, $34.1 million domestic ($70.7 million globally).
  • American Ultra: $28 million budget, $10.5 million domestic ($11.5 million globally).
  • Hitman: Agent 47: $35 million budget, $15.3 million domestic ($40.3 million globally).
  • We Are Your Friends: $6 million budget, $1.8 million box office.

Final figures

Overall, the above total 41 films. The success/broke even/flop ratios (based on domestic box office) come out to:

  • Success: 27/41, or 66%. Globally, it’s 34/41, or 83%.
  • Broke even: 3/41, or 7%. Globally, it’s 2/41, or 5%.
  • Flop: 11/41, or 27%. Globally, it’s 5/41, or 12%.

The top 10 films this summer at the box office:

  1. Jurassic World: $643.1 million
  2. Avengers: Age of Ultron: $457.5 million
  3. Inside Out: $344.5 million
  4. Minions: $324.8 million
  5. Pitch Perfect 2: $183.8 million
  6. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation: $170.4 million
  7. Ant-Man: $169.2 million
  8. San Andreas: $154 million
  9. Mad Max: Fury Road: $152.9 million
  10. Straight Outta Compton: $134.1 million

Breaking the films down along their originality lines (as outlined in my earlier post), plus adjusting that earlier list for films delayed/not released this summer/films I missed, gives me the figures below:

Passed originality test (32 films):

  • Success: 22/32, or 69%
  • Broke even: 1/32, or 3%
  • Flop: 9/32, or 28%

Failed originality test (9 films):

  • Success: 5/9, or 56%
  • Broke Even: 2/9, or 22%
  • Flop: 2/9, or 22%

Comments

Successful original fare made up 54% of all films this summer (22 of 41 films), while successful unoriginal fare was 12% of all films (5 of 41 films). However, looked at between each group (original and unoriginal films) as outlined above, 69% of original fare was a success, compared to 56% of unoriginal fare.

Simplifying it to a look at the top 10 films, however, three of the top 10 films were unoriginal: “Jurassic World,” “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation,” and “Mad Max: Fury Road.” However, in dollar amounts, the reboots and post-part-two-sequels pulled in $966.4 million, versus $1.768 billion for original fare.

As noted elsewhere, the criteria for “flop” based on domestic figures alone sees changes once global figures are included. For example, “Terminator Genisys” is a flop here in North America, but a sizable success around the world. But for flops, “Tomorrowland” was surely a surprising disappointment to many, as were “Pixels,” “The Fantastic Four,” and “The Man From UNCLE.”

It’s easy to see why Hollywood goes for sequels and reboots, as it’s a safe bet, but the above figures show there was plenty of original fare this summer, even if not all of it was very good (“Ted 2?”). It’s also not to say technically unoriginal fare can’t be good; “Mad Max: Fury Road” received much praise this summer from critics and audiences with a 98% Rotten Tomatoes rating, despite being a reboot.

As usual, there’s the Bechdel Test for a different take on the quality of summer film fare, based on the films’ inclusiveness of women.

That sums up this summer. Next summer’s top films will include “Captain America: Civil War,” “X-Men: Apocalypse,” “TMNT 2,” “Finding Dory,” the reboots/sequels to “Ghostbusters” and “Independence Day,” and the next “Star Trek” film.

What films from this summer did you enjoy or dislike? Let me know in the comments below.

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