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Summer 2014 Box Office Wrap-up!

Sep. 1, 2014by:

Every year powering up in May and grinding down on Labor Day weekend comes the multiplex onslaught of detonations, thrills, beautiful people and computer-generated creatures. Of sequels, reboots, and sequels of reboots. Of prepackaged blockbusters and pleasant surprises. All for your viewing enjoyment... or occasionally not.

Here's how things shook out for the Summer of 2014:

1. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY $274.6 M
2. TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION $244.3 M
3. MALEFICENT $238.5 M
4. X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST $233.2 M
5. DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES $205.2 M
6. THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 $202.8 M
7. GODZILLA $200.6 M
8. 22 JUMP STREET $190.2 M
9. HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2 $173.4 M
10. TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES $162.4 M

Things look a bit different when you account for international business, as is now the case for blockbuster season. Let's take a look at the worldwide totals:

1. TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION $1.07 B
2. MALEFICENT $748.5 M
3. X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST $745.4 M
4. THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 $708.3 M
5. DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES $611.2 M
6. HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2 $592 M
7. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY $547.7 M
8. GODZILLA $508 M
9. EDGE OF TOMORROW $364.1 M
10. 22 JUMP STREET $314.4 M

THE UPS & DOWNS

Summer. Might as well get this out of the way: 2014 was the worst summer for ticket sales in ages. Unlike every year since 1997, nothing made it past $300 million at the domestic box office. Just compare the top of 2014's chart to last year's winner IRON MAN 3, which finished with $409 million domestic (and $1.2 billion globally). Expect panic in Hollywood... and then more of the exact same stuff.


Wise Investments. Some of the summer's best budget-to-box office ratios included:

NEIGHBORS ($266 million worldwide, $18 million reported cost) - Seth Rogen's dad vs. frat comedy was the first R-rated laugh-attack out of the gate, and one of the most profitable movies of the summer.

THE FAULT IN OUR STARS ($280 million worldwide, $12 million reported cost) - The young-adult adaptation showed that a teen cancer romance can crush at the box office even in the middle of explosion season.

THE PURGE: ANARCHY ($103 million worldwide, $9 million reported cost) - The follow-up to last year's thrifty home-invasion hit took the annual violence to the streets but still kept cost at a minimum to maximize its success.

And nobody really seemed entertained by Melissa McCarthy's TAMMY, but it still ended up with nearly $100 million worldwide on a $20 million reported budget.

If we're talking strictly about investment of time, Richard Linklater spent a dozen years making one particular film, resulting in the summer's acclaimed indie BOYHOOD.

22 JUMP STREET - They were explicitly instructed to do it "exactly like last time". In this case, sticking to formula was precisely what audiences wanted from undercover cops Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill, as the sequel's $190.8 million domestic/$308 million worldwide totals blew away 21 JUMP STREET's $138.4 million domestic/$201 million worldwide in 2012. And they didn't even have Cate Blanchett with the budget -- the sequel carried a $50 million price tag, not much higher than the first. Something cool!

Other comedies. Even unclothed Cameron Diaz and a titillating title like SEX TAPE couldn't generate interest. THINK LIKE A MAN TOO came up $26 million short of its predecessor. Seth MacFarlane couldn't translate his TED success to the Old West, and his A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST got gunned down like a greenhorn. And without Adam Sandler bringing his GROWN UPS chums along, BLENDED got dumped.

EDGE OF TOMORROW. Tom Cruise's new sci-fi/action movie had an inventive concept and an ample $178 million budget to realize it on screen. It ended with just over twice its cost at the worldwide box office, but even after being kept in theaters for three months it still barely clawed its way to $100 million domestically, leaving its proponents scratching their heads.

Damn dirty apes. The conflict between primates and mankind escalated in the post-apocalyptic DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES, and the sequel climbed far higher than both the domestic and international totals of RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES. Welcome, simian overlords!

Reptiles. The success of TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES and GODZILLA showed that audiences are interested in familiar scaled and shelled beings of varying size and speaking ability, and further demonstrated the enduring pop-culture relevance of both the sewer-dwelling crimefighters and the King of Monsters.

Although...

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2 - The Dreamworks Animation sequel sure seemed like a safe bet to soar near the top of the domestic chart after the first movie's $217 million, but instead it's likely to be topped by the relaunched TMNT. While HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON was a theatrical hit in 2010, it later gained a following big enough to justify a TV series and live-action arena tour, so the sequel landing lower than the first is definitely a surprise (although to be fair, its worldwide total has reached $592.5 million versus the first's $494 million finish).

THE EXPENDABLES 3 - The third time out, Sylvester Stallone collected even more familiar faces and lowered the violence quotient for an ostensibly more commercial PG-13 rating, but the box office shows the franchise ready for retirement. The online leak of the movie a full three weeks before theatrical release will be blamed for the creaky performance, but it honestly seems more like audiences are simply exhausted by the novelty of the concept.  

Powerful ladies. Disney wound back the clock to depict what exactly put the wicked in their iconic Sleeping Beauty villainess MALEFICENT, and the fairy tale fantasy and star Angelina Jolie's appeal turned the origin story into a global smash. And filmmaker Luc Besson gave Scarlett Johannson a drug overdose that unlocked her physical potential beyond imaginable limits, transforming LUCY into a summer sleeper hit ($269.4 million worldwide on $40 million reported cost).

The Rock. Everyone seems to like Dwayne Johnson, but he just can't make a hit by himself. His mythological action-fantasy HERCULES couldn't crack nine digits domestically and only ended with $174.6 million worldwide, compared to when he's is part of an ensemble (G.I. JOE: RETALIATION - $375 million worldwide, FAST & FURIOUS 6 - $788 million worldwide). It's somehow both inconceivable and perfectly logical that the best use of that muscular physique is for support.

Rusty robots. Yes, TRANSFORMER: AGE OF EXTINCTION made over a billion dollars worldwide. But even with brawny inventor Mark Wahlberg taking over as the new human lead of the franchise, director Michael Bay's fourth cacophonous clash of CGI vehicular warriors made less at the domestic box office than any of the three movies in the Witwicky Era.

CHEF. Director/star Jon Favreau's low-budget food-truck journey captured the appetites of hungry moviegoers, who passed on positive word-of-mouth from their salivating tongues. Though it only closed the kitchen with $30 million, CHEF made its way around theaters (popping in and out of the Top 10) for nearly four months.

Mutants. Gathering up almost all of Marvel's leather-clad chromosomal champions and villains (sometimes in two versions) and tying them together with a time-tripping Wolverine was a costly gambit (pun acknowledged) that paid off in spectacular fashion. Director Bryan Singer returned to the series to make X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST the most financially and critically successful movie in the X-franchise by a huge margin.

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2. Technically, the comic superhero's reboot-sequel can’t be labeled a “loser” after netting over $700 million worldwide. But it’s also the worst performer in the wall-crawler’s movie history and reportedly the most expensive so far, including Sam Raimi’s high-cost disappointment SPIDER-MAN 3. And in general, webhead's latest outing didn’t seem to satisfy the crowds that did show up, but that (or the diminishing returns) isn't stopping Sony from trying to fabricate an entire movie universe out of the Spidey property.

And last but most importantly:

Marvel. In hindsight, it's hard to believe GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY was considered a "risk" by box office prognosticators (including JoBlo.com's own internal Summer Box Office poll -- nobody at all had it pegged for #1). But whether it was purely trust in the Marvel brand or just audiences discovering a fun new sci-fi adventure, James Gunn's sundry space heroes obliterated the August box office record and even surpassed some of Marvel's other popular and more familiar comic book stars.

Marvel clearly wasn't concerned -- they announced the sequel before GUARDIANS was even released. So is Marvel basically the new Pixar, where the name itself carries the indicator of quality regardless of the subject matter? We'll find out next summer when another "risk" arrives in theaters... but even with the behind-the-scenes shuffling on ANT-MAN, maybe we shouldn't worry about how it will perform after all.

Source: JoBlo.com

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12:19AM on 09/04/2014
Imagine if GOTG had been released in say June....
Imagine if GOTG had been released in say June....
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11:20PM on 09/01/2014
Um where the hell is Captain America 2 on either of the lists? Not considered a Summer Movie?
Um where the hell is Captain America 2 on either of the lists? Not considered a Summer Movie?
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9:26AM on 09/02/2014
No it's not. It was released in April. The summer movie season doesn't start until May which is stated in the first bloody sentence of the article.
No it's not. It was released in April. The summer movie season doesn't start until May which is stated in the first bloody sentence of the article.
12:18AM on 09/04/2014
You read good.
You read good.
8:46PM on 09/01/2014
Wow, I never knew Maleficent is doing very well in International markets. Glad to see Guardians of the Galaxy is still going strong.
Wow, I never knew Maleficent is doing very well in International markets. Glad to see Guardians of the Galaxy is still going strong.
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8:22PM on 09/01/2014
Cool rundown. Glad GotG came out on top domestically. Slightly disappointed that Transformers Age of Extinction crossed the 1 billion threshold but I guess it was inevitable. Giant clanging robots and obnoxious product placement cross all barriers, I suppose.
Cool rundown. Glad GotG came out on top domestically. Slightly disappointed that Transformers Age of Extinction crossed the 1 billion threshold but I guess it was inevitable. Giant clanging robots and obnoxious product placement cross all barriers, I suppose.
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8:08PM on 09/01/2014
I do love how every one is calling Godzilla a hit (which it is) although when inflation is factored in it doesn't come close to the box office of the original remake that lot's of people call a bomb. With inflation it beats the new remakes international gross by about $200 million. It's still a a bad movie but a bigger hit than the new one.
I do love how every one is calling Godzilla a hit (which it is) although when inflation is factored in it doesn't come close to the box office of the original remake that lot's of people call a bomb. With inflation it beats the new remakes international gross by about $200 million. It's still a a bad movie but a bigger hit than the new one.
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7:20PM on 09/01/2014
I thought overall it was a really good summer for both blockbusters and indies. My favorites were Guardians of the Galaxy, Begin Again, Chef, Days of Future Past, Edge of Tomorrow, Boyhood, and Neighbors. All great examples of great filmmaking and storytelling.
I thought overall it was a really good summer for both blockbusters and indies. My favorites were Guardians of the Galaxy, Begin Again, Chef, Days of Future Past, Edge of Tomorrow, Boyhood, and Neighbors. All great examples of great filmmaking and storytelling.
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5:49PM on 09/01/2014
Transformers took the global market and the summer by a huge margin. Giving it a thumbs down won't change that fact. Get over it.
Transformers took the global market and the summer by a huge margin. Giving it a thumbs down won't change that fact. Get over it.
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6:52PM on 09/01/2014
You mad bro?
You mad bro?
9:19PM on 09/01/2014
2010 called. They want their meme back.
2010 called. They want their meme back.
12:54AM on 09/02/2014
A movie making a ton of money doesn't mean it's not shitty.
A movie making a ton of money doesn't mean it's not shitty.
5:06PM on 09/01/2014

Edge of Tomorrow is still one of the best movies of the summer.

Shame it's box office doesn't reflect that.
Shame it's box office doesn't reflect that.
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2:35PM on 09/01/2014
During the last years I'd posted like 10 comments in this web saying exactly the same about The Rock. Thanks Joblo!
During the last years I'd posted like 10 comments in this web saying exactly the same about The Rock. Thanks Joblo!
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1:13PM on 09/01/2014

Apes on horses

Nice to see Dawn of the Planet of the Apes crack the number 5 spot both domestically and internationally. This was one of the worst summers in a while in terms of the box office, but one of the best in recent memory of quality films.
Nice to see Dawn of the Planet of the Apes crack the number 5 spot both domestically and internationally. This was one of the worst summers in a while in terms of the box office, but one of the best in recent memory of quality films.
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4:22PM on 09/01/2014
maybe the tickets just split up more evenly over a whole bunch of very good films
maybe the tickets just split up more evenly over a whole bunch of very good films
5:33PM on 09/01/2014
Too many films from the same genre.....and often them coming out week after week. My daughter and I have seen Guardians three times now because there was some room for it to breathe. April-May-June was an onslaught of movies that all appealed to the same audience. The only good comedy that came out made a ton of money, even though it was R-rated. The rest of the summer was blah for movies that didn't involve magical creatures, aliens, robots or superheroes.
Too many films from the same genre.....and often them coming out week after week. My daughter and I have seen Guardians three times now because there was some room for it to breathe. April-May-June was an onslaught of movies that all appealed to the same audience. The only good comedy that came out made a ton of money, even though it was R-rated. The rest of the summer was blah for movies that didn't involve magical creatures, aliens, robots or superheroes.
+1
12:32PM on 09/01/2014
Guardians just started last week in europe, Hercules starting this week. Movie summer is not over here.
Guardians just started last week in europe, Hercules starting this week. Movie summer is not over here.
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12:20PM on 09/01/2014

A Question

Maybe it's cause I'm from the UK and don't get the same level of ads and hype as the US but why are you calling films like How To Train Your Dragon 2 and Edge Of Tomorrow flops just because they didn't do well in the US market? Surely it's the worldwide profit that dictates if a film did well or not, sure Edge didn't do great but it made over double it's budget and you even said yourself that HTTYD2 made more than the first film and yet it's still considered to under-perform. I just don't see
Maybe it's cause I'm from the UK and don't get the same level of ads and hype as the US but why are you calling films like How To Train Your Dragon 2 and Edge Of Tomorrow flops just because they didn't do well in the US market? Surely it's the worldwide profit that dictates if a film did well or not, sure Edge didn't do great but it made over double it's budget and you even said yourself that HTTYD2 made more than the first film and yet it's still considered to under-perform. I just don't see why that is.
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12:41PM on 09/01/2014
Studios get very small returns from the international market. Foreign disturbers buy the rights to distribute within their country, and these foreign distributors get the majority of the box office. North America is the only place for North American studios to get their lion share of profits.
Studios get very small returns from the international market. Foreign disturbers buy the rights to distribute within their country, and these foreign distributors get the majority of the box office. North America is the only place for North American studios to get their lion share of profits.
1:12PM on 09/01/2014
Thanks, didn't know about the distribution charges, I guess that does make sense overall.

Now I sound like a fool.
Thanks, didn't know about the distribution charges, I guess that does make sense overall.

Now I sound like a fool.
1:42PM on 09/01/2014
Nope, not a fool. A lot of it is just expectation versus reality. DRAGON 2 was heavily predicted to be one of the summer's biggest hits in North America (it's just assumed that most big blockbuster-type movies now perform better internationally, although even THE FAULT IN OUR STARS made more overseas than US). Same with a big-budget Tom Cruise action movie released in the middle of summer. If that can barely hit $100 million, I'd have to say that's a disappointment. Superficially, the barometer
Nope, not a fool. A lot of it is just expectation versus reality. DRAGON 2 was heavily predicted to be one of the summer's biggest hits in North America (it's just assumed that most big blockbuster-type movies now perform better internationally, although even THE FAULT IN OUR STARS made more overseas than US). Same with a big-budget Tom Cruise action movie released in the middle of summer. If that can barely hit $100 million, I'd have to say that's a disappointment. Superficially, the barometer of "success" is the US box office because that's what gets reported and scrutinized here the most.

And yeah, the old rule of thumb was that a movie needed to make back twice its production cost worldwide just to break even, but that's also questionable. Studios collect around 50% average of domestic box office, and anywhere from 25% to 40% from overseas, plus they can spend $100 million -- or far more -- for advertising. (Also keep in mind that "reported" production costs are usually complete lies.) And then there's merchandising possibilities, which in some successful situations can stuff more money into pockets than the movies even make (Disney's releases are basically just advertisements for other larger revenue streams). It's easy to look at box office figures and say "wow that made a lot of money", but there's a lot of factors to consider.
12:11PM on 09/01/2014
Hopefully this means that the remake, reboot, sequel, superhero fatigue is setting in. I've enjoyed the movies this year for the most part, but I'm exhausted from the same old shit every year. We're getting remakes of remakes, and reboots of films not even a decade old. It's ridiculous.
Hopefully this means that the remake, reboot, sequel, superhero fatigue is setting in. I've enjoyed the movies this year for the most part, but I'm exhausted from the same old shit every year. We're getting remakes of remakes, and reboots of films not even a decade old. It's ridiculous.
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12:10PM on 09/01/2014
Very different looking at worldwide vs domestic. Maleficent at #2, Guardians at #7, Transformers #1 by a pretty big margin.
Edge of Tomorrow's failure is a mystery, it was a great film. Dragon 2 just did not have the spark of the first one.
On to a very crowded September now.
Very different looking at worldwide vs domestic. Maleficent at #2, Guardians at #7, Transformers #1 by a pretty big margin.
Edge of Tomorrow's failure is a mystery, it was a great film. Dragon 2 just did not have the spark of the first one.
On to a very crowded September now.
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12:06PM on 09/01/2014
Wasn't Maleficent Sleeping Beauty's villainess, not Snow White?
Wasn't Maleficent Sleeping Beauty's villainess, not Snow White?
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