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Summer 2016 Box Office Wrap-Up!

09.05.2016

The summer movie season arrived full-blast on the first weekend in May and finally slowed to a crawl on Labor Day weekend after jamming cineplexes with sequels, remakes, superheroes, gunfights, magic, body paint, eyeball-scorching explosions, rippling muscles, chariot racing, excessive alcohol consumption, exhilarating terror, and an endless parade of computer-generated creatures. So, a pretty standard summer, then.

Here's the way things went down at the domestic box office for Summer of 2016:

1. FINDING DORY $481.8 M
2. CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR $407.9 M
3. THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS $358.5 M
4. SUICIDE SQUAD $297.4 M
5. X-MEN: APOCALYPSE $155.4 M
6. JASON BOURNE $155.1 M
7. STAR TREK BEYOND $154.2 M
8. CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE $127.4 M
9. GHOSTBUSTERS $126.2 M
10. THE LEGEND OF TARZAN $125.9 M

Things play out differently when international business is factored in, which is increasingly the case for Hollywood blockbusters. Here's a look at the worldwide totals:

1. CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR $1.15 B
2. FINDING DORY $943.2 M
3. THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS $761.6 M
4. SUICIDE SQUAD $672.9 M
5. X-MEN: APOCALYPSE $542.9 M
6. WARCRAFT $433.5 M
7. ICE AGE: COLLISION COURSE $389.3 M
8. INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE $383.2 M
9. JASON BOURNE $378.2 M
10. THE LEGEND OF TARZAN $354.7 M

THE UPS & DOWNS

Superheroes -- A considerable number of Marvel's costumed heroes had a spectacular disagreement in CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR, and audiences approved of the super-punching squabble to a total of $1.15 billion worldwide. SUICIDE SQUAD was met with grave critical reaction (countered with childish conspiracy theories), but that didn't stop the B-list outlaws of DC Comics from grossing more than MAN OF STEEL and challenging BATMAN V. SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE. Seems like "superhero fatigue" remains a myth...

Except Mutants, Maybe - Yes, X-MEN: APOCALYPSE cracked the Top 5 for the summer, but Bryan Singer's fourth adventure with the superhuman students couldn't even generate as much domestic box office as the director's first time playing with leather-clad homo superior way back in the year 2000. The $175 million sequel also ended with less than half of irreverent R-rated X-franchise spinoff DEADPOOL's $363 million domestic total, and it came in $200 million lower than DAYS OF FUTURE PAST's worldwide total in summer of 2014.

The Rock - After his mythical hero HERCULES was ignored at the box office in 2014, Dwayne Johnson flexed his blockbuster muscles last year with the disaster pic SAN ANDREAS ($473 million worldwide). This summer he teamed up with Kevin Hart for the action-comedy CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE, and brought home $210 million worldwide on a $50 million cost. We'll see if their pairing remains a formula for success when they reunite for JUMANJI.

Steven Spielberg - The filmmaker basically established the summer blockbuster season four decades ago with JAWS, but the master is hardly infallible. His $140 million performance-captured adaptation of Roald Dahl's gentle giant fantasy THE BFG took a snooze at the domestic box office with $54 million, putting it among his lowest-grossing releases MUNICH, AMISTAD and 1941 (although THE BFG did make it to $160 million worldwide). We can probably expect Spielberg to recover with his next big effort, the nostalgia-coated adaptation of sci-fi adventure novel READY PLAYER ONE.

Animated Talking Animals (and Food) - It may have taken thirteen years for Pixar to follow up FINDING NEMO, but audiences were more than happy to see the forgetful female fish friend again -- FINDING DORY was not just the animation studio's biggest domestic hit, but it also became the highest-grossing animated movie in domestic history. Meanwhile, DESPICABLE ME creators Illumination Entertainment continued their hot streak with the chatty creatures of THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS, Seth Rogen brought food to lascivious life in the low-cost R-rated SAUSAGE PARTY (now at nearly $100 million worldwide), and THE ANGRY BIRDS MOVIE collected $347 million worldwide even though most users probably haven't touched the mobile game for years.

Sequels Nobody Really Wanted - There were 14 sequels this summer, and the majority of them performed far worse than their predecessor. Twenty years ago, INDEPENDENCE DAY essentially defined the "event movie", but INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE ended with a domestic total close to what the 1996 original made... just in its first week. ALICE IN WONDERLAND was a billion-dollar phenomenon back in 2010, but ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS barely earned a quarter of that. TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: OUT OF THE SHADOWS bodaciously embraced the property's cartoonish aspects, but only pulled in half the 2014 original's domestic total. The trend continued with ICE AGE: COLLISION COURSE, NOW YOU SEE ME 2,  NEIGHBORS 2: SORORITY RISING and MECHANIC: RESURRECTION. Even JASON BOURNE and STAR TREK BEYOND struggled to lure back the audiences that had gathered for their previous chapters.

Low-Budget Horror - At a price of $40 million, James Wan's supernatural sequel THE CONJURING 2 was the most costly of the summer horror releases, but made $320 million worldwide. Blake Lively fought a shark, and THE SHALLOWS made nearly $100 million worldwide on a $17 million budget. LIGHTS OUT, THE PURGE: ELECTION YEAR  and DON'T BREATHE each cost between $5 and $10 million and made back several times their budget. The best return on investment can apparently be gained from scaring the cash out of people.

WARCRAFT - Director Duncan Jones (MOON, SOURCE CODE) had a production budget of $160 million to build the world of hugely popular videogame WARCRAFT and spin its complex lore on the big screen. But with a domestic box office total of $47 million, clearly the epic battle with magic and orcs and green Paula Patton didn't interest anybody...

WARCRAFT - Except for the rest of the world. Judging from a worldwide total of $433 million (of which $220 million came from China alone), international crowds gladly paid to witness the Horde invasion and turned the dazzling clash on Azeroth into the highest-grossing videogame adaptation ever. Not sure if anyone would call it the best one, though.

Alexander Skarsgard's Abs - Dusting off Edgar Rice Burroughs' pulp character for a big-budget adventure without any A-list stars doesn't seem like a major attraction for today's moviegoers. And yet thanks in part to Skarsgard's remarkable physique, the Lord of the Jungle's latest tale overcame the perceived early indifference and THE LEGEND OF TARZAN surprisingly managed to swing into the Top 10 highest grossing releases of the summer. Still, its "success" would be even more impressive if the movie hadn't cost $180 million to produce.

R-rated Comedies - A startling anomaly like THE HANGOVER certainly didn't happen this year. Director Shane Black followed his mega-smash IRON MAN 3 by pairing Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe for the quippy 70s-era detective story THE NICE GUYS, which brought in $36 million on a cost of $50 million. Lonely Island's music industry satire POPSTAR: NEVER STOP NEVER STOPPING stopped before never reaching $10 million. NEIGHBORS 2: SORORITY RISING only made about a third of the original surprise hit, and MIKE AND DAVE NEED WEDDING DATES got left at the altar with a $45 million finish. The biggest success came from...  

Funny Ladies - Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, Christina Applegate, Jada Pinkett-Smith and Kathryn Hahn got together and turned some raunchy behavior into big bucks with BAD MOMS. Their stress-relieving overindulgence became the summer's only R-rated comedy to make it over the $100 million mark, which they accomplished on a budget of $20 million.

Funny Ladies with Proton Packs - Melissa McCarthy often manages to find box office success on her own, and teaming with lively comediennes like Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon for an update of GHOSTBUSTERS was an interesting (if controversial) concept. But their spirit-catching duties stalled at $126 million domestic, and since the reboot cost $144 million to make, it seems unlikely they'll get the keys to ECTO-1 again.

The Middle - As with every summer there was a number of "counterprogramming" releases, and while only a couple could be considered real runaway box office sensations, many were able to hold their own amid the traditional flash-and-sizzle packing the theaters. "Game of Thrones" dragon-mother Emilia Clarke cared deeply for disabled Sam Claflin, and the romance ME BEFORE YOU rolled to nearly $200 million worldwide on a budget of $20 million. The George Clooney/Julia Roberts thriller MONEY MONSTER made $93 million worldwide on a $27 million budget. Dave Franco and Emma Roberts played an online dare game and brought NERVE to $53 million worldwide for a reported $20 million cost. Disney's live-action update of PETE'S DRAGON hasn't exactly soared like the company's other hits this year, but so far it has risen to $92 million worldwide on a $65 million cost. And the Meryl Streep drama FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS and the acclaimed modern Western HELL OR HIGH WATER arrived at the end of the summer, just in time to be welcomed with open wallets by spectacle-weary crowds.

CLICK IMAGE TO OPEN GALLERY & SEE MORE PICS...

Source: Box Office Mojo

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9:11AM on 09/06/2016

I think anyone who whines about the lack of original summer films

but hasn't seen KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS is a total hypocrite.
but hasn't seen KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS is a total hypocrite.
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8:10AM on 09/06/2016
Can honestly say, think I was at the theatre a few times, but really stuck at home watching Netflix.
Can honestly say, think I was at the theatre a few times, but really stuck at home watching Netflix.
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11:53PM on 09/05/2016
Not a great summer at all. No overwhelming, everyone is talking about it, film. Some like Star Trek and Tarzan that will probably gain more of a good reputation on video.
Top 2 films were really not well done and badly written. Dory's plot ended about 15 minutes before the film did. Civil War had a great ending but they threw so much into it that it became a mess.
Not a great summer at all. No overwhelming, everyone is talking about it, film. Some like Star Trek and Tarzan that will probably gain more of a good reputation on video.
Top 2 films were really not well done and badly written. Dory's plot ended about 15 minutes before the film did. Civil War had a great ending but they threw so much into it that it became a mess.
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10:32PM on 09/05/2016
Awful Summer! One of the worst in years! The only movies I liked this Summer were Don't Breathe, Captain America: Civil War, and The Conjuring 2.
Awful Summer! One of the worst in years! The only movies I liked this Summer were Don't Breathe, Captain America: Civil War, and The Conjuring 2.
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6:50PM on 09/05/2016
In my opinion, the three most underrated films of the summer were The Nice Guys, Star Trek Beyond, and Tarzan.

But overall, my favorite two films of the summer that are original films and not apart of some franchise/sequel are The Nice Guys, and Hell or High Water.
In my opinion, the three most underrated films of the summer were The Nice Guys, Star Trek Beyond, and Tarzan.

But overall, my favorite two films of the summer that are original films and not apart of some franchise/sequel are The Nice Guys, and Hell or High Water.
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6:44PM on 09/05/2016
One of the worst summers in recent memory. Don't Breathe was the best movie of the summer. Civil War was the best of the mega budget popcorn flicks, but it wasn't exactly great. I doubt I'll ever rush out to buy it. Suicide Squad succeeded in not being awful like BvS, but it wasn't particularly good either. Everything else was forgettable empty nothingness.
One of the worst summers in recent memory. Don't Breathe was the best movie of the summer. Civil War was the best of the mega budget popcorn flicks, but it wasn't exactly great. I doubt I'll ever rush out to buy it. Suicide Squad succeeded in not being awful like BvS, but it wasn't particularly good either. Everything else was forgettable empty nothingness.
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3:45PM on 09/05/2016
I'm tired of superhero films, so I'm glad to see horror films making a killing in the box office this summer, especially the original ones.
I'm tired of superhero films, so I'm glad to see horror films making a killing in the box office this summer, especially the original ones.
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3:51PM on 09/05/2016
Come on, they're not that frequent. Superhero TV shows, on the other hand, they are. 10 hours per week (assuming 10 shows, which is not hard to), during months and months. And then compare this with a 2-hour movie every two months.
Come on, they're not that frequent. Superhero TV shows, on the other hand, they are. 10 hours per week (assuming 10 shows, which is not hard to), during months and months. And then compare this with a 2-hour movie every two months.
6:53PM on 09/05/2016
Miguel, don't kid yourself. One superhero film takes over and overshadows everything for at least a month, regardless of how good or bad it is. It will be shoved intensely down our throats by the media and obsessed fanboys for at least a month prior to release. Then the moment we get to take a slight breath from this berating genre another giant overblown Superhero movie takes its place and everything repeats itself. It feels like being assaulted non-stop.
Miguel, don't kid yourself. One superhero film takes over and overshadows everything for at least a month, regardless of how good or bad it is. It will be shoved intensely down our throats by the media and obsessed fanboys for at least a month prior to release. Then the moment we get to take a slight breath from this berating genre another giant overblown Superhero movie takes its place and everything repeats itself. It feels like being assaulted non-stop.
3:04AM on 09/06/2016
If you think so (I don't, I determine movie fatigue based on the frequency, not external factors), blame fanboys and the marketing department of the studio, not the 2-hour movie itself.
If you think so (I don't, I determine movie fatigue based on the frequency, not external factors), blame fanboys and the marketing department of the studio, not the 2-hour movie itself.
3:39AM on 09/06/2016
I can understand that, but, considering that all of the live action films in the top 5 both domestically and worldwide were superhero, the people feeling that fatigue must be a pretty small number at this time.
I can understand that, but, considering that all of the live action films in the top 5 both domestically and worldwide were superhero, the people feeling that fatigue must be a pretty small number at this time.
3:32PM on 09/05/2016

Another mediocre/terrible summer for movies

More forgettable movies to add to history. Sure some were good, but nothing that I will ever feel like watching over and over.

Stick with TV series boys on the likes of Netflix, they are the future of actual storytelling, good characters, plots that can breath, and overall satisfaction. Stranger Things is better than any movie on that list 10 fold.
More forgettable movies to add to history. Sure some were good, but nothing that I will ever feel like watching over and over.

Stick with TV series boys on the likes of Netflix, they are the future of actual storytelling, good characters, plots that can breath, and overall satisfaction. Stranger Things is better than any movie on that list 10 fold.
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