Summer Box Office: Winners, Losers, Lessons
Some of the surprise winners: music, dinos, the life of the mind.
Channing Tatum and Seth MacFarlane need to send Fox Studios a thank-you note.
Their films (“Magic Mike XXL” and “Ted 2,” respectively) massively underperformed at the box office this summer, but as we're entering September nobody's talking about them in disparaging terms. Instead it's all about “Fantastic Four,” the Fox Studio reboot that was a massive critical and commercial bomb: 8% on Rotten Tomatoes, $50 million at the box office. That's one-third of what Tim Story's “FF” movies made back in the mid-2000s. You know that scene from the trailer (cut from the movie) where the Thing drops from a plane and lands like a bomb on the earth? Like that.
Here's what the two big predictors figured the summer box office would be:
|Rnk||EW Prediction||BO||HitFix Prediction||BO|
|1||Avengers: Age of Ultron||$555||Avengers: Age of Ultron||$550|
|3||Inside Out||$275||Jurassic World||$300|
|5||Mission Impossible–Rogue Nation||$195||Mission Impossible–Rogue Nation||$200|
|6||Ted 2||$190||Mad Max: Fury Road||$180|
|7||Mad Max: Fury Road||$180||Ant-Man||$175|
|8||Terminator Genisys||$170||Ted 2||$165|
|10||Fantastic Four||$160||Magic Mike XXL||$145|
|12||Magic Mike XXL||$155||Fantastic Four||$125|
|15||Pitch Perfect 2||$105||Pixels||$100|
And here's what it's been, as of Thursday, and including the top 20 to account for the underperformers:
|2||Avengers: Age of Ultron||$457|
|5||Pitch Perfect 2||$183|
|7||Mission Impossible–Rogue Nation||$161|
|9||Mad Max: Fury Road||$152|
|10||Straight Outta Compton||$119|
|17||Magic Mike XXL||$65|
|19||Insidious Chapter 3||$52|
Each of the predictors got the first four right, just not in the right order. Everyone assumed Avengers. Then a dinosaur roared.
EW did predict 13 of the 15, but without the messy variations in box office. They, and HitFix, played it safe, assuming most of the big movies in the $100-$300 million range, nothing below that, and nothing gargantuan. In fact, if you focus only on the rank of the prediction (1-15) vs. the actuality, you get this:
Basically we gorged on some movies and ignored others.
So what underperformed, based upon these industry predictions?
- Fantastic Four: EW figured $160, or about the Tim Story “FF” numbers adjusted for inflation. HitFix took the bold movie of assuming a disappointment at $125. But it was the Thing dropping from a plane.
- Ted 2: Against the original's $218, EW assumed $190, HitFix $165. So again, they were assuming a dropoff. They got a cliff: $81.
- Magic Mike XXL: $155/$145 vs. $65. The original grossed $113 and no doubt picked up adherents via home entertainment. But the chicks didn't flock.
- Terminator Genisys: $170/$120 vs. $89. I think we're done with this story. Oh, except it grossed $352 worldwide. Damn foreigners.
- Entourage: Off of everyone's charts, it wound up grossing $32 mil. Bye-bye, boys.
- Avengers: It's weird to say the eighth-highest-grossing film of all time (unadjusted) underperformed, but ... The original took in more than $600 mil, this one was predicted at a safe $550, and it delivered at $100 million below that: $457. It made nearly half (41%) of its gross opening weekend. Not good.
And what overperformed?
- Jurassic World: Did about twice the business everyone thought. Unadjusted, it's the third-highest-grossing film domestically and worldwide.
- Pitch Perfect 2: HitFix didn't even include this and EW had it down at $105. Instead, it grossed $183 for the fifth-biggest movie of the summer.
- Straight Outta Compton: Nobody had this. It's at $119. It's already the highest-grossing music biopic of all time (unadjusted), and the 10th-biggest movie of the summer.
- Inside Out: $275/$265 from the predicters; $342 in actuality. Unadjusted, that's the second-highest-grossing Pixar movie of all time (after “Toy Story 3”); adjusted, it's sixth-highest, behind only the three “Toy Story”s, “Monsters, Inc.” and “Finding Nemo.”
So: Lessons Hollywood might learn from this?
Well, the underperforming list is full of muscle-bound and/or loutish guys. The overperforming list includes movies that focus on women and African Americans.
There might be a lesson somewhere in there.
Boys behaving badly performed badly at the box office.