erik lundegaard

Summer Box Office: Winners, Losers, Lessons

Summer 2015 box office winners

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
2 Jurassic World $295 Minions $310
3 Inside Out $275 Jurassic World $300
4 Minions $240 Inside Out $265
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
9 Spy $165 San Andreas $150
10 Fantastic Four $160 Magic Mike XXL $145
11 Ant-Man $160 Spy $130
12 Magic Mike XXL $155 Fantastic Four $125
13 San Andreas $125 Vacation $125
14 Trainwreck $115 Terminator Genisys $120
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:

Rnk Summer Movies BO
1 Jurassic World $639
2 Avengers: Age of Ultron $457
3 Inside Out $342
4 Minions $321
5 Pitch Perfect 2 $183
6 Ant-Man $165
7 Mission Impossible–Rogue Nation $161
8 San Andreas $153
9 Mad Max: Fury Road $152
10 Straight Outta Compton $119
11 Spy $110
12 Trainwreck $103
13 Tomorrowland $93
14 Terminator Genisys $89
15 Ted 2 $81
16 Pixels $69
17 Magic Mike XXL $65
18 Vacation $53
19 Insidious Chapter 3 $52
20 Fantastic Four $50

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:

BO Range EW HitFix Actual
< $100 0 0 3
$100-$300 14 12 8
> $300 1 3 4

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.

Summer 2015 box office losers

Boys behaving badly performed badly at the box office. 

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Posted at 07:05 AM on Sat. Aug 29, 2015 in category Movies - Box Office  

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