Dinosaur-sized summer at the box office

Cairns on Cinema

John Cairns

Today, I do my wrap up of the 2015 summer box office, and also look ahead to what we might expect there for the rest of the year.

Mainly, this column is my ranting and raving about how I cannot make decent box office predictions anymore.

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I thought that the superheroes would carry the day this summer at the box office. Indeed, Avengers: Age of Ultron did make $458 million. Heck, Ant-Man also made $174 million.

But it was Jurassic World that came out of the gate like gangbusters with an opening weekend haul of $208.8 million, the biggest opening weekend in movie history.

As of today their domestic haul is over $647 million, and that means they win the domestic box office race for the summer.

Third place went to the PIXAR hit Inside Out at $351 million, fourth went to Minions at $329 million and it looks as if fifth place will go to Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation  and done with their haul currently at $183 million (which as of this writing it was still behind Pitch Perfect 2, but it will move past it by the end of the weekend).

What does this all tell me? I think people in general were looking for something different from the comic book heroes this summer.

Jurassic World was certainly different, and so was Inside Out. I also notice Straight Outta Compton made it into the top 10 for the summer with a $150 million haul, and nobody would have guessed that. 

In general, the box office was a lot better than last year. Apparently this was the second-biggest summer box office in history with a domestic haul of $4.48 billion.

So that was summer at the top of the box office, a summer marred by another cinema shooting in Lafayette, Louisiana in which two people were killed and several injured before the gunman turned the gun on himself. It remains scary times for moviegoers as security is a big concern.

Now I should talk about the other movies this summer and how they did. It is more proof that my own tastes in entertainment is increasingly out of step with the direction the rest of the world is going.

In particular, it was a bad summer for revivals of TV shows.

First, the Entourage movie featuring Vince Chase, E, Drama, Turtle, Ari Gold and all the characters from the HBO TV show was in theatres this summer. Honestly, I thought this would do better than it did, but I suppose it is more proof that when a show’s time is over, it’s over. Entourage made a dismal $32 million, and the reviews were terrible. If you are an Entourage fan, I sure hope you enjoyed it because this is surely the last you’ll see of these guys on a screen anywhere.  

Next, I should point out what happened to The Man from U.N.C.L.E., the Guy Ritchie-directed remake of the 1960s spy TV show.

Unfortunately, it didn’t end up with a lot of big names in the cast, and that surely must have hurt the gate as it opened to a terrible $13 million and an overall domestic haul of $40 million. Of course, it could not have helped that people were flocking to see Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation instead.

Anyway, if you are a fan of The Man from U.N.C.L.E., I hope you enjoyed it, because we’re likely not getting a sequel from this one, either. All the more reason to stay at home and watch TV shows, instead of watching them in the cinemas.        

It was also a bad summer for Fantastic Four, with the Marvel superheroes tanking with a haul under $55 million as of this week. As I said, maybe people are finally getting tired of the comic book movies, especially bad ones.

Now the Labour Day weekend is over we are fully into film festival season, which means more excitement for film fans in places like Toronto, but far less at your neighborhood theatres.

We are now into the dregs of the box-office calendar and while that doesn’t mean the movies are necessarily bad — some will be pretty good, in fact — the reality is the theatres should be far less crowded.

I don’t think we’ll see things pick up again significantly in terms of big hits until the Nov. 6 weekend, when the latest James Bond movie Spectre comes out. Two weeks later is The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2.

The biggest box-office event that I see for the remainder of 2015, is the return of Star Wars. That’s right, Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens is due out Dec. 18 and I am predicting it will win the box office for the year. Seriously, people are pumped about this. In fact, I was just in Walmart the other day and they have already stocked all the Star Wars merchandise. I wouldn’t be surprised if Darth Vader shows up at your door during Halloween. It really is going to be endless Star Wars hype for the rest of the year and it has already started.

That wraps up my movie column for this week. May the force be with you.

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