ANALYSIS: ‘Jurassic World’, ‘Avengers: Age Of Ultron’, & ‘Furious 7’ Anchor Biggest 2nd Quarter In History

The Independence Day holiday weekend is over, but the bean counters in Hollywood still have plenty of reason to celebrate as 2015’s second quarter generated a new record haul of $3.08 billion domestically. The April 1 through June 30 period bested 2013’s previous record of $3.02 billion, while improving 9 percent from the same period last year.

The Biggest Stories

A major component to the record performance came early on when Furious 7 shattered pre-summer records with a $147.2 million opening weekend on its way to a stellar $351 million lifetime gross in North America, easily becoming the biggest hit of the franchise to date and serving as an emotional and wildly successful cinematic send-off to the late Paul Walker.

The box office hits kept coming from there. Kicking off summer, Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron scored the (at the time) second best debut in history with $191.3 million to kick off May.

A little over one month later, of course, Universal’s Jurassic World sneaked past the first Avengers‘ $207.4 million opening title in 2012 with a (still stunning) $208.8 million mid-June launch. The Chris Pratt-led mega-blockbuster from director Colin Trevorrow has continued to impress ever since, setting more records than one can easily count. The film has remained at a pace ahead of 2012’s Avengers and has a fair chance to become only the second movie in history (after Avatar) to crack $650 million in North America alone.

Other notable hits included Pixar’s return with Inside Out, besting Avatar as the best opener in history by an “original” (non-sequel/non-adaptation) film with $90.4 million last month. Strong word of mouth has further propelled the film over the last few weeks.

Meanwhile, Pitch Perfect 2 has blown past expectations since its $69.2 million opening in May as its gone on to earn over $182 million stateside — plus the official announcement of a third entry in the series to come in 2017. Its opening weekend went head-to-head with Warner Bros.’ Mad Max: Fury Road, another film that leaped beyond most expectations when it bowed to $45.4 million and has since displayed excellent legs for a franchise revival that’s transcended its core fan base to soak up seemingly endless critical and commercial buzz.

WB also had a great showing from the Dwayne Johnson disaster flick, San Andreas — another surprise box office performer with more than $143 million earned domestically through the end of June.

Summer-So-Far Statistics

Looking at summer alone (May 1 – June 30), the halfway point of the industry’s most lucrative season claimed $2.31 billion — the second-highest total ever, just over 3 percent behind 2013’s $2.39 billion. Estimated ticket sales (based on dividing grosses by average ticket prices) so far give this summer the second-highest attendance (behind 2013 again) since 2004. This summer is up more than 12 percent from the same point in 2014.

2nd Quarter and Year-to-Date Statistics

2015’s April-May-June time frame didn’t just set a record gross-wise; it also achieved the best estimated attendance of any second quarter since 2004.

Year-to-date, 2015 stood at nearly $5.56 billion through June 30. That’s a record pace at the year’s halfway mark, eclipsing 2012’s $5.39 billion at the same point. Compared to 2014, this year is up nearly 6.5 percent.

Fun Fact

The story of three massive opening weekends in such a short time span is symbolic of the many records that have fallen so far this year. Between Furious 7, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Jurassic World, that trio represented the first three films to ever debut north of $145 million within 10 weekends of each other. The closest that had ever come to happening before was in 2012: The Hunger Games, Marvel’s The Avengers, and The Dark Knight Rises all posted $152.5 million-or-higher opening weekends, but were separated by 17 weekends.

Q2 2015’s Top Ten

Below, you can check out last quarter’s top ten films based on box office receipts earned April 1 through June 30.

1. Jurassic World ($514.4 million; 19 days of play)
2. Avengers: Age of Ultron ($453.0 million; 61 days)
3. Furious 7 ($351.0 million; 77 days)
4. Inside Out ($200.8 million; 12 days)
5. Pitch Perfect 2 ($181.5 million; 47 days)
6. Mad Max: Fury Road ($147.6 million; 47 days)
7. San Andreas ($143.3 million; 33 days)
8. Spy ($90.5 million; 26 days)
9. Tomorrowland ($90.5 million; 40 days)
10. Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 ($70.0 million; 75 days)

Shawn Robbins

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