By Phil Contrino
As Summer 2013 comes to close, we wanted to sum everything up in an unconventional manner. It seems fitting for a summer that has been full of highs, lows and plenty of surprises. Hollywood's busiest season is always fascinating to watch, and this season was certainly no exception. We've decided to hand out some fake awards in order to remember some of the summer's biggest stories:
The "Hey, We Don't Need Superheroes!" Award goes to:
Despicable Me 2 and Fast & Furious 6 have combined for nearly $1.6 billion globally. The Purge turned into a nice, low-budget hit with $84 million in global receipts. What do all three films have in common? That's easy: there are no superheroes in any of them. As purveyors of snark continue to complain about Hollywood's reliance on superheroes, Universal proved this summer that banking on caped crusaders is not essential to having a successful slate. Moviegoers crave diversity at multiplexes, and Universal succeeded by giving them just that. It's funny that one of Universal's biggest disappointments this year--behind the R.I.P.D. disaster, of course--is Kick-Ass 2, a dark comedy about teenagers trying to be superheroes.
The "Counter-Programming Really Does Pay Off" Award goes to:
The Great Gatsby
Traditional wisdom says that The Great Gatsby should not have earned $330 million+ globally. The Warner Bros. release opened in between Iron Man 3 and Star Trek Into Darkness--a daunting task for any film, let alone a stylized take on a popular novel with a depressing ending. Luckily for WB, traditional wisdom isn't always right. The Great Gatsby's staggering $50.1 million opening weekend in North America proved that audiences were hungry for a film that didn't rely on explosions and fight sequences that seem to go on forever. A large percentage of the moviegoing population (read: adults who don't care about sci-fi and action films) is neglected during the summer. When Hollywood pays attention to that crowd, the rewards are palpable.
The "Movie That Failed Because Of Another Movie" Award goes to:
White House Down
The pairing of two reliable draws--Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx--with Roland Emmerich, a director who knows how to deliver big-budget action extravaganzas that succeed at the box office, should have been led to a massive hit. The problem? Well, White House Down's story about POTUS' abode being invaded was way too similar to Olympus Has Fallen, a sleeper hit that has earned $161 million globally since opening in March. Take Olympus Has Fallen out of the picture and chances are WHD would be lumped in the same conversation with some of the summer's biggest hits. Instead, we lament its underwhelming $131 million global tally.
The "Movie That Succeeded Because Of Another Movie" Award goes to:
Iron Man 3
Sure, Iron Man 3 would have been massive even without Marvel's The Avengers, but we're pretty confident that success of The Avengers is what helped catapult IM3 to the rarefied $1 billion global plateau. The brand building that Disney/Marvel have accomplished is truly staggering. Keep a very close eye on Thor: The Dark World this November.
The "It's Really Important To Know Who Your Audience Is" Award goes to:
The Lone Ranger
Who exactly was The Lone Ranger made for? The Disney release proved to be too violent for young children, and it was too hip and edgy for people who enjoyed the classic television show it was based on. Oh, and it opened against Despicable Me 2, a film that did a much better job of appealing to families. The Lone Ranger is one of the biggest duds of all time because it tried to have a little bit of something for everyone, but instead ended up pleasing very few.
The "Hey, there are other weekends in the year to release a movie during!" Award goes to:
Tie: The Hangover Part III and Turbo
One of the main reasons that films bomb in the summer is the amount of competition that exists. Studio cram tentpoles into a very short period of time and there's often not enough room for them all to succeed. We strongly believe that The Hangover Part III and Turbo would have done much better had they opened outside of the summer season. The Hangover Part III was plagued by negative reviews, but it was really hurt by opening on the same weekend as Fast & Furious 6. As for Turbo, it came right after families had just enthusiastic forked out cash to see Monsters University and Despicable Me 2.
The "One For Them, One For Me" Award goes to:
"One for them, one for me" is the business strategy that many successful actors employ. This summer, Ethan Hawke proved that it can really pay off by starring in two wildly different hits. He anchored The Purge, a solid horror hit that was able to beat out The Internship during its opening frame, and Before Midnight, a critical darling that provided a breath of fresh air for patrons who craved a serious film about the perils of a long-term relationship.
The "Oscar Contenders Can Make Serious Dough In The Summer" Award Goes To:
The Weinstein Company
You can love him or you can hate him, but nobody is better at maximizing the potential of prestige pics than Harvey Weinstein. This summer, The Weinstein Company helped Fruitvale Station and Lee Daniels' The Butler compete in a market full of expensive action films. That's a commendable achievement.
Despicable Me 2 is the second-highest grossing film of the year at the global box office. The Minions have taken over the world with an $805.8 million worldwide total. The overseas performance has contributed $455.1 million to that figure without the help of a Chinese release, making Despicable Me 2 the seventh most successful animated film of all time worldwide.
The film is the most profitable release in Universal's history and is only behind Jurassic Park's $921.6 million as the studio's biggest global earner. There are 8 more territories on the horizon for the Minions, including key markets like Italy, Japan, and South Korea.
Jurassic Park isn't directly threatened by the Minions' success. Steven Spielberg's modern classic is celebrating a big opening for its 3D re-release in China. Jurassic Park 3D has grossed $28.8 million in China over the last six days. Jurassic Park 3D has grossed $44.5 million worldwide and $89.5 million globally.
Fast 6 might have fallen behind the Minions' global numbers, but it is still leading them in terms of overseas box office. Fast 6 reached an overseas total of $548.1 million over the weekend and is reporting a $786.6 million global cume. The film finished its fifth week in China with a strong $65.9 million total.
Disney came into the weekend with high spirits after crossing the $2 billion mark in the overseas box office on August 22. This marks the fourth consecutive year that the studio hits the milestone and is the fastest year in which it has done so. Disney's Monsters University leads its current slate of theatrical releases with a $424.8 million overseas total and an $686 million global cume.
The weekend saw two successful new openings for the Pixar prequel. Monsters University stormed through China with a $13 million bow, the 4th largest opening for a Disney release in the market. Italy posted a first place performance with a $4.3 million debut. The last territory on the horizon for Monsters University is South Korea on September 12. Japan is the film's top market with a whopping $83.7 million total, nearly doubling second place United Kingdom's $42 million cume. The film has also performed well in Mexico ($38.2M), Argentina ($23.7M), Australia ($22.3M), and Russia ($20.9M).
Planes is hoping to fly into similar territory. The Disney film has grossed a total of $17.8 million from 18 overseas territories. The global total for Planes remains a modest $77.4 million with around 80% of the overseas market on tap for the coming weeks. Planes will open in Germany, Russia, Slovenia, Austria, Switzerland, Iceland and Venezuela next weekend.
The Lone Ranger reached a $230 million global total after a first place opening in Spain added $2.6 million to its overseas tally. The overseas cume for the troubled Johnny Depp film is $142.4 million. The film will need a massive performance from China on October 6 to mitigate the box office damage inflicted by a disappointing summer run.
The Wolverine became the highest grossing entry in the X-Men franchise overseas after reaching a $227.5 million total, dethroning the $225 million record from X-Men: The Last Stand. The Wolverine has grossed $352.2 million worldwide. Three markets are left on the schedule, including Japan on September 13.
The Conjuring posted the biggest opening of all time for a horror film in Mexico with a $4.8 million first place bow. The low budget horror flick went on to gross $2.4 million from its French premiere and $1.9 million in its Italian debut. The new markets helped the film reach an $88.4 million overseas tally and $220.1 million global total. The top markets for The Conjuring are the U.K. ($14.3M), Russia ($9.8M), Australia ($7.7M), and Spain ($7.2M). The film will likely top the $100 million overseas mark in September with upcoming releases in Brazil (September 13) and South Korea (September 17).
Elysium opened #1 in the U.K. with a solid $4.8 million, helping Neill Blomkamp's latest sci-fi flick to reach a $70 million overseas total. Elysium is currently posting a $139 million global cume. The film posted strong holds in France ($2.5M Weekend / $7.9M Cume), Germany ($1.9M Weekend / $6.3M Cume), and Australia ($1.9M Weekend / $6.3M Cume).
A $2.3 million bow saw We're the Millers finish in second place behind Elysium in the United Kingdom. The adult-themed family comedy has grossed $23 million from 19 markets overseas. Russia is still the film's hottest market with an $11.4 million cume. We're the Millers has grossed $114.7 million worldwide and will open in Germany next weekend.
Pacific Rim fell shy of the $300 million overseas mark despite overtaking Mission: Impossible 4 - Ghost Protocol to become the 5th highest MPA release of all time in China with a $106.6 million Chinese cume. Pacific Rim has now earned $397.2 million worldwide. Top markets outside of China include Russia ($20.5M), South Korea $18M), and Mexico (15.9M).
World War Z culminated its overseas roll-out this weekend after an $880k debut in Venezuela. The thriller has performed well above the grim expectations that resulted from its troubled production. A $526.5 million global total will have its producers exhaling a sigh of relief and can open talks for a possible sequel with a tighter budget. The international scope and storyline of the film has connected with overseas audiences, where the Brad Pitt zombie flick has collected $327.7 million. A $14.1 million cume in Spain will likely be enough to make it the year's top grossing live-action film in the market.
Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters reached a $62.6 million overseas cume with the help of a $4.9 million opening in Russia. The film held on to the top spot in France ($2.6M Weekend / $7.6M Cume) and Brazil ($2M Weekend / $7M Cume). The Percy Jackson sequel has grossed $110.9 million worldwide.
The World's End had already recorded $16 million from the overseas release box office before this weekend's $9.5 million North American bow. The $25.5 million global total is a solid start for director Edgar Wright's latest film as it eyes additional releases around the world. The World's End will premiere in France next weekend.
The Smurfs 2 is struggling to match the success of the original. The sequel has grossed a total of $234.9 million worldwide, under half of the original's $563 million global cume. The overseas box office is still keeping the film relevant with a $172.3 million total.
A #1 opening in Japan of $4.3 million lifted the overseas total of Star Trek Into Darkness to $231.3 million, passing the $227.3 million that the sci-fi sequel has grossed in North America. Star Trek Into Darkness has grossed a total of $458.6 million worldwide.
Grown Ups 2 has its sights set on surpassing the $271.4 million global total of the original, but it will need a big boost in the coming weeks to go anywhere near that figure. The ensemble comedy's sequel has taken in a total of $57.4 million overseas and is reporting an $186.3 million worldwide cume.
Despicable Me 2 is the second-highest grossing film of the year at the global box office. Universal announced today that the Minions sequel crossed the $800 million mark at the global box office, reaching a worldwide cume of $801.3 million after Friday's results. Despicable Me 2 has grossed $349.9 million in North America and $451.1 million at the overseas box office. It is the highest grossing animated release of the year and ranks seventh of all time in the same category as far global numbers are concerned. Perhaps the highest accolade for the sequel is its current standing as the most profitable film in Universal's history.
Despicable Me 2 is already the biggest film of the year in the U.K. and Mexico. The Minions still have some distance to go in order to overtake Jurassic Park's $921.6 million to become the highest grossing film of all time for Universal.