Hollywood’s 2015 Summer: Dominated By Dinos
August is fading away as the leaves begin to darken and the temperature finally begins to relent. One more summer season has begun to pass and thus another summer of blockbusters at the cinema. Join us as we evaluate the summer of 2015 at the box office.
The Summer Tent Poles
2015 featured a variety of large big-budget action films to serve as the tent-pole films for this year. The summer box office season kicked off with Disney’s Avengers: Age of Ultron. The highly anticipated sequel, directed by Joss Whedon, managed to garner $457,494,254 at the box office over the course of it’s run. These are fairly respectable numbers and place it as the sixth highest grossing film of all time. The Avengers sequel also performed well critically, garnering a 74% Fresh rating from Rotten Tomatoes and a 66% from Metacritic. It currently is ranked as #614 on Flickchart.
Despite its strong performance this season, it was topped by the box office leviathan of the summer, Universal’s Jurassic World. Jurassic World broke a multitude of records this summer, including the highest opening weekend to date. It also features the records for highest summer gross of all time, the highest ten-day gross, and quickest film to reach $500 million. It is now the third highest-grossing film of all time having earned $639,872,800 total. While mostly beloved by audiences, it was a slightly less-liked film by critics, with a 71% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and 59% on Metacritic. It falls a bit down from Age of Ultron on Flickchart, standing at #1585 globally.
Disney’s second biggest blockbuster of the summer was the quirky Ant-Man. Despite a troubled production due to Edgar Wright’s departure from the project, the film performed well with critics earning a 79% Fresh Rating on Rotten Tomatoes and 64% on Metacritic. It also stands at a strong #310 on Flickchart. The film was not quite as successful with audiences in comparison to the previous films, only earning $165,768,819 at the box office.
Paramount Pictures featured a mixed bag of action films this summer. The fifth film in the popular Mission Impossible franchise, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, performed moderately well earning $161,063,391. The film was a great success with critics earning a 93% Rotten Tomatoes score and 75% at Metacritic. However, Paramount’s other action blockbuster was the critical and box office bomb, Terminator: Genisys. The fifth entry in its franchise failed to garner any
significant audience by taking in only $89, 171, 820. Critics lambasted the film for its lack of originality and a cheap attempt to revive an old franchise. It stands at 26% on Rotten Tomatoes, and 38% on Metacritic, and #8723 on Flickchart. It should be noted that the film is performing extremely well overseas and such analyses are confined strictly to domestic performance.
Warner Bros. struggled in comparison to other studios in garnering a share of the pie this summer. Its two summer blockbusters, San Andreas and Mad Max: Fury Road, both were fairly average performers at the box office earning $153,970,174 and $152,912,788 respectively. San Andreas’s middling box office take was combined with an average critical response, earning a 50% on Rotten Tomatoes and 43% on Metacritic. It is one of the lowest ranking films of 2015 in Flickchart, standing at #24,442. Oppositely, Mad Max was a critical darling and one of the most highly rated action films in years. It got an amazing 98% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and an 89% on Metacritic. It stands at an impressive #254 on Flickchart. Though it was a critically acclaimed, it never seemed to find its audience in the way it should have.
20th Century Fox delivered one of the biggest bombs of the summer blockbuster season with their newest incarnation of Fantastic Four. The film performed abysmally with both audiences and critics alike. It made only a measly $50, 719, 919. Critics lambasted the film giving it a mere 9% on Rotten Tomatoes and 27% on Metacritic. It is way down at #49,597 on Flickchart. Another underwhelming effort from Disney was Tomorrowland. The film earned average reviews getting a 60% on Metacritic and 50% on Rotten Tomatoes. It stands at an acceptable #8198 on Flickchart. Yet like Mad Max, this film seemed to fail to find an audience as it only earned $93,107,410 at the box office.
Back in Time
Despite the monolith performances of the Avengers and Jurassic sequels, 2015 was one of the poorest performing summers in the past decade. Only this past weekend has the total box office draw pushed past that of 2014, which was $4,058 million. 2015 has made $4,130.7 million with one weekend left in the summer season. This is a large drop from the totals of 2013 and 2012, which garnered $4,851.1 million and $4,305.2 million respectively. This could perhaps be a reflection on the lack of quality summer blockbusters this season as many films struggled to find an audience.
Flickcharters seemed to find past years more favorable. 2014 featured a multitude of summer blockbusters entering into the global top 1000 including Guardians of the Galaxy (#231), Captain America: The Winter Soldier (#469), X-Men: Days of Future Past (#589), Edge of Tomorrow (#610), and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (#778). 2015 only features three films entering into the top 1000: Mad Max: Fury Road, Ant-Man, and Avengers: Age of Ultron.
The gargantuan performances of Jurassic World and Avengers are the only saving factors of what would have been an overall weak summer. Whether this is a continued sign of dropping attendance overall for cinema or a reflection on the multitude of critical bombs is not clear. Though many studios struggled to find audience’s for their films, Universal saw somewhat of a revival in comparison to past years more than doubling its take of last year.
Looking at 2016
Studios will have to up their game if they hope to recover in 2016. Luckily, they have a multitude of ensemble action films on the way. The third Captain America film, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, X-Men: Age of Apocalypse, a fifth Transformers, and the third Star Trek film are all coming next summer season. Studios will hope to recover with these highly anticipated sequels and entries into their large film franchises.