Everyone knows that Studios save their blockbusters (known as tentpoles) for summer when kids are out of school and families go to the movies more often. A lot of pressure is put on everyone in the film industry to put out movies that will make their studios the most money. However, this ends up being somewhat difficult because there are tentpoles releasing just about every weekend, making it so that even the best movies will stay atop the box office for only a week. With the summer movie season just about over, let’s look at some of the Winners and Losers from 2014:
The summer movie season started early this year with the release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier back in April. It grossed over $700 million worldwide and is regarded as one of the best films Marvel has released as a part of their Cinematic Universe. With Guardians of the Galaxy having already earned over $400 million in almost three weeks, Marvel is on track to own the summer again. As long as they keep making quality films they will stay on top, a trend that looks to continue next summer.
Loser: Tom Cruise
Even though Edge of Tomorrow was one of the most highly praised films of the summer, it underperformed severely at the box office, losing its opening weekend to The Fault in Our Stars. While his films continue to excel overseas, Tom Cruise is starting to lose his superstar status in America. His most recent films have underwhelmed at the domestic box office and rely on foreign markets to make a profit. This is unfortunate for one of the greatest actors from the past thirty years.
Loser: Seth MacFarlane
Seth MacFarlane was hoping that the success of surprise 2012 hit Ted would carry over to A Million Ways to Die in the West, which he produced, directed, wrote, and starred it. The failure of A Million Ways to Die shows that MacFarlane doesn’t have the appeal carry a movie on his own. At least Ted 2 will most likely fare better.
The best comedy of the summer comes from Seth Rogen and Zac Efron. Neighbors was well received by critics and audiences alike. Typically the summer is dominated by action movies and superhero flicks, but Neighbors made a great return of almost $260 million on its budget of $18 million. Rogen is quickly becoming one of Hollywood’s best funny guys and he’ll hope to replicate this success come Christmas with the release of The Interview, co-starring his good friend James Franco.
Loser: Adam Sandler
Honestly, Adam Sandler can be considered a loser for several summers, not just 2014. However, many people expected (read: hoped) Sandler would turn things around this summer with the release of Blended, which also starred Drew Berrymore in an attempt to capture the magic of their first two collaborations, The Wedding Singer and 50 First Dates. However, Blended failed with critics, holding a 14% on Rotten Tomatoes, and grossed $118 million on a $40 million budget. Blended is the most recent failure by Sandler, who is sure to have several more in the near future.
Children had little to be excited for in the form of summer movies. Many families skipped out on Planes: Fire & Rescue, which barely captured a fraction of the success its predecessor did. Earth to Echo failed to connect with audiences, who probably would rather have stayed home and watched E.T. as opposed to spending too much money on an E.T. ripoff. How to Train Your Dragon 2 was highly praised by critics, although its more mature content may have turned some families away, which is probably the reason the sequel has just recently eclipsed the total gross of the first film.
Winner: Michael Bay
Critics may hate his movies but audiences eat them them up. He directed Transformers: Age of Extinction, which, in spite of terrible reviews, became the 19th movie to surpass $1 billion worldwide. Audiences loved it, as evidenced by its “A-” CinemaScore. The Transformers movies have continually been successful, despite the fact that they are of low quality. Similar to Transformers, the Bay-produced Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot also received terrible reviews but audiences still enjoyed it (so much, in fact, that it’s getting a sequel). I can’t forget to mention that the television series The Last Ship has been picked up for a second season. Michael Bay is one of its executive producers. Overall, its been a great summer for Michael Bay.
Loser: The Expendables
It seems like The Expendables have actually become expendable (Get it?). While the action flick with all your favorite action heroes of the 80s and 90s had a good run with the first two films, making $586 million against a $172 million budget, the third one flopped opening weekend, making only $16 million. It will need a strong showing overseas to recoup its $90 million budget. The low box office output is most likely due to the film being rated PG-13 as opposed to R like the first two. The studio wanted it to appeal to a younger audience by making it rated PG-13, but this alienated its core audience- the people that grew up watching these guys in the 80s and 90s who were expecting an R rated movie. I wonder if they are still going to go through with the sequels and female-centered spinoff.
Winner: Angelina Jolie
Angelina Jolie proved that she still has what it takes to star in a box office hit, even though she was absent from the big screen for three years. Maleficent, which starred Jolie in the titular role, has been a surprise hit, grossing $736 million worldwide, good enough for third best this year, barely behind X-Men: Days of Future Past (which earned $741 million) and the previously mentioned Transformers: Age of Extinction.
The success of 22 Jump Street shows that audiences have accepted the fact that original movies are dying. 22 Jump Street was virtually a copy and paste of 21 Jump Street, and often in the movie the characters commented on this and made jokes about it. Furthermore, the ten highest grossing films at the domestic box office have been based off of preexisting material. It is a dark time for original content, leading studios to churn out sequels and reboots to generate profits.
Winner: The Fault in Our Stars
I saved one of my favorite movies from the summer, and one its best, for last. Releasing The Fault in Our Stars during the summer – a time mainly for blockbusters and big budget flicks – was risky for 20th Century Fox. TFIOS opened against Tom Cruise’s Edge of Tomorrow and completely dominated the box office, earning almost $50 million opening weekend. It went on to earn $271 million worldwide, over 20 times its $12 million budget. Subtract the little marketing costs and Fox made a huge profit. I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to view a heartbreaking romance film that is one of the best young adult book adaptations yet.
In the end, we are all winners! Even though this summer movie season hasn’t been as great as others, there was certainly enough good films that anybody could have had an enjoyable time going to the movies. Moviegoers have plenty to look forward to next summer with Avengers: Age of Ultron, Mad Max: Fury Road, Jurassic World, the Fantastic Four reboot, Ted 2, Terminator: Genisys, Ant-Man, and Assassin’s Creed all releasing in summer of 2015.
Austin is in his final year at the University of Florida studying English. He enjoys binge watching on Shark Tank, winning the Mortal Kombat, and occasionally stepping in for Batman when necessary.