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The Box-Office's Top 20 Films of the Summer Prove That Cheaper Is Often Better

By Dustin Rowles | Box Office Round-Ups | August 29, 2013 | Comments ()


Below are the top 20 films at the box office this summer, ranked according to the domestic box-office haul. What does it tell us? Well, that technically, none of the top 20 made less than their budget (after worldwide grosses are accounted for), but as we all know, that’s not the whole story. There’s marketing costs, and exhibitors take a big cut of the profits, too, so a movie like The Lone Ranger, which made $230 million on a $215 million budget still has to take something like a $190 million write down. It also tells us that, once again, quality does not necessarily equal profit, Marvel made a sh*t-ton of money, and that you don’t necessarily have to spend $150 million on a movie to turn a huge profit. In fact, seven of the summer’s top 20 films were made for less than $100 million, and a movie like The Conjuring can make 10x its production cost if it’s marketed well, which is something that no other film on this list can boast.

As for sleeper hits? The Conjuring would definitely qualify, as would We’re the Millers and Now You See Me, which very quietly made $293 million worldwide, suggesting that though adult audiences are not that vocal, they should be respected.

What bombed this summer? A bunch of films with huge budgets, naturally: Lone Ranger, Turbo, Elysium, and White House Down. I’d like to include After Earth on that list, but even though the film made only $60 million in the United States, it pulled down $243 million worldwide (on a $130 million budget). It’s not exactly poised for a sequel, but it won’t put M. Night Shyamalan out of a job, either.

Keep in mind, too, that some of these movies are still in theaters and could climb a little (although, We’re the Millers is the only one still putting up substantive grosses), and that The Getaway has still yet to be released, a movie that is clearly headed to the top of this list with Selena Gomez and a 0 percent on Rotten Tomatoes behind the movie’s momentum going into Labor Day, the weakest box-office weekend of the year.

20. Turbo: $78 million ($148 million) on a $135 million budget.

19. The Lone Ranger: $87 million ($230 million) on a $215 million budget.

18. We’re the Miller: $94 million ($117 million) on a $37 million budget.

17. This is the End: $96 million ($114 million) on a $32 million budget.

16. Pacific Rim: $99 million ($397 million) on a $190 million budget.

15. Epic: $107 million ($253 million) on a $100 million budget.

14. The Hangover III: $112 million ($351 million) on a $101 million budget.

13. Now You See Me: $116 million ($293 million) on a $75 million budget.

12. The Wolverine: $125 million ($351 million) on a $120 million budget.

11. Grown Ups 2: $129 million ($186 million) on an $80 million budget.

10. The Conjuring: $132 million ($220 million) on a $20 million budget.

9. The Great Gatsby: $144 million ($331 million) on a $105 million budget.

8. The Heat: $156 million ($209 million) on a $43 million budget.

7. World War Z: $198 million ($526 million) on a $190 million budget

6. Star Trek: Into Darkness: $227 million ($458 million) on a $190 million budget

5. Fast & Furious 6: $238 million ($786 million) on a $160 million budget.

4. Monsters Univeristy: $261 million ($686 million) on a $200 million budget.

3. Man of Steel $290 million ($649 million) on a $225 million budget.

2. Despicable Me: $351 million ($806 million) on a $76 million budget.

1. Iron Man 3: $408 million ($1.2 billion) on a $200 million budget.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • DominaNefret

    Mud has made $27 million on a $10 million budget.

  • Cheyenne

    I'm very happy World War Z did so well, especially after so many haters predicted it would be a world-class bomb.

  • AngelaPJohnson

    Me too. People were expecting a failure, well they were proven wrong

  • TenaciousJP

    The Hangover III was released this year? Good lord, I had put that thing so far back in my mind that I forgot that it was only a few months old.

  • Fredo

    What does it tell me?

    - Sequels make money. The Top 6 movies are all sequels, threequels or reboots. So if you're complaining about lack of originality, people voted with their money for more of the same.

    - Peddle to kids and their parents and you'll make money, but please them and you'll have a hit. DE2 and MU were good movies that the kids liked and the parents enjoyed. Turbo and Epic made money but they likely didn't get the repeat business.

    - Don't bring R-rated stuff out in summer unless it's a raunchy comedy. Besides The Hangover 3, This is the End, We're the Millers and The Heat, only The Conjuring made money being rated R. In other words, appeal to kids, teens, tweens and their families during summer months.

  • Stephen Nein (Idiosynchronic)

    Point 2: WRONG. It shows that the kids (and their parents) will always flock to the known quantity. Monsters University was not a good movie. It was passable. Turbo was a fun, great movie - better than Despicable Me 2 which was just okay. I can't say a thing about Epic, Uncle Dave got the pleasure of watching that one with the rug rat.

    I can hope underperforming means we'll be spared a painful Turbo sequel, which is for the best.

  • After salivating over the trailers for months I didn't end up going to see it (dumb baby) so I guess I'm part of the problem, but gees, Pacific Rim REALLY shit the bed, didn't it?

  • GDI

    Pacific Rim has seen a revenue of close to $400 million world wide, and the Chinese government considered it to be American propaganda (showing it has had decent/good critical success). So, no. It didn't really shit the bed.

  • Oh yeah. I meant in the US. I get it that the worldwide revenues are what matter these days, but domestically that movie did not do as well as I thought it would.

  • zeke_the_pig

    Shit the seabed, yeah!
    Ok I'll leave.

  • ERM

    I've never even heard of Now You See Me.

  • Milly

    Neither had I until I downloaded it. Very enjoyable filum and no hand holding through the story.

    Very Ocean's 11 without the smarmy winks and nods to the camera.

  • koko temur

    Its ocean's 11 BUT WITH MAGIC *jazz hands*, how could it do any wrong?

  • zeke_the_pig

    It's that thing where all the actors do the magic thing with the money stealing and then there's also Vegas, Ruffalo and a guy called Thaddeus. It's directed by the guy who made Clash of the Titans.
    Hope that helps.

  • wyndhamchomsky47wg

    мy coυѕιɴ ιѕ мαĸιɴɢ $51/нoυr oɴlιɴe. υɴeмployed ғor α coυple oғ yeαrѕ αɴd prevιoυѕ yeαr ѕнe ɢoт α $1З619cнecĸ wιтн oɴlιɴe joв ғor α coυple oғ dαyѕ. ѕee мore αт....­ ­ViewMore----------------------...

    Me too. People were expecting a failure, well they were proven wrong

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