That’s it, folks. Summer’s over. What’d you think? Not that great, right? A few gems, quite a bit of mediocrity, and a slew of crap. Same as it ever was. Back in November of last year, I predicted what I thought would be the 15 biggest films of the summer, and I wasn’t too far off. I underestimated The Hangover II and overestimated Super 8, and I didn’t anticipate the failures of Cowboys and Aliens and Green Lantern, but I was in the ballpark.
More disconcerting, however, was my tone of excitement. It was going to be the biggest blockbuster season ever. I was talking about how great it was that the Summer 2011 would give us so many choices and how we’d never be able to choose between them all. Hollywood never fails to disappoint. However, thanks largely to 3D, it was a record-breaking summer. Films released from May 6th through Labor Day racked up $4.39 billion, narrowly beating out the previous record year, 2009 ($4.33 billion). Overseas, it’s an even bigger story, as revenues increased 41 percent over last year’s summer.
Perhaps the biggest story of the summer, however, was not the mediocre showings of the superhero films, but the strong showings of a couple of female-driven movies, Bridesmaids and The Help, the latter of which ended the summer as the number one film of the weekend for the third weekend in a row (it’s made $125 million on a $25 million budget). It’s nice that the studios are reminded every few months how powerful the female audience is so that they can ignore it again in favor of another genre mash-up film.
Let’s get on with the numbers:
The Biggest Box-Office Hits of the Summer
1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2: $375 million
2. Transformers: Dark of the Moon: $350 million
3. The Hangover II: $254 million
4. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides: $240 million
5. Cars 2: $189 million
6. Thor: $181 million
7. Captain America: The First Avenger: $172 million
8. Bridesmaids: $168 million
9. Kung Fu Panda 2: $164 million
10. Rise of the Planet of the Apes: $162 million
The Biggest Bombs (Production Budget Minus Domestic Box Office)
5. The Beaver ( -$20 million)
4. Priest (-$30 million)
3. Cowboys and Aliens (-$67 million)
2. Conan the Barbarian (-$70 million)
1. Green Lantern (-$84 million)