The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

Winners and losers surprise audiences at summer box office

This summer, like any other, audiences lined up to see the biggest, most anticipated movies. 

Any number of factors including word of mouth, reviews and marketing can affect a movie’s success. 

Year after year studios spend millions trying to perfect these variables in order to create the next new hit and yet every summer is filled with movies that have flopped at the box office. 

According to, there were once again quite a few winners and losers this summer.

While much hype surrounded Guillermo del Toro’s “Pacific Rim,” it inevitably fizzled at the box office. 

With a projected budget of nearly $200 million, it barely made half of that in domestic sales. “Pacific Rim” performed decently in the foreign markets, however, adding up to about $400 million worldwide, earning $100 million from Chinese audiences alone. 

This movie failed to find a large audience in the U.S., but combining domestic and foreign totals, “Pacific Rim” at least made some profit. 

The same can’t be said for “The Lone Ranger,” Gore Verbinski’s new action movie featuring Johnny Depp and “The Social Network’s” Armie Hammer. 

Perhaps after multiple “Pirates of the Caribbean” films Disney thought the Verbinski-Depp tandem couldn’t fail. 

Well, even including foreign totals, “The Lone Ranger” barely broke even, gaining a meager $230 million worldwide compared to a projected budget of $215 million.

“Elysium,” the dystopian sci-fi movie featuring a very bald Matt Damon, beat out “We’re the Millers” and “Planes” to claim the number one spot on its opening weekend. 

That success didn’t last.  With a budget of $115 million, “Elysium” struggled to make a profit, collecting only $140 million worldwide. 

The biggest loser this summer might be “R.I.P.D.,” with a projected budget of $130 million; this bizarre cop flick couldn’t even make a fourth of that domestically, grossing a shameful $60 million worldwide.

Like every other summer, huge amounts of money were made by the most popular blockbusters. 

Audiences once again proved the current popularity of super hero films. 

“Iron Man 3” made a staggering $1.2 billion worldwide after claiming the number two spot for opening weekends ever, with the number one spot being held by “The Avengers.” 

 Names surrounding “Man of Steel” like Christopher Nolan and Zach Snyder built anticipation for the release of the new Superman reboot. 

Despite the new cast and darker content, most fans still had a bad taste in their mouths from the previous Superman film, “Superman Returns,” which flopped hard at the box office in 2006. 

“Man of Steel” proved doubters wrong by both earning a sizable $650 million worldwide as well as receiving positive reviews from critics.

Audiences enjoyed seeing sequels to their favorite animated movies this summer as well. 

Perhaps the most successful being “Despicable Me 2,” which made over $800 million compared to its $76 million budget. “Monsters University” made nearly $700 million.

Other animated films, however, saw less success. “Epic” and “Smurfs 2” matched their budgets in the U.S. and relied on foreign audiences to make their profit. 

“Planes,” the “Cars” spin-off and “Turbo,” which features racing snails, struggled to make any profit at all.

Other summer success came from less likely genres, like the horror film “The Conjuring,” which made a sizable $130 million domestic when compared to its $20 million budget. 

Comedies like “Grown Ups 2” and “The Heat” both saw moderate success.

“Fast & Furious 6” had large success, nearly reaching $800 million worldwide. 

The popular racing franchise has been on a rising trend. “Fast Five” made about $600 million since its 2011 release, with the fourth installment of the series, “Fast and Furious” collecting around $360 million since 2009.

While monetary success isn’t the best factor for determining the quality of a movie, it can be helpful in predicting which projects studios will produce in the future. 

Based off of performances at the box office this summer, there is a good chance that a seventh “The Fast and the Furious” is in the making and an even better chance that Matt Damon won’t be bald in his next role.

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