September 1 2013

Summer Movies 2013 – The Winners and The Losers

The Summer 2013 film season was a wild ride for the studios, but can any of them learn lessons from the results?

Two major notes before we dive in. Some of these films are still in release, but they have still been named winners and losers based on projections. I.E. Getaway only came out this week, but it’s pretty clear it’s going to be a loser.

Second note is a film needs to do twice its budget globally – a change from years past – to be considered a hit. So although some films in the loser section have global totals higher than their production budgets, it just wasn’t enough.

2013 Summer Movies – The Winners

2013 Summer Films The Winners

Domestic Box Office
Foreign Box Office
Production Budget
The Butler$74,007,000N/A$74,007,000$20,000,000
The Conjuring$133,827,000$88,400,000$222,227,000$20,000,000
Despicable Me 2$354,635,000$467,500,000$822,135,000$76,000,000
Fast & Furious 6$238,660,700$548,800,000$787,460,700$160,000,000
Grown Ups 2$129,224,157$71,700,000$200,924,157 $80,000,000
The Hangover Part III$112,200,072$238,800,000$351,000,072$103,000,000
The Heat$157,256,000$53,014,999$210,270,999$43,000,000
Iron Man 3$408,643,923$805,700,000$1,214,343,923$200,000,000
Kick-Ass 2$26,422,000$23,300,000$49,722,000$28,000,000
Man of Steel$290,327,998$359,500,000$649,827,998$225,000,000
Monsters University$263,478,000$450,900,000$714,378,000$200,000,000
Now You See Me$116,966,000$191,300,000$308,266,000$75,000,000
One Direction: This is Us$17,000,000$14,500,000$31,500,000$10,000,000
Pacific Rim$100,117,000$298,100,000$398,217,000$190,000,000
The Purge$64,473,115$20,078,920$84,552,035$3,000,000
Smurfs 2$66,100,000$188,600,000$254,700,000$105,000,000
Star Trek Into Darkness$228,261,000$234,000,000$462,261,000$190,000,000
This is the End$96,771,093$17,465,949$114,237,042$32,000,000
We're the Millers$109,565,000$23,000,000$132,565,000$37,000,000
World War Z$200,265,000$331,600,000$531,865,000$190,000,000
The Wolverine$127,809,000$225,600,000$353,409,000$120,000,000
The World's End$16,568,000 $16,000,000 $32,568,000$20,000,000

If this summer taught us anything it’s that foreign box office is becoming a huge portion of what will be driving Hollywood from here on out despite that fact that it doesn’t make as large a percentage in foreign territories. (i.e. China only turns over 25 percent of box office receipts to the studios) Case in point, Smurfs 2 was a disaster domestically, but it’s foreign box office saved its blue hineys.

The other big lesson here: Low budget horror films are making a killing. This trend started with the Saw series and picked up even more speed with the Paranormal Activity series and it just isn’t slowing down.

And Marvel made it into the top five grossing films for the second summer running with Iron Man 3. Apparently people are not yet tired of big budget comic book films.

2013 Summer Movies – The Losers

2013 Summer Films The Losers

Domestic Box Office
Foreign Box Office
Production Budget
2 Guns$69,334,000$3,300,605$72,634,605 $61,000,000
After Earth$60,522,097$183,089,885$243,611,982$130,000,000
The Internship$44,627,014$33,864,317$78,491,331$56,000,000
The Lone Ranger$88,431,000$143,800,000$232,231,000$215,000,000
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones$22,654,000$9,100,000$31,754,000 $60,000,000
Percy Jackson: The Sea of Monsters$54,965,000$62,074,000$117,039,000$90,000,000
Red 2$52,088,000$62,000,000$114,088,000 $84,000,000
Tyler Perry Presents Peeples$9,177,065N/A$9,177,065$15,000,000
White House Down$72,425,692$62,200,000$134,625,692$150,000,000

There really didn’t seem to be any connecting thread to the losers this summer. There was sequels intermixed with originals; low budgets and high budgets; big marketing and non-existent marketing. There just seemed to be no thread to what made certain films flop while others soared.

Sure, you can look at The Lone Ranger and pretty much point to the fact it’s a character that has just been out of the public eye for too long, but you would think Johnny Depp teaming up with the team behind The Pirates of the Caribbean would have accounted for something. And R.I.P.D., well, I just don’t think anyone was in the mood for a Men in Black movie about dead people.

I will say this, however, in a summer that was this crowded with films, there will always be losers. This year’s results are sure to be studied and analyzed to the ends of the earth by the studios to figure out what went wrong and try to plan for the future. Especially with summer of 2015 shaping up to be the biggest film battleground to ever happen. Not that they’re going to ignore 2014, but they now have a little under two years to get ready for complete insanity as they attempt to catch as many moviegoers as possible, and no one is going to be on the losers list that year.

The one thing I do fear is a possible retooling of films to make them even more appealing to certain foreign markets. We’re already seeing this happen in small ways such as Iron Man 3 having some extra scenes shot specifically for China. (Don’t worry, they had zero impact on the story and didn’t even feature the main characters.) My gut tells me this is going to be a growing trend, so here’s hoping it doesn’t get out of control.

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