The 2014 summer film season is now officially over and, yes, that picture of that repulsive vermin can mean only one thing – that "Guardians of the Galaxy" was, once again, the number one film this weekend, with $16.3 million.
With $274.6 million so far at the box office, and almost $550 million worldwide, "Galaxy" has officially become, not only the highest grossing film this summer domestically, but also of the year, in the U.S.
And so far, the highest grossing film and most profitable film of the summer still remains "Transformers: Age of Extinction," which has grossed, to date, $1.065 billion, with some $821.3 million of that total overseas.
And there were other huge hits this summer, such as "Neighbors," "The Fault in Our Stars," "Maleficent," "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" and "22 Jump Street."
But if you think they’re drinking champagne and patting each other on the back in the Hollywood studio executive suites, guess again. More likely, instead, they’re guzzling Pepto Bismol like it was going out of style, because, after the numbers have been analyzed and re-analyzed again, the results are as clear as day. This has been one lousy summer for the studios.
Though "Galaxy" is the biggest grossing film of the year domestically, and will hit $300 million in another 2 weeks, it’s not going to be enough to save this summer. A strange case of too little, too late.
In fact, the overall box office total for this summer was 15% lower than the summer of 2013, which makes this the lowest grossing summer since 2006.
But it’s actually even worse than that.
According to Tom Brueggemann at Thompson On Hollywood: “If one adjusts for higher ticket prices and estimates the number of actual tickets sold, it appears this might have been the weakest summer going all the way back to 1992.”
Ouch that’s gotta hurt!
And what was the reason for the huge slump at the box office? Everyone has their own excuses: The World Cup; the lack of major male stars in summer films this year; the fact that there was no "Fast and Furious" movie; or not enough animated films; and the list goes on and on..
But what about the obvious reasons: That a lot of films this summer were simply bad, or that audiences were simply not all that interested with what was out there.
In Variety, Eric Wold, who’s a theatrical exhibition analyst for Riley & Co., was quoted as saying: “You can’t chalk it up to anything other than a weak slate of movies that didn’t resonate with consumers… We were expecting poor numbers to start with, and it got a lot worse.”
And the proof was in the box office numbers every weekend. Time and time again, since early May, there were films that opened to huge numbers only to drop off big - anywhere from 57% to 69% - in their second, and following weeks in release. Or films that simply never even got off the ground, such as "The Expendables 3" or "Sin City: A Dame to Kill For," that were expected to do a lot better.
People weren’t liking what they were seeing, or were unimpressed, or simply that people who really wanted to see a movie went the first weekend, leaving the rest who weren’t so enthusiastic in the first place, dragging their heels, going to see it.
And what’s up for the summer of 2015? So far, looks like more of the same.
What will happen if the box office for summer 2015 is even lower than this year’s tally? More serious adult films for summer? Not hardly. More likely, studio execs are saying right now that, this is just a temporary glitch, a slight cyclical disturbance, and everything will be back to normal next summer. But I wouldn’t bet on that right now.
As for the rest of this weekend’s figures, "Sin City," which tanked last weekend, took an even bigger dip this weekend by some 66%, earning $2.2 million for 14th place (It even got beat out by the Spanish language bio-pic "Cantinflas," about the legendary Mexican film comic). It’s over for that film. It’s toast. And the Blu-ray DVD is already on pre-order on Amazon - a tell-tale sign of a flop.
And who was that commenter (Sin City Jones) last week, who just kept saying that the film was going to be a hit, regardless of its dismal opening B.O. numbers? In fact, didn’t he say that it would do even better this weekend? Yeah right. I wonder what he’ll say now?
Among the new releases, the results aren’t great either. Spy thriller "The November Man" came in 6th place, with $9.3 million; and the “found footage” horror film "As Above, So Below" earned $8.3 million, though that film is sure to make a profit since it was made for a paltry $5 million.
Meanwhile "Let’s Be Cops" still holds up as a late summer surprise hit movie, with almost $60 million earned to date.