First of all, the bad news. Don’t let all these big b.o. numbers that I’ve been reporting every weekend this summer, fool you. The fact of the matter is that things are not looking so great.
I’ve already reported a few weeks ago about the huge second and following weeks' box office drop-offs for most of the films released, so far this season. Now Variety has just reported (HERE) that, over all, summer box office totals are down 20% from last year.
And even worse, the b.o. numbers for this year’s 4th of July film period are down a whopping 45% from last year’s July 4th b.o. numbers.
No doubt there are a lot of nervous studios executives worrying that their careers are about to slip away.
As for this weekend, it was thought that Melissa McCarthy’s new film "Tammy" would give "Transfomers 4: Age of Extinction" a real run for its money, perhaps even beating the film. In the end, it didn’t, but it came pretty close.
Just like most of the other summer films so far, "Transformers" dropped big in its second weekend of release, some 63%, to gross around $36,400,000 over the 5-day 4th of July weekend, with a domestic total to date of $174.7 million. This means though that the film will easily hit the $200 million mark, and go somewhat beyond that. With that kind of significant drop-off this weekend, and in the weeks to follow. it will not hit $300 million.
In fact, according to Erik Childress of EFilmcritic.com and WCIU-TV, no film will hit the coveted $300 million mark during this summer film season, making it the first year since 2001 that a film has failed to do so.
Not to cry for "Transformers 4," of course. It’s already made $400 million overseas, and $212,9 million of that amount came from China alone, which, of course, is the main reason why a large part of the film takes place there. No fools, the filmmakers.
It can’t be emphasized enough how important the overseas market has become for Hollywood's financial survival. Tom Cruise’s sci-fi thriller "Edge of Tomorrow," without a doubt, the best summer blockbuster this year, has, for some reason, struggled to make just $100 million in the States. But Warners has been saved from the film being a total loss, thanks to the overseas box office, which, so far, has hit $250 million, and is headed for over $300 million.
As for "Tammy," the film performed slightly lower than expected, with $32 million for a 5-day holiday total, but with the film’s very modest production cost of $20 million, it’s guaranteed to make money, adding another box office hit for the Hollywood’s current most unlikeliest A-list star.
In fact, McCarthy, along with Sandra Bullock, are the only A-list Hollywood stars who can put butts in the seats for any movie they’re in, which is why plans for "The Heat 2" are well under way.
The other major releases this holiday season - Sony’s "Deliver Us from Evil," and Relativity’s "Earth to Echo" - both under-performed, with $15 million, and $13.5 million respectively.
But the good news is that, documentary filmmaker Steve James' ("The Interrupters," "Hoops Dreams," PBS' "The New Americans") absolutely beautiful and poignant documentary, "Life Itself," about the extraordinary life and career of film critic Roger Ebert, performed extremely well, pulling in $138,000 in only 25 theaters. The film opens next weekend in 25 more theaters, and, after that, in another 100, and is also currently available on VOD.
And Bong Joon-ho's fantastic sci-fi thriller "Snowpiercer" expanded to more theaters than last week, and has grossed, so far, just over $1.5 million on 250 screens.