By Mark Hodge (doddleNEWS)
Following predictions that summer 2015 would break new box office records, going back to 2012, the figures so far haven’t lived up to the hype.
Paul Feig’s comedy Spy, featuring the hilarious Melissa McCarthy, took home a modest $30 million on its opening weekend, while Brad Bird’s much hyped Tomorrowland could only manage a limp $42.7 million opening two weeks ago, capping the worst Memorial Day weekend in five years.
Analysts are predicting that the total summer takings could reach a high of $4.5 billion, less than 2013’s record $4.8 billion, which was led by Iron Man 3.
And while there are still some big guns yet to come, senior media analyst at Rentrak, Paul Dergarabedian, a veteran of the industry, reaffirmed that young audiences no longer respond to non-franchise blockbusters.
He said (via Variety): “It’s not a Chicken Little, ‘the sky is falling’ situation, but certainly we need a big hit and we need it now.
“A lot of original titles, combined with R-rated fare has had an impact [on box office].”
Indeed, Hollywood is now realizing the majority of movie going teens are reluctant to fork over for 30-year-old franchises, such as Mad Max: Fury Road and Poltergeist.
Of course, the latter remake of the Steven Spielberg produced 1982 classic suffered from poor reviews, but the same cannot be said for George Miller’s first Mad Max film since 1985, which had rave reviews and earned a respectable $314 million worldwide, impressive for an R-rated film, but factor in the $150 million budget, and many million dollars more for marketing, and those numbers aren’t quite as impressive.
The same cannot be said for more modern CG infested mega-franchises – such as Avengers: Age of Ultron which raked in over $1 billion worldwide, although Joss Whedon didn’t quite match the success of his last film, at least in North America.
Another big franchise movie which performed well was low brow blockbuster Furious 7, which took a massive $1.5 billion worldwide.
One of the big surprises this year was Pitch Perfect 2, which earned an impressive $249 million when it opened against Mad Max: Fury Road. In fact, Mad Max probably would’ve done better had it opened Memorial Day weekend, and Tomorrowland opened perhaps in the fall.
CG disaster fest San Andreas, starring Dwayne Johnson, was a rare example of an original picture which performed well — proving that if movies were made entirely by witless computers, then business would be booming again.
There are of course more big hitters to come this summer 2015, such as Jurassic World (June 12; already tracking to earn $100 million its opening weekend, and with the biggest IMAX release ever), Pixar’s Inside Out (June 19) Ted 2 (June 26), Terminator: Genisys (July 1), Marvel’s Ant-Man (July 17), Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation (July 31), and Fantastic Four (August 7).
One more note about Jurassic World: Variety says its ticket pre-sales are “outpacing 2014 summer movies.”
BoxOffice.com’s chief analyst Phil Contrino still has high hopes for summer 2015’s popcorn movies.
He said: “There’s no reason to panic at all. Some of the strongest movies of the summer are still on the horizon. June and July were pretty weak last year, but this year is much stronger.”
Keep in mind, last year, we talked about the summer of 2014 stinking, and the hope was for 2015. Now, we’re already discussing how big 2016 will be, with Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice (March 25, 2016), Captain America: Civil War (May , 2016), and more.