5 Ways to Recap Summer 2018
By George Rose
September 21, 2018
Now that we are well into September it’s safe to say that the Summer box office season is officially over. Although traditionally the kickoff begins the first weekend of May, I’m going to consider the last-minute decision to release the latest Avengers at the end of April the new beginning. Nobody is sure what to expect from next year, whether Avengers 4 lands in April or May, but for the last decade Marvel has led the Summer pack and that will remain the case here. Without further adieu, here are the 5 Ways to Recap Summer 2018!
#1) BIGGEST BLOCKBUSTERS
1) AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR ($678.8 million domestic, $2.05 billion worldwide): No surprise, Marvel starts the summer off in style with what ends up being the biggest hit. Thanos is king.
2) INCREDIBLES 2 ($605+ million domestic, $1.18 billion worldwide): Spots two and three could have easily flipped and nobody would have noticed, but it pleases me greatly that one of Pixar’s best films gets one of the best sequels and crushes several animated records.
3) JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM ($416.0 million domestic, $1.30 billion worldwide): Anything less than $400 million and third place on this list would have given the franchise cause for concern, but those pesky dinosaurs proved there’s still life in this once-extinct series.
4) DEADPOOL 2 ($318.5 million domestic, $734.2 million worldwide): Though it ended a touch less than its predecessor, it’s a marvel (haha) that it earned as much as it did right after Avengers’ release and won the Memorial Day blockbuster battle over Solo: A Star Wars Story.
5) MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - FALLOUT ($215+ domestic, $750+ worldwide): The film will BARELY edge out Ant-Man and the Wasp ($215 million), as well as Solo: A Star Wars Story ($214 million), for fifth place on the list. As of this writing, it’s at $213 million but it’s also still in theaters with a touch of steam left in the engine.
#2) BIGGEST FAILS
1) SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY ($213.7 million domestic, $392.9 million worldwide): It may have earned more than the others on this list combined but it was the most epic fail of the season, and possibly the year. Disney needed double the number worldwide for this dumpster fire to break even on its $250 million budget. The sad thing is, I actually enjoyed the film.
2) THE HAPPYTIME MURDERS ($20+ million domestic, $22+ million worldwide): Expectations had this landing between Melissa McCarthy’s new norm of $50 million and Sausage Party (another recent R-rated shocker out of August) with $98 million. Unfortunately, it will earn less in total than what I expected for opening weekend. Am I the only one left that loves McCarthy?!
3) SKYSCRAPER ($67.6 million domestic, $301.1 million worldwide): I’d say the worldwide numbers saved The Rock’s latest from total disaster but the $125 million price tag means this film still loses money. Also, it kind of sucked. Is a building fire worse than a dumpster fire?
4) THE SPY WHO DUMPED ME ($33+ million domestic, $60+ million worldwide): After Melissa McCarthy’s Spy earned $111 million in 2015, nobody expected twice the amount of funny ladies to earn less than half of that amount. Poor Kate McKinnon just can’t catch a break.
5) MILE 22 ($35+ million domestic, $55+ million worldwide): In one hand, I’m glad to see the ONLY person in Hollywood who was happy to see a Popular Film Oscar happen (Mark Wahlberg) end the season with a flop. In the other, nobody wins when the box office fails.
#3) MOST MEDIOCRE
1) MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: FALLOUT ($215+ million domestic, $750+ million worldwide): Listen, I’m not buying the hype about these two totals being the “biggest in the six-film series.” Inflation is a bench and this was also the first Mission in 3D. If you adjust for inflation, it falls to fifth on the list of six and is only $20 million ahead of M:I 3. It’s a great total and keeps the franchise alive, but I’ll get pumped when I see it open above $80 million and earn over $300 million like 007’s Skyfall. Until then, this is yet another $200 million Hunt/Bourne/Bond total.
2) OCEAN’S 8 ($139.2 million domestic, $294.4 million worldwide): Seriously, inflation ruins everything. Though it appears to be the second biggest Ocean film, it falls to last place on the list of tickets sold. Given the insane amount of A-list star power, anything less than $150 million domestic and $300 million worldwide is kind of sad. Sandra Bullock deserved better than this.
3) CHRISTOPHER ROBIN ($95+ million domestic, $140+ million worldwide): How can such a beloved icon like Winnie the Pooh team up with such a blockbuster powerhouse like Disney and struggle to make $100 million? With help it will get there but it’s been a long, slow road.
4) I FEEL PRETTY ($48.8 million domestic, $88.4 million worldwide): $50 million is the new norm for Amy Schumer, even if she deserves more fame than she currently has.
5) TEEN TITANS GO! TO THE MOVIES ($28.9 million domestic, $44.3 million worldwide): Some might call this a fail because early expectations had it earning between $40-50 million. However, the fail was ever expecting a DC film not to disappoint.
#4) MOST PLEASANT SURPRISES
1) MARVEL RECLAIMS OPENING WEEKEND RECORD: After Star Wars: Force Awakens stole the crown with a $248 million debut, the world wondered what would ever knock it down. Well, Marvel, that’s who. The were the first to $100 million debut in 2002 with Spider-Man’s $114 million, the first to $150 million in 2007 with Spider-Man 3’s $151 million, the first to $200 million in 2012 with the first Avengers’ $207 million, and now they’re the first to $250 million with Infinity War’s $258 million. At this rate, we can expect the first $300 million debut in 2025 when the Avengers cross paths with the X-Men in Avengers 6. I’m calling it now.
2) INCREDIBLES 2 DESTROYS ANIMATION RECORDS: Honestly, nobody expected it to make more than Finding Dory’s then-record $486 million because Finding Nemo’s original total of $340 million was more than Incredibles’ $261 million total. The world would be happy if Incredible 2 made anything more than $400 million but, instead, it became the first to $500 and $600 million. Though it’s $605 million doesn’t top Shrek 2’s $659 million adjusted total, it’s $183 million debut destroyed Shrek 2’s $161 million adjusted opening. For once, inflation loses!
3) CRAZY RICH ASIANS CASH IN: After opening to $26.5 million, analysts realized that the romantic-comedy genre was not dead and that Asians are a clearly underserved market. After dropping only 6% to $24.8 million in the second weekend, analysts then realized the genre wasn’t just “not dead” but that it could thrive with a quality product. Weekend three saw it drop only 11% to $22 million, which proved the second weekend wasn’t a fluke. A cultural phenomenon was on our hands. Expectations have it landing between $175 to $200 million.
4) WARNER BROTHERS DOMINATES AUGUST: In a year when Marvel and Disney have basically controlled the box office, it’s nice to hear another studio’s name top the charts. It’s even nicer when that studio takes control for five straight weeks. After The Meg opened with a surprisingly strong $45 million on August 10, the next three weekends were controlled by Crazy Rich Asians. Studios don’t usually release films back-to-back like that to avoid competing with themselves, but polar opposite genres allowed both films to flourish. Four weeks later and the studio tops the chart again with The Nun’s $53.8 million debut. Three WB films over five weeks debuted to a total of $126 million and will potentially earn a combined $425 million domestically. Together, they could top $1 billion worldwide with a combined budget under $200 million.
5) MARVEL REPLACES STAR WARS AS DISNEY’S TOP DOG: Once upon a time, Disney purchased Pixar and Marvel and started making money again. Then they bought Star Wars, which shot to the top when Force Awakens opened to $248 million and earned over $936 million to become the biggest movie of all time. Everyone knew that level wasn’t sustainable and began expecting a yearly Star Wars film to then earn between Rogue One’s $532 million and Last Jedi’s $620 million. That would be fine because one Star Wars film a year would then earn maybe as much as two Marvel movies each year. Except, oops, Solo came out early in May instead of December and was “too close” to Last Jedi. Solo’s $214 million might seem less devastating if it wasn’t released in a year that Black Panther earned $700 million, Avengers 4 earned $680 million and - here’s the kicker - Ant-Man and the Wasp earned $215 million. That’s right, Marvel’s weakest link beat Solo by $1 million domestically and over $200 million worldwide. The box office gods have spoken; Marvel is better than Star Wars.
#5) PERSONAL FAVORITES
1) AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR: I’m team Marvel for life and this film lived up to every unfair expectation set upon it after a decade of films leading up to it. I’m dying for Avengers 4!
2) INCREDIBLES 2: It’s no surprise my two favorites are the top two of Summer. Great reviews and blockbuster sales made sure the right two films ended on top. Superheroes still rule!
3) CRAZY RICH ASIANS: Believe the hype, the rom-com is back and better than ever. The only thing better than love is falling for it while learning of a new culture. It’s crazy good!
4) ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: This might be the only movie where my personal bias for superheroes helps decide my list. Avengers and Incredibles 2 were fan favorite monster hits, but Ant-Man 2 showed that women kick just as much butt as men, even if audiences don’t support them the same way. Still, Evangeline Lilly rocks as the Wasp!
5) SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY: Granted, I didn’t see every movie this summer so things could have changed. But I was underwhelmed by Deadpool 2, I thought Mission: Impossible 6 was too long, Jurassic World 2 should NOT have gone down the road of human cloning, and The Meg took too long to show a shark that never ate enough victims. Solo, on the other hand, benefitted from all the garbage thrown at it. By the time I saw it, I was pleasantly surprised and quiet enjoyed it. It’s too bad it failed because now we won’t get a Boba Fett origin story.