After an onslaught of interstellar bad guys, shape-shifting robots, giant monsters and costumed villains, the galaxy is safe and sound — but the state of the summer box office is another matter. This year's lackluster May-to-
What went wrong — and what, if anything, went right? Here are five takeaways from Hollywood's slow summer.
1. The highlights weren't very high: For the third year in a row, a movie from Disney-owned
No movie managed to crack the $300-million mark this summer, whereas two easily surpassed that number last year ("Iron Man 3" and "Despicable Me 2," with the latter grossing $368 million). In other words, none of this summer's multiplex offerings truly captured audiences' attention as they did in years past.
2. Playing it safe proved dangerous: Summer is traditionally packed with sequels, prequels, adaptations and reboots, but this year studios may have relied a bit too heavily on franchises that have delivered in the past, rather than taking chances on fresh offerings: None of the 10 top-grossing movies released this summer was an original creation (that is, not based on another movie or some other property, like a comic book).
Studios released a dozen sequels, including
By sticking to a relatively safe slate, studios managed to avoid high-profile bombs like last year's "The
3. Missing pieces were missed: This summer might not have been so dreary if some highly anticipated films hadn't been bumped from the calendar. "Fast and Furious 7," the next chapter in the blockbuster action franchise, was originally scheduled for a plum July release but was delayed after the death of
4. Female-driven movies picked up some slack: Among this summer's scant bright spots was the trend of movies with strong female characters performing well at the box office. "Maleficent," a revisionist take on
Other recent female-driven successes include the
5. August wasn't the cruelest month: In the past, August has had a reputation as a bit of a cinematic dumping ground, beginning the sometimes awkward transitional period between the blockbusters of June and July and the prestige pictures of fall. But this summer, which unofficially opened early with
Two of the summer's top 10 grossers were released in August: "Guardians" and "Ninja Turtles," with the latter grossing about $166 million domestically. It wasn't enough to save summer, but it did help stop the bleeding.