The summer movie season is when most studios unleash a
torrent of special effects and lazy storytelling and expect fans to swoon –
whether the final product is entertaining or not.
That’s how movies like ‘Transformers’ and ‘G.I. Joe’ become
box office hits. At least that was true in the past.
This year, though, things have been a little different.
After a solid start to the summer thanks to ‘Star Trek: Into
Darkness’ and the ageless ‘Fast and Furious’ franchise – things toppled pretty
‘The Hangover Part III’ will actually make a profit, but it
was critically panned and fans turned on it pretty quickly. Still, it can’t be
considered a total waste because it’s made $300 million worldwide on a $103
The first big bomb of the summer was ‘After Earth’ with Will
Smith and his kid. The truth is, this movie never had a chance of succeeding.
It was directed by M. Night Shyamalan – a man that peaked with his first movie
and just continues to sink.
‘After Earth had a $130 million budget (Note: These numbers
do not reflect marketing budgets unless otherwise indicated) and only got $27.5
million in its opening weekend. The hard and fast rule is that movies are
supposed to make half their budget back in their opening weekend. ‘After Earth’
is doing okay internationally, though, although it’s still doubtful if the
movie will recoup all of its marketing and production costs.
Then you had ‘White House Down’ – a movie that’s biggest
claim to fame is that some reviewers called it “refreshingly dumb.’ Even
Channing Tatum couldn’t save this film, which had a $150 million budget and
only a $25 million opening weekend. The flick has made about $69 million
domestically to date.
‘The Lone Ranger’ is currently being considered one of the
biggest bombs of the summer (right along with ‘RIPD’ – but more on that later).
Disney appeared to be banking on the fact that Johnny Depp can bring in crowds –
but the script and trailer were terrible and fans were pretty much
‘The Lone Ranger’ had a huge budget of $215 million – a large
marketing budget of $100 million – and it only made $29 million in its opening
weekend (which was a holiday weekend, to boot). ‘The Lone Ranger’ has only made
$82 million domestically.
Summer comedy ‘The Internship’ – with a budget of $58
million – should make a profit but it proved
that the buckets of money Vince
Vaughn and Owen Wilson made from ‘The Wedding Crashers’ was obviously a fluke.
Science fiction flick ‘Pacific Rim’ offered an interesting
concept and an interesting cast, but the film has only made back $72 million
domestically on a $190 million budget – and ‘Pacific Rim’ had one of the most
extensive marketing efforts of the summer.
This past weekend, ‘R.I.P.D.’ threatened ‘The Lone Ranger’s’
spot on the top of the movie bomb heap. The $130 million movie only made $20
million in its opening weekend and is trending at a dismal 10 percent on Rotten
Tomatoes. I can’t see another movie managing to top that feat. I blame Ryan Reynolds. What? I do.
If there is a movie that has a chance to match the terrible 'R.I.P.D.,', ‘The Wolverine’ might
be it. Maybe I’m just televising my feelings about the dismal trailer (and that
terrible previous movie) and expecting this movie to suck metal claws, but I
have no doubt it’s going to be another bomb.
Even movies that aren’t considered bombs – like ‘Man of
Steel’ and ‘World War Z’ – didn’t live up to box office predictions this year.
Warner Bros, for example, expected ‘Man of Steel’ to hit $800 million worldwide
and was actually hoping for $1 billion worldwide. So far the flick has amassed
a respectable $635 million on a $225 million budget – but the numbers were so
disappointing it caused Warner Bros to announce that the sequel to the movie
would not be a straight Superman flick. Instead, it would pair Batman and
Superman in an effort to give the franchise a little lift.
Ironically, the biggest hit of the summer is the animated ‘Despicable
Me’ – although the surprise
$41.5 million opening of ‘The Conjuring’ (on a
$19.5 million budget) this past weekend proves that you don’t need a big budget
to have a hit summer movie.
Ironically, second runner-up on the summer “winners” list is
‘Fast and the Furious 6’ – which has seen more than $712 million on $160
million budget, opening early in the summer season.
Personally, I think Hollywood would be better off limiting
the number of big budget movies they release in the summer. I think part of the
problem is that there’s too much competition each week.
Of course, the other part of the problem is that a lot of
these movies were just stinkers.
Hollywood still has a chance at a profitable year, though.
New installments in the ‘Thor,’ ‘Hobbit’ and ‘Hunger Games’ franchises should
all prove profitable – and one or two surprises always sneak in.
Here’s hoping Hollywood has learned a lesson, though. Fans
may love special effects in the summer – but they also want a quality script.
What do you think? What was the worst Hollywood movie this