Earlier in the summer, I did a segment of the box office battle that took place between the summer’s two mega blockbuster comic book films: Marvel’s The Avengers vs. Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises.
Now with the summer season of films officially wrapped up, let’s take a look at where the two films currently stand financially, along with a good look at this summer’s big winners and losers at the box office.
First off, the two big winners.
After the opening weekend that The Avengers had, I knew in my mind that there was absolutely no way for The Dark Knight Rises to top The Avengers. But to simply judge The Dark Knight Rises’ financial success by comparison to The Dark Knight and The Avengers would be a gross mistake. TDKR current gross stands at over $433 million domestically, $100 million shy of its predecessor’s final tally—not including any additional money made from the marathon screenings with TDKR.
Sure it made less than The Dark Knight, but $433 million domestically still isn’t anything to scoff at since it is the 9th highest total ever recorded—without adjustment for inflation, which I find is just a stupid statistic—which currently places it just $2 million shy of the 8th highest grossing domestic film, E.T. TDKR will surpass E.T. and may eventually pass the 7th highest grossing film domestically as Shrek 2’s $441 million tally is within reach, but I doubt it’ll catch up to STAR WARS’ $460 million total.
That being said, where TDKR succeeded was in its foreign take, where it outperformed its predecessor by a considerable margin. TDK’s final foreign total stands at $469 million, whereas TDKR’s tally to date stands at over $577 million, more than $108 million more than its predecessor. Adding the two figures, TDKR’s worldwide gross stands at $1,010,946,000 which is more than TDK’s total of $1,003,045,038.
With that in mind, we all know where The Avengers stands. It is the third highest grossing film of all-time, both domestically and worldwide, only behind James Cameron’s two juggernaut films: Titanic and Avatar—both of which are the only films to have grossed more than $2 billion worldwide.
The two films have now passed the $1 billion dollar mark as the 12th and 13th films to do so. The Dark Knight Rises, for its part, has made Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy only the second film franchise to have multiple films in the $1 billion club, joining Pirates of the Caribbean, which had Dead Man’s Chest and On Stranger Tides gross more than $1 billion each.
Time to look at the summer’s other big block busters and see where they stand.
Though the film made a little over $5 million less than its production budget, what made this a huge hit for Sacha Baron Cohen is that the film made over $110 million overseas and over $170 million in total—this being his first venture of a created character without the feel of a mockumentary.
Domestic Gross: $59,650,222
Production Budget: $65 million
Hard to believe that prior to MIB III, Will Smith was last on the big screen in 2008, and yet, despite the four year hiatus, he still managed to be a big box office draw. Sure, the movie made less than its production budget, but the film went on to be the series’ highest grossing film worldwide thanks to its overseas grosses. With a ton of projects on the way for Smith, MIB III was big success for him to dip his feet back into Hollywood, and in a year without The Avengers, this movie would have finished with a total closer to its budget.
Domestic Gross: $178,856,554
Production Budget: $225 million
Snow White and the Huntsman
In another case where a film made less than its production budget, what made this movie a hit was that it still made over $150 million and nearly $400 million worldwide, securing itself as a franchise, with Universal already planning future sequels. Though the film recently received negative press due to the affair between star Kristen Stewart and director Rupert Sanders, they would only impact future box office returns on this series should they remain on board. As of now though, the film is a win for Universal.
Domestic Gross: $155,136,755
Production Budget: $170 million
Ridley Scott’s return to Sci-Fi and the universe of his hit film Alien brought about mixed results. The film did go on to make $126 million domestically—just a tad bit shy of its $130 million production budget—but its worldwide take of over $350 million insured future sequels by 20th Century Fox with Ridley on board. That, in itself, is enough to consider this a win for Fox.
Domestic Gross: $126,400,683
Production Budget: $130 million
Much like their chief competitor in Pixar, DreamWorks Animations continues to pump out hit after hit, and their latest sequel to the Madagascar franchise proved to be their best yet of the series. It was the highest grossing of the series—the only one to pass $200 million—and it was the best received critically. It is currently the 7th highest grossing film for DWA with a small chance to make it into the top 5.
Domestic Gross: $214,859,182
Production Budget: $145 million
Pixar’s first venture into the Princess realm was a big hit with audiences this summer. The fiery redhead and Pixar continued their string of hit after hit after hit with this film. Though costing $15 million less than last year’s Cars 2, this film managed to make more money domestically at over $230 million. Despite that number, the film is only ranked 8th on Pixar’s list of films for highest grossing, which says something about the much beloved studio.
Domestic Gross: $233,398,000
Production Budget: $185 million
The summer’s surprise hit, and probably the next biggest profitable hit by comparison in scale and size to The Avengers, is Steven Soderbergh and Channing Tatum’s Magic Mike. Made on a tiny budget of $7 million the movie went on to gross over $100 million domestically thanks to the droves of women who went to go see this movie based on the real life experiences of Channing Tatum during his life as a male stripper.
Domestic Gross: $113,485,818
Production Budget: $7 million
Another surprise summer hit is the R-Rated comedy Ted. Coming from Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane, this was a bit of a wild card at the box office, not knowing what to expect from an R-Rated comedy featuring a CGI teddy bear. It wasn’t expected for this movie to make the money that it did, and for a while it even outpaced 2009’s The Hangover as the best performing R-Rated comedy before slowing down towards the end of its run. Still, on only a $50 million budget and with two big films coming up right behind it in July, for the film to make over $200 million is an impressive feat.
Domestic Gross: $216,873,000
Production Budget: $50 million
The Amazing Spider-Man
Though this is considered a loser compared to Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy, $260 million still isn’t something to ignore. Despite featuring the franchise’s second largest production budget at $230 million, the film made $140 million of that back in its first six days, which is impressive enough. It is the only Spider-Man film that failed to make at least $300 million, but in any other year that didn’t feature The Dark Knight Rises and The Avengers, this movie would have made more.
Domestic Gross: $260,005,361
Production Budget: $230 million
Ice Age Continental Drift
The Ice Age franchise may be on its last legs, but 20th Century Fox and Blue Sky Studios continue to make money on these relatively cheap animated films. On a measly production budget of $95 million (compared to the $145 and $185 million production budgets of Madagascar 3 and Brave) the film was a big hit as it made over $150 million domestically and even more overseas.
Domestic Gross: $157,176,000
Production Budget: $95 million
Usually, a team-up between Johnny Depp and Tim Burton equals instant success, but this wasn’t the case with their latest film. Dark Shadows was made on a $150 million budget but only opened to a weak $30 million and finished just a little under $80 million through its entire run. That’s a $70 million loss domestically, but the film was saved through its foreign gross as it made over $156 million overseas for a worldwide total of over $236 million. Despite that, the film is still a loss.
Domestic Gross: $79,727,149
Production Budget: $150 million
One of the summer’s biggest flops at the box office was Universal’s big budget adaptation of the board game, Battleship. With a whopping budget of $209 million, the film opened up to a weak $25 million. That’s less than 12.5% of its production budget, and by the end of its run, the film only managed a domestic total of over $65 million. Once again, the studio was only saved by the grace of its foreign take, as it took in over $237 million overseas for a worldwide total of $302 million. Once again, despite that, the film is still a loss.
Domestic Gross: $65,233,400
Production Budget: $209 million
Rock of Ages
Summer musicals are a tough sell at the box office, especially with a summer season stocked with major genre blockbusters. Even with an all-star cast including Tom Cruise, who was coming off a major hit in MI:4, he couldn’t save this movie from sinking at the box office. Made on a $75 million production budget, the musical adaptation only managed to make half that back at the box office, and only an additional $11 million overseas making it a loss for Warner Bros.
Domestic Gross: $38,516,613
Production Budget: $75 million
That’s My Boy
In a summer that featured six R-Rated comedies, Adam Sandler’s latest film went on to be the second biggest flop of the summer. His usual schtick didn’t appear to appeal to audiences this summer as the film only managed to make $36 million on a $70 million budget. Simply put, there were better comedy options at the box office this summer, and the numbers this movie made only backed that up as it seems like only Sandler’s core group of fans showed up to this travesty.
Domestic Gross: $36,931,089
Production Budget: $70 million
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
This latest stylistic collaboration between Tim Burton and Timur Bekmambetov really was a gamble. Based on an unfamiliar book to general audiences, and starring an unknown name and face in Benjamin Walker, this movie had a lot going against it, especially with its hard R-Rating. Fewer people would be able to get into it and the concept of Abraham Lincoln fighting vampires just didn’t seem to catch on. Factor in what looks like a dying fad in vampires and it’s no surprise this movie made only $37 million through its entire run. The only saving grace for 20th Century Fox is that the film made made $53 million overseas for a worldwide total of $90 million on a production budget of $69 million.
Domestic Gross: $37,480,274
Production Budget: $69 million
The second R-Rated comedy to flop at the box office was the latest Ben Stiller film. Vince Vaughn isn’t the box office draw he once was, Richard Ayoade is a new face to most people on this side of the Atlantic, and though Jonah Hill is coming off an Oscar nominated performance in Moneyball and a big hit in 21 Jump Street, he just couldn’t bring in audiences for this movie. Factor in the plot of the film and the negative association of neighborhood watchmen with the Trayvon Martin shooting earlier in the year, this movie was fighting an uphill battle.
Domestic Gross: $33,849,802
Production Budget: $68 million
Total Recall (2012)
The last biggest flop of the summer was Sony and Columbia Pictures’ Total Recall remake. As enjoyable as I found the film, Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel just couldn’t bring in audiences, and the movie just couldn’t appeal to audiences who were already heavily familiarized with Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 1990 classic directed by Paul Verhoeven.
Domestic Gross: $57,160,131
Production Budget: $125 million