Diving into the second month of the summer movie season, a bunch of movies put up some impressive numbers. Some debuted right here in June, while others showed staying power after flashy May debuts. We’ve made it to the halfway point of the year and the summer season. Before the calendar and film world turns to July, let’s take a look at the box office winners and losers from the month of June:
JUNE 2013 BOX OFFICE WINNERS
Man of Steel— Even with staunchly divided reviews from viewers and critics, when you set the weekend debut record for the month of June, besting Toy Story 3, you earn “winner” status. While it won’t catch Iron Man 3 and dropped pretty hard into week #2, the high-powered Superman reboot is already the second highest grossing movie of the year, both domestically and worldwide (where the take is already totaling over $500 million). For a movie that had a lot of question marks, the popularity one was answered in a hurry. (my full review)
Monsters University— Here’s another June winner that divided critics as well. Even if Monsters University is a step down from the usual high standards of Pixar, that smudge hasn’t affected earnings. It opened strong at #1 (completely out-earning Brave from last year) with over $82 million and held off both The Heat and White House Down this past weekend to stay in the top spot. It will be dethroned by Despicable Me 2 over the Fourth of July weekend next, but it did what it was supposed to do. At over $171 million after just two weeks, the $200 million and $250 million plateaus are going to fall quickly. (my full review)
The Purge— In an odd early June pocket weekend after Memorial Day, The Purge came out of nowhere to collect a splashy #1 debut, easily besting The Internship and knocking off the then two-week reign of Fast and Furious 6. Like all horror hits, it hit hard and then dropped really fast (a 75% drop from debut to second weekend), meaning word of mouth didn’t spread past the devoted splatter fans. It’s already out of the Top 10, getting beat by May holdovers, but coming in at #1 for the briefest of moments sure turned enough heads before the debut of Man of Steel.
This is the End— Opening beside Man of Steel as an R-rated comedy of counter-programming and blockbuster spoofery, the Seth Rogan/Evan Goldberg flick starring all their buddies as themselves against the biblical apocalypse has done steady business. It will cross $75 million and flirt with $90 million before it’s all said and done. That’s not a bad return at all for a $32 million budget against Man of Steel. (my full review)
The Heat— Even though it’s only been one weekend, the fact that The Heat nearly doubled the flashy White House Down to a strong $40 million debut makes it a winner already. That number was higher than both Identity Thief‘s debut in the winter ($34 million) and director Paul Fieg’s Bridesmaids hit debut ($26 million) from two years ago. Moved from a cushy spring release to a summer slot for a bigger audience, 20th Century Fox rolled the dice and capitalized on the red-hot Melissa McCarthy. This should have a strong chance to be her second $100 million hit of the year. (my full review)
World War Z— Here’s the June winner that probably had to overcome the most hurdles. Bloated by a budget that doubled, on-set tension, costly re-shoots, and lengthy release delay, World War Z scored a huge $66 million and change second place finish to Monsters University and still held on to beat White House Down‘s weak debut the next week. For a very expensive movie, it’s total worldwide grosses are going to climb the movie out of the red with relative ease. (my full review)
Mud— Of all the little indie movies out there that sneak into theaters during the summer season, this one has earned the most. Mud, starring Matthew McConaughey as a prisoner on the run, debuted in April and has hung around to earn a nice $20 million for a film that probably never exceeded 500 screens while the big boys get 4,000+. The “Too Soon to Tell” section down the article has a few fellow indie movies that hope to match this success.
All of the strong May holdovers— The biggest winners of May kept right on chugging along during the month of June and extended their earnings well. Iron Man 3 passed the $400 million milestone. Fast and Furious 6 became the top earner of the jubilant franchise. Star Trek Into Darkness showed staying power after a so-so debut to collect over $220 million. Even little Now You See Me topped $100 million. All four films stayed among the Top 12 earners every weekend in June.
Olympus Has Fallen— The last winner for the month of June didn’t really even do any real box office damage in June. Olympus Has Fallen becomes a new winner because it beat White House Down to the box office punch three months ago and will easily out-earn that film (see the LOSERS section). Slowly, but surely, the R-rated hit from March has climbed to a very respectable $98 million total. It becomes a winner because its direct competition became a loser. (my full review)
SOMEWHERE IN THE MIDDLE
Epic— While Monsters University has been making a killing and Despicable Me 2 is toeing the start line for takeoff, the other family animation release has kind of hung around in the middle. Epic crossed the $100 million plateau, giving it some credibility, but that’s still a distant third behind Monsters University and spring’s The Croods for family genre dominance. After Despicable Me 2 cleans up and Turbo debuts, it will likely fall to fifth on the kid totem pole.
TOO SOON TO TELL
Before Midnight, Frances Ha, The Bling Ring, Much Ado About Nothing— Here are those fellow independent movies that are hoping to duplicate the slow-building success of Mud and possibly have the slim chance at that movie’s eight-figure earnings. All have grossed over $2 million each, making them successes versus their affordable budgets, but that was almost assured anyhow. Once one of these indies can get to $10 million, then they earn the “winner” status. As of now, none of them are going to get to Midnight in Paris-level crossover hit where earnings can get to the $30M’s and $40M’s. The highest of this group is Before Midnight with almost $6 million. That has a chance to keep climbing. The one summer indie flick that didn’t connect to join this group was The Kings of Summer. It still hasn’t yet cracked $1 million, though should in another week or two.
JUNE BOX OFFICE LOSERS
White House Down— When a flashy Roland Emmerich movie starring an Oscar winner (Jamie Foxx) coming off of his biggest hit in years (Django Unchained) and the hottest face in Hollywood (Channing Tatum, who had THREE $100 million hits last year) gets beat by The Heat, you get the dunce hat. Even last month’s top loser, After Earth (see next entry), made more money in its debut than White House Down. That’s downright sad and pathetic. Yes, it’s only been one weekend, but the prognosis does not look good.
After Earth— This May loser is so bad that it earned loser status two months in a row. After Earth, starring Will and Jaden Smith, has become this year’s Battleship blockbuster bomb (unless White House Down drops harder and faster). It washed out of the Top 10 in a matter of two weeks and was already in second-run theaters by week #3. It has barely crossed $60 million domestically, short its $130 million budget, making it another big budget M. Night Shaymalan disaster. Like Battleship, it will perform well enough overseas to keep it out of bankruptcy, but this one stung Big Willie Style’s career. It’s going to take a lot more than his smile to sell Independence Day 2 someday.
The Internship— Not to keep pumping the movie up, but again, when you watch The Heat earn $40 million this past weekend, you then realize just how weak The Internship was as a summer comedy. After getting embarrassed to fourth place in its debut by The Purge, Fast and Furious 6, and even a second-week Now You See Me, the Vince Vaughn/Owen Wilson team-up has dropped fast. It’s sitting at $41 million total with no chance to cross $50 million.
There you are! Those are your box office winners and losers from the month of June 2013. July promises several high profile releases. Stay tuned to this Examiner page for July box office predictions for the month ahead.