The Bombs of Summer - 2013

With the wild summer season drawn closed it is time to assess the results, or in my case, the damage. There was victory, carnage, and quite a bit of shoulder shrugging as everyone tried to make sense of it all.

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By MartiniShark - 9/3/2013



With the most lucrative frame on the Hollywood release schedule now wrapped up it is time to assess how the bottom dwellers fared. It was a tumultuous summer with many releases making it a difficult time for box office prognosticators. The last weeks of summer have felt dismal, with half-hearted releases greeting apathetic or worn out audiences. The overall mood was that this summer was a disappointment, but the opposite proved true: it was a flush frame with 10% increases in both revenue and ticket buyers over last year, bringing in a record of over $4.5 billion. So why the negativity?

Even with flashy figures by summer's halfway mark journalists bemoaned that Hollywood was diluting returns by releasing too much product at once. Numerous weekends saw a crowded release schedule leading to many titles ending up in the ditch and some surefire hits missing the mark. Still, many positive surprises also emerged. The lightly regarded NOW YOU SEE ME was $100 million+ hit, THIS IS THE END nearly did the same as a counter-programming success, as did KEVIN HART: LET ME EXPLAIN, while THE HEAT broke $150 million. Even projected misfires like WORLD WAR Z and THE GREAT GATSBY actually made a mint.

But there were plenty of titles also delivering a somber mood. In ranking the worst I used an imperfect formula to measure failure. Unlike the wildly inaccurate tactic using returns-versus-budget I applied a broader stroke involving studio expectations, size of the picture, and critical disdain. There is one other component that needs addressing, and that is global box office. Studios in recent years have relied on the inflated overseas number to buoy a sinking title, but that is not an easy mathematical either. Unique distribution costs, marketing, and reduced receipt ratios abroad make this a difficult metric to measure. Basically, you need a film to be a smash overseas to erase your mistakes. So here they are, the worst of the lot ranked according to failure.





DISHONORABLE MENTIONS (Alphabetically): These were a collection of titles that met varying degrees of failure in North American theaters but may, or may not yet see a profit. At best studios could break even and some studio suits probably won’t get fired.

Elysium So much fanfare and yet people struggled to find positives. A middling domestic return might become floated with a healthy foreign box office.

The Hangover Part 3 Most agreed this was an unneeded sequel. Proof came with modest returns, although it doubled its take overseas. The surprise comedy WE”RE THE MILLERS recently earned more money stateside.

Kick-Ass 2 The Jim Carey controversy thought to bring in free publicity may now be seen as a detriment. Barely reaching its budget, smaller returns overseas, and a healthy amount of marketing means it is a stretch to break even.

Pacific Rim This has shocked many as Guillermo Del Toro's expensive action epic barely made it to $100 million domestically, however it tripled that number overseas and may have just made enough to warrant a sequel.

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters The original did middling business here but saw interest in foreign territories. This time fewer were interested with the sequel in either location.

Red 2 Just did not offer enough in a crowded market and barely earned much interest overseas.

The Smurfs 2 – Brought in half of the original’s dollars, and even earned less than PLANES, a non-Pixar effort originally created for a DVD-only release. However 75% of its money was international.



#10: The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones
Practically indistinguishable visually from PERCY JACKSON this young-adult book series should have had a built-in audience, one that was still out of school. Sony’s tough summer continued as it opened so soft that it basically made as much as THE WORLD’S END, which opened the same weekend but on half as many the screens.




#9: The Internship
SEARCH "Studio + Misfire"
There was a time when the re-teaming of the WEDDING CRASHERS duo of Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson was looked at positively. It debuted after HANGOVER 3 and should have enjoyed a humor vacuum as that sequel fizzled, but the news that this was an unfunny, by-the-numbers comedy came out. It opened at #4 and could not beat the surprise NOW YOU SEE ME in the second week of release. Many have now forgotten this had even been released.


#8: After Earth
Another disappointment which could have ranked higher without international help. The Will Smith family venture arrived as a "serious" post-apocalyptic sci-fi venture but once they saw Jaden Smith talking to a large bird audiences quickly responded with a "What the hell?!" reaction. However the global numbers helped to avoid complete disaster. Much like PACIFIC RIM this title did triple the business internationally, but not in figures as large and it did not earn any of the respect.




#7 Turbo
While many projected EPIC to become an animated failure the film did decent business, as Dreamworks struggled with this concept. To say the idea of a turbo-charged snail competing in the Indianapolis 500 was “High-Concept” is looking back favorably. This enterprise certainly did not appeal to kids, and overall just did not work on numerous levels. The marketing campaign involved promotional partners such as automotive companies Sunoco and Firestone, while featuring a snail. It even appropriated a tagline from another franchise to no effect.


#6 Tyler Perry Presents Peeples
One of the more anonymous titles released over the summer, few even recall this opening the same week as GATSBY, and during the monstrous IRON MAN 3 schedule. Despite a 2,000 screen rollout it was widely ignored and even though it sported Tyler Perry's name (he served as producer) it managed to fall short of a $10 million gross.




#5 Getaway
Ethan Hawke closed the summer when he appeared in this ridiculous actioner that was literally a non-stop car chase, and nothing more. Selena Gomez was laughable as his involuntary sidekick and was not even afforded a character name - a benefit considering Hawke was saddled with the moniker "Brent Magna". While nothing was expected of this title it managed to distinguish itself by opening at a dismal #9 on a holiday weekend and it came in with a hilarious 2% on Rotten Tomatoes.



#4 Paranoia
With little fanfare this technological thriller arrived late in the summer and was trampled under the stampede of more viable titles. Sure, you could say propping a motion picture on the shoulders of Liam Hemsworth is a risky enterprise, but other details should have helped. When you have a cast featuring Harrison Ford and Gary Oldman, a 2,500 screen release, and a modest budget of $35 million then a summer success should not be out of reach. This thing flopped hard, opening at #13 for the weekend and dropping 60% from that lowly level in week two, before finishing with less than a $7 million gross.


#3 White House Down
It is explainable why this did not work, considering the like-minded OLYPUS HAS FALLEN came out months earlier. But when you have Channing Tatum in the lead of a Roland Emmerich summer blockbuster the audiences should have arrived automatically. It opened at #4, was embarassed by losing big to THE HEAT which was made for 1/3 of the money, and even adding international grosses it fell short of the budget -- to say nothing of the marketing costs. Stunning since this was expected to be among the can't-miss hits of Summer.


#2 The Lone Ranger
For the second year in a row Disney placed a scud into theaters. The troubles of this film were legion during production and nobody was the least surprised that it was dead upon release in the states. When you have over $200 in budget with a monstrous marketing campaign the movie needs to pull in half a billion to avoid derision. This movie grossed only $80 million domestically, and the only reason it was not the biggest misfire of the summer is because somehow it drew audiences abroad. The global total takes it close to the production budget but make no mistake, this was a disaster. Disney reportedly recorded a $100 million write-down based on this title alone.

(You can see where shared sensibilities led to similar results)




#1 R.I.P.D.
While the LONE RANGER may have lost more money this title distinguished itself by failing in numerous categories, and in uniform fashion. Even while opening against soft competition such as TURBO, and the even softer RED 2, this MEN IN BLACK retread landed at #7 for its first week and drifted lower hence. Globally it earned less than one half of its budget, the critics were almost unanimous in their scorn, and the feeble audience reaction was soon overlooked by the arrival of WOLVERINE. It dumped almost half of its theaters after just 2 weeks, a sign of Universal giving up entirely but don't weep for the studio. Two other titles -- FAST & FURIOUS 6, and DESPICABLE ME 2 -- drew over $1.5 billion. In fact, the cheap horror outing THE PURGE drew as much as the global take for R.I.P.D. -- $65 million -- while costing around $125 million less to produce.

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Praetorian - 9/3/2013, 8:00 PM
So...is this news? Eh, at least it's not about iPhones or Tellitubbies
jerryblake - 9/3/2013, 8:12 PM
250 million dollars western,
straight to DVD Fast and the Furious rip off,
Man in Black clone,
Google comedy ...

i'm still interested in seeing The Lone Ranger (is it THAT BAD ?) and City of Bones (please, stop laughing) though. Maybe White House Down (could be fun)

ELYSIUM DIDN'T DELIVER.
DudeGuyMan - 9/3/2013, 8:19 PM
Iron Man 3 should have been a bomb. Pacific Rim deserved that money a whole lot more.
SnapperCarr - 9/3/2013, 8:21 PM
Percy Jackson and Smurfs 2 were garbage and deserved to bomb.
jerryblake - 9/3/2013, 8:32 PM
the only chance for Reynolds now, is to wear that Deadpool costume. Or maybe not. People might actually think X Factor is just an X - Men rip off.

Yep. This is gonna bomb. Unless they call Jackman for the lead :)
WYLEEJAY - 9/3/2013, 8:56 PM
Good article. From your teaser image, I thought this was gonna be an Iron man 3 shit talk fest. I came ready to defend it. Already people took the bait. Lol. Really now, fans were divided on Iron man 3, and fans only make up about seven percent of the box office. So, three and a half percent of fans hated it. The general audience loved it. It was not a bomb. Get over it. ;)
WYLEEJAY - 9/3/2013, 8:59 PM
Comic book fans I meant.
Jollem - 9/3/2013, 9:12 PM










:)
MartiniShark - 9/3/2013, 9:13 PM
In my defence WYLEEJAY, I wasn't click-trolling -- simply wanted an image that depicted the theme.

But honestly the IM3 auds were so big you can find hoardes of all stripes with their take on the film. Most I heard said it was much better than IM2, and I just backed away from the conversation at that point.
WYLEEJAY - 9/3/2013, 9:24 PM
Lol. Like I said, was a good article. It was a bummer about The Lone Ranger though. The character is one of Americas oldest heroes. Disney should of taken it more seriously. The trailers made it look like it was all a joke. I was interested in seeing it when I read the movie was coming out. Then when I watched the first trailer, it was an immediate, "Maybe I'll wait till its in the Redbox" kind of movie.
Jollem - 9/3/2013, 9:24 PM
steelboy57 - 9/3/2013, 11:55 PM
del toro is a terrible director i'm happy pacific rim bommbed
MightyZeus - 9/4/2013, 12:06 AM
Elysium was really good. I loved it but thats just my own opinion. I dont know about Pacific Rim was good just needed more action.

Kind of sad The Mortal Instruments failed cause i love the book series.
WYLEEJAY - 9/4/2013, 12:36 AM
"Del toro is a terrible director I'm happy pacific rim bombed"? Sorry my phone fixed it for you.

But are you kidding me with this? WTF! Why would you wish failure upon any movie? People worked their asses off to get that movie made. That is one of the most ignorant comments I have seen here. Ridiculous. I know ninjas that specialize in testicular assassinations. Maybe I should call them. Oh man it takes a lot to piss me off but you sir are a grade A [frick]ing MO...............RON! Do you like coming to this site guys? Cause apparently this guy wants to wish failure upon movies we may actually enjoy. Too many idiots like him and this site goes BYE BYE. Swear to god all the time, I hope this bombs, I hope that bombs. Idiots. What the hell did Del Toro do to your mom to piss you off so? Ya know what, don't even comment back cause your not worth it. Wish I had figured that out before I wrote all this so I'm gonna post it anyway. DOUCHE.
Pending - 9/4/2013, 12:54 AM
Turbo was actually good, sad to see it bomb. It's definitely one of the better animated movies this year along with Monsters U.
JorEllinator - 9/4/2013, 1:16 AM
Tyler Perry should just stop making movies.
ahhmynuts - 9/4/2013, 2:22 AM
Iron man didnt bomb the only people that hated it were nitpicking idiots whose expectations we're a little too high and didnt know what a shane blake movie was. "its going to be dark and gritty"- when shane black is NOTORIOUS(or not apparently) for buddy cop type films. the only people you have to blame are yourselves.
LittleDanglyThing - 9/4/2013, 3:00 AM
Tyler Perry movies are never good. Only black people with awful taste watch his movies (my roommate).
Folchibas - 9/4/2013, 4:22 AM
This was way better than that MrSunday nonsense we got a few days ago
EarOne - 9/4/2013, 4:45 AM
i guess this summer marks the END of ryan reynolds' bid for the world's biggest movie star for SURE..like Taylor Kitsch did before. Turbo, RIPD..and don't forget Green Lantern...he's pretty much DONE.

as for Elysium..it's more a spring movie for it to be a sleeper hit. it just feels too small for a summer release, even with Matt Damon and Jodie Foster in the cast.

Pacific Rim...tips for the sequel: brighten up the fight scenes and have much MUCH more of em.
ParisSun - 9/4/2013, 4:59 AM
The Mortal Instruments should be a warning sign to Divergent fans. I think that movie is going to bomb hard. General audiences are getting tired of the Percy Jackson, Twilight teen fair.

I think the only successful movie in this genre going forward will be The Hunger Games. It has J. Lawrence and a really good cast as well as crossover appeal.
mgeoff88 - 9/4/2013, 5:06 AM
I was hoping The Hangover 3 would be as great as the first movie. Disappointing.

I thought The Internship would be as funny as Wedding Crashers, but it wasn't.

@LittleDanglyThing "Tyler Perry movies are never good. Only people with awful taste watch his movies (my roommate)."

*fixed

Same goes for his sitcoms. They are terrible.
dellamorte1872 - 9/4/2013, 5:35 AM
I thought STID was the worst film of the summer. So much so I haven't seen any other films after that came out. It shook my faith in Hollywood. If you get TREK and have been a fanfor 25 yrs you'd understand. It was atrocious. The only film I really want to see is THOR 2 I liked the first one and I love OZ so I bet this will be good. IM3 I won't see till its free on cable. My friend saw it and hated it so I'm glad I stayed away. Weird too bc TDKR is this dudes favorite of the Nolan batman films. So he digs 3's and is more of a HULK fan when it comes to MARVEL
dellamorte1872 - 9/4/2013, 5:37 AM
PACIFIC RIM I wanted to bomb, movie looked horrible and DEL TORO didn't even wanna do it the studio made him so they would have an excuse to green light other films helmed by him. They want him to earn kredos from society so he can make his HP LOVECRAFT dream project
dellamorte1872 - 9/4/2013, 5:39 AM
I hate CONTROLLING studios they hinder creativity and free expression
126thst - 9/4/2013, 5:47 AM
I just want everyone to take note that today, on comicbookmovie.com, somebody included Tyler Perry's Peeples in their article.

That's where we're at..
SAZMD - 9/4/2013, 5:49 AM
I enjoyed The Lone Ranger. It was too long, but overall entertaining.

@dellamorte1872

I get what you're saying with STID. I felt the same way about the first Star Trek reboot. I decided that I would not think of these movies as Star Trek, and suddenly they became much more enjoyable.
dellamorte1872 - 9/4/2013, 6:08 AM
I disagree the reboot was handled with love and care it was obvious in an industry that is much more cutthroat than that that there was tender love and care involved.STID took years to complete and when it is finally released its a WOK-lite!?!?! I can't believe those jokers got paid for basically making an aging scifi a bit more contemporary
dellamorte1872 - 9/4/2013, 6:08 AM
STID is not creative it's a bastardized retread
Ranger14 - 9/4/2013, 6:11 AM
The mentality that we should want every CBM to succeed simply because it is a CBM is fairly skewed as I see it. Why should I want a sucky CBM to succeed? So we can get a crappy and sucky sequel? There's some great logic! There are some CBMs I prefer to fail so that we get a chance at seeing someone else doing a better job of delivering.
Mysterion - 9/4/2013, 6:13 AM
@JerryBlake: yes Lone Ranger was that bad…I don’t know where to begin, from the man eating rabbits (no thats not a typo) to making the Lone Ranger the sidekick to Tonto. And it was also way too long. At least with John Carter you can say it was a decent film, that’s something I cant do with the Lone Ranger.
dellamorte1872 - 9/4/2013, 6:13 AM
THIS IS THE END I'm waiting for ON DEMAND and KA2 ill buy on reg DVD when it is released
dellamorte1872 - 9/4/2013, 6:16 AM
I won't even lower myself to a stupid immature insult war with you but I will say; PARAMOUNT gave those involved control. They trusted people they shouldn't JJ ok but LINDELOFF failed in writing PROMETEUS the studio took note of that and COWBOYS VS ALIENS failed which the other two wrote. So whoever was involved dropped the ball by not having a better handle on their process
dellamorte1872 - 9/4/2013, 6:18 AM
Executives way odds and numbers in a statistical fashion so a number cruncher shoulda put 2 and 2 together
Mysterion - 9/4/2013, 6:18 AM
And can you imagine if Disney went along with the original script where they had Tonto being a werewolf, wow that wouldve been on another level of shit.
dellamorte1872 - 9/4/2013, 6:19 AM
Both are scifi action oriented too its not like there is a huge difference in genre
supermarioworldE - 9/4/2013, 6:23 AM
The summers are just getting worse and worse. 2008 was a golden year for movies. There's been a steady decline in quality blockbusters since.
marvelnut123 - 9/4/2013, 7:12 AM
Why isn't Man of Steel on this list? It has a Production and marketing budget of $380M. It's made $657M worldwide. I understand that the Studio gets $.50 on the dollar for its earnings- so that's $330M. That's a loss... right? For a movie that was not only supposed to jump start a new franchise, but also set off a new DC cinematic universe, making less than $300M domestically, this has to be considered a major disappointment for DC/Warner.
BillyM67 - 9/4/2013, 7:15 AM
@jerryblake Yes, Loen Ranger is that bad. I was really looking forward to it as a fan of the original TV series. The movie is way too long and boring and the main star, as you would imagine, is Depp instead Hammer.
marvelnut123 - 9/4/2013, 7:16 AM
I have high hopes for next summer. Capt 2, ASM 2, Godzilla, X-Men:DoFP, Jupiter Ascending, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (great Director), F and F (with Tony Jaa) and of course GotG. We'll have that great balance of critical and box-office success.
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