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US box office revenue hits $4.48 billion for summer of 2016

Captain America: Civil War

Story by Jack Foley

US BOX office revenue hit $4.48 billion for the summer of 2016 despite a string of high-profile flops and under-performing blockbusters.

The figure, supplied by comScore, is virtually on a par with summer 2015’s near-record $4.484 billion and the second-best showing ever after 2013’s $4.75 billion.

But while good news for Hollywood, it still marks something of a disappointment given the expectation surrounding some of the releases at the end of May. Indeed, some box office pundits were predicting a record breaking year.

But for every massive success, there seemed to be an unexpected failure, with Steven Spielberg and DC Comics suffering particularly badly – the former at the hands of audiences, the latter with critics and (to a certain extent) audiences too.

The summer’s two biggest earners were both from Disney: Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War, which became the only summer title to cross $1 billion on its way to earning $1.15 billion world-wide, and Finding Dory, from Pixar.

Dory has earned $945.1 million to date, but will soon join the billion-dollar club as well, especially considering it still has a number of major markets in which to open. Indeed, Dory out-performed Civil War to rank as the summer’s top earner ($482.9 million versus $408 million).

Other top revenue drivers were animated hit The Secret Life of Pets, which has earned $766.9 to date, and Warner Bros.’ anti superhero title Suicide Squad, which has grossed $678.2 million to date worldwide and will help deliver an August record in the US despite a critical battering.

And there were some surprise successes among the more modestly budgeted releases. Horror enjoyed a re-emergence with The Conjuring 2 scaring up $319.5 million, Lights Out hitting $126.1 million, The Purge: Election Year taking $105.6 million and Sony’s Don’t Breathe rounding off the summer with an impressive $55.1 million in its first 10 days of US release.

Another Sony title, Blake Lively shark thriller The Shallows also took a whopping $93.3 million despite a meagre budget.

While there was another surprise smash in the R-rated female comedy Bad Moms, which has now crossed the $100 million mark in the US alone.

As big as some successes were, however, the flops also made life difficult for a lot of studios and could yet prompt a rethink in the way that films are made.

Disney, for instance, took a hit from Alice Through The Looking Glass, the follow-up to 2010’s $1 billion-plus hit Alice in Wonderland, which failed with $295.1 million globally.

While Spielberg’s The BFG could only muster $160.8 million worldwide, despite a strong showing in the UK, and already rates as one of the biggest misses of Spielberg’s career.

Other big budget flops included the remake of Ben-Hur, Sony’s all-female Ghostbusters reboot and Paramount’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sequel.

Of the studios, Disney reigned supreme, while Warner Bros jumped from third to second with an estimated $1.92 billion, including $867 domestically. It had help from its superhero output – but would have wanted to pose a bigger threat to Marvel’s supremacy.

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