With the summer movie season at an end, how did the major releases fare?
The season kicked off in late April with Fast and Furious Five and ended in August with The Rise of the Planet of the Apes.
But how did all these films do in a season flooded with sequels and remakes?
N.B. This is based on UK release dates, although a lot of releases were day-and-date. Also, critical scores are out of 100 and are an average based on the Metacritic, Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb user ratings.
- Fast and Furious Five (Universal): Watchable sequel to a franchise that has been weirdly resurrected after the fourth film. Budget: $125 million / Box Office: $606m / Critical score: 73
- Thor (Marvel/Paramount): Surprisingly watchable tale of the Nordic god with a big hammer who comes to earth. Budget: $150m / Box Office: $448m / Critical score: 69
- Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (Walt Disney): Another chapter in the pirate franchise with Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow. Budget: $200m approx. / Box Office: $1 billion / Critical score: 47
- The Hangover Part II (Warner Bros): Sequel to the 2009 hit comedy which takes exactly the same plot and transports it to Thailand. Budget: $80m / Box Office: $581m / Critical score: 50
- X-Men: First Class (20th Century Fox): Surprisingly good prequel set in the 1960s with some good performances and clever 1960s period setting. Budget: $150m / Box Office: $350m / Critical score: 77
- Kung Fu Panda 2 (Paramount): OK sequel to the 2008 animated film about a kung fu panda. Box Office: $150m / Box Office: $637m / Critical score: 75
- Green Lantern (Warner Bros.): The biggest fiasco of the summer saw Ryan Reynolds play a comic book character most people don’t care about. Budget: $200m / Box Office: $205m / Critical score: 43
- Bridesmaids (Universal): Not technically a blockbuster, but this comedy outperformed many bigger budget rivals as word of mouth spread week after week. Budget: $32m / Box Office: $272m / Critical score: 80
- Transformers: Dark of the Moon (Paramount): The third Transformers film saw more incomprehensible mayhem unleashed by alien robots. Budget: $195m / Box Office: $1.1 billion / Critical score: 48
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (Warner Bros.): The final Harry Potter film was as successful as everyone predicted. Box Office: $250m (shared with Part 1) / Box Office: $1.3 billion / Critical score: 89
- Cars 2 (Walt Disney): Pixar shocked the world by releasing their first average film but audiences didn’t seem to mind. Budget: $200m / Box Office: $521m / Critical score: 53
- Captain America: The First Avenger (Paramount/Marvel): World War 2 era superhero film that was surprisingly good in parts but didn’t benefit from being in 3D. Budget: $140m / Box Office: $325m / Critical score: 73
- Cowboys & Aliens (Paramount/Universal): Sci-fi western (never a good mix) adapted from a comic-book was an expensively assembled bomb. Budget: $163m / Box Office: $129m / Critical score: 54
- Super 8 (Paramount): J.J. Abrams homage to Steven Spielberg’s early movies was a charming relief in a summer of bigger rivals. Budget: $50 / Box Office: $244m / Critical score: 76
- The Smurfs (Sony Pictures): Hollywood sniggered at this mixture of animation and live-action was green lit, but it has out grossed bigger rivals. Budget: $110m / Box Office: $381m / Critical score: 33
- Rise of the Planet of the Apes (20th Century Fox): The Planet of the Apes prequel surprised a lot of people to become the ‘sleeper blockbuster hit’ of the summer. Budget: $93m / Box Office: $305m / Critical score: 77
- The Inbetweeners Movie (Entertainment): US readers will scratch their heads at this but the spin-off film of the TV show was a gigantic hit in the UK (it hasn’t opened abroad yet and its probably one for the home market) and the second ‘indie blockbuster’ of the year here, after The King’s Speech.
So, what have we learned from this summer season?
Here are some conclusions:
- The superhero movies were surprisingly OK, especially the X-Men prequel which deserved to do better.
- The Pirates of the Caribbean juggernaut defies comprehension but pleases Disney shareholders.
- The Hangover Part III will probably be better than Part II.
- The general public don’t have a clue who or what Green Lantern is.
- Not all movies aimed at women have to be garbage starring Kate Hudson or Katherine Heigl.
- Transformers 3 was essentially Michael Bay’s tribute to himself.
- Harry Potter is the Star Wars of its generation (but shouldn’t have been in 3D).
- The Pixar magic finally ran out.
- Sci-fi and Westerns don’t mix.
- Whoever greenlit The Smurfs at Sony is having the last laugh.
- Rise of the Planet of the Apes seemed better than it actually was.
- Documentaries like Senna, The Interrupters and Project Nim put most big budget films to shame.