Summer started early this year with the arrival of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 on May 2nd and it’s time to look at the early summer films winners and losers. Since Spider-Man we have seen X-Men: Days of Future Past, Godzilla, Neighbors, Maleficent, How to Train Your Dragon 2, The Fault of Our Stars, and The Edge of Tomorrow (among others) come into our local theaters. Before we kick off another round of blockbusters including Transformers:Age of Extinction, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and Guardians of the Galaxy I thought it would be fun to look back and see how some of the early summer films fared with audiences and critics.
X-Men Days of Future Past and The Fault in Our Stars.
Both of these films have done extremely well at the box office ($212 million and almost $100 million respectively – amazing for Faults budget) and were hits with both critics and audiences alike. While no one was shocked at the success of DOFP I think there was a lot of concern that the cast was just too big and there was no way the movie would be able to work around so many big stars and not get lost along the way. The surprise was that the most popular sequence didn’t even feature one of the major stars in the film, it was all about relative newcomer Evan Peters as Quicksilver.
I don’t think anyone saw the opening weekend of The Fault in Our Stars coming. Certainly not Warner Bros. who came in #2 that weekend with their Edge of Tomorrow debut. But Stars had a rising star in Shailene Woodley and a very successful social media campaign behind it. Oh, and it was also a great movie based on a popular book. I love seeing films like this succeed in the summer.
Edge of Tomorrow, Blended, and A Million Ways to Die in the West.
I’m still puzzled why more people didn’t go see Edge of Tomorrow. I know the conventional wisdom is that American audiences have cooled to Tom Cruise – and maybe that in fact is true. But Edge had a great cast and a unique and fun plot. The effects were top notch and Emily Blunt was a very convincing action hero. While the movie is doing better overseas (making it far from a disaster for Warner Bros), domestically it has yet to crack $70 million.
Blended proved yet again that Adam Sandler needs to find better scripts. The critics threw this film under the bus but I don’t think that kept audiences away. I think they could tell from the trailer that there was nothing new or interesting to see in this Sandler-Barrymore comedy. A Million Ways to Die in the West, the Seth MacFarlane western comedy, on the other hand had a funny funny trailer (to me anyway) but failed to impress critics or audiences. It has yet to crack the $40 million mark at the box office.
Nothing to be ashamed of:
I chose to select just a few films for my winners and losers above but that leaves a lot of films that may not have blown audiences away but were far from summer disasters. Those films include The Amazing Spider-Man 2 ($212 million), Godzilla ($193 million), Maleficent ($176 million), Neighbors ($144 million), 22 Jump Street ($91 million), and How to Train Your Dragon 2 ($77 million).
I personally think it will be tough for any film to surpass DOFP as my favorite summer film this year, but I’d love to be wrong about that. What films were your winners and losers for the beginning of the summer? Sound off in the comments below.