BOX OFFICE SCORECARD – The Most Profitable Films of Summer 2016

Well, that was… something.. Movies this season didn’t exactly draw in audiences the way that they did in 2015 with blockbusters like Jurassic World, Furious 7 and Avengers: Age of Ultron. By comparison, enthusiasm this year was decidedly muted.

I’ve ranked which movies released this summer were the most profitable overall, dividing total worldwide gross by production costs. Primarily, I used data from Box Office Mojo and The Numbers – they update their statistics at different times, so I gave each flick the benefit of the doubt and went with the highest figure found.

The results aren’t any sort of comment on quality (there are always a couple of excellent movies that just don’t end up finding an audience). Instead, it’s simply a way of sorting out what types of features flopped and which drew in viewers and made profits.

Another note: some films have just opened or haven’t been released in all markets yet, so several recent titles are likely to pull in more money in the coming weeks; Hands of Stone is a dud and won’t make much more, but the horror flick Don’t Breathe is going to climb even higher up the charts by the time its run is finished. A bold asterisk denotes titles that are still in theaters and in the Top 10 at the box office.

Anyway, here we go, counting down summer releases from the biggest flops up to the greatest hits.


box-hands-of-stoneHands of Stone – $4 million gross – $20 million budget – 0.2x (*opened Aug 26th)

Free State of Jones – $21.2 million gross – $50 million budget – 0.42x

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping – $9.5 million gross – $20 million budget – 0.475x


Ben-Hur – $53.7 million gross – $100 million budget – 0.54x

Kubo and the Two Strings – $41.8 million gross – $60 million budget – 0.7x (*opened Aug 19th)

Mechanic: Resurrection – $32.2 million gross – $40 million budget – 0.81x (*opened Aug 26th)

Cafe Society – $20.2 million gross – $30 million budget – 0.67x

Box-Nine-LivesNine Lives – $21 million gross – $30 million budget – 0.7x

The Nice Guys – $57.26 million gross – $50 million budget – 1.145x

The BFG – $160.8 million gross – $140 million budget – 1.149x

War Dogs – $57.2 million gross – $40 million budget – 1.43x (*opened Aug 19th)

Pete’s Dragon – $95 million gross – $65 million budget – 1.46x (*opened Aug 12th)

box-ghostbustersGhostbusters – $219.2 million gross – $144 million budget – 1.52x

Star Trek Beyond – $285.5 million gross – $185 million budget – 1.54x

Alice Through the Looking Glass – $295.1 million gross – $170 million budget – 1.735x

Box-hell-or-high-waterHell or High Water – $15.7 million gross – $9 million budget – 1.744x (*opened wide Aug 26th)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows – $244.4 million gross – $135 million budget – 1.81x

The Legend of Tarzan – $354.6 million gross – $180 million budget – 1.97x

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates – $70.8 million gross – $33 million budget – 2.145x

Florence Foster Jenkins – $41.9 million gross – $19 million budget – 2.20x (*opened Aug 12th)

Independence Day: Resurgence – $383.8 million gross – $165 million budget – 2.33x

Nerve – $54.1 million gross – $20 million budget – 2.705x

box-warcraftWarcraft – $433.5 million gross – $160 million budget – 2.71x

X-Men: Apocalypse – $542.8 million gross – $178 million budget – 3.05x

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising – $107.9 million gross $35 million budget – 3.08x

Jason Bourne – $379.1 million gross – $120 million budget – 3.16x

Money Monster – $93.1 million gross – $27 million budget – 3.45x

box-lobsterThe Lobster – $15.6 million gross – $4.5 million budget – 3.47x

Now You See Me 2 – $328.6 million gross – $90 million budget – 3.65x

Ice Age: Collision Course – $389.4 million gross – $105 million budget – 3.71x

Suicide Squad – $675.7 million gross – $175 million budget – 3.86x (*opened Aug 6th)

Central Intelligence – $214.2 million gross – $50 million budget – 4.28x

Captain America: Civil War – $1152.7 million gross – $250 million budget – 4.61x

Finding Dory – $944 million gross – $200 million budget – 4.72x

The Angry Birds Movie – $347 million gross – $75 million budget – 4.75x

box-sausage-partySausage Party – $103.6 million gross – $19 million budget – 5.46x (*opened Aug 12th)

The Shallows – $99 million gross – $17 million budget – 5.82x





As you can see, there were a lot of very profitable pictures, but now it’s time for the….


10 Most Successful Films of Summer 2016

box-love-friendship
Love & Friendship – $18.9 million gross – $3 million budget – 6.3x

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Don’t Breathe – $63.6 million gross – $9.9 million budget – 6.42x (*opened Aug 26th)

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Bad Moms – $141.8 million gross – $20 million budget – 7.09x (*opened July 29th)

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Hunt for the Wilderpeople – $21.8 million gross – $3 million budget – 7.27x

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Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie – $35.6 million gross – £3.5 ($4.6 US) million budget – 7.74x

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The Conjuring 2 – $319.5 million gross – $40 million budget – 7.99x

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Me Before You – $197.3 million gross – $20 million budget – 9.87x

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The Secret Life of Pets – $762.6 million gross – $75 million budget – 10.17x

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The Purge: Election Year – $109.1 million gross – $10 million budget – 10.9x


And finally, the most successful movie of the season…


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Lights Out – $135.8 million gross – $5 million budget – 27.2x


Weird, isn’t it?

box-x-menBasically, here’s how things shook out, at least by my numbers. For studios that produced low-budget horror flicks, weepie dramas or animated family films, odds are you raked it in.

There were a number of hits, which means you should expect a Lights Out 2, Purge 4, The Conjuring 3, Bad Moms 2, The Secret Life of Pets 2, Finding Nemo 3, Suicide Squad and X-Men sequels as well as more comic book follow-ups… and maybe even a Now You See Me 3 as well.

It’s also curious to see a few flicks that tanked in North America (Warcraft, I’m looking at you) were able to make up most of their losses in other territories around the world. Besides titles like Warcraft and Ice Age: Collision Course, another example is the new Mechanic film. All reports state that the primary market for goofy Jason Statham action flicks are international territories; apparently, the movie is a guarantee to double/triple its numbers and go into the black once it opens in all of those countries.

box-aaa02As for arthouse independents, they’re often personal tales made for awards consideration and prestige; their goal isn’t to generate big financial returns (although they are certainly happy when it happens).

Amazingly, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Love & Friendship, The Lobster and a few others used their uniqueness as an viable alternative to studio fare and managed to reach larger audiences than expected. And that’s probably the biggest lesson to take from all this. Supporting those unique and original films will result in the production of more unique and original films.

Anyway, there you have it. That was the summer of 2016; we’ll see what happens in ’17.
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