We’re seven months into 2015, which gives us a decent idea how this year will go for the box office. Now that summer is in full swing, most blockbusters have come and gone, but we still have a few late-year big name movies waiting. That said, how is 2015 doing so far?
Compared to 2014, which saw the lowest ticket sales in 20 years, pretty well. That’s not saying much. Number of tickets is important, since an increase in gross revenue is often accompanied by an increase in production costs and price per ticket, which can only go up so much before people start to say, “screw it. I’ll just wait until it comes out on Netflix.” Studios of course care about profit, though, and you can’t have profit without gross revenue. What, then, has 2015 done for them lately? Only produce three of the six top-grossing movies EVER.** I ain’t gonna lie, that surprises me. 2014 yielded only the 13th highest, Transformers: Age of Extinction, and no more in the top 25. We should just accept that anything Michael Bay craps out is going to take in a billion worldwide. Shake your head, say a small prayer or curse, and move on.
- Jurassic World: most box office analysts expected Jurassic World to be big, but to have the biggest domestic weekend opening ever at $208.8 million? And to end up third on the highest-grossing list with $1.547 billion worldwide so far? Wow. That was unexpected. Jurassic Park fans must have been waiting for another non-awful installment after the 1993 original, which itself clocked in at just over $1 billion (18th on the all-time list). Dinosaurs and Chris Pratt: great pairing, great timing.
- Furious 7: the seventh installment of the Fast and Furious franchise has nabbed the fifth spot on the all-time highest gross list, with…wait, WHAT? The sixth sequel in a series based 96% on hot cars (the rest is hot people) has made its way into the top five all-time money-makers? Yes, yes it has, with over $1.5 billion in gross revenue to date. Dinosaurs and cars. Hmm. Is there a common thread? (Fun fact: over 75% of Furious 7’s gross sales came from overseas. It ain’t just Americans who love cars and Paul Walker.)
- Avengers: Age of Ultron: coming in at sixth on the all-time list with $1.396 billion, Age of Ultron isn’t even the top-performing Avengers That was 2012’s Marvel’s The Avengers, which nabbed $1.519 billion (#4 on the all-time list). Phhbt. Come back when you hit on something that can make $1.575 bil, player. That’s probably another superhero movie, or dinosaur flick, or something with fast cars, or maybe all 3. If James Cameron would just make Avatar 4: Avengement of the Furiosaur, he would have all of the planet’s money.
And that’s three of the top six so far. As fellow ‘Houser Josh Corman wrote, Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation came out last Friday. Only one of that series has placed in the top 100, though (Ghost Protocol at 77), so I doubt we’ll see Rogue Nation in the top ten. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2 comes out November 20, but probably won’t make the top ten either since while all previous Hunger Games installments are in the top 100, none cracked the top 40. You’ll recognize one that probably will make the top six, though: Star Wars: The Force Awakens comes out on December 18. After the wild success of the first trilogy (please excuse my deviation from not adjusting for inflation, but Star Wars is second on the all-time list, adjusted for inflation) and the financially successful but otherwise hugely disappointing next trilogy, expectations are riding very high for the seventh episode, especially with J. J. Abrams at the helm. Star Wars still commands fanboy-level love among millions worldwide—exceeded only by actual SW fanboys and cosplay devotees–so I can say without hyperbole that The Force Awakens stands as one of the most highly anticipated movies in history. I’d be surprised if it didn’t end up in the top five highest grossing movies ever. Oh, and Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip comes out on December 23, which will probably overtake the top-grossing spot in all of linear time, past and future, never to be dethroned. Your Christmas gift to yourself. All in all, 2015 has been and probably will end up being a welcome outlier to the downward trend in theater ticket sales.
**No, we’re not adjusting for inflation. Yes, I know that Gone With the Wind whomps the stuffing out of everything else.