Hollywood Has Record Summer at Box Office

THE BUTLER

U.S. admissions hit four-year high, but no benchmark

Final summer box office came in slightly higher than expected, at $4.75 billion — a new record, up nearly 8% over the $4.4 billion summer benchmark set in 2011. Admissions, at approximately 567 million, saw a four-year high, but not a record, according to the National Assn. of Theater Owners.

Year-to-date domestic B.O., totaling $7.67 billion, also eclipsed last year’s record-setting pace, though total admissions, at 940 million, are down 2%.

Summer totals were estimated several weeks ago to reach a record. The bar was raised even higher, thanks to several standout August releases, including “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” and “We’re the Millers.”

See Also: Summer Box Office Looks to Break Record Despite Flops

“The Butler” just scored its third weekend atop the domestic box office, the first film to do so this year; while “Millers,” with $113 million, surpassed Warner Bros. other (much pricier) R-rated summer comedy, “The Hangover Part III.”

Other films to goose grosses last minute included Sony’s “Elysium,” which so far has amassed north of $80 million domestically, and Disney’s “Planes,” with nearly $75 million.

Despite the record, misfires were bigger and more numerous than in year’s past, providing a crucial lesson for the studios.

See Also: Why Studios Must End Their Mega-Budget Obsession

A few earlier bombs managed to eke out some extra coin late in the summer, including Warner-Legendary Pictures’ $180 million-plus budgeted “Pacific Rim,” which just crossed $100 million Stateside and $400 million globally. Also, “Elysium,” which cost $115 million to produce, reached $178 million worldwide and counting.

When it comes to benchmarks, the year’s remaining films have a high bar to meet, though some of the fall’s buzziest titles — “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” “Thor: The Dark World” and “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” — have plenty of heat behind them.

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  1. harry georgatos says:

    record summer at the North American box office but studios in general didn’t generate sufficient profit margins to outrageous productions costs and marketing costs. STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS and THE LONE RANGER never need such exorbitant costs but could have been successful on modest budgets generating a bigger profit margin. Nowadays all studio executives are only interested in cracking the billion dollar barrier at the worldwide box office with less creativity on less quality screenplays.

  2. Frank W says:

    …and somehow none of the studios made a profit.

  3. Markov says:

    Harpo Winfrey is SMOKING! Too bad the Marx Bros. didn’t join that cool cat, along with Terrence “Macbeth”Howard… Or that Lee Daniels The Butter…

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