Hollywood 2018 mid-year box-office report: Superheroes, dinosaurs rule the roost; Star Wars fatigue sets in with Solo
The top four highest earning films in the US this year were of the superhero variety — Avengers: Infinity War, Black Panther, Incredibles 2 and Deadpool 2, all of which also feature in the top ten highest grossers worldwide.
Huge, green and scary stomped on cute, young and funny this weekend as Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom debuted at $148 million to dislodge Incredibles 2 from the top spot at the North American box office. The dinosaur sequel — executive-produced by Steven Spielberg, who directed the original two movies — fell short of the then-record $208 million opening by the last Jurassic World film in 2015.
Still, Fallen Kingdom has passed the $700 million mark worldwide — despite tepid reviews. The movie stars Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard as they try to rescue genetically recreated dinosaurs from a volcano-threatened island and move them to — why not? — a sprawling California mansion. What makes it particularly intriguing is the fact that it beat a superhero film, the kind of which have ruled the box office roost in the first half of this year.
Although all studios are embracing the year-round blockbuster schedule and massive hits can emerge in any month, like Black Panther in February, nothing can beat the potential of a superhero movie during summer. Like BoxOffice.com's chief analyst Shawn Robbins told Variety, “If you had to sum up the year so far, you could do it in one word — superheroes.”
The top four highest earning films in the US this year were of the superhero variety — Avengers: Infinity War, Black Panther, Incredibles 2 and Deadpool 2, all of which also feature in the top ten highest grossers worldwide. Infinity War not only became the sixth billion-dollar-grossing film in the MCU franchise (after The Avengers, Iron Man 3, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Captain America: Civil War), it also crossed the rarest of rare $2 billion mark. It set plenty of other box office records and the Disney-owned Marvel franchise is only growing stronger and stronger.
Even Incredibles 2, the long-awaited return of a quirky animated superhero family from Disney-Pixar, reigned supreme at the North American box office, raking in a record $182.7 million in its debut. It was a record for an animated feature in the US and Canada, easily surpassing the $135 million debut of 2016's Finding Dory. The film has already crossed the half-a-billion dollar mark worldwide.
What was the year's biggest disappointment for Disney was the box office performance of Solo: A Star Wars Story. The latest prequel in the hugely popular film franchise, struggled to achieve escape velocity on its debut, with an estimated $101 million four-day take falling far below expectations. Analysts had predicted the Disney/Lucasfilm project — directed by Ron Howard and with Alden Ehrenreich as a young version of the swashbuckling Han Solo — would reach $130 million to $150 million, possibly setting a Memorial Day weekend record. Solo has only managed to gross $203.8 million in a month since its release in North America and has earned less than $152 million in foreign markets. Analysts have blamed it on Star Wars fatigue.
The female-led reboot Ocean’s 8 stole the box-office crown from Solo two weeks later. The Warner Bros.-Village Roadshow production, which cost about $70 million to make, has earned close to $175 million worldwide since its release.
The horror-thriller A Quiet Place was the year's sleeper hit. The movie, featuring barely three minutes of dialogue, made a resounding debut in North American theaters taking in an estimated $50 million. It gave Paramount one of the top openings ever for a horror flick.
In terms of studio performance, however, Disney easily muscled past its rivals yet again. Disney's film franchises made up four of the top five highest earners in North America and four out of the top 10 worldwide grossers. With the impending sale of 20th Century Fox, Disney will only further flex its Hollywood muscle, unless Universal, Paramount and Warner Bros. have something to say about it.
With Fallen Kingdom already reaching third on the year's biggest global earners, the ball is currently in Universal's court.
With inputs from Box Office Mojo and agencies
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