Right now, Wonder Woman is single-handedly holding up the summer box office — but even the mighty Amazon’s powers have limits. After a strong start to 2017, thanks to the success of films both big (Beauty and the Beast, Fifty Shades Darker) and small (Get Out, Split), this summer has been fairly stagnant for Hollywood. The key exception, of course, is Wonder Woman, which has been kicking butt, setting records, and single-handedly restoring audiences’ faith in the DC Extended Universe. There’s still time for a turnaround, though, if films like Spider-Man: Homecoming and War for the Planet of the Apes — both of which have received excellent early reviews — make up for an underwhelming May and June. Here are the winners and losers at the 2017 box office so far.
WINNER: Wonder Woman
This superhero’s first feature film was a long time coming, and audiences greeted it with open arms (bullet-deflecting bracelets optional). The Patty Jenkins-helmed film opened at $103 million and had a stronger second week than any of its DC superhero predecessors, quickly becoming the top-grossing live-action movie by a female director.
LOSER: Universal’s Dark Universe
The return of the Universal monsters is a tough sell to begin with, but the critical and commercial failure of The Mummy ($71 mil) has insiders wondering if the expensive new franchise is dead on arrival.
WINNER: Get Out
Director Jordan Peele’s February debut remains the box-office triumph of the year: a fiercely entertaining horror hit, and a searing commentary on racism, that toppled expectations to gross $175 mil on a budget of just $4.5 mil.
LOSER: T2: Trainspotting
It’s hard to believe this one went so wrong. Although it reunited director Danny Boyle and the original 1996 Trainspotting cast, the film sequel arrived almost unnoticed at the U.S. box office, making just $2.4 mil.
WINNER: Disney’s Franchise Machine
No one does a big-budget sequel or a lavish remake like Disney, and audiences are devouring these repeat viewings as fast as the Mouse can make them. The live-action Beauty and the Beast is the No. 1 film of the year, making $503 mil domestically and over $1.2 billion worldwide. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 holds the year’s No. 2 position with $380 mil, Cars 3 had made a solid $111 mil, and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales — though less successful than most previous Pirates films — is holding its own with $163 mil (and a boisterous $520 mil foreign box office).
Just when we were starting to think Dwayne Johnson was infallible, his summer comedy Baywatch belly-flopped in the shallow end. Audiences were baffled by the TV remake, which has grossed only $56 mil (and unlike some of the summer’s other underachievers, isn’t making up for it overseas).
WINNER: M. Night Shyamalan
2017 opened with a surprise twist: Shyamalan, who hasn’t had a No. 1 movie since 2004’s The Village, topped the box office three weekends in a row. His micro-budget thriller Split raked in $138 mil, making it the director’s most profitable film next to Signs and The Sixth Sense — and, with its end-credits reveal, setting him up for a serious comeback.
LOSER: Alien: Covenant
It wasn’t exactly a flop, but Fox’s latest Alien installment was expected to do far better than $73 mil at the box office — seeing as its predecessor Prometheus made $126 mil. As of now, it’s the lowest-performing film in the franchise since 1992’s Alien 3.
WINNER: DC Comics Characters
Finally, those Warner Bros. superheroes are coming out of their depressive funk and giving Marvel a run for its money. Both Wonder Woman and the light-hearted Lego Batman Movie ($175 mil) rank among the year’s top 10 films. While neither has surpassed Guardians of the Galaxy 2, both proved that the world of Batman and Superman can be more profitable — and more fun — than naysayers imagined.
LOSER: Vin Diesel
Yes, Fate of the Furious was a hit, and everyone still loves Groot. But the failure of xXx: The Return of the Xander Cage ($44 mil) bodes poorly for his solo-action career — not to mention all that talk of putting Dwayne Johnson front and center in future Furious films.
WINNER: Sex and Violence Redux
Say what you will, but Fifty Shades Darker ($114 mil) and John Wick: Chapter Two ($92 mil) gave audiences exactly what they wanted. Though Fifty Shades had higher receipts, John Wick was the bigger success, doubling the domestic box office of the first film (while Fifty Shades came in $50 mil under its predecessor).
LOSER: Katherine Heigl
The thriller Unforgettable was the actress’s first studio film in five years — and while Heigl received some praise for her performance as a villainous ex-wife, the film topped out at $11 mil, falling short of a comeback for the Knocked Up leading lady.
WINNER: Grown-Up Superheroes
Fox took a gamble by making its most valuable superhero, Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine, the star of a gritty, R-rated action flick. Logan paid off, outgrossing nearly every previous X-Men film and spinoff to the tune of $226 mil.
LOSER: Mainstream Comedies
Nobody ever said comedy was easy, but this year’s live-action studio comedies have really struggled to generate laughs or money. Fox’s Snatched ($45 mil), Warners’ Fist Fight ($32 mil) and CHiPs ($18 mil), Paramount’s Baywatch ($56 mil), and Sony’s Rough Night ($16 mil) all came in below expectations.
WINNER: The Fate of the Furious
It should be running on fumes, but the eighth Fast and Furious film proves that the franchise still has momentum. Though Fate came in significantly under Furious 7, the last of the films to star the late Paul Walker, it made $225 mil domestically and a jaw-dropping $1 billion in foreign box office alone.
LOSER: High-Budget Horror
In a popularity contest, micro-budget horror hits are tough to beat but large-scale scare flicks are a different story. The beautiful but bloated A Cure for Wellness ($8 mil) couldn’t draw the same audience that showed up for smaller creepfests like Get Out and Split.
WINNER: Blond Actors Named Chris
Everyone jokes about how Chris Pine, Chris Pratt, Chris Hemsworth, and Chris Evans are easily confused, but when it comes to box-office receipts, 2017 is a good year to be any of them. Pine had the biggest movie of his career with Wonder Woman; Pratt outdid his breakout film with its sequel, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2; and Evans ditched the Captain America costume to score an indie hit with Fox Searchlight’s Gifted ($24 mil). As for Hemsworth, he’s out of the picture until November — but things are looking good for his Thor: Ragnarok, which became Marvel’s most-watched trailer of all time.
WINNER: Quirky Kid Far
Conventional wisdom is that kids will watch the same thing over and over, but this year’s receipts suggest that they, or at least, their parents, are itching for something more original. The fourth films in the Smurfs and Diary of a Wimpy Kid franchises (The Lost Village and The Long Haul) tanked, while animated comedy The Boss Baby (loosely based on a picture book) was one of the year’s success stories with $173 mil.
LOSER: Unwanted Epics
It’s not the year for big, historic battle movies (unless they involve superheroes). The Promise, a $90 mil drama set during the Armenian Genocide, made just $8 mil. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, a violent $175 mil retelling of the medieval epic, made $38 mil. The Great Wall, starring Matt Damon as a European soldier fighting monsters in ancient China, made just $45 mil in the U.S. (though it did considerably better in — you guessed it — China).
WINNER: Giant Monsters
Was anyone clamoring for a new King Kong movie? Perhaps not, but Kong: Skull Island attracted a sizeable audience ($168 mil domestically; $566 mil worldwide), boding well for the future of Warners’ mega-monster films (to be continued with 2019’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters). Godzilla’s kin also made in-roads at the specialty box office with the Anne Hathaway comedy Colossal, which had a strong opening weekend in April (though it ultimately didn’t recoup its $15 mil budget).
WINNER: Latino Films
Though the big studios are slow to catch on, the Hispanic-American audience has been a major force at the box office for years now. In 2017, a Latino audience drove the success of independent bilingual comedies How to Be a Latin Lover ($32 mil) and Everybody Loves Somebody ($1.9 mil), as well as the micro-budget drama Lowriders ($6 mil).
LOSER: Bad Buzz Victims
Many film fans first heard about the sci-fi film Ghost in the Shell ($40 mil) because of its casting controversy: Scarlett Johansson, rather than an Asian actress, was given the lead role in the Japanese manga adaptation. The feel-good drama A Dog’s Purpose ($64 mil) suffered from bad press for a very different reason, a video leaked to TMZ of a dog allegedly being abused on set (later determined to have been misleading). Neither film was able to bounce back at the box office.
WINNER: Low-Budget YA Dramas
They can’t all be The Fault in Our Stars, but teen dramas adapted from novels are still a solid, low-cost investment. Open Road Films’ high-concept high-school movie Before I Fall took in $12 mil this winter, while Warners’ romantic weepie Everything, Everything made $33 mil in the spring.
It’s been a tough year so far for the studio: all six their films (Monster Trucks, xXx: Return of Xander Cage, Rings, Ghost in the Shell, Baywatch, and Transformers: The Last Knight) underperformed. The opening of the fifth Transformers movie is a particularly harsh blow, since it’s the lowest in the franchise at $69 mil.
WINNER: Blockbusters Gone Global
As studio movies keep getting bigger, the foreign market — particularly China — is increasingly important in making them profitable, and determining where studios spend their money. A majority of 2017’s biggest movies made a lot more money overseas than in the U.S., and some notable domestic flops were international hits. The Great Wall, for example, made $45 mil in the U.S. but $286 mil internationally; Resident Evil: The Final Chapter made $26 mil in the U.S., $285 mil abroad.
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