Is 2016’s summer movie going season the worst summer of this decade? A lot of moviegoers have been thinking about this question a lot for several weeks as this summer goes on as mediocre big budget sequels continue to plague the box office. When will studios learn that a quality film is first and foremost how to get a return on their investment? X-Men Apocalypse was a huge disappointment and it did okay at the Box Office but didn’t do as well as the Fox hoped it would. It was a big, bloated action movie with little originality or effort put in compared to X-Men Days of Future Past, which was one of the best movies of 2014. To me, the four champions of this summer are The Jungle Book, Civil War, The Conjuring 2 (the only two sequels that delivered so far this summer) and The Nice Guys, which should have done better than it did but it came out at the wrong time. It should have been a November release. I’m hearing decent things about Finding Dory, which I have not yet been able to check out, but people say it’s nowhere near Pixar’s best efforts.
The Summer sort of started in March this year, with Batman V Superman, which was a disappointment critically and financially but did make its money back in the long run. My Big fat Greek Wedding 2 followed and this film was a complete bomb. It didn’t do fair with critics or audiences and it struggled at the box office. Hardcore Henry, is by far the worst film I’ve seen so far this year, since it has no story, no characters to care about and an extremely thin plot.
And then there’s Snow White and the Huntsman: Winter’s war. A film that nobody was asking for. Seriously, have you talked to someone that was clamoring for this film? The first wasn’t god awful but it wasn’t good. This is by far one of the most pointless sequels to ever have been made in Hollywood. Why did Charlize Theron and Emily Blunt agree to be in this film? The film made 19 Million opening weekend and ended up making 48 million at the end of it’s run. The first Snow White film made over 155 million domestically making the sequel a significant drop from the first and a complete bomb.
Sequels like Alice Through the Looking Glass struggled at the box office. According to Box Office Mojo, it made 26 Million on its opening weekend and 75 Million overall. That’s a box office bomb if ever there was one. The first one made over a billion dollars. Just wrap your head around that for a second. It was too little too late and the first one was just abysmal. So why did studios thought that it was a good idea? Was anybody really clammering for this movie?
Warcraft, however is a different case all together since it bombed in the domestic Box Office but made it’s money back in China. It failed to get it’s audiences here but a sequel could still be in the works nevertheless.
Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising was all right. It wasn’t better than the original but it certainly wasn’t bad. It made 21 million opening weekend and finished with a 55 million overall box office run. The film was simply marketed as an exact copy of the first one. It was an average sequel but should have been more self aware like 22 Jump Street, which succeeded in delivering a sequel that was just as good if not better than the first.
And now there’s the big one. Independence Day: Resurgence, which I didn’t think was as bad as other people made it out to be, but it certainly wasn’t good and it bombed at the box office, just making 41 million in it’s opening weekend. We probably won’t see a third one and considering how the movie did critically and financially. And compared to what it’s predecessor made, this is a joke. They waited too long and the studio hurt themselves by not screening the movie for critics. Word spread out and it spread out fast.
As I am typing this, Ghostbusters is getting so-so critic reviews and with it’s horrible marketing campaign, I’m expecting to bomb this weekend at the Box Office. I have no idea what it will make overall, but everybody who I talk to is trying to avoid this movie like the plague and after how Sony called every sexists and treated the fans poorly, why should we go and support this film?
Let’s look at past summers all the way up to 1982, which is one of the best summer’s in movie going history. The highlights we’re E.T., Poltergeist, The Thing, Tron, Star Trek 2: Wrath of Khan, Conan the Barbarian, Rocky 3, The Secret of Nimph and Fast times at Ridgemont High. I can’t imagine a better movie going season of great films playing back to back to back to back.
Other great summers include 2008, where films like The Dark Knight, which has now become an action classic and one of the best sequels ever, as well as the first Iron Man which started the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe. Other movies include one of Pixar’s best WALL-E, the first Kung Fu Panda and one of my personal favorite comic book movies Wanted. 2008 was a fantastic movie summer season.
Even 2014’s summer was better with films like X-Men Days of Future Past, Edge of Tomorrow, 22 Jump Street, How to Train your Dragon 2, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and Guardians of The Galaxy and I even thought that the sequel to Sin City: A Dame to Kill For was pretty decent as well as the horror flick As Above So Below.
2015 also had Mad Max, The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Jurassic World (which I thought was all right but ultimately a huge disappointment but it was also the box office Champion of the summer). It also had Ant Man, the fantastic action film Mission Impossible Rogue Nation and the underrated thriller The Gift and overlooked action spy thriller The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
Every summer has its fair share of stinkers, absolutely (The Transformers films anyone?) But this summer feels like a dry summer movie season where people have just about the same five films on their list of the best movies of the summer. So to answer the question, I feel like this has been the worst summer of this current decade financially and critically, especially for sequels to big budget movies but it hasn’t been without it’s gems.
And while movies like Bourne (one of my most anticipated of the year), Star Trek: Beyond, Sausage Party and Suicide Squad could still save this summer; it still has been a disappointment critically and financially for most big budget movies and as movie fans, we deserve better.