2014 Summer Movie Pool - Final Report | Guardians of the Galaxy | Transformers: Age of Extinction | Maleficent

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2014 Summer Movie Pool - Final Report

Guardians of the Galaxy
Transformers: Age of Extinction
X-Men: Days of Future Past
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
The Amazing Spider-Man 2
22 Jump Street
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
How to Train Your Dragon 2
Edge of Tomorrow
Let's Be Cops
The Purge: Anarchy
Think Like a Man Too
Planes: Fire & Rescue
If I Stay
Into the Storm
Jersey Boys
The Giver
A Million Ways to Die in the West
The Expendables 3
Earth to Echo
Sex Tape
Million Dollar Arm
Get on Up
When the Game Stands Tall
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
Mom's Night Out
Ah, Summer. The time of year when all it takes is some random Euro DJ to say the word "summer" in a song and suddenly it's a hit. There are so many precious moments wrapped-up into the season: sunscreen sweating into our eyes, paying $5 for a bottle of water (WATER!) at an extraordinarily crowded and over-priced theme park, walking all the way back to your car after a day at the beach and feeling every grain of sand grind between your skin and your swimsuit, BBQ parties where you arrive at five and the food's still not ready at nine, TV shows that all consist of bachelors, alcohol, and "talent" in no particular order, and parents counting down the days when their kids go back to school.

Still, one can't forget all the time wasted inside air-conditioned movie theaters... Or can they? This summer it feels like we have more movies already available in the iTunes store than were even released this season. Even the ones we remember we all remember from films before: another Spider-Man, another Godzilla, another X-Men, another Transformers, another Planet of the Apes, another Jump Street, another How To Train Your Dragon, another Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, another Purge, another Adam Sandler/Drew Barrymore pairing, and, lest we forget the least, another Step-Up and Expendables. Maybe the reason we forgot all these films isn't because it felt like we'd seen them all before... we had seen them all before!

So let's tip-toe through the tulips of Summer 2014 to find the weeds, the flowers, and the five towering redwoods of the season.

The "Why Didn't You Go Straight to OnDemand" Division

- November Man must've just been an audition to show Pierce Brosnan's ready to go back to the small screen with NCIS: London.

- When The Game Stands Tall is when people actually go to your movie.

- If I Stay was like the inverse of the hit OMD song If You Leave and If I Stay was also the inverse of a hit.

- Sin City: A Dame to Kill For wasn't just fashionably late to cash in on the first film's success. It was a day late and a Martin Short.

- The Giver gave as much as it got, which wasn't a lot and left you with less.

- The Hundred-Foot Journey was over just a few inches in.

- Get On Up never got off the ground and was down for the count.

- Earth to Echo didn't reverberate on any planet.

- Million Dollar Arm was about $999,999 off in its estimate.

- Mom's Night Out was spent anywhere else if the idea was for her to have a good time.

The "So Much For Those Franchises" Division

- Both Expendables 3 and Step-Up: All In showed you're never too old to fall on your face. We'll miss never having an Expendables 4 with Jackie Chan and Kurt Russell, but ultimately I think we'll all be the better for it.

The "Wait, That Cost Money To Make" Division

- In any other universe a Sex Tape makes money. Only Hollywood could screw that up.

- Into the Storm wasn't into a plot, characters, or an audience, so I guess in that case it was a success!

- A Million Ways To Die in the West died in the most common way a movie does die: apathy.

- Blended blended the numerous talents and success of its stars and spit out a film that only made a little more than Little Nicky. Well played!

- Jersey Boys didn't Walk Like A Man. It swam with the fishes.

- Planes: Fire & Rescue burned and was left to its fate. Parents cheered and hoped to never see a trailer voiced by Dane Cook again.

- Hercules had 12 labors but he couldn't reach nine figures.

- Edge of Tomorrow will have to wait that long to make its budget back.

The "Let's Hear It For The Little People" Division

- Let's Be Cops never made the force, but it did make a lot with a little.

- Think Like A Man Too didn't break the bank in Vegas yet it avoided snake eyes.

- The Purge: Anarchy continued to purge big profits off meager costs.

- Tammy didn't have The Heat or an Identity Theft, though it did make four times its budget. Stick that in your fry cooker and smoke it!

- Lucy was the untold story of what happened to Wildstyle from The Lego Movie after she entered the human world. Whereas Emmitt found Will Ferrell and made us cry, Lucy found Morgan Freeman and kicked butt.

- The Fault in our Stars had no fault in our eyes: making more than ten times its budget and raising the stock price of Kleenex to record levels.

- Neighbors showed you don't have to pay big bucks to get Leonardo DiCaprio in your film when you can just pay a lot less for Zac Efron to do the same thing. That money saved helped make Neighbors almost the best return-on-investment of the whole season.

The "Final Five That Didn't Cut It" Division

- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will end up with close to $200 million when all is said and done. That's more than the half-shell I thought these heroes might earn. Meanwhile, can we also give Whoopi Goldberg's cameo as Megan Fox's news boss a "Why Are You Here?" Award. This award is given out to big stars in small roles that offer absolutely no reason why you needed a big star here. And I thought Glenn Close's turn in Guardians of the Galaxy was going to be the only recipient of the summer.

- How To Train Your Dragon 2 was the only big-budget animated family film of the season and it was the lowest top-grossing animated hit of the season since 2002's Lilo & Stitch. Yeah, that's a lot of years I had to click through on to find a top animated film of the summer that made less than $174 million. Hmm, weird that a movie with a storyline about a mom who abandoned her family for 20 years just 'cause she wanted to be "free" and no one even called her on it didn't catch on with the parenting crowd.

- 22 Jump Street definitely jumped to the next level with $191 million. Hopefully, this'll encourage the Fox Network to license out big-screen versions of Herman's Head, Greg The Bunny, and The New Adventures of Beans Baxter!

- Godzilla didn't come in as the favorite and lived-up to that under billing. By not having the overhype, this film slipped-in just as it was, giant monsters destroying things, and everyone got what they wanted... Unless what they wanted was the Matthew Broderick-version where it was like the actors were played by monsters in rubber human suits.

- What can be said about The Amazing Spider-Man 2 that hasn't... wait, hold that thought, it looks like Peter and Gwen are breaking-up again! Nope, sorry, false alarm. They're ok. No, wait! They're fighting and... Oh, now they're kissing again. All that needs to be said about Sony's blundering of this once flourishing franchise can be summed-up in the fact that Warner Bros. completely revamped their Superman plans after Man of Steel "only" made $300 million. When Amazing Spider-Man 2 made a franchise-low $202 million, Sony ordered three more films in the same vein. Amazing.

We're finally here... Because Monday was Labor Day, here are the Top Five Films of the 2014 Summer!!!

#5. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes - $205.5 million
Now that Caesar has learned that apes are capable of being both good and bad, will he learn that apes are not only capable of writing Shakespeare but also crappy reality TV shows? Silverback Pad is not something you'd want to set your DVR for. Regardless, the Planet of the Apes franchise is officially reborn with back-to-back hit films. That mettle may be tested with the already announced third film in the series though, Still Simmering But We'll Get There Soon Planet of the Apes.

#4. X-Men: Days of Future Past - $233.4 million
None of the mind-boggling inconsistencies like Professor X being alive, Wolverine having metal claws, and Kitty Pride being able to send people's brains back in time because, uh, the plot requires it, stopped the reunion franchise mash-up from its best numbers since 2006's X-Men: The Last Stand. Now, is this a one-time thing or will they try to force all the old fogies into the next X-Men film? As long as they can keep the running joke of only giving Halle Berry fives words to say, I'm in!

#3. Maleficent - $238.7 million
In hindsight, there are obvious reason why this film was such a hit with families. One, it had an empowering message for girls. Two, it taught boys that screwing over women with magical powers never goes well... And we know in the real world, pretty much all women have magical powers. Three, all parents wish they had that spell where they can just make their kids stop talking and float away. Films don't have to be perfect to be enjoyable and obviously there was something enjoyable about a Wicked-esque take on Sleeping Beauty.

#2. Transformers: Age of Extinction - $244.4 million
My son saw this movie for his friend's birthday party and afterwards called it "The best Transformers movie he'd ever seen." Granted, it was the only Transformers movie he'd ever seen , and watching more than one is never necessary. Should haters celebrate that this film made almost $100 million less than the last Transformers film or weep that even in a down year the Autobots always happen to "Roll Out" right near the top of the Box Office charts? I'm not sure what the world would look like without Transformers films yet I'm willing to risk it.

#1. Guardians of the Galaxy - $281.2 million
And then there was one. The film with more questions than answers at the beginning of the pool has answered them all and then some. It'll finish with more than $300 million by the time its theatrical run is over and this is the first time in Summer Movie Pool history that a film opening in August ends up as the #1 film of the season! Only three other August releases even ever ended-up in the Top Five: Signs, Rush Hour 2, and The Sixth Sense (that's an M. Night sandwich people actually wanted to eat). Guardians may have done nothing to officially hype next year's Avengers film, yet the commercial and critical success of this and Captain America: Winter Soldier cemented Marvel Studios as the Pixar of live-action films. You don't want to miss whatever they're putting out.

by Matt Neuenburg on 09/03/2014

Movies Mentioned in this Post: 22 Jump Street, A Million Ways to Die in the West, Blended, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Earth to Echo, Edge of Tomorrow, Get on Up, Godzilla, Guardians of the Galaxy, Hercules, How to Train Your Dragon 2, If I Stay, Into the Storm, Jersey Boys, Let's Be Cops, Lucy, Maleficent, Million Dollar Arm, Mom's Night Out, Neighbors, Planes: Fire & Rescue, Sex Tape, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, Tammy, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, The Expendables 3, The Giver, The Purge: Anarchy, Think Like a Man Too, Transformers: Age of Extinction, When the Game Stands Tall, X-Men: Days of Future Past
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