There have been Summer Movie Pools that have ended in whimpers before, but this has practically been a whole summer of pretending you’re excited about the eighth or ninth seasons of long-running shows like Frasier or Grey’s Anatomy. We pretty much know what we’re getting, we know it was way better a few years ago, and yet we’re too lazy to actually stop watching because we think it can’t really be all that bad. Maybe I should be thankful about those super-sized theater sodas that cause multiple trips to the bathroom during screenings. At least something was happening during the movie.
Before we get to what were the final Top Five Films of the Summer since last week was actually Labor Day, let’s roll through the pretenders and contenders... Oh, who am I kidding, this was like a whole season of pretenders. We’ll keep it somewhat timely, though, and use the Olympics as our ranking guide of futility.
The Ryan Lochte Section:
This area is reserved for films that were just as disgraced for embarrassing their country and their craft (and earning less than $50 million).
- Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping never started and was the lowest performing major studio release (take a bow, Universal) of the summer with a whopping $9.5 million total. My favorite part? An almost unheard of 90% drop from weeks 2 to 3 and theaters never stopped never stopping to get Popstar of their screens.
- I’m pretty sure Kevin Spacey has used up more than his Nine Lives with his off-the-rails movie career. Is it weird to say at least he has a House of Cards to fall back on?
- When you aren’t sure if people really want to see something again (offbeat Marvel movie, another Jurassic Park flick, rebooted western), you put in Chris Pratt. That’s what Ben-Hur needed, a little Chris Pratt… or maybe a lot of him.
- Kubo and the Two Strings actually would’ve done better if Kubo was just playing air guitar.
- Director Todd Phillips waited three years after The Hangover 3 for just the right film that would be forgotten the night after it came out in War Dogs.
- The Nice Guys don’t finish last… they finish 32nd.
- What was scary about Money Monster is the last time people cared a ton about George Clooney, Julia Roberts, and Jodie Foster is when Ally McBeal was on. Maybe they could’ve gotten Vonda Shepard for the movie score.
- Not only did Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, they needed people that actually cared that they needed wedding dates. Oops!
- I thought about checking out Warcraft at my local discount movie theater just to see if the movie made a lick of sense to someone who knew nothing about the game. However, when I saw the foreign box-office totals and how it bombed in every territory except for the $220.9 million made in China, that was obviously the only sense in making this movie in the first place.
The Hope Solo Section:
These films talked a lot of smack and didn’t have the game to back it up as they made less than $100 million. Still, they’ll all be released on DVD and onDemand in the next few weeks and not suspended for six months, so US Women’s National Soccer Team, as Sgt. Hulka would say in Stripes, “Lighten up, Francis.”
- Steven Spielberg has 15 films that have made over $100 and only one that’s made in the $50 million range… and that’s this one: The BFG. How Disney and Steven screwed-up the only family film over 4th of July weekend whose competition was The Purge 3 and Tarzan (seriously, Tarzan!), I have no idea. Roald Dahl deserves better!
- The ironically titled Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising seems to be the actual sinking of this franchise.
- You’d like to say Ice Age: Collision Course finally made the series hit rock bottom, yet don’t kid yourself. You know they can still do much, much worse... and given a chance, they’ll try!
- It’s like there’s two different people calling the shots at Disney. One’s making Zootopia, The Jungle Book, Captain America: Civil War, and Finding Dory. The other’s making The BFG and these other two Disney duds: Alice Through the Looking Glass and Pete’s Dragon. After the first Alice, who’d ever want to see that mess again and then they try and take Jodie Foster’s Nell and insert a dragon for the other. A tale of two mouse houses.
- You could see Now You See Me 2 a hundred times and still not be able to explain what’s going on. Most people didn’t see it a hundred times and that’s why it’s here in this section.
- Why adding Tyler Perry to a Megan Fox movie didn’t move the needle for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, I have no idea. Oh wait, it did… it just moved it the other direction.
The Poland Men’s and Netherland’s Women’s Handball Team Section:
Sure, both of these teams lost in their Bronze Medal match, but just to get there was surprising as their outside the Top 10 rankings going into the Olympics. These films didn’t set the world on fire, but they made a nice profit on their lower budget.
- The Shallows may have had a shallow plot outside of Blake Lively vs. shark, but when that’s your plot, why over-complicate things?
- Me Without You sounds like the title of my off-seasons away from the movie pools, yet it also was another wispy teen book romance hit that offered movie-goers a chance to not watch CGI for two hours.
- Light’s Out and The Purge: Election Year both took tiny budgets to big returns. You don’t have to build the biggest and fastest roller coaster for people to want to take a ride. Give ‘em a reason, and they’ll ride the spiny Teacups ride too.
- With $88.4 million so far, Sausage Party has already out-grossed (you bet that’s pun intended, baby!) both Team America: World Police and South Park: The Movie combined! People can handle themselves some naughty animation. Sometimes we even like it better that way. I mean, if I have to watch Seth Rogen's weiner here or Jonah Hill’s in The Wolf of Wall Street, I’ll take Sausage Party every time… and this sentence sounds wrong on so many levels.
The USA Women’s Basketball Gold Medal Section:
This team did the best they could with what they had, even if not nearly as many people covered and tweeted about them as the Men’s team. These are the $100 million plus films that maximized their potential.
- The Conjuring 2 just showed the ridiculousness of that Poltergeist remake last year. James Wan and company are already making new, good Poltergeist-esque films. Why go back when the present is this good?
- Bad Moms made good moms like my wife grab a bunch of her friends to celebrate the buffoonery of real “good mom” expectations.
- Having seen The Angry Birds Movie for myself and lived to tell about it, there was no way this was ever going to be a Minions-sized hit. Likewise, getting this Direct-to-DVD worthy flick to double what The BFG made? Genius.
- The Legend of Tarzan will forever be a legend to me in how it made $126 million in 2016. I don’t know a single person who saw it, a single critic who said it was good, and still I’m like, “Well, how bad can it be if it made $126 million more than I thought it’d make.” You Tarzan, me dumb.
- Central Intelligence had the brains to try and twist the Kevin Hart and The Rock pairing with Kevin playing the straight man to The Rock’s constant goofiness and it worked to enjoyable summer matinee movie gold.
The USA Men’s Basketball Gold Medal Section:
This team managed to win it all without looking competent for many quarters during the tournament. These are the $100 million-plus films that everyone thinks should’ve performed better.
- I heard the whole Independence Day: Resurgence plan was that this was a Part One sequel with a Part Two to be released in the next couple years. Unless that film’s called Independence Day: Here’s Your Money Back From 2016, I don’t think people will be buying whatever it is they’re selling.
- Ghostbusters was one of the weirdest movies of the summer and not just because it was supposed to be one of the weirdest movies of the summer. There seemed to be all this gender pressure that women needed to love it to show a female-led mainstream cast is bankable and if men didn’t like the movie somehow they were against that. Look, the movie’s just a mixed-bag. There’s no way the film’s better with the Adam Sandler boys club of Grown-Ups in the lead roles, but when the filmmakers and studio mostly just tried to not do anything wrong, there wasn’t a lot they did right.
- Star Trek Beyond was Be-Under anyone’s expectations. From meandering plot to non-sensical conclusions, it was like an episode of Star Trek that was OK while it was on but not one you’d want to make sure you caught again in repeats. I think the audience picked that up as well, which explains the $75 million drop from the previous film.
- You’d think making $80 million less than X-Men: Days of Future Past would be all the Apocalypse the X-Men series needs. Instead, 20th Century Fox is doubling down on trying to make even more mutant movies because we all know, when you start making less you should stare making more. Oh wait, only they know that.
The Usain Bolt/Michael Phelps/Simone Biles Section:
These films (mostly) left everyone in the dust. You can like them or not, call them overhyped or not, be in awe of them or not, yet like it or not, they’ll be the films this season is most known for.
#5. Jason Bourne - $156.2
Matt Damon returned to his signature franchise and he came, he saw, and he remembered… again. Unfortunately, not as many people remembered to go see the movie as his last two Bourne adventures, though maybe they were just like “If I have to hear that stupid Moby song one more time…” Most importantly, Jason Bourne literally needed the Labor Day box-office ticket sales to make it into the Top 5 of the season. If the pool had stopped after Sunday, X-Men: Apocalypse would’ve been in this spot.
#4. Suicide Squad - $300.1 million
It’s always nice to see a movie no one really liked make over $300 million. It’s like the movie equivalent to Ariana Grande. It’s odd to note that this film with a 26% Rotten Tomato score will end up close to what 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy made at the box-office with a 91% score. Why be good when you can just be the only film of note for an entire month? The DC films have become like those hyperlinks at the bottom of internet articles with headlines such as “You won’t believe what so-and-so looks like now.” Even though you know the article is a waste and a trick to spawn multiple ads and page views on some other site, every now and then you take a peek. And that’s why they why they keep making these underwhelming DC Universe movies, because they know every now and then we’re going to click. .
#3. The Secret Life of Pets - $359.8 million
I usually try to celebrate films that have achieved this monumental Top Five status for a season, but it’s hard this year when so many of the films were just… meh. This film wasn’t just the “secret life of pets,” it was also about how pets can be jerks too. A reason some pet lovers obsesses on their pets so much is because they relieve them of any ability to do wrong and project that all their pets can do is love. Ten minutes into this film, the main two dogs are exposed as selfish brats and I’m out. Let them get lost. Good riddance. Their owner’s better off without them!
#2. Captain America: Civil War - $408 million
And the award for film that performed most like Iron Man 3 goes to… Captain America 3!!! Seriously, it’s a little creepy how similarly these two films performed (Caps’ $408 million to Shell Head’s $409 million). They both were the third in their series and both followed the May after an Avengers movie. They both had some good parts and both had some “Did this really make any sense to anyone when they were writing this?” parts. Still, at the end of the day, they both performed great at the box-office and I’d still watch either of them over any of the new DC Universe films in a heartbeat.
#1. Finding Dory - $482.8 million
13 years ago Finding Nemo was the #1 film of the summer season, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that Dory found a way to follow in the footsteps of that success. It may be a surprise about how quickly she was able to swim 8,000 miles in about 90 seconds, how her short-term memory loss was used to a comedic effect in Nemo and is now used to make your eyes misty thinking about how much this condition has crippled her life, or how much you want to punch a fish because Albert Brooks’ Marlin has to yet again be an annoying ninny for two-thirds of the film (wasn’t him learning his lesson in the last film enough?!). Still, we like our comfort food and Finding Dory was obviously comfortable enough this time around to fulfill its Finding destiny.
by Matt Neuenburg on 09/12/2016
Movies Mentioned in this Post:
Alice Through The Looking Glass,
Captain America: Civil War,
Ice Age: Collision Course,
Independence Day: Resurgence,
Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates,
Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising,
Now You See Me 2,
Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping,
Star Trek Beyond,
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows,
The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergeist,
The Legend of Tarzan,
The Nice Guys,
The Purge: Election Year,
The Secret Life of Pets,