Hollywood on course for biggest summer box office in 2013

Elysium The summer box office takings have topped $4.1bn (£2.6bn) so far

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Hollywood is on course for its biggest ever summer box office in the US despite several high profile flops.

Big budget films The Lone Ranger, Will Smith's After Earth and animation Turbo all hugely underperformed in America.

However figures show studio films have earned $4.1bn (£2.6bn), close to 2011's previous high of $4.4bn (£2.8bn).

Sci-fi Elysium, from District 9 director Neill Blomkamp, topped this week's North American chart earning $30.5m (£19.7m) in its opening weekend.

Starring Matt Damon and South African actor Sharlto Copley, the film had a fairly modest debut after costing $115m (£74.3m) to make.

Elysium matched studio expectations but opened with a lower figure than director Blomkamp's surprise 2009 low-budget hit, which took $37.3m (£24.1m) in its first three days.

Rory Bruer, head of distribution for Sony, said Elysium would be "very profitable", adding "international is going to be the big, big win on this film for us".

North American box office

  1. Elysium - $30.5m
  2. We're the Millers -$26.6m
  3. Planes - $22.5m
  4. Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters - $14.6m
  5. 2 Guns - $11.1m

Source: Hollywood.com

In a crowded week for new releases, Jennifer Aniston's comedy We're The Millers took the second slot with $26.6m (£17.2m) while Disney animation Planes took $22.5m ($14.5m).

The weekend's takings brought 2013's total box office to $7bn (£4.5bn) so far.

Sci-fi Pacific Rim and Jeff Bridges' action comedy R.I.P.D were other high budget films which left studios disappointed at the box office over the summer.

Chris Aronson, the head of distribution for Fox, admitted 2013 had seen some "high-profile failures," but added, "the summer's been fantastic despite the gloom and doom some in the media have portrayed".

The summer flops have been offset by the success of films such as World War Z - which has crossed the $500m (£323m) global takings mark despite rumoured problems and reshoots - and the doomsday comedy This Is the End, which has made $96m (£62m) - three-times its budget.

Animations Despicable Me 2 and Monsters University also earned huge box office numbers worldwide, taking $746m (£482m) and $637m (£412m) respectively to date.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 68.

    And do you know what all these films have in common?

    They will probably ALL make a loss due to "Hollywood accounting". Even block busters like Titanic and Avatar have not made a penny due to the unusual ways film companies structure their affairs.

    The headline profits are merely Hollywood's way of keeping score.

  • rate this

    Comment number 67.

    Hollywood is always having it's biggest *fill blank* aided and abetted by so-called journalists and other media scroungers eager to give them good spin in return for the freebies on offer. Reading this article guess they can add one more to the list.

  • rate this

    Comment number 66.

    People complain about everything being about the special effects, no plot, formulaic and "just another sequel" but equally we're all to blame. When the latest Transformer-esque movie rakes in a huge pile of cash at the box office then what exactly do you expect Hollywood to continue to churn out?

  • rate this

    Comment number 65.

    These things go in cycles - Gladiator was a success and spawned lots of imitations, Harry Potter & Lord of the Rings sparked a desire to film any fantasy book that was success, superhero films now seen as a 'sure' thing and sci-fi always about.

    Nolan continues to make very interesting blockbuster's as well as entertaining - Inception was bold as will be Interstellar.

  • rate this

    Comment number 64.

    I think that there seems to be far to many 'samey' films out there at the minute - certainly far too many superhero films that all have similar plots. I think that part of the problem these days is the media hype that follows many films, often building average films up just because it has x or y in it. Its certainly worthwile reading about the films before going to see them these days!

  • rate this

    Comment number 63.

    Bring Back Fu Manchu !

    Politically incorrect, possibly sexist, dodgy plots (Why would anyone want to rule the Wold ?), wooden acting but good fun. Worth £5 of anyone's money !

  • rate this

    Comment number 62.

    his is the ugly legacy of illegal file sharing.

    I haven't been to the cinema in years, despite being a fairly regular goer when I was younger. I've also not ever viewed or shared a file illegally. Either I am the only one or there's more to this than simply blaming media piracy.

  • rate this

    Comment number 61.

    How come when English actors are used in Hollywood movies they usually get the role of the bad guy or the fool? Hollywood is even more unkind to the English than it is to Germans.

  • rate this

    Comment number 60.

    28. Mr Plodocus
    There is no correlation between how good a movie is and how much it takes at the box office
    Your definition of 'good' is so 28AD.

  • rate this

    Comment number 59.

    It is really important to remember that films are products that have to have mass appeal to make money. As long as people pay to watch they will keep supplying. Hollywood is attempting to produce for its main audience ie mostly young men hence the high violence levels in most of these films. If it gathers a wider audience then all the better.

  • rate this

    Comment number 58.

    They only make big-budget and small-budget films anymore. The big-budget films will usually have a dumb franchise behind them to maximise profits; the low-budget films will rely on rehashing genre staples (creepy horror, gross-out humour, etc).

    Medium-budget films that were serious, took risks and cared about their art are only made as Oscar-bait now. The writing talent has all gone to TV.

  • rate this

    Comment number 57.

    So who is making all this money?

    Well seeing that China owns the largest movie chain in USA
    its China

    This is part of the reason why Hollywood films are getting worse-
    because they are being catered to China instead of USA

    In Iron Man III in China they not only edited it but also added a Chinese character to the movie that wasn't in the original

    China is taking over Hollywood

  • rate this

    Comment number 56.

    3. Iamwrightyouarewrong

    "Support your local indie cinema and avoid all these terrible Hollywood films. Lots of great world cinema titles out at the moment to enjoy."

    It sounds like people ARE avoiding these terrible films, if they're flopping.

  • rate this

    Comment number 55.


    This much is true, we aren't being forced to go but sometimes a film just has to be seen at the cinema. So whilst I love going to the cinema I still think the price is ridiculous. If my local world of Cine was closer than 25 miles I'd get on of the Unlimited cards. Unfortunatly I can't see myself doing a 50 mils round trip to see 24 films a year to make it worth while.

  • rate this

    Comment number 54.

    I am a film maker & although I understand the admission price, I still find the price ridiculous (especially because most of the ticket percentage goes to the price of advertising!)

    But to anyone complaining about the price of concessions: No one is forcing you to consume these. You can take your own food/drink also, they cannot stop you. Do not be fooled by overbearing stagg

  • rate this

    Comment number 53.

    In re to an earlier comment about films being like "power rangers" all noise and fights - assume you meant the earliest ones vs the later ones with one year story arcs. Base story - the Black Ranger always has something that makes him odd man out - but in the end is redeemed - and these stories were always up beat. Todays Films and TV are primarily downers with no way out.

  • rate this

    Comment number 52.

    The trouble is so many films are made with massive budgets intended for the lowest common denominator, i.e. full of special effects and hardly any story line of character development. The trouble is this isn't what most people want. Most computer games fans nowadays dread games being turned into films as the games contain better story lines and better acting.

  • rate this

    Comment number 51.

    @48 - Which films in particular are you speaking about? Star Trek? Man Of Steel? Some very passionate film-maker's behind those two films so don't think accountants had a hand in the screenplay!

    I do think though that 3-D is too prevalent and films should only be released in this format if that's how they were shot - also prices could be more competitive esp for families.

  • rate this

    Comment number 50.

    I'd sooner watch films at my local cinema. In Faversham it's £5 a ticket and in glorious 2D, not the blur-o-vision that is 3D. And the drinks aren't £4 for a bucket either. I can take a gamble on a film without regretting the spend. £15.50 is taking the mickey...and you have to drive to the out of towners, so add petrol on top.

  • rate this

    Comment number 49.

    For recent Disney problems it may be in its change of leadership which seems to have dropped Michael Eisner's use of staff and himself to review/make suggestions on projects that resulted in complete films. Noticed it with Enchanted where the dragon attack on McDreamy didn't make any sense at all - it should have been the Prince with the New York girl saving him.


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