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What’s up and what’s down at the summer box office

By
From page A7 | July 10, 2014 |

Two months into its most lucrative season, Hollywood’s summer is down nearly 20 percent from last year at North American theaters.

What’s working

♦ Sequels. Hollywood is often criticized for its constant recycling, but the top six movies at the summer box office are all either sequels, reboots or new twists on old properties: “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” ($227 million), “Maleficent” ($215 million), “The Amazing Spider-Man 2″ ($201 million), “Godzilla” ($198 million), “Transformers: Age of Extinction” ($180 million) and “22 Jump Street” ($161 million). The well-received “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” out this weekend, is expected to open around $100 million.

♦ Anything by Phil Lord and Chris Miller. The directing pair have two of the year’s top 10 films to their name: “The Lego Movie” ($257 million) and “22 Jump Street.” Both became hits by irreverently parodying their own crassness as a toy movie and as an unnecessary sequel.

What’s not

♦ Family fare. Disney’s “Maleficent” has benefited from the relative dearth of kid-friendly options by appealing to families. But the other family films, “How to Train Your Dragon 2″ ($142 million) and “Rio 2″ ($142 million), have failed to generate the kind of summer box office usually expected of such big-budget animated releases.

♦ Comedies without Seth Rogen. Rogen’s “Neighbors” ($148 million) and “22 Jump Street” (in which he makes a cameo) are the two biggest comedies of the year. But releases led by Melissa McCarthy, Adam Sandler and Seth MacFarlane have struggled to break out. Sandler’s “Blended” ($44 million), MacFarlane’s “A Million Ways to Die in the West” ($42 million) and McCarthy’s “Tammy” ($36 million) have all been dragged down by weak reviews.

 

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

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