Three quarters of Summer 2013 are in the books and, as was expected, Despicable Me 2 is to thank for July's success. The film's $314 million haul from July 3 to July 31 accounted for 23 percent of the month's $1.369 billion market tally. All-time, the month become the second highest grossing July in history--behind only July 2011 ($1.398 billion).
Universal's animated sequel wasn't the only success story of the month. Grown Ups 2 accounted for $106.7 million during July. While that's off 9.1 percent of the pace of its predecessor's gross through 20 days of release (the amount of time Grown Ups 2 played for during July), it's still a solid performance for the sequel. Warner Bros.' The Conjuring then went on to amass $92.35 million in less than two weeks thanks to a strong marketing campaign and excellent word of mouth. That not only makes it one of the most impressive horror titles to release in a long time, but one of 2013's most notable breakouts.
Unfortunately, the news wasn't all good for July. Warner Bros.' own Pacific Rim failed to become the blockbuster that some were expecting. Despite positive word of mouth, the niche concept was further hindered by a lazy and ineffective marketing campaign. Fortunately for all parties involved, Pacific Rim has turned into modest success overseas.
The biggest financial calamity of the month, however, was Disney's The Lone Ranger. Further proving that westerns are incredibly hard sells to general audiences (especially when they aren't crowd pleasers), the Johnny Depp-led flick only mustered $85.95 million between from July 3-31. Before anyone blames Depp too much, there's a strong argument to suggest it may not have even made that much were it not for his mere presence.
Another casualty of July: Universal's R.I.P.D. Marketing pandered to fans of Men In Black, but moviegoers didn't buy it. Negative online buzz having plagued the film for months in advance didn't help matters either.
Aside from indie sensations Fruitvale Station and The Way, Way Back, and the impressive limited run of Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain, July couldn't generate many memorable films for audiences. The Wolverine, Turbo, and Red 2 did middling business as they tried (and failed) to collectively fill a void left behind by the now-broken streak of mid-July mega-blockbusters offered by Christopher Nolan and the Harry Potter sequels between 2007 and 2012.
In fact, July owes some of its success to the strength of June's holdovers. The Heat, World War Z, and Monsters University collectively contributed $261.3 million to summer's third month. The former was the most impressive with $104.9 million during the July 1-31 time frame. Monsters University's $86.4 million monthly haul indicates the pic was hit hard by competition from the more highly anticipated Despicable Me 2, while World War Z quietly pushed its way toward $200 million domestically with another $70.1 million added to its run during July.
Admissions-wise, last month fell from the heights seen by May and June as it was the sixth-least attended month of July in the last 15 years. Still, considering the lack of event films during the month, the strength of the summer market overall makes that forgivable.
2013's summer season has yielded $3.76 billion so far--about 9.2 percent ahead of 2011's May-June-July previous record combo, and up and 10.5 percent more than last year during the comparable frame. In terms of attendance, this summer is still the overall strongest since 2004.
What do we take away from July 2013? Surprisingly, it may be that there is such a thing as "too much action" for moviegoers. Ever since Man of Steel and World War Z opened to respectably impressive numbers, audiences have steered away from turning anymore adrenaline-fueled pics into hits. Will that affect the August market? It seems very possible. A busy (and expensive) summer is winding down for audiences, school is going back into session, and aside from Elysium and 2 Guns, August appears to have little in the way of widely appealing releases. Stay tuned to BoxOffice for updated forecasts in the days and weeks ahead.
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