2014 Summer Box Office Blockbuster Contest Results

Here are the final results of the 2014 summer blockbuster contest announced about five months ago. To remind you, the point of the contest was to predict how well six big summer movies would do, and to choose the film not on that list that would do the best. The six films I chose and their final grosses were:

The eligible film not on this list that performed best over the summer was Guardians of the Galaxy, which made $294,567,000. Like last year, this film did better than any of the films on the main list. Two contestants showed the necessary foresight to choose it as their sleeper. The runner up on the sleeper film was Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, which made $206 million by the close of the contest. The most popular sleeper choice was Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, followed (distantly) by 22 Jump Street, which did reasonably well.

This year, 17 people entered the contest, easily the low watermark for the contest.

And the winner is long-time entrant George Wu, with 74 points. This is George's fourth victory, with previous wins in 2005, 2011, and last year, 2013. The runner up is David Sharron, with 68 points. Congratulations, George!

Nobody hit a film's gross right on.

Here are the complete results, in increasing point order:

  • Atli Sigurjonsson 29
  • James Armstrong 30
  • Jeff Lau 31
  • Cathleen Reiher 34
  • Bjorn Olson 38
  • Yan Wong 38
  • Don Marks 39
  • Joshua Kreitzer 39
  • Melanie 39
  • Charles Odell 40
  • David Swanger 44
  • Tony Wong 44
  • Matthew Merzbacher 48
  • Alex Fung 53
  • Jen Lo 66
  • David Sharron 68
  • George Wu 74

    Thanks to all who entered.

    I missed the top film, included the next three grossers, got one fairly high one, and included a couple of relative flops, missing out on half a dozen films that did better. Tammy was particularly weak, not performing up to the standard of Melissa McCarthy's recent films. Edge of Tomorrow had to be a great disappointment to its makers, since it actually got strong reviews, but just couldn't pull audiences in.

    Generally, it was a crappy summer for Hollywood, with receipts down heavily and even films that did pretty well not performing quite up to the level expected. Of course, if you hark back to the entry page for the contest, I said at the time that it was a particularly uninspiring set of summer films. So my take is that if you give the audiences boring crap, gee, they won't come to the theaters. The fact that the top grossing film of the summer was a non-sequel that opened in August, generally regarded as too late to really get good summer business, suggests that the problem wasn't too many iPhones, kids no longer being interested in movies, sunspots, or whatever. The problem was most of the movies sucked. Want better box office? Make better movies.

    Easier said than done. Hollywood always wants a formula, and the results here are not too helpful in writing one down and handing it over to your production staff. Sequels are not sure winners. The folks who were big stars five or ten years ago might not even be able to open a movie, much less carry it through the summer. Science fiction isn't a sure winner, and sequels to successful animated films don't guarantee success, either.

    If failure of the previously successful formulae continues for a while longer, it could be good news for audiences. The great rebirth of American cinema in the late sixties and seventies, which gave us everything from Jaws to The Conversation was based on studios discovering that the stars of the old studio system days no longer appealed and the sure fire hit machines (musicals, back then) were not reliable any more. The young kids with fresh ideas got their shots, and we got Scorsese, Coppola, Spielberg, Malick, Lucas, and more. Wouldn't it be nice if that bit of history repeated?

    But that's not what we'll see next summer. As always, the big summer films for next year are already shooting, or at least are fully scheduled with release dates lined up. There's Jurassic World (just what you think it is, NOT directed by Spielberg), more Marvel superheros, a new Pixar film (no longer, alas, necessarily cause for intense anticipation, though it does have that "what the hell?" air about its premise that Pixar films had in their heyday), a late-to-the-party Terminator film, a Despicable Me spinoff highlighting the popular Minions, a probably unnecessary revisiting of Peter Pan (albeit with a good cast), a Poltergeist remake (raise your hand if you've been holding your breath waiting for that one), a Point Break remake (what are they thinking of?), an Assassin's Creed movie (testing the theory that it's impossible to make a good film based on a popular video game, a theory that it is not clear needs any further confirmation), and a Man From U.N.C.L.E. film (testing the theory that audiences will pay to see almost anything based on a somewhat successful 1960s TV series - a theory that I would have thought that the McHale's Navy and Car 54, Where Are You? films had consigned to the dustbin of history). Along with various other sequels, remakes, reboots, ripoffs, and tiny variations on themes done to death. Plenty to look forward to . . .

    Back to the film contest page.