Yesterday examined the summer losers. Today, I’m looking at the summer winners at the box office. The first winner over the sumer movie season: Comic Book Movies.
This summer saw quite a few comic book films: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Wonder Woman, and Spider-Man Homecoming. Where many studio films suffered over the summer with the critics, these three films were hits with both the critics and fans alike.
Through Labor Day weekend, all three films are in the top 4 at the 2017 box office for the year. Wonder Woman, with over $400 million, made Patty Jenkins the highest-earning female director in history at the box office. Even you count Frozen, which Jennifer Lee co-directed with Chris Buck, Wonder Woman ultimately made it a moot point in the closing weeks of August by raking in more money than Anna and Elsa.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was the fun and entertaining movie that we needed to kick off the summer movie season. James Gunn returned to the helm and it can be said without a doubt that Baby Groot stole the show. The film outdid its predecessor with a $389.6 million take. It’s currently sitting in the third spot for the year but I’ll be surprised if it stays there when you factor in later releases from the Disney umbrella in November and December.
Given the poor performance of both Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad in 2016, I won’t lie that I had reservations in the weeks leading up to release. A few weeks before DC was set to launch the film, I started to hear the positive buzz on the film. It’s just so amazing to see a strong woman on screen directed by another strong woman. Indie film Megan Leavey, released a week later, didn’t have the same success as Wonder Woman with just over $13 million for the Bleecker Street release. With the success of the film, DC chose to spotlight Wonder Woman in the newest Justice League trailer. Given DC’s troubles, there’s a lot of reservations heading into Justice League but Wonder Woman was the win that they needed.
Finally, July saw the reboot of Spider-Man as the popular Marvel character was rebooted yet again. Where Spider-Man: Homecoming differed from the earlier films from Sam Raimi and Marc Webb is that Peter Parker got some witty dialogue for once. It felt more like the Marvel Comics character than the previous iterations ever did. This was a smart move of Sony Pictures to partner with Marvel Studios and bring Spider-Man into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The world had been robbed for many years of a MCU with Spider-Man. It was also great of the filmmakers to not give us yet another origin film in which Peter gets bit by the radioactive spider. We’d seen it so many times that it would just be overkill.
Based on a graphic novel series, Atomic Blonde didn’t quite get the same success as Wonder Woman. The Charlize Theron spy film even explored LGBTQ themes. It did take in $50 million in the states on a $30 million budget. The film earned nearly $40 million in foreign territories. It’s Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes but at the end of the day, people wanted to watch Wonder Woman again.
Later this year, we’ll see the releases of Kingsman: The Golden Circle, Thor: Ragnarok, and Justice League. Will they be as successful as these three films? It’s hard to say.