This summer, it’s perhaps fair to say, has been a bit of a dud for movie-goers. Despite sequels to beloved franchises (Star Trek) and rebooting of classics (Ghostbusters), the summer blockbuster that dominated theatres for months on end and won positive reviews from both fans and critics hasn’t quite emerged. Here are the the prospective box-office smashes and how they actually turned out.
Using the video game of the same name, director Duncan Jones mixed live-action and animation to create an epic re-imagination of the popular franchise.
What the critics said: Not good - upon release in June, review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 28% fresh review rating with an average score of 4.2/10.
What the fans said: Box-office receipts were poor in the US, barely scraping $50 million, however it fared well overseas with a healthy $386 million taking it well above its $160 million budget. It's now the most successful video game film adaptation ever.
Independence Day: Resurgence
20 years on, director Roland Emmerich revisited his ‘90s sci-fi classic with this sequel, with more aliens - but no Will Smith, who declined joining the film.
What the critics said: Reception to the film was mixed, with NME giving it 3/5 on it’s release in June: “While the epic thrills and spills of the original Independence Day were hailed as groundbreaking in 1996, this sequel feels reassuringly old-fashioned in an era of self-important and convoluted comic-book films."
What the fans said: The film bombed in the US with a disappointing domestic box-office figure of $102, but recouped its $165 million budget following a better showing worldwide: globally it's taken $382m. Still, it pales in comparison to its predecessor, falling well short of the original's $817m windfall.
Following a string of standalone projects, Pixar played it safe with a sequel to 2003’s Finding Nemo, this time focusing on the hapless but relatable Blue Tang fish, Dory.
What the critics said: NME’s Nick Levine said the film was “essentially just a slick remix of Finding Nemo, but Finding Dory’s emotional moments will definitely hook you in”, in his 4/5 review.
What the fans said: Put simply, they loved it. Since its release in June, the sequel has broken the $900 million barrier with combined sales worldwide and has already broken into the 10 most successful animated films of all time. It's even beaten out Toy Story 3 and Inside Out, making it Pixar's best box-office showing ever.
The Legend of Tarzan
A retelling of the fictional tale of Tarzan, as played by Alexander Skarsgård with Margot Robbie and Christoph Waltz also starring.
What the critics said: A mixed response met the film upon release with Jordan Hoffman of The Guardian lamenting the film’s “uninspiring CGI and tedious plotlines”, though The New York Times said that “the filmmakers have given Tarzan a thoughtful, imperfect makeover” in their positive review.
What the fans said: In July, the film opened to a positive weekend in the US and a staggered release pattern saw a total gross of $354 million worldwide, well over its $180m budget. Industry rumours have suggested that the film needed to make over $400m to justify a sequel, so still some way to go if so.
All-female remake of the ‘80s classic starring Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones, Kristen Wiig and Kate McKinnon released in July.
What the critics said: “If you like slightly silly, gag-packed movies starring talented comic actors at the top of their games, this is a real treat” said NME’s Nick Levine in his 4/5 review.
What the fans said: The film struggled domestically at the box-office and coupled with an underwhelming international gross, has brought in a disappointing $217 million total gross so far, falling short of the original's $295m takings.
After promising to never revisit to the character, Matt Damon returned as Jason Bourne in this continuation of the original story, the fifth in the action franchise.
What the critics said: In NME’s 3/5 review of the film back in July, Nick Levine said: “It’s no radical reinvention, but Paul Greengrass and Damon have pulled off a broadly satisfying franchise revival.”
What the fans said: A strong opening weekend led to a satisfying $347 million worldwide return for the film, making it the franchise's second most successful film, behind The Bourne Ultimatum, which brought in over $442m in 2007.
Star Trek Beyond
The latest instalment in the rebooted franchise starring Chris Pine as Captain Kirk and Zachary Quinto as Spock.
What the critics said: “A smartly-paced movie which loads its crowd-pleasing action sequences with emotional repercussions that keep you fully invested” said NME’s Nick Levine in his 4/5 review of the intergalactic smash.
What the fans said: Fans were mostly happy with the film, with it currently hosting a fan-voted score of 7.4 score on iMDB. But an underwhelming box-office taking of $242 million worldwide upon its release in July leaves it well short of the billions grossed by rival franchise Star Wars in its return last year.
Billed as the summer’s biggest chance for a true box-office smash, the comic-book adaptation starring Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn and Jared Leto as The Joker has proved to be the year's most divisive.
What the critics said: Opinion from critics on the film was mixed, with the film receiving a poor 26% fresh rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes, however NME’s Dan Stubbs gave the film 3/5, “Suicide Squad pretends to be nothing more than a fun, fast, daft, superhero movie, and it absolutely delivers.”
What the fans said: In response to mixed reviews from the press, ardent comic-book fans petitioned to get Rotten Tomatoes shut down. The film has currently grossed a whopping $636 million at global box-office to date - far exceeding its $175m budget.
Seth Rogen’s crude food-based animated film has already gone on to become one of the year’s most-talked about films, despite being wholly inappropriate for anyone under the age of 12.
What the critics said: In NME’s 4/5 review, Olly Richards said the film is “so creative in its depravity that it’s hilarious”.
What the fans said: So far, the film is closing in on a $100 return at theatres worldwide, far exceeding its relatively meagre $19 million budget with fans praising the, er, inventiveness of explicit animation.
Remake of the fictional biblical tale featuring Romans, Jesus Christ and chariot races, with Jack Huston as the film's titular character.
What the critics said: Has taken a beating from critics, with New York Times’ Stephen Holden saying it “feels like a film made on the cheap, although it looks costly.”
What the fans said: Since release in mid-August, it has so far bombed at the US box-office, barely recouping half of its $100 million production costs, but a worldwide release is still happening, so there's still a chance of higher takings elsewhere.