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Top Movies of Summer 2015

Updated on September 21, 2015


As usual, the studios use the summer months, when kids are out of school, and the working class adults take their vacations, to premiere their big budget tent-pole films. The summer movie season usually begins the first weekend in May with big budget action films such as Spider-Man (2002), Iron Man 1, 2 and 3 (2008, 2010, 2013), and The Avengers (2012). This year, Universal decided to debut their first big-budget blockbuster a month early when they released Furious 7 on April 3rd, arguably marking an early beginning to the summer movie season. Furious 7 was able to easily claim the highest grossing April weekend of all-time with a 3-day gross of $147M. The remainder of April saw no movie gross over $100M domestically.


May, usually the first month of the summer movie season, saw 3 sequels (Avengers: Age of Ultron, Pitch Perfect 2, and Mad Max: Fury Road), and one original disaster flick (San Andreas) release, each finishing with over $100M domestically. Although Age of Ultron grossed considerably less than the first one, it was still a huge box office success grossing over $1.4B. Mad Max: Fury Road, featuring Tom Hardy as Mad Max recieved rave reviews from critics and audience members alike, but did not bring in the type of crowd it had hoped, grossing just over $150M domestically versus its $150M dollar budget. It's world-wide gross, standing at $375M, might just be the decided factor in whether or not we get another sequel. I personally felt that Fury Road was one of the best action films I've seen in years.

The biggest disappointment of the month, and first out of two on the year, was Tomorrowland. The Brad Bird directed Sci-fi action/adventure film starring George Clooney failed to live up to the hopes of the studio, grossing only $93M domestically and $208M world-wide against a $190M budget. Include marking costs in there and you have yourself a box-office dud (bomb, failure, etc.).

Overall Critic Score (based on Rotten Tomatoes)

Critic Score
Shaun the Sheep
Inside Out
Mad Max: Fury Road
Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation
The Gift
Love & Mercy
Straight Outta Compton
Mr. Holmes
Based on Critic Score from Rotten Tomatoes.


June saw the release of two monstrous films (one record shattering). Everyone knew Jurassic World, the direct sequel to the first Jurassic Park (and forth in the series), was going to be big, but no one knew just how big it was going to be. Jurassic World opened on June 12 and quickly began shattering records, setting the all-time opening weekend record with $208.8M, on it's way to a $649.1M domestic gross, and a world-wide gross of $1.65B (both number 3 all-time). Early opening weekend estimates had Jurassic World grossing $120M. It's safe to say that Jurassic World and director Colin Trevorrow exceeded everyone's expectations. It's probably also safe to say that the quality and success of Jurassic World is what landed Trevorrow the job of directing Star Wars: Episode IV. The other blockbuster of June was the animated movie Inside Out, which opened the week after Jurassic World, and still went on to gross $351M domestically, and $747M world-wide, become the third highest grossing movie of the summer behind Jurassic World and Age of Ultron.

June did see its fair share of disappointments, including the sequel to the comedy hit Ted, the Entourage movie, and the 3rd entry in the Insidious franchise. Both sequels were unable to live up to the success of their previous films. While Ted 2 was a failure on all fronts (box-office, critics, and audience), Insidious: Chapter 3 was both a moderate success with critics and audience members, and only failed to live up to the box-office numbers of both it's previous entries. Entourage on the other hand, was received poorly by critics, and did poorly at the box-office, but was loved by it's fans.

Box Office Performaces

Domestic Gross
World-Wide Gross
Jurassic World
Avengers: Age of Ultron
Inside Out
Furious 7
Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation
Pitch Perfect 2
Straight Outta Compton
San Andreas


July saw the release of 3 big named sequels, 1 superhero action/comedy, and an Adam Sandler movie. July 1st saw the return of Arnold Schwarzenegger as the Terminator in Terminator: Genysis which failed to do anything of importance at the North American box-office, grossing only $89M. Billed as a sort of parallel sequel to the first two Terminator films, Genysis suffered from some bad marketing, which revealed a big plot twist in the commercials, and a possible disinterest due to the failures of the previous two sequels. Although a failure in North America, the $350M overseas gross has basically saved the franchise from extinction. 10 days later saw the release of the Despicable Me spin-off, Minions, which went on to gross over $1B world-wide.

The following weekend saw the release of two movies, superhero film Ant-Man and the Judd Apatow Directed comedy Trainwreck, both grossing over $100M. Ant-Man, though a mild success, failed to live up to the box-office numbers of it's fellow Marvel films, becoming the second lowest grossing film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It was a huge success with the critics and audience memebers, both praising the film for its melding of action and comedy. The following weekend saw the release of the Adam Sandler film Pixels (featuring Pac-Man and Donkey Kong), which failed to make much of a dent in the domestic box-office, but with its overseas numbers was able to manage a $203M world-wide gross. July closed out with the 5th installment in the Mission: Impossible franchise with Rogue Nation, which became a huge success overseas, grossing $424.8M on its way to a world-wide gross of $614M. The film, like its predessors, featured great action set pieces and stunt work, and a smart, engaging story.



August, considered the "dog days of summer", is the final month before the kids go back to school, and the final month of the summer movie season. August is not normally considered a big month for movies, but this year it was the worst August in over 10 years. Only one movie grossed over $60M, which was Straight Outta Compton with $156M (and still climbing), which turned out to be a surprise hit, with no one expecting it to gross as much as it did. Straight Outta Compton grossed more money in its opening weekend than any other movie during the month of August did in total. Another movie released during the month that did not gross a lot but was considered a success critically and financially is The Gift. It grossed a modest $42.7M on a $5M budget.

The biggest disappoint of the summer was Fantastic Four, which showed so much promise early on, but was critically panned across the board by both critics and audience members alike. Huge complaints about the lack of presence of the Fantastic Four and their powers until the midpoint of the movie, the huge marketing mishap in which action sequences shown in the trailers and commercials were cut from the actual movie, and the overall poor quality of the film (CGI), ultimately led to the movies absolutely terrible reviews and box-office turnout. The movie was only able to manage $55M in North America and $160M world-wide. Other huge disappointments were Hitman: Agent 47 and Sinister 2, both of which had a decent sized fan base hoping for quality films. Then there is the movie We Are Your Friends, which completely bombed (but did anyone expect anything else) grossing only $1.7M in 2,333 theaters for a theater average of $758. It currently sits at 4th for the worst very wide openings of all-time.

My Top Movies of Summer 2015

1) Jurassic World

2) Mad Max: Fury Road

3) Furious 7

4) Entourage

5) Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation

6) The Gift

7) San Andreas

8) Ant-Man

What's your favorite movie of summer 2015?

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    • swalia profile image

      Shaloo Walia 

      3 years ago from India

      i have seen only furious 7, jurassic world and mission impossible: rogue nation. it's kind of hard to name my favourite among these because I loved all three. furious 7 made me cry so hard especially during the last song. RIP paul walker!


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