This last January, a report surfaced that painted a grim picture of the film industry. In 2014, box office numbers dipped 5.4%, even with offerings like Lego Movie, The Hunger Games, and Guardians of the Galaxy carrying the bulk of the load. Some theorized that it was an unfair distinction to make given the record-breaking success of 2013, but the hard truth of the matter was that people simply weren’t going to movie theaters anymore. In the wake of all this, 2015 has proven to be a different animal altogether.
Much has been said of Jurassic World breaking the all-time record for a weekend release, topping out at over $208 million. If you’ll remember though, another 2015 release finds itself in 3rd in that very same category with Avengers: Age of Ultron. In just three months, we’ve seen two movies climb within the top 3 all time openings at the box office, an indicator of just how big a year it’s been as we approach the halfway mark. It’s a feat that has quickly quelled all doubts about whether or not people will still wait in line for opening night, showing 2013 to be more of an aberration than par for the course.
It’s not all about the all-time list though. Box Office Mojo gives us a handy breakdown of the record openings for each individual month, showing us that in 2015 alone, each respective record has been broken in four of the last six months. February’s opening weekend record was shattered by Fifty Shades of Grey, while April’s Furious 7, May’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, and of course June’s Jurassic World all did the same. It’s a stunning run of success that’s shown you don’t need a comic book hero to make money (although sequels and adaptations still reign supreme).
It’s easy to forget in the thick of all this that some of 2015’s most anticipated releases have yet to even hit theaters. Sure, Jurassic World and a new Avengers movie sit atop the throne of big premieres… so far. But that’s not even considering the fact that the following films are due out soon: Terminator: Genisys, Ant-Man, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, Spectre (the newest Bond movie), The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, The Hateful Eight (Tarantino’s next film), and of course, Star Wars, Episode VII: The Force Awakens. All — excluding Tarantino’s — are either sequels or franchise tentpoles, and there’s a solid chance that the record-breaking will continue with them.
It’s safe to say we’ve never had a year jam-packed with this many beloved franchises hitting theaters, further emphasizing to Hollywood bigwigs that the days of original stories acting as moneymakers (Avatar excepted) may truly be at an end. The sheer volume of sequels set to carry 2015’s box office numbers is “Exhibit A” for this case. It’s an unfortunate trend to say the least, but money speaks louder than words in Hollywood.
This year could likely wrap up as the most successful one in the film industry’s history in terms of dragging people away from their computer screens and into movie theaters. An avalanche of big ticket releases are looming on the horizon, with Jurassic World and Age of Ultron acting merely as heralds to the coming storm. Buckle in folks, 2015 is the year of the box office, and it’s not stopping anytime soon.
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