SOAR/TANK

13 Biggest Box Office Winners and Losers of the Summer (Photos)

What soared and what tanked? Victoria Kezra looks at the 13 best and worst performing movies of the summer.

Disney-Pixar, via AP; New Line Cinema/Warner Bros. Pictures, via AP; Sony Pictures Screen Gems, via AP; Disney Enterprises, Inc., via AP

Disney-Pixar, via AP; New Line Cinema/Warner Bros. Pictures, via AP; Sony Pictures Screen Gems, via AP; Disney Enterprises, Inc., via AP

People are packing up their beach towels, and flip-flops are going on clearance, which means the days of summer are drawing to a close. Now we’re free to look back and take stock of the summer flicks. Which movies were swimming in money and which couldn’t draw in viewers even with the allure of blasting AC? These are the 13 biggest winners and losers looking at the production budget for each movie versus their domestic gross.

Disney-Pixar, via AP

Winner: Monsters University

What it cost: unknown
What it made: $263,478,00
Rotten Tomatoes score: 78%

 

The exact cost is unknown, but the sequel to Monsters Inc. had the second-biggest opening of any Pixar movie behind Toy Story 3. The big-name voice actors probably cost a pretty penny, but with these numbers the investment was worth it.

Reiner Bajo/Sony Columbia Pictures, via AP

Loser: White House Down

What it cost: $150 million
What it made: $72,425,692
Rotten Tomatoes score: 47%

 

There is a serious problem when not even Channing Tatum’s muscles can sell your film. Joe Morgenstern of The Wall Street Journal said in his review:White House Down is solidly within its genre. In a deeper sense, though, it bespeaks a fatigue that’s hard to distinguish from brain death.” Ouch.

Michael Tackett/New Line Cinema/Warner Bros. Pictures, via AP

Winner: The Conjuring

What it cost: $20 million
What it made: $133,827,000
Rotten Tomatoes score: 87%

 

From Saw director James Wan, this horror movie with a modest price tag succeeded on the strength of great acting, a good script, and genuine scares.

Sony/Columbia Pictures, via AP

Loser: After Earth

What it cost: $130 million
What it made: $60,522,097
Rotten Tomatoes score: 11%

 

Almost no other movie this summer received the public ridicule that After Earth did. The film was clearly a vanity project for Will Smith, playing the father of his real-life son, Jaden. Most people don’t know that M. Night Shyamalan directed this one. That might be because after several box office failures in a row, Shyamalan’s name was not mentioned during promotion of the film. If you look at the numbers, it clearly didn't matter.

Gemma La Mana/20th Century Fox, via AP

Winner: The Heat

What it cost:  $43 million
What it made: $157,256,00
Rotten Tomatoes score: 65%

 

The Heat was a risky movie for featuring two female leads in a buddy cop film, a genre that has traditionally been boys only. Directed by Paul Feig, who brought us another great Melissa McCarthy female-centric comedy in Bridesmaids, the consensus was that while the story wasn’t new, Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy had the chops to make it a fun ride.

Scott Garfield/Universal Pictures, via AP

Loser: R.I.P.D.

What it cost: $130 million
What it made: $33,018,00
Rotten Tomatoes score: 11%

 

Almost no one saw this Men in Black–style buddy cop movie about a society of dead policemen hunting ghosts. Not even Jeff Bridges as a cowboy cop could save this flick, making the second summer movie cowboy to get whipped at the box office.

Giles Keyte/Universal Pictures, via AP

Winner: Fast & Furious 6

What it cost: $160 million
What it made: $238,660,700
Rotten Tomatoes score: 69%

 

It’s rare that the sixth installment of 12-year-old franchise is still filling seats. The creatively named Fast & Furious 6 continues the great tradition of racing and action and was not only a hit with moviegoers, but critics seemed to like it as well. “Ludicrous, but undeniably fun and surprisingly affectionate, this is really all you could ask of a car crash movie, and more,” says Tom Charity of CNN.

Nicole Rivelli

Loser: Tyler Perry Presents Peeples

What it cost: $15 million
What it made: $9,177,065
Rotten Tomatoes score: 35%

 

With a cast that includes Kerry Washington and David Alan Grier, it’s a shame the movie wasn’t better. It seems that as of late anything with “Tyler Perry” in the title is doomed.

Universal Pictures, via AP

Winner: Despicable Me 2

What it cost: $76 million
What it made: $354 635,00
Rotten Tomatoes score: 76%

 

The second movie of the summer to feature Steve Carell as a father figure (though a much better dad than the philandering dad of The Way Way Back) did the original proud by being one of the top grossing movies of the year, falling in second place to Iron Man 3. Kids and parents just can’t get enough of those pill-shaped minions.

Peter Mountain/Disney Enterprises, Inc., via AP

Loser: The Lone Ranger

What it cost: $215 million
What it made: $88,431,000
Rotten Tomatoes score: 30%

 

Viewers didn’t have the patience for over two hours of aimless cowboy wandering, even if it was with Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer. As Time Out’s Tom Huddleston succinctly said: “The Lone Ranger is content to simply pull another western trope out of the bag—the honky-tonk whorehouse, the ranch raid, the cavalry charge—give it a CGI spit-and-polish, and chuck it in the general direction of the audience. The result is frustrating, lazy and lifeless.”

Michael Tackett/Warner Bros. Entertainment, via AP

Winner: We're The Millers

What it cost: $37 million
What it made: $109,565,00
Rotten Tomatoes score: 47%

 

This hard-R comedy did better than expected. Maybe Jennifer Aniston’s striptease gave the film a boost? It was the raunchy, cursing, crazy comedy of the summer.

Rafy/Sony Pictures Screen Gems, via AP

Loser: The Mortal Instruments City of Bones

What it cost: $60 million
What it made: $22,654,000
Rotten Tomatoes score: 12%

 

Based on the young adult paranormal romance genre that is so popular now, this series didn't capture the hearts of audiences the same way Twilight did. It seems Mortal Instruments committed the sins of being boring and confusing.

Daniel Mcfadden/Universal Pictures, via AP

Winner: The Purge

What it cost: $3 million
What it made: $64,473,115
Rotten Tomatoes score: 38%

 

A tiny budget and an interesting premise actually based off of an old episode of Star Trek might not seem like the way to big profit, but The Purge was able to deliver just that. Even though critics weren’t crazy about the near-future home invasion movie, audiences still flocked to see Ethan Hawke protect his family.