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2015 summer box office sees record-breaking films, closes as second-biggest year ever

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Universal Pictures
The story of this year’s summer box office was the record-breaking rampage of Jurassic World, yet even so, domestic ticket sales couldn’t top a record set in 2013. Rentrak data shows that 2015 comes in as the second highest-grossing summer box office ever.

From May 1 through Labor Day weekend, the domestic box office grossed $4.48 billion. Variety reports that somewhere between 518 and 530 million people are estimated to have watched films in theaters this summer. The previous year, ticket sales were 10.4 percent lower, with 495 million people going to the movies. As Labor Day fell later than usual this year, the period measured was longer in 2015. Nonetheless, it’s summer 2013 that still holds the record, with sales reaching $4.75 billion.

2015’s success came largely from two studios: Disney and Universal. Between the two, their films accounted for 60 percent of summer revenue, according to Rentrak. For Disney, Avengers: Age of Ultron and Inside Out were the season’s biggest success stories, but Ant-Man wasn’t too shabby either, as it cracked the top 10. With four films among the 10 highest-grossing of the summer, Universal’s performance was even betterJurassic World topped the list, and MinionsPitch Perfect 2, and Straight Outta Compton all made appearances as well.

Paramount Pictures and Warner Bros. also had films in the top 10. Mission:Impossible — Rogue Nation was Paramount’s single film to make it, while Warner Bros. scored with two: San Andreas and Mad Max: Fury Road. Noticeably absent from the list are 20th Century Fox and Sony Pictures, which along with Focus, were the only other studios to crack the top 20 of the summer, according to data from Box Office Mojo.

Of the summer’s 10 biggest films, all but San Andreas and Straight Outta Compton are sequels, animated films, or comic-book inspired movies. Not coincidentally, these categories were also heavily represented among the highest-grossing films of 2013. That year, Iron Man 3Despicable Me 2, and Man of Steel were the three biggest blockbusters of the summer. It’s safe to say that studio will continue to go with these tried and true genres moving forward.

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Stephanie Topacio Long
Stephanie Topacio Long is a writer and editor whose writing interests range from business to books. She also contributes to…
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