Through June 23rd, the 2014 domestic box office totals $4.96 billion, which lags a bit behind 2013's $4.99 billion. Over the remainder of the Summer, that gap is likely to widen, which will in turn decrease the odds that the full year tops 2013's record $10.9 billion haul.
The year-to-year discrepancy can be explained entirely by the lack of a blockbuster on par with Iron Man 3. As of this time last year, the Marvel sequel had earned over $400 million. In comparison, this year's highest-grossing movie is over $140 million below that level (The LEGO Movie with $256.7 million).
Of course, the rest of the lineup could have made up that difference. Unfortunately, Summer 2014 has been slower than expected. Through Monday, the Summer box office is at $1.79 billion, which is down 13 percent from last Summer's $2.07 billion haul. Only one movie—X-Men: Days of Future Past—has reached $200 million. In comparison, last Summer had four $200 million movies by now (Iron Man 3, Fast & Furious 6, Star Trek Into Darkness, Man of Steel).
Unfortunately, the situation isn't going to improve much in the next few weeks. Over this past weekend, the Top 12 earned $138.8 million, which was off a massive 40 percent from the same weekend last year: Think Like a Man Too and Jersey Boys were no match for Monsters University and World War Z.
Transformers: Age of Extinction should substantially close the gap this coming weekend. However, the Fourth of July is looking pretty dire. Last year, Despicable Me 2, The Lone Ranger and Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain combined to earn over $123 million. That's a tally that Tammy, Deliver Us From Evil and Earth to Echo have no chance of matching.
Ultimately, July 2014 will almost certainly lag behind July 2013's $1.37 billion (the second-biggest month ever). Even with Guardians of the Galaxy and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, August may have a tough time matching last year's record $929 million.
So what does this mean? At the start of Summer, the domestic box office was up nine percent year-over-year. By the end of the season, it will be trailing 2013 by at least two percent. Closing that gap isn't impossible, though it would require a record performance during the fourth quarter. Can Interstellar, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (along with many other would-be hits) get the job done? We'll see.
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• May Box Office Hits Lowest Level Since 2010
• 'Captain America' Dominates Strong April at the Box Office
• March Reaches $800 Million, Fall Short of 2012 Record
• 'LEGO' Leads Not-So-Awesome February
• 'Lone Survivor' Leads Best January in Four Years
• Strong November Box Office Falls Just Short of Record
• Holiday 2013 Forecast
• 'Gravity' Dominates Disappointing October
• 'Insidious' Leads Average September
• 'Despicable' Drives July to Second-Highest Monthly Gross Ever
• 'Man of Steel,' 'Monsters U' Lead Record-Setting June
• Summer Calendar Grosses
• 2014 Grosses (2014-only releases)
• Year-to-Date Comparison