May 2016 Box Office Highlights: 'Captain America' & 'Jungle Book' Topped the Month

by Brad Brevet

June 2, 2016

Due in large part to Memorial Day taking place one week later, May 2016 was off 15.1% from last year with a total calendar gross of $912.7 million. It's the lowest grossing May since 2010, the last time Memorial Day weekend took place during the last weekend of the month.

May's biggest title was Captain America: Civil War followed by another Disney title in the April opener, The Jungle Book, which brought in nearly 30% of its $342.5 million domestic gross in the month of May. That said, while the month itself was down, 2016 is already tracking to be the highest grossing year on record as the yearly domestic total as of May 31 was $4.47 billion, a 3.4% increase compared to 2015's record setting year.

As stated, Captain America: Civil War led the way in May, bringing in $379 million since its release on May 6. By the end of the month Civil War was, however, $34.28 million behind where Avengers: Age of Ultron was after the same number of days in release. Ultron topped May of 2015 with $427.5 million and had already amassed $413.3 million after 26 days in release compared to Civil War's $379 million.

Civil War, however, is just one of five Disney titles that were in theaters during the month of May, all of which have contributed heavily to the studio's record-breaking year so far. The Jungle Book was the second highest grossing release in May, bringing in $102.3 million. In fact, only Captain America and Jungle Book brought in over $100 million over the course of May's 31 days. The Jungle Book's performance is impressive to say the least as it has already delivered a 3.31 multiplier after opening with $103.2 million in mid-April. It has also brought in over $885 million internationally and places third worldwide for all of 2016 alongside Captain America ($1.113 billion) and Disney's Zootopia ($993.8m), that latter of which is looking to become only the fourth animated movie of all-time to make over $1 billion worldwide.

To give some sense of what kind of effect the Memorial Day timing had on the month, after just four days of release X-Men: Apocalypse finished third with $86.3 million. The top five was rounded out by two May 20 releases—The Angry Birds Movie ($74m) and Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising ($42m).

Meanwhile, there were two strong performances from a pair of limited releases that began expanding at the end of the month. A24's The Lobster has brought in just under $2 million in US theaters while expanding to only 116 theaters this past week. Mongrel Media contributed a little over $355k to the film's domestic total since releasing the film in Canada back in March. This weekend it expands further in the U.S., playing in 560 theaters.

The other release is Roadside and Amazon's Love & Friendship, which, after releasing in four theaters on May 13, expanded to 493 theaters last weekend and has brought in over $4.6 million so far. This weekend it expands into 819 theaters nationwide.

Other notable events that took place this month include Disney becoming the fastest studio to reach $1 billion domestically, doing so in 128 days, faster than the previous record set by Universal just last year by 37 days. A big part of Disney's success was Captain America: Civil War, which became the 25th film all-time to top $1 billion worldwide, a result that contributed to the thirteen films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe topping $10 billion worldwide.

Also last month, Deadpool topped $400 million internationally as the film's worldwide gross now stands at over $763 million. And one last billion dollar milestone was accomplished by Jennifer Lawrence whose films have now grossed over $5 billion worldwide.

In all, five 2016 releases have now grossed more than $300 million so far, two shy of the seven that hit that mark last year, including American Sniper, which went wide and earned 99.6% of its domestic total in 2015.

Titles looking to make a splash in June include this weekend's new release, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, along with upcoming releases including Warcraft, The Conjuring 2, Now You See Me 2, Finding Dory, Central Intelligence and Independence Day: Resurgence.

Notable among those titles is the fact five of them are sequels, and will bring the total number of sequels from major studios released in 2016 to 19 come the end of June*. Eight films within May's top twenty were sequels and there are still 13 to be released, not including films such as Doctor Strange, which could be considered the start of its own franchise, or even Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The big question with many of these is to wonder if they can improve on, or, at the very least match, the performance of their predecessors. As we've seen so far this year, that's a tough task.

Discuss this story with fellow Box Office Mojo fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @boxofficemojo and author Brad Brevet at @bradbrevet.

* 10 Cloverfield Lane was not considered a sequel in this count.

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