July Box Office Grosses Were Down, but 2018 is Still on a Record Pace
by Brad Brevet
August 8, 2018
July 2018 saw Universal take the box office crown, narrowly out-performing the Mouse House by less than $10 million. It was only the second time this year that a studio other than Disney topped the monthly box office. Disney, however, did claim the highest grossing release of the month with Ant-Man and the Wasp taking in over $186 million after hitting theaters on July 6.
Overall, it was something of a down July with calendar grosses reaching $1.188 billion, down -1.4% compared to last year. That said, estimated tickets sold for the month stand at 126.7 million, which, outside of the dismal grosses in 2014, is the worst estimated ticket count for the month of July since 1992. Somewhat on the bright side, at the end of the month the year was still pacing +8% ahead of 2017 and +5.9% ahead of the record domestic grosses in 2016. Of course, from a ticketing standpoint, the year currently ranks as the third worst over the last 20 years and one of only four years in the past 20 to not sell over 800 million tickets by the end of July.
As already said, Universal led the month of July with grosses topping $358 million from five films. While the studio released three films in July it was the late June release of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom leading the way, bringing in over $153 million of what has since reached over $400 million domestically. The Jurassic sequel has so far brought in over $1.26 billion worldwide, currently ranking as the 13th largest worldwide release of all-time, recently passing Disney's Beauty and the Beast.
Among Universal's July releases, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again led the way with nearly $77 million domestically. Universal and Blumhouse also released The First Purge, the fourth film in the popular Purge franchise, which has so far brought in over $68 million domestically, ranking as the third largest release in the franchise domestically, but with over $120 million worldwide it ranks as the largest global release of the series, on a meager $13 million production budget. Lastly, Universal's Skyscraper starring Dwayne Johnson debuted in mid-July and had something of a weak domestic performance, currently topping $65 million on a $125 million budget, but the film has so far brought in over $280 million globally with nearly $95 million coming from China alone.
Coming in $9.7 million behind Universal is Disney with $348.7 million in calendar grosses for the month, led by Marvel's Ant-Man and the Wasp, which brought in $186.7 million after releasing on July 6. The film is heading toward $200+ domestically having already outperformed the first film ($180.2m) and currently ranks as the 16th largest domestic release in the Marvel Cinematic Universe domestically. Globally the film still has plenty of grosses to take in with debuts in Italy (8/14), China (8/24) and Japan (8/31) on the horizon.
Additionally, Disney and Pixar's Incredibles 2 added just over $150 million to its domestic gross, which is just shy of $585 million as of publication. The film ranks as the largest animated title of all-time and the ninth largest overall domestic release of all-time.
Sony placed third for the month with $226.6 million in grosses from four films, led by the July release of Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation. As the third film in the popular animated franchise, Summer Vacation was the first to not release in the month of September where the previous two releases set, at the time, September opening weekend records. While the film wasn't likely to set a July opening record, it remained relatively on par with its predecessors, debuting with $44 million and so far bringing in over $138 million domestically. The studio also released The Equalizer 2, which featured Denzel Washington in his first ever sequel. The film went on to top its predecessor's opening weekend and has since brought in over $81 million domestically. Whether the franchise sees a third film will depend on how it does internationally as it has only hit 11 markets thus far and, of course, whether Washington can be convinced to give it one more go around.
Paramount finds itself among the top five studios this month thanks to the release of Mission: Impossible - Fallout, which delivered a franchise-record opening weekend* of $61.2 million and has since delivered nearly $135 million domestically and nearly $360 million worldwide with releases in Italy (8/29) and China (8/31) in the near future. Audiences and critics alike have loved the film, which begs the question as to just how much longer Tom Cruise can continue performing stunts that, this time, saw him break an ankle. I'm sure audiences are hoping he's game for at least one more mission, while the question lingers as to whom may be able to take up the mantle and lead the IMF into the future.
Warner Bros. rounds out the top five with $55.3 million from eight films in release. Of the bunch, the late July release of Teen Titans Go! The Movie was the studio's lone new opener for the month and it struggled to capture audience attention. The animated feature debuted with just $10.4 million and has since eked its way over $22 million. That said, while the studio enjoyed its second highest grossing year ever last year, topping $2 billion in domestic grosses for only the second time in the studio's history, the studio's 2018 grosses currently stand at just $760.2 million as of the end of July. This is the lowest total the studio has had by the end of July since 2006 and is down by nearly 30% compared to last year. There are some strong titles in the studio's future, however, with the September release of The Nun, October's Oscar-hopeful A Star is Born, November's Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald and Aquaman in late December. Additionally, the studio could be looking at a worthy hit in the mid-August release of Crazy Rich Asians, a release that has already drawn a lot of attention.
From a yearly perspective, by the end of July, Disney was leading all studios with over $2.5 billion in domestic grosses. To put that into perspective, that's more than the next three studios (Universal, WB and Fox) combined. Speaking of Fox, on July 27 "shareholders of the Walt Disney Company and 21st Century Fox agreed to a $71.3 billion purchase plan", which means James Cameron's next four Avatar films now fall under the Disney banner along with the likes of the X-Men franchise and other Fox-owned Marvel properties.
Otherwise, Universal is the second highest grossing studio for the year, topping $1 billion for the eighth year in a row. That said, at the end of July the studio was pacing -19% behind 2017, which ranked as the studio's second highest grossing year ever behind their monster 2015.
Finally, a list of selected films that closed out their domestic runs in June is featured below, in descending order by cumulative gross. At the top of the list is Fox's surprise success The Greatest Showman, which was in theaters for 219 days after debuting with what initially looked like a potentially troublesome $8.8 million over its first three-day weekend. Using that opening weekend to look at the film's impressive 19.8x multiplier, however, can be a bit deceiving considering it opened on a Wednesday. So, instead of comparing to all openings, comparing to just other Wednesday openers this was the largest multiplier ever, topping The Phantom of the Opera's 12.8x multiplier and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, which opened over the same weekend and finished with a 11.2x multiplier.
- The Greatest Showman (Fox) - Closed with $174.34M after 219 days in release
- Ready Player One (WB) - Closed with $137.02M after 99 days in release
- A Wrinkle in Time (Disney) - Closed with $100.48M after 119 days in release
- Rampage (WB) - Closed with $99.35M after 105 days in release
- I Can Only Imagine (Roadside) - Closed with $83.48M after 119 days in release
- Pacific Rim Uprising (Universal) - Closed with $59.59M after 126 days in release
- Overboard (Pantelion) - Closed with $50.32M after 63 days in release
- Truth or Dare (Universal) - Closed with $41.25M after 105 days in release
- Super Troopers 2 (Fox) - Closed with $30.62M after 84 days in release
- Show Dogs (Global Road) - Closed with $17.74M after 70 days in release
- The Miracle Season (LD) - Closed with $10.23M after 91 days in release
- Tully (Focus) - Closed with $9.33M after 63 days in release
- Hotel Artemis (Global Road) - Closed with $6.71M after 42 days in release
- Disobedience (Bleecker) - Closed with $3.48M after 77 days in release
- On Chesil Beach (Bleecker) - Closed with $.75M after 56 days in release
For a complete look at July's box office results, find calendar grosses here and grosses for all of the month's new releases here.
* Not adjusted for inflation
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