Open Forum Friday: Was This Summer Movie Season a Total Bust?


We’ve still got a couple of weeks left in August, but for all intents and purposes the summer movie season is over and all of the major blockbusters are now behind us. Although it’s pretty common to feel burnt out on big budget effects-driven movies around this time, for me the feeling seems a little more pronounced than usual. We’ve been hearing a lot of complaints about this year’s big movies being little more than “destruction porn” and it’s true that almost every action flick has been pretty relentless on that front. But is this year’s crop of blockbusters actually any worse than previous years?

As we’ve come to expect, there were a ton of sequels this year and most of them ranged from mediocre to bad. However, this year’s non-sequels were arguably even worse with movies like The Lone Ranger, After Earth and R.I.P.D. being both critical and commercial failures. Clearly, studios will continue to avoid taking chances on something new in the future. That being said, this summer is supposedly still on track to be the highest grossing summer of all time, so clearly people are still paying to see this stuff. What do you think? Was there still plenty of fun to be had at the movies this summer? Why did so many of the original tentpoles fail? Are blockbusters slowly becoming nothing more than destruction porn? Give us your thoughts here on Open Forum Friday.

  • pcch7

    I for one am disappointed.. Not so much for the “destruction porn” trend, I could deal with that as long as it’s done well.. I just think there’s been very few awesome movies. I could count them on one hand I think.

  • Stinker

    It was not a bad sommer, but it was not the summer of Johnny Depp and Emmerich, whos bad returns shook the studio, although i hope they still make movies like White House Down. Pacifc Rim and After Earth seems to got found there paying customer outside the US. Looks like the blockbuster of 2014 15 16 will have bigger appeal to the non US customer, to take some hits in the US Box office (possible) but score some brownie points with customer in Overseas.

  • Owozifa

    Iron Man 3 and The Lone Ranger were movies I didn’t expect to like and did. Everything else was either an expected turd or disappointment.

  • parapa

    To date this has been the worst year of movies I can remember since I started going to theaters. Almost everything has been either terrible or just disappointingly average. Iron Man 3 and Oblivion are the only moderate successes in my book.

  • kyri

    Every year Sean posts something similar, but this time I am afraid we all have to agree..
    And the scariest part is how much money those shitty internet-hyped piles of garbage films end up to make.. Teenagers worship them like religion. You see a couple of reviews here and there telling something bad about their Man O’ Steel and the backlash of vile comments is just insane.
    …..I am glad to at least have Film-Junk around..

  • Indianamcclain

    I agree with Pcch7

  • Gerry

    I haven’t seen Pacific Rim or Elysium. The Lone Ranger was the only
    blockbuster I liked.

    The early action sequences in Epic were more imaginative than anything I
    saw in any blockbuster, even if they only lasted seconds. Plus I
    found it emotionally engaging at the end, a feat none of the
    blockbusters managed. I also liked Colin Farrel’s voiceover. It was written off as being generic, which it clearly was, but I thought it was way better than all but one blockbuster.

    Re theme, there was the obvious 9/11 one in Trek, and the American
    invasion of muslim countries one in Man Of Steel, i.e. the Kandorians
    were the Americans invading an alien (muslim) world / country trying
    to terraform it into their vision of what a (mainly christian) world
    / country should be like. No one batted an eyelid when
    Metropolis / Iraq was destroyed and thousands were killed.

    When writing blockbusters the rules should be 1)make it entertaining,
    2)make it entertaining 3)make it entertaining 4) insert the theme /
    subtext if you can manage to do it without diluting the entertainment
    5) if you can’t manage to do it without diluting the entertainment
    abandon the theme / subtext.

    The only thing that should matter when making a blockbuster is make it
    entertaining. Two hours of destruction porn isn’t entertainment for
    me, so it’s been a shit summer.

    As pointed out already it’s been a terrible year for movies generally.

  • generic_horse

    not totally – oblivion was kinda ohkay, but a bust none the less

    *searches on google images for “big busted woman”*

  • Surprised that it’s supposed to be the highest grossing Summer of all time. Which movies are you all watching? ;)

  • Jason Black

    Not seen all the major summer movies but i feel let down. Biggest disappointment was MOS. Iron Man was what i expected but a disappointing final act. At the moment my top movie is Kick Ass 2!
    Seeing Elysium next week.

  • I’ve seen 16 movies in theatres since May, and I think I’ve quite enjoyed about half of them, but I stayed away from some of the blockbusters.

  • Ripplesdip

    I’m sure this year I have seen fewer films in the cinema then ever. I’ll be catching up on the video releases in the next few months. But yes, it’s felt really flat this year. I had huge hopes for Elysium…not seen it yet but from what I hear its about as average as all the others.

  • William Jack Strain

    It seems like this summer was only disappointing in comparison to last summer. How could it compete after the one-two punch of Avengers and the final Chris Nolan Batman movie. There was a lot of good stuff this summer (like every summer!) but nothing I could think of would be considered a ‘crescendo’ to a franchise, like DKR and Avengers.
    There’s a about a half dozen movies coming out every week, that variety alone should put down anyone making a blanket statement like, “this summer was a total bust!”

  • generic_horse

    ..and yet it doesn’t. variety is a whole other issue, you should compare this summer with the one last year, for starters. look at the titles and numbers on both, what do they tell you; then say it like it is: bust.

  • Ripplesdip

    I completely agree. I’ve been wondering that myself. Family films?

  • Bwaaaa

    I’d rather sit at home than make these Hollywood chumps anymore money.

    This is the reality that Hollywood should get used too and the talents paycheck should reflect the same.

  • David Sarnecki

    It’s really funny and interesting to see such a bomb filled mediocre summer make so much money. Stuff like World War Z which we assumed were horrible ended up actually not half bad, and stuff we wanted to succeed like Man Of Steel or Into Darkness were incredibly mixed bags with more than enough bad stuffed in there.

    Honestly the only big winner I can think of is Pac Rim, which I loved. But also it bombed.

    EDIT: You know? I totally forgot about Iron Man 3. That’s the only movie this summer I’ve gone from liking to LOVING. Such a great flick.

  • Jon

    The Wolverine was really the only Summer Blockbuster I enjoyed. Granted I skipped most of the big Blockbuster movies this year because nothing really interested me and each year I find myself less and less interested in seeing these types of movies.

  • Brian.M

    Not one of these summer movies was at the standard of last years Avengers, DKR or Prometheus. Which is not to say they were perfect movies but the movies the blockbusters this summer ranged from bad to decent, and that’s it.

  • Joachim Lothe-Rikenberg

    Well, my first walkout happened during The Lone Ranger. I guess that pretty much summarize my thoughts of the movie. Half way through I couldn’t take it any more. It was so long, and it dragged. I should have brought beer with me.

  • Jack Walkler

    The Lone Ranger was awesome. I don’t know what y’all are talking about.

  • Nick Poliskey

    I don’t know about worst ever, I recall 2010 being a pretty bad year also. I sitll think 2012 may go down as one of the best movie years ever, and this summer really had no chance to compete. The only movie I even remotely enjoyed this summer was Iron Man 3. Last year (not just the summer) had Prometheus, Dark Knight Rises, Hobbit, Django, Madagascar 3 (i know right?), all movies I felt lukewarm going into, but now I love. there is not a single movie this year I may re-watch with the exception of IM3.

  • devolutionary

    Yeah, only saw it once in the theaters but thoroughly enjoyed it. I think it’s another example of what can happen when you go in with unrealistically high or low expectations for a film. It was pretty solid with only a few noticeable (but not deal-breaking) tonal missteps. Certainly not mind-blowing or without criticism, but the backlash felt more like an antihype/over-budgetary reaction than anything else. As a comparison/contrast, I was way more satisfied with it than Pacific Rim, which I had just seen one day prior.

  • generic_horse

    this is evedently so, 2012 broke some records alright

  • DougK

    Yes, I know. It’s pretty much a bust until the last half hour, when the William Tell Overture kicks in with the grand-slam finale on the train. That’s when it came to life at last & the smile finally bloomed on my face. When the DVD comes out, rent it and watch just that finale.

  • ECONOMYpolitica

    The good were great, and the bad were horrible. Wolverine and Iron Man 3 are two of the best pure blockbusters I’ve ever seen. Star Trek and Hangover 3 were two of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. I walked out of both and I never do that. Can’t even think of another time I did. And Man of Steel was a steaming pile of shit.

  • ECONOMYpolitica

    If Oblivion counts as a summer blockbuster, add that to my list of favorites. I enjoyed the heck out of that movie. It was a really interesting examination of prevalent themes. Thought you guys didn’t get it. After Frank’s theme talk on the last ep, I am sure you didn’t get it.

  • Michael

    A lot of movies got labeled as bombs this summer, but I think part of that is this new expectation that Hollywood blockbusters should all take in a billion dollars like The Avengers did. The other factor many seem to overlook is that the economy sucks right now and less people have money to spend $20+ every week at the theatre. Why spend that when you can wait 3 months and get it from RedBox for $1.50. Most people have big-screen TV’s now at home, so going out to see a movie isn’t such a major difference anymore.

  • parapa

    Boxoffice isn’t the issue though, it’s the quality. Most of the movies that came out this summer have been awful to average. I think it hit worse this year in particular because most of the highest anticipated movies, Man of Steel, Star Trek Into Darkness, and Elysium apparently (can’t comment yet on this one), were all major disappointments. It seems like every weekend this year the consensus is either “it’s shit’, or “it’s good for about the first 45 minutes”.