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The major studios will never admit it, but they are always in competition with each other, and it's always good to have a leg up. And its a long year, with a lot of jockeying to occur between studios, and a loaded winter season on its way of new releases ready to break box office records. Still, forgive Fox for doing a bit of a strut-walk as currently they're the most successful studio of 2014.
Box Office Mojo confirms that Fox is the first major studio to reach a billion in domestic receipts. The interesting part of this is how Fox did this the old-fashioned way, by mixing a couple of massive blockbusters with some smaller films. Leading the way was X-Men: Days Of Future Past , which has collected nearly $230 million domestic since its May opening, while also doing huge business overseas. They're also likely to see massive success from the recently-opened Dawn Of The Planet of The Apes, which is a lock to register at the very least $200 million stateside.
Unfortunately the news wasn't all good for the studio. Dreamworks teamed with Fox to release their films but the result were three underperformers. How To Train Your Dragon 2 was viewed by many to be one of the summer's biggest hits. Instead it will finish well below $200 million, even though its predecessor landed at $217 million. And Mr. Peabody And Sherman didn't have much brand recognition and sputtered to an underwhelming $111 million. At the very least, Rio 2 did well, though it also couldn't match the earlier effort.
But keeping costs down and courting female audiences worked fairly well. The Fault In Our Stars was a buzzy-enough film to land just under $120 million, and Cameron Diaz proved to be a name worth another gamble as she notched another hit with The Other Woman ($84 million). They also saved some cash by converting miniseries The Bible into the $60 million-grossing Son Of God and getting Fox Searchlight to back the $58 million hit The Grand Budapest Hotel.
Fox has a pretty killer lineup set for later this year as well. They have a toon (The Penguins Of Madagascar) and a family film (Night At The Museum: Secret Of The Tomb). There's your big faith-forward blockbuster (Exodus: Gods And Kings) and your nasty R-rated crowd-pleaser (Kingsman: The Secret Service) standing alongside awards bait like David Fincher's Gone Girl. None of the upcoming films look like monster billion dollar hits, but there are sure ways to get crowds in the seats to promote what looks like a diverse lineup without breaking the bank.
Box Office Mojo expects Fox to finish with over $1.8 in billion dollar domestic gross. Soon to join the billion dollar club is Warner Bros., while Disney likely crosses the line sometime next month.