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From a budgetary stand point for studios, as well as a content viewpoint from the audience, summer 2016 sucked. With a lot of mediocre to dismal films trying to make a living in the wake of the select few big hits, the word "success" wouldn't be the one we'd automatically want to use. And yet, from a monetary standpoint, things couldn't be better, as summer 2016 has ticket sales that are up 3%, with the box office haul being estimated at $4.14 billion, so far.
These surprising metrics came from comScore, via The Wrap, as this box-office breakdown comes from the 108 day period between the first Friday in May, up until today. With 2015, a record breaking year all around, bringing in $4.02 billion in that 108 day window, the market seems to have made a slight improvement. This is all the more surprising, considering that analysts had 2016 pegged as a year that would suffer a downturn when compared to 2015's rocket sled of a year.
So just how did summer 2016 go from garbage fire to diamond mine in one, fell swoop? Well, it's because if you analyze the market on a case by case basis, you'll see that it was still pretty bad. With everything from X-Men: Apocalypse failing to conjure the magic of franchise past to the Ghostbusters movie backfiring and Ben Hur not finding an audience, there were plenty examples of films doing it wrong. And yet, high profile successes such as Captain America: Civil War and Suicide Squad bookended the season, pushing this summer to heights that even the most generous box office predictors couldn't see coming.
It should be noted that the biggest summer box office year on record is 2013, which saw $4.37 billion enter through the door. While summer 2016 came close to that mark, summer 2017 might have a better bite at the apple, what with films like Spider-Man: Homecoming and War for the Planet of the Apes being released. While those two films are destined to perform well, it's our sincerest hope they continue to be the standard bearers of their respective franchises, as well as 2017's film market on the whole.
So was 2016 a good summer for movies? Again, if you're looking at the money making, then yes, it was one of the best. But if you're looking the hits vs misses ratio of what was put into theaters, you'd find a different picture altogether. Still, this summer did give us some great moments mixed in with the bad. Which means that the next time someone mention's Ben Hur's dismal wipe-out from last weekend, we'll always have Captain America: Civil War's airport sequence to remind us that it isn't all that bad.