Friday, 19 July 2013

The Biggest Blockbusters of June 2013

By Zack Mandell

June is usually a calm month when it comes to films. Hollywood production houses release the biggest films in May when kids first get out of school and at the beginning of July to take advantage of the holiday weekend. June of 2013 was different thanks to two big films: "Man of Steel" and "Monsters University."

"Man of Steel," which offers a new look at the Superman story, set box-office records from the moment it hit theaters. The last film centering on the character, "Superman Returns," opened in 2006 and grossed more than $200 million, but "Man of Steel" beat that box-office tally in just a few weeks. The film made more than $246 million by the end of June, and experts predict that it will gross close to $400 million by the time it leaves theaters.

Disney and Pixar had another hit on their hands with the prequel "Monsters University." In less than two weeks, the film grossed more than $100 million in the United States alone, and it earned more than $80 million in its opening weekend. The only Disney/Pixar film that has opened with higher numbers was "Toy Story 3." Though some think the upcoming "Despicable Me 2" will beat the film at the box office, "Monsters University" was still one of the top-grossing films for June.

Based on a novel of the same name, "World War Z" stars Brad Pitt. The zombie flick opened to negative reviews and fans complaining that it didn't follow the story of the novel. Even the author of the book was outspoken about how much the film deviated from his story. Those complaints didn't hurt the film at the box office though. It earned more than $60 million in its opening weekend, making it one of the biggest hits of Pitt's career. By the time June ended, it hit more than $120 million, and the producers are already in talks for a sequel.

The first film in the "Fast and Furious" franchise opened in 2001, but the newest sequel showed that fans aren't done with the series. The film topped box-office sales in its first few weeks, and fans loved the deviation from street racing to a crime thriller. "Fast and Furious 6" grossed more than $86 million in June, bringing its total box-office results to more than $230 million in the US. It's clear that fans of the series will see other outings in the future.

Hollywood tends to release horror movies in the fall to capitalize on viewers getting ready for Halloween, but two horror films landed in theaters in June. "Evil Dead," a remake of the original 1980s horror film, opened to good reviews but didn't do well at the box office. "The Purge," a horror thriller starring Ethan Hawke, fared much better. Set in a future where everyone gets the chance to do anything they want for one night, the film opened to relatively positive reviews and grossed more than $60 million.

The surprise hit of the summer is the action caper "Now You See Me." Featuring a talented cast, including Isla Fisher, Woody Harrelson and Morgan Freeman, the film quietly opened at the end of May. Figures for June indicate that the film hit $100 million, and some believe it might make it to the $200 mark by the end of July.

Comedy lovers came out in droves for the films "This is the End" and "The Heat." "The Heat" stars Melissa McCarthy as a rough-and-tumble cop and Sandra Bullock as a straight-laced FBI agent. Bullock took a break from acting in recent years, and this marks one of her biggest roles since "The Blind Side." She hadn't previously done comedy since "The Proposal," which starred Betty White and Ryan Reynolds. No one should be surprised that the film made nearly $40 in its opening weekend, because McCarthy has recently had a string of hit films, including "Identity Thief" and "The Hangover 3."

"This is the End," the stone comedy headlined by James Franco, ended the month by making more than $70 million at the box office. Many call it the sleeper hit of the year, because the film, which focuses on the last night a group of comedians spend in Franco's house during the end of the world, had little marketing. The success of the film generated talks of a sequel to "Pineapple Express," which starred several of the same actors.

While June is often a slow month for films, June of 2013 changed things. Films such as "Fast and Furious 6" and "Man of Steel" sent viewers running to theaters, and it's clear that some of those films will dominate the July box office too.

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