Which of the Six Major Studios Won the 2017 Summer Movie Season?

     September 1, 2017


While studios continue to place tentpoles throughout the calendar, the summer movie season is still a warzone where every weekend new films vie for supremacy at the box office. It’s easier to be a film in February or March and make a splash rather than one that’s released from May through August. Furthermore, summer 2017 wasn’t great for the domestic box office as theaters reported declining sales, and rather than look at how to revitalize their business, whined about Netflix and shorter release windows. Nevertheless, summer 2017 had its share of success stories among the flops.

I’ve gone through wide-releases from the six major studios (Disney, Warner Bros., Sony, 20th Century Fox, Universal, and Paramount) and looked at their worldwide grosses for their major films. That’s not to disrespect the work of mid-range studios like STX, Lionsgate or Open Road, or subsidiaries like Fox Searchlight. Additionally, if a mini-major like New Line or TriStar had a wide opening weekend release, I grouped it under its parent studio.

The other challenge is trying to gauge success beyond raw dollar figures. For example, Transformers: The Last Knight made far less than the previous installment, but it still probably accomplished its primary mission, which is to sell Transformers merchandise. By the same token, a movie like Girls Trip may not have made $600 million worldwide, but breaking $100 million off a budget of less than $20 million is a huge return on Universal’s investment.

So with all that in mind, there’s a bit of a tilt here, since we also have to consider when a film was released, how many territories it has hit (for example, Spider-Man: Homecoming still hasn’t opened in China), and other factors. You can argue with the rankings, but here’s my take on how each studio fared over the summer.

[Note all figures are via Box Office Mojo]

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