The summer release of major movies is nearly over. The most recent high budget flop was “Ben-Hur,” a remake of the Charlton Heston classic. It did a pathetic $11.4 million at the box office, overwhelmed by “Suicide Squad,” an improbably winner of three weekend box offices in a row. Its take hits $262.3 million, which put it at the number eight spot among the gross of all films this year. However, it is not even close to the results of “Finding Dory,” the 2016 champion with a take $478.5 million so far.
Animated films have often given films with actors a run for the money. This dates back at least to Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse days. It is also a testament to the value of franchises. “Finding Dory” is a follow on of “Finding Nemo,” made in 2003. Even a sequel made 12 years later works.
In the third spot so far this year, “Jungle Book” has raked in $363.2 million. It is a remake of a movie from 1967. The animated “The Secret Life of Pets,” made by the Universal division of Comcast Corp. (NASDAQ: CMCSA), took the number five spot at $346.7 million. “Zootopia,” another animated film, was in the number six spot, at $341.3 million.
Animation was only one part of the formula for box office success. “Captain America: Civil War” was in the number two spot with $407.7 million. The character has appeared in several films recently. He was born in a comic book in 1941. “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” made by the Warner division of Time Warner Inc. (NYSE: TWX), took the number seven spot with a box office haul of $330.4 million. “X-Men: Apocalypse” was in ninth place at $154.4 million. Just behind was “Star Trek Beyond” at $146.8 million, the grandchild of a 1966 television show that starred William Shatner, who at over 80 remains a celebrity.
If not an animated film, then a sequel. Almost nothing else worked this year. The formula is not perfect. The first “Ben-Hur” was made in 1959.