It wasn’t until the 1975 release of “Jaws” that summer blockbusters existed as we understand them today. Produced for $12 million, “Jaws” spawned a cultural event in which buzz around the film prompted audiences to watch and rewatch the movie, propelling it to the top of the box office. The film made over $470 million playing in theaters around the world – a huge success for a film released at that time.
Since then, Hollywood studios have consistently made big investments on summer movies, hoping to strike gold with a blockbuster hit. Of course, no such investment is a sure thing, and there is always a chance of failure. In many cases, a poor opening weekend can spell disaster for films that commonly have production budgets of $100 million or more.
To identify the worst opening weekends for summer blockbusters, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed opening weekend domestic box office grosses as a percentage of production budgets for large summer films. It is not uncommon for a movie to earn its entire production budget, and more, in the opening weekend. Each film on this list, however, made less than 20% of its production budget during its opening weekend.