Except when movie theaters are closed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the summer movie release period is critical to the $11 billion the industry brings in from ticket sales every year. Some of the biggest releases are done over the three long weekends of the season: Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Labor Day. If COVID-19 cases drop off in 2022, summer ticket sales will be a bonanza for an industry already challenged by the rise of streaming, as shelter from home viewership made a sharp upturn.
A few major movies set to be released in the next few weeks could still make summer 2021 something more than a bomb for theaters. These include “Candy Man,” “Beatles: Get Back,” “Malignant” and “Catch the Bullet.”
To determine the biggest summer release of all time, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data on box office from the film industry site The Numbers. Summer-release movies were ranked based on lifetime domestic box office. Only films with domestic release dates in June, July or August were considered. Data on worldwide box office also came from The Numbers. Supplemental data on Tomatometer scores came from Rotten Tomatoes. Data on each film’s IMDb rating came from the Internet Movie Database. And film descriptions were drawn principally from Google and IMDb websites.
The biggest summer movie release was “Jurassic World,” which hit theaters in 2015. Here are the details:
- Domestic box office: $652.3 million
- Worldwide box office: $1.7 billion
- Tomatometer score: 71% (351 critic votes)
- IMDb rating: 7.0/10 (585,222 audience votes)
In this film, Jurassic World is now a functioning dinosaur theme park built on the ruins of the original park. Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard), the manager of the new park, welcomes her two nephews on a visit. But the nephews enter a restricted area and encounter the Indominus rex, a dinosaur made by a gene-altering procedure, and a highly lethal one.