GROAN… Summer 2009 Sets Box Office Record

Published 6 years ago by , Updated February 15th, 2014 at 4:25 pm,

summerpostersmain GROAN... Summer 2009 Sets Box Office Record

So we just finished telling you why the Summer of 2009 was the season of bad movies. Now, as if to validate our point (sarcasm alert) Variety has just announced that the Summer of ’09 has set a new record as the highest grossing summer of all time at the U.S. domestic box office.

So there you have it, folks, it’s official: Hollywood has no reason to ever hire good writers, produce good scripts, or offer us anything better at the multiplex than what Michael Bay can half-envision.


The numbers of course tell a deeper tale than that, so if you’d like to find out just how the heck this summer managed to break the box office bank, here’s the breakdown:

Top earners for the season were Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen ($399.4 million), Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince ($294.3 million), and Disney/Pixar’s Up ($289.6 million). We all know why the franchise players made bank (it certainly wasn’t because the newest installments were great films in and of themselves) and Pixar is a proven brand that happened to offer a truly exceptional film. Other crap sequels that helped fill the piggy bank: Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs ($193.3 million), Angels and Demons ($133.4 million) and Night at the Museum 2 ($176.5 million)

There were also some unexpected boosts to the box office this year, thanks to Warner Bros.’ breakout hit The Hangover ($270.2 million) and the Sandra Bullock / Ryan Reynolds rom-com, The Proposal ($160.2 million).

Rounding out the Summer ’09 box office cash pile were reboots/relaunches of popular franchises. On that front you had Star Trek ($256.7 million), Wolverine ($179 million), Terminator Salvation ($125.3 million) and G.I. Joe ($133.4 million and counting).

summer movies 2009 GROAN... Summer 2009 Sets Box Office Record

This really must be just a cruel joke being played by God, IMHO. You have he Writers Guild of America strike back in 2007, during which the scripts for a lot of these films were forced to go into production half-cooked (or less), and what’s the moral of the story? What’s the grand example that the talented writers in Hollywood can hold up to the studios? “Hey, you better treat us right, otherwise we’ll stop working and you’ll end up making more money than you ever have before!”

Pretty short soapbox to be standing on.

It’s also arguable evidence of the (snooty) stereotype that the average American moviegoer has the cerebral capacity of a third grader. Just looking at the numbers I have to wonder just how so many people could be so entertained by so much crap. It once again raises a question one of our readers put to us back in June, after the release of Transformers 2: Is there really a difference between movies like The Dark Knight and TF2 when both films start pulling in crazy bank? How much does quality count?

It was an intriguing topic before, but after hearing that the Summer of 2009 will go down as a the “best” summer at the movies ever (from a profit standpoint), it’s now a raging debate. Expect Screen Rant‘s post about it soon.

Source: Variety

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  1. I think the only reason because of this is the fact we all left one movie disapointed and went to the next “blockbuster” hoping it would be better than the last, I admit I saw most of these movies hoping for a diamond in the rough(didnt find one)
    Although I didnt watch harry potter (its a scottish thing…that & the fact wizards are Gay!)
    But yes this summer made the most money-but it still had alot of people wanting ther money back(I actually did get my money back after seeing Transformers 2)
    Lets just hope next years better

  2. I agree that there have been much better years. Hollywood’s become lazy & careless (for years). Of everything I saw this summer, UP was the best.

  3. good question asked Kofi Outlaw .I think hollywood studios have stopped going original ideas and have opted for a safer zone like making franchise which make almost 8 times more what a movie like original movie like district 9 or summer of 500 days makes only a small amount of money at box office despite good reviews and movie like transformers or gi joe make millions despite bad reviews .Sure i want both type of movies but summer movies was full of bad movies except for pixar which is genius and other few i excepted there will be good movies but i was dissappointed the only thing i am looking for james cameron Avatar which will great in 3d and peter jackson lovely bones.

  4. I think maybe the incerased price of movie tickets and the fact that not as many people are going on vacations could have affected this…

  5. Does anyone have the percentage drops from the first and second weeks? I’m thinking they made a lot more on opening day because of name recognition.

  6. I think Ken J nailed it. With the economy, fewer went on vacation which means increases in entertainment spending. I have went to more movies this summer than I have since I no longer had a life of my own (hubby, kids, 2 small businesses,etc, etc…)

    I’m curious to see how the rest of the year plays out (for Hollywood) considering all of the economists are predicting that everyone spent all of their disposable income on the cash for clunkers program (let’s all get a new car!)leaving the retail sector short-changed.

    My prediction is New Moon will break a few records.

  7. I think box office receipts on these films are also up because people seek escapist entertainment in a bad economy.


  8. vic u make awsome points.

  9. wes says:
    September 7, 2009 at 12:19 pm

    Does anyone have the percentage drops from the first and second weeks? I’m thinking they made a lot more on opening day because of name recognition.

    Here’s a good site for that info.

    I personally thought that this crop of summer movies were either just ok or not so good.Everyone raved about Star Trek,but even though I liked it,it was far from being great.

    I think that District 9 hands down owns any other movie to even come out this year,and another movie that was pretty much under the radar was The Hurt Locker.

    The bad news is,I think it’s only going to get worse each summer.The quality of movies aren’t going to improve as long as people keep doling out the bucks to see the half-hearted trash that H-Wood keeps churning out.

  10. Vic, i agree with you 100%. Star Trek, Harry Potter i knew would pull in top bank and were good movies i felt.

  11. The shouldn’t take any comfort from these numbers. People are more desperate for escape during a recession, so they’ll forgive more. Still, it would have to run longer and deeper than the last Great Depression in order to get me desperate enough to watch Transformers 2 for entertainment.

  12. It is what it is…There is no need to worry about quality because it is not there. Less than 10% of the films produced would be considered great film making..hey even good film-making..It’s down to demographics…kids love movies..18 and under=kids..they seem to not care if they are good or bad..they just the same films multiple times..They tend not to listen to reviews like people in their 30′s and 40′s so quality is not an issue..I lived in Saudi Arabia for 8 years and there are no theaters!!! SO imagine not having the choice of being able to go to a movie when you felt like it!! TF2 was not a great movie but it was fun to watch for the special effects and to see a favorite character from my childhood(Prime) kick some Decepticon butt..would I pay to see it again? No fr!gg!n way but I did enjoy it for what it was; a B-movie script with an A++ movie budget..


  13. Overall from what I can tell, in the last 10 years the worldwide population has lowered its standards as far as quality entertainment goes.
    Look at the tv ratings,,, people in mass are just eating up mindless crap daily.
    I think for some people, the world is so confusing and harsh that they just want to sink their head in the sand of tv/movies. GJ Joe looks better then there crap life so they make time,,,

    Ticket prices could be a factor but in my city the ticket prices have not gone up from last years yet,,,

  14. Why are “records” measured by the gross dollar amount? Everything should be based on ticket sales, this shows the true amount of people that saw the movie. In my town ticket prices have been slowly climbing, adding 25 cents to weekend price, adding a $1 to matinee. How can they say this summer was a record summer without showing the true amount of people that turned out for it?

    However, I do admit it could have been a record summer for a few reasons like all those listed above, but also think about 3D. I know some people, me included, don’t really care for the 3D gimmick (it really hurts my eyes), but all those little kids that went to see the animated shows in 3D? They probably begged their parents to let them go see it a 2nd or 3rd time with their friends just for fun. With a lot more theaters decked out with 3D projectors, the theaters can charge the 3D “fee” and claim higher gross.

  15. Like Ken J and a few others have said, I think the higher ticket prices have something to do with this. PLUS the fact that there WERE some good movies this summer: Star Trek, Up, District 9 and I liked Wolverine. Add in the economy, and you have the recipe for a record summer at the box office. The question of how popular these movies REALLY are is when DVD/Blu-Ray sales are released for these films. I bet more people buy Star Trek than Transformers.

  16. Wow this is sad. How many lame excuses can we conjure up to try to explain why this summer was such a big ticket selling summer?!? Why can’t you guys just admit that you are wrong and those movies aren’t horrible movies to the majority of movie go’ers out there. They made that much money, because people like to go to movies just to have a good time…not to nit-pick them to death. For God’s sake guys, go to a movie and just have fun watching it!

  17. On average ticket prices this summer are identical to last higher ticket prices is not the reason..

  18. Ticket prices where I live keep going up every year…

  19. @Wickamo

    Why don’t you head to McDonalds to eat that disgusting but best selling Big Mac while I head over to Ruths Chris to eat the most awesome steak ever.

    Of course I’m sure it’ll just be my opinion that the steak tastes better than that pre-processed, smashed, microwaved piece of junk from the Golden Arches.


  20. OK, I feel better now. Just had to get my standard reaction to your standard complaint out of my system. 8)


  21. They are basically the same Ken..NOrth American live in a bad area if you like going to the theater then..They have been the same here for the last two years..

  22. @vic
    yeah you go over to ruths chris and i’ll head over to my uncles farm and help kill a nameless cow that will serve as my ” most awesome steak ever”.

    At the end of the day ( a bad day at that) lots of people enjoy these films… Not all but lots. The “good” movies don’t promote there movies as much ( could be a good reason). Also noticed that lots of the same people that defend these movies promote movies like ” dragonball evolution, 12 rounds and sorority row”. Yes i know they pay the bills but c’mon really? I know you and i have bump heads with this before vic but what i’m trying to say is ” to each their own…” Its their money and they should be able to spend it on whatever they like and/or want. That is unless YOU want to buy us all tickets to see these “Good” movies. I saw hurt locker, star trek, up, public enemies, district 9 and pretty much agreed with your reviews on them but i am still allowed to enjoy me some tf2 as well.

  23. @Jago

    I used to enjoy a lot of movies when I was in my teens and early 20s that looking back now were crap, and if I saw them for the first time now I’d think they sucked.

    Like I said somewhere recently there are crappy movies that are still fun and then there are crappy movies that I think are just crap.

    If people want to see them, fine, whatever, but I’ll continue to do what I do and you and Wickamo will contine to debate me.

    It’s only movies – all in good fun (although some of these discussions sure get more heated than they need to considering the topic).


  24. @ vic
    Lol well of course i will debate and/or discuss on most terms against you… Not because i’m just trying to be negative but lots of times ( i’m not saying you) it seems to be a crime like something thats not in their liking ( district 9 for example… Eventhough i liked the movie… To others it seems like i’m supposed to love it). There are Crappy movies that YOU think are crap which is cool i have no problem with that… Its when i’m told what to like and what not to. Now again i’m not just saying your wrong to be against you ( i have agreed with some of your reviews before… Up, star trek, district 9, 9, public enemies, hangover, etc) just against certain statements like the theme above because i enjoyed most of the movies this summer.

  25. I’ve noticed that debates like yours Jago, are seasonal. They come around every year about this time.
    Its weird,,its like a never ending circle of justification over the point of, “I think its good, I think it sucks”…

    Now its time to drink heavily… 8-)

  26. @790
    i’m sorry that i don’t have the time that you have to debate and/or comment on this site but then again i don’t feel the need to comment on lots of or every thread either. If you feel the need to go into a thread just to say that rogen sucks more power to you but i’d rather just comment when i can and feel like it…( discussions do get more heated then need be but imo its comments like yours that make the discussions longer then they need be aswell).

  27. Point taken Jago,,,! :-)

    And yes Rogen sucks I’ll take it to my grave ,,,, argh.

  28. Four things come not back: The spoken word, The sped arrow, The past life, The neglected opportunity”

  29. Well, I don't think it is a bad movie summer….