2016 has not been the best year for big summer movies. Many of the movies we were waiting for all year disappointed greatly in terms of quality, and audiences weren't having it. While much of the time poorly made and reviewed movies will still manage to clean up at the box office, that really wasn't the case this year. Just because a studio spends $100 million to make a blockbuster movie, doesn't automatically mean people are going to see it and that is a lesson studios may be forced to learn after a rough summer movie season.
Just to give an idea of just how bad the 2016 summer movie season was, here is a very overstated example. According to Box Office Mojo, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice finished up its cinematic run with $872 million worldwide on a staggering $250 million budget. Perplexingly enough, that makes Batman V Superman both one of the year's biggest hits, and biggest disasters all at the same time. On paper, the movie made a ton of money, and there is no denying that. On the other hand, after marketing and a massive budget, that really isn't the turn around that Warner Bros. wanted. In truth, this was the first movie to ever feature Batman and Superman together. It should have been a license for the studio to print money. Instead, they made a (by most accounts) bad movie and lost a big opportunity.
If the summer of 2016 proved anything, it is not that people have "superhero fatigue," it is that they just want good superhero movies. Deadpool became the biggest superhero movie fox ever made, grossing $782 million on a $58 million budget and with an R-rating. On the flipside, X-Men: Apocalypse, while still successful, only made $542 million, failing to match Days of Future Past and not managing to capitalize on a cast full of big names. The primary thing to note is that Deadpool was received very well, it made good money. Apocalypse was met with lukewarm response, and it made okay money. Captain America: Civil War was one of the best-reviewed movies of the year, and it is the highest grossing movie of the year, with $1.15 billion. It is a pretty simple trend to trace.
But not everything is superheroes. We were coming off of the summer of 2015, which had a very mixed bag of very satisfying and very successful blockbusters. Jurassic World made $1.6 billion worldwide and rejuvenated the Jurassic Park franchise. People love dinosaurs, apparently. The fifth movie in the Mission Impossible franchise, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, made nearly $700 million worldwide and is widely considered to be the best in the franchise to date. We also had Inside Out, San Andreas, Pitch Perfect 2, and a couple of massive superhero movies with Avengers: Age of Ultron and the surprise hit Ant-Man. Point being, it was a good summer with a wide range of hits.
While a handful of movies did well this summer, there were simply far more that disappointed on all fronts. This summer's' biggest bombs didn't discriminate. They ranged from failed, long-delayed sequels, to massive comic book adaptations and even well-liked movies that simply couldn't find an audience. No matter how or why they failed, here are the nine biggest bombs of the summer box office for 2016.
The Legend of Tarzan
Until the trailer dropped for The Legend of Tarzan, a David Yates movie that reportedly cost $180 million to make, it seemed like nobody even knew that this movie was happening. Perhaps more importantly, did that many people even want to see a new Tarzan movie? Let alone one that flashy and expensive? The answer was, not really. While it would be hard to call this movie a total bomb, its massive budget and marketing campaign are what really sunk the ship. The movie grossed $354 million worldwide. With a more modest budget, that would have been a success, but $180 million is a massive price tag, and that is not what the studio was hoping for in return.
In this particular case, Warner Bros. simply seemed to have a lot of faith in David Yates. He directed the last four Harry Potter movies, all of which raked it in at the box office and were very well liked. He also directed the upcoming Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, also expected to be a massive hit. So, why not let him do a Tarzan movie? It really didn't help anything that critics weren't having it, as the movie currently sits at a very poor 36 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. All told, The Legend of Tarzan certainly wasn't the biggest bomb of the summer, but it really is a seemingly avoidable one.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows
The 2014 Michael Bay produced reboot of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles may not have been what anyone wanted it to be, but it made a lot of money. The movie grossed just shy of $500 million worldwide on a $125 million budget. So, a sequel seemed like a pretty good idea. The problem seemed to be that nobody had faith in the sequel being any good. By most accounts, it wasn't, as the movie currently sits at 38 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.
As a result, Paramount took a pretty big hit on this one. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows cost more to make (an estimated $135 million) and brought in a lot less money. The movie finished its box office run just shy of $245 million worldwide. After the marketing costs are factored in, the movie very likely won't break even, at least until Blu-ray and VOD sales are factored in down the road. Paramount really needs a franchise to cling to, but it looks like the turtle power wore off pretty quickly. With Out of the Shadows bombing, we will likely either be looking at a reboot or a very modestly budgeted third entry in the future.