Summer cinema wrap: The highs and lows of a middling movie season
With glorious summertime tragically wrapping up, it’s time to take an annual glance at the movies audiences enjoyed (or endured) over the past four months. Here, then, are some of the seasonal highlights and low points.
Best Use Of A Classic Song: George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord” in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Runners-up: Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain” in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2; George Michael’s “Father Figure” in Atomic Blonde; Simon and Garfunkel’s “Baby Driver” in Baby Driver; David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” in Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.
Worst Use Of A Classic Song: Michael Jackson’s “Bad” in Despicable Me 3. Runners-up: Olivia Newton-John’s “Physical” in Despicable Me 3; A-ha’s “Take on Me” in Despicable Me 3; Madonna’s “Into the Groove” in Despicable Me 3; Dire Straits’ “Money for Nothing” in Despicable Me 3.
Best Villain: Michael Keaton as Adrian Toomes/Vulture in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Runners-up: David (Michael Fassbender) in Alien: Covenant; The Colonel (Woody Harrelson) in War for the Planet of the Apes.
Worst Villain: A jaundiced Mr. Hyde (Russell Crowe) in The Mummy. Runners-up: Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem) in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales; Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker) in Despicable Me 3.
Best Kick-Ass Heroine: Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) in Wonder Woman. Runner-up: Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron) in Atomic Blonde.
Best Animal Act: The German shepherd Varco as real-life combat dog Sergeant Rex in Megan Leavey.
Worst Animal Act: Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.
Best “Girls Night Out” Movie: Girls Trip.
Worst “Girls Night Out” Movie: Rough Night.
Most Disappointing “Girls Night In” Movie: The Beguiled.
Most Miscast: Tom Cruise in The Mummy. Runners-up: Matthew McConaughey in The Dark Tower; Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne in Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.
Scene Stealers: Tiffany Haddish in Girls Trip; Michael Rooker in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
Most Insufferable Performances: Jillian Bell in Rough Night; Jon Bass in Baywatch.
Most Underrated: Alien: Covenant. Working in references to Milton, Michelangelo and Percy Shelley’s “Ozymandias” rather than to Marvel, mutants and Depp’s Jack Sparrow, this proved to be even more divisive than Prometheus and infuriated fanboys expecting nothing more than wall-to-wall action.
Most Overrated: Logan Lucky. It’s a fairly fun bit of Southern-fried hokum, but the main difference between this and the lambasted Masterminds is that this one is directed by critics’ darling Steven Soderbergh, giving it something of a free pass.
Movie I’m Most Sorry to Have Missed In Theaters: The Big Sick. Runner-up: Wind River.
Movie I’m Least Sorry to Have Missed In Theaters: The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature. Runner-up: The Emoji Movie.
Best Multiplex Movie: Wonder Woman. Following a rash of genre flicks that mistake nihilism for gravitas, this marvel of a movie is one of the few to unequivocally maintain that there’s still a place for uncompromised champions in our world. It punches this across with a savory mix of inspiring action, good-natured humor, and a formidable heroine perfectly embodied by Gal Gadot. Runner-up: Dunkirk.
Worst Multiplex Movie: The Mummy. A plastic product made by mercenaries, pimps and profiteers rather than filmmakers who actually give a damn, this is an insult to anyone who claims to love classic monster movies. Scratch that; it’s an insult to anyone who claims to love movies, period. Runner-up: Transformers: The Last Knight.
Top 12 Moneymakers
1. Wonder Woman – $406 million
2. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – $389 million
3. Spider-Man: Homecoming – $320 million
4. Despicable Me 3 – $255 million
5. Dunkirk – $174 million
6. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales – $172 million
7. Cars 3 – $149 million
8. War for the Planet of the Apes – $143 million
9. Transformers: The Last Knight – $130 million
10. Girls Trip – $109 million
11. Baby Driver – $103 million
12. Annabelle: Creation – $80 million
Biggest Stateside Bombs
(Domestic losses of $40+ million)
1. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets – Cost: $177 million; gross: $39 million; loss of $138 million
2. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword – Cost: $175 million; gross: $39 million; loss of $136 million
3. Transformers: The Last Knight – Cost: $217 million; gross: $130 million; loss of $87 million
4. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales – Cost: $230 million; gross: $172 million; loss of $58 million
5. The Mummy – Cost: $125 million; gross: $80 million; loss of $45 million
(Source: Box Office Mojo. All grosses are for U.S. only. Grosses as of August 30.)