The Summer Of Nerd: How Geeky Movies Did At The Box Office

Senior Contributor
08.26.13 20 Comments

This was a somewhat low key box office season; by all accounts receipts were mediocre, with only a few movies really taking in the gold. And a lot of them were movies for geeks. Now that the last SF movie for the summer, The World’s End, has arrived and sadly didn’t top the box office, let’s take a look and see how summer went.

<!–pagetitle:Iron Man 3–>

Despite mixed reviews, Iron Man 3 was a bulldozer, racking up $1.2 billion at the box office. It also likely will be the last one: The cast is just too expensive at this point.

<!–pagetitle:Star Trek Into Darkness–>

The Star Trek movie for people who hate J.J. Abrams, aside from a crappy opening and finale, was a solid base hit, doing slightly better overseas than it did in the US, making $458 million. Against a $190 million budget, that’s pretty good, but Paramount may think twice before throwing another $200 million at the franchise.

<!–pagetitle:After Earth–>

Hey, remember when Will Smith was a movie star? Neither does anybody else: This made $243 million on a $130 million budget. They should have just made it Scientologist propaganda, then at least it would have been funny.

<!–pagetitle:The Purge–>

Meanwhile, this somewhat campy, if well-meaning, futuristic thriller racked up $83 million on a $3 million budget. Yes, they are working on a sequel.

<!–pagetitle:This Is The End–>

An insane comedy about the end times and how celebrities utterly fail to deal with them, this movie was surprisingly hilarious and had a much broader scope than the trailers hinted at. Also, it has Jonah Hill getting raped by a demon, which is funny enough to make it gross $113 million on a $32 million budget.

<!–pagetitle:Man Of Steel–>

There were a lot of complaints about Superman not saving civilians enough, although I think it didn’t detract very much from a great Superman movie. Either way, people liked it: $650 million worldwide is nothing to sneeze at, even if the sequel is really a Batfleck movie.

<!–pagetitle:World War Z–>

The movie most widely expected to tank like Ishtar actually came from behind. It helps considerably that it was a solid, zippy action film, even if there were some problems with the plot. It made $526 million worldwide, surprising pretty much everybody (us included) and meaning we’ll probably see at least one more big-budget, epic-scale zombie flick.

<!–pagetitle:Pacific Rim–>

In America, this was disgracefully beaten by Grown-Ups 2 at the box office and came just shy of $100 million. Fortunately, the rest of the world has picked up our cultural slack: This has made more than $300 million outside the US. And yes, that means we will be seeing gigantic cyborgs in a sequel, providing Guillermo Del Toro can focus enough to make it.


The Dark Horse Curse strikes again: R.I.P.D. had a $130 million budget… and grossed only $60 million worldwide.

<!–pagetitle:The Conjuring–>

Meanwhile, this horror movie, largely a demonstration that horror movies work best when they’re well cast, cost $20 million and made $220 million.

<!–pagetitle:The Wolverine–>

Leaving aside a terrible third act, The Wolverine was a substantial step up for the X-Men franchise, and it made $350 million against a $120 million budget.

It wasn’t as thoughtful as District 9, so it tried to make up for it with more stars. At $113 million against a $90 million budget, that’s not working out so well.

<!–pagetitle:Kick-Ass 2–>

Amazingly, this cost less than the original Kick-Ass… but it’s still having trouble making its budget back, with only $38 million so far.

<!–pagetitle:The World’s End–>

This sadly did not close the summer with a massive box office win. But, on the other hand, with $8 million grossed, a $20 million budget, and $16 million already from the UK, it’s hard not to see the Cornetto team coming back.

Any unjust losses? Anything we missed? Let us know in the comments.

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