2015 vs. past years
A total of 18 positively reviewed films hit the cineplex this summer in wide release, led by Pixar”s Inside Out. That”s an increase of two good summer movies compared to 2014″s total, though last summer”s best movie (Boyhood) had a higher score than this year”s leader. (Then again, it also had a higher score than any new film this century.)
|Inside Out||Boyhood||Before Midnight||The Dark Knight Rises||Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2||Toy Story 3|
In limited release, an impressive 99 films this summer (among releases with 7 or more reviews) met or exceeded the 61 cutoff indicating that critics generally liked the film. We tracked a total of 189 films in limited release this summer with at least 7 reviews from professional critics, and that equates to a success rate of 99/189 or 52%. Add in the 50 films released nationwide, and this summer critics gave positive reviews to 117 of 239 films, or 49%—a considerable improvement over 2014″s success rate of 44%, and the best figure in at least six years. By contrast, critics hated 13 wide releases (scoring 39 or less), and also panned 33 limited releases, meaning that 19% of all summer releases received negative reviews from critics (matching 2014″s percentage).
Good films have a Metascore of 61 or higher based on reviews from professional critics. Bad films are scored 39 or lower. (Percentages are not given for the 40-60 range, which equates to mixed or merely so-so reviews.) Only new films with at least 7 reviews are included.
You are watching: Best movies of the summer 2015
Best-reviewed films this summer
Below are the highest-scoring films (with a minimum of 7 reviews from professional critics) released during 2015″s summer months (from May through Labor Day Weekend). Note that a wide release film is one that screened in at least 600 theaters.
|Best summer wide releases – 2015 (min. 7 reviews) Movie Genre Score DVD/Blu-ray Streaming|
|2||Mad Max: Fury Road||Action/Sci-fi||89|
|3||The Diary of a Teenage Girl||Drama||87|
|4||Shaun the Sheep Movie||Animation/Family||81|
|5||Love & Mercy||Drama||80|
|9||Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation||Action||75|
|10||Me and Earl and the Dying Girl||Drama||74|
|…and the worst:|
|The Look of Silence||Documentary||92|
|3||Listen to Me Marlon||Documentary||87|
|8||The End of the Tour||Drama||82|
|9||The Second Mother||Foreign/Drama||82|
|…and the worst:|
Summer box office performance
2015 vs. past years
Now that”s an improvement. Propelled by Jurassic World, now the #3 movie all time at the domestic box office (and still closing in on #2 Titanic), the summer of 2015 was the second-most successful in history in terms of domestic box office revenues, trailing only 2013. (Note that because of Labor Day”s late arrival this year, the “summer” period had an extra week in 2015.) That”s an increase in total receipts of about 10% compared to 2014, while the number of tickets sold increased by about 5%–7% (final figures haven”t been tabulated).
After the summer of 2014 failed to produce a single film with over $300 million in receipts domestically (for the first time since 2001), four separate films surpassed that figure in 2015. And it was also the first summer ever in which three movies (Jurassic World, Minions, and Avengers: Age of Ultron) hit the $1 billion mark globally. Those hits, combined with upcoming releases like Star Wars: The Force Awakens, have experts predicting that 2015 will set numerous box office records by year”s end.
|$4.48 billion||$4.06 billion||$4.85 billion||$4.31 billion||$4.33 billion||$4.22 billion|
|Jurassic World||Guardians of the Galaxy||Iron Man 3||The Avengers||Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2||Toy Story 3|
|59 $647 million||76 $280 million||62 $409 million||69 $623 million||87 $381 million||92 $415 million|
Interestingly, most of this summer”s highest-grossing releases were also among summer”s best-reviewed films (typically, a dud or two sneaks into the top 10 list), while this summer”s biggest flops were all films that underwhelmed critics.
This summer”s best and worst performers
|Highest grossing summer movies – 2015 Movie Score Domestic Box Office|
|2||Avengers: Age of Ultron||66||$457,815,697|
|5||Pitch Perfect 2||63||$183,785,415|
|6||Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation||75||$182,536,692|
|9||Mad Max: Fury Road||89||$153,036,441|
|10||Straight Outta Compton||72||$150,214,495|
All grosses are domestic box office receipts through September 7, 2015 for films released between May 1, 2015 and September 4, 2015. Source of box office revenues: Box Office Mojo.
|60||$93.2 million / $208.4 million||$190 million|
|Fantastic Four||27||$54.7 million / $155.9 million||$125 million|
|Pixels||27||$73.9 million / $194.6 million||$88 million|
|The Man from U.N.C.L.E.||55||$40.4 million / $87.7 million||$75 million|
|Aloha||40||$21.1 million / $26.3 million||$37 million|
|Hot Pursuit||31||$34.6 million / $51.4 million||$35 million|
|We Are Your Friends||46||$3.3 million / $3.3 million||$6 million|
Production budget figures are estimates from various industry reports and do not include marketing expenses (which add considerably to the film”s costs). Note that some of these films are still in theaters.
|Jurassic World||59||$208.8 million||$48,855|
|2||Avengers: Age of Ultron||66||$191.3 million||$44,731|
|4||Inside Out||94||$90.4 million||$22,919|
|5||Pitch Perfect 2||63||$69.2 million||$19,930|
|1||The D Train||55||$0.4 million||$444|
|2||We Are Your Friends||46||$1.8 million||$758|
|3||Shaun the Sheep Movie||81||$4.0 million||$1,741|
|5||American Ultra||50||$5.5 million||$1,963|
* Wide opening weekends (at least 600 theaters) only.
Metascore prediction results
For the sixth year in a row, we asked our users to predict the Metascores for the biggest summer releases prior to the start of the summer movie season. (Those predictions are based only on having seen the trailer and description for each film.) On average, those user guesses were 11.4 points away from the eventual score. By comparison, the differential was 9.2 points last year and 10.9 points in 2013.
That”s not a great performance. And it is even worse when you consider that users were off by 20 or more points for five different films (compared to just two last year), including a whopping 35 points for what may have been summer”s most disappointing release, Fantastic Four. Then again, our users were within five or fewer points for eight releases, matching 2014″s figure.
Our users were again overly optimistic in their predictions, expecting a much better summer slate than the one that studios actually delivered. They overestimated the scores for 20 of the 30 films, and underestimated for just seven releases. (They were also dead on for San Andreas, while the final two films were delayed out of the summer season.)Usersalso were expecting just one of these films (Hitman: Agent 47) to be panned by critics. In fact, that film was joined by seven others in receiving overwhelmingly negative reviews.
|Pitch Perfect 2||60||63||+3|
|Magic Mike XXL||56||60||+4|
|Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation||70||75||+5|
|Avengers: Age of Ultron||73||66||–7|
|The Man from U.N.C.L.E.||62||55||–7|
|Straight Outta Compton||65||72||+7|
|Hitman: Agent 47||39||28||–11|
|Ricki and the Flash||69||54||–15|
|Mad Max: Fury Road||69||89||+20|
|Pan||64||release delayed to October|
|Masterminds||59||release delayed indefinitely|
Predicted scores are averaged from 1,589 user predictions made in April, prior to the start of the summer movie season.
What do you think?
What were your favorite movies this summer? Give us your list in the comments section below.