Worst Summer of the 2010s?
Without really looking into what professionals and industry insiders say, I am largely "underwhelmed" by this year's summer posing as an ordinary moviegoer and film lover. Well, there's nothing with the schedule, which is sure as tightly-packed as people might have expected from the industry in recent years. I was thrilled by the sight of big films coming out every week in the future months back in May, and with Civil War coming out and preceding Disney flicks fresh in my mind I must say I was once enticed by what the cinema had to offer imminently.
The summer started off sluggishly. A bunch of sequels like TMNT2 and Looking Glass fell short of expectations, so as the long anticipated Resurgence. As the Civil War craze ebbed away and the latest X men addition - Apocalypse, performed in midddling fashion both critically and financially I was shaking my head saying, "this does not look good. This is disappointing". This was the portent of what would follow up in the rest of the summer - superhero films proving that they are no longer impervious, comedies failing to acheive box office heights despite being not bad in 2016, and action films reaching the trough in terms of quality as few to no entry was able to live up to the barrage of hits from 2015: MI5, Fury Road, Kingsman, and even Spectre (decent action film). For such a while I was eager, enthusiastic and excited for the happening of Dory, the entry that would sure deal ripples on the animation canon and the family film genre. I will say I was gratified as the 94% RT rating met my expectation and it went on to upset Civil War for the Summer Box Office Crown domestically, even though it failed to match Zootopia internationally. Yes, I was satisfied for just a brief week or two, then there came the barren wasteland that was all the summer was about.
Who can stand the utter disgrace Suicide Squad has displayed during its run in mid August? Unable to prove to critics the potential of DCEU and once again has to resort to the comfort zone of DC fanboys support; such causing so much division in the Internet. Such can be said the same to Ghostbusters, one of the most hated films prior to release and couldn't really do much else except mustering a fairly handsome rating and minimizing the financial losses. Sadly, these two films were already the biggest talks of August 2016.
The much anticipated Jason Bourne was as unlikely to be a flop as it was unlikely to break the 2016 summer movie jinx. As its reviews came it was close to certain that 2016 is having some dismal luck. Paul Greengrass plus Matt Damon duel was somehow not effective enough to live up to the towering standards of its predecessors. (I think Bourne's actually good, 7/10) Well, it is still considered by far the best action movie of the year so... Idk. The standards of 2016 cinema...
Sometimes the problem is not with the film quality, but with the audience's taste. Simply put films that were clearly receiving the praises saw poor returns in box office - the likes of "Star Trek Beyond", "The Nice Guys", "The BFG", while some others were largely popular while exhibiting subpar quality. One of such films I'd want to note is "The Secret Life of Pets" from Illumination (the diabolical maker of the infamous Minions) which, despite being a fun, average animated adventure, it surely doesn't deserve a #3 spot when it comes to summer domestic totals. The film structure is wobbly and plot elements are vastly ordinary (lazy remake of Toy Story, simply put), so if without the factor of marketing there is no way they should have made this far.
Last but not least, Disney under Buena Vista extended its complete domination with most of its big hitters doing just right. Releasing slightly less films than its miserable counterparts but still managed to amass twice the amount of returns earned by the #2 studio and pocketing the top four highest grossers worldwide, with three of them topping the domestic list, Disney may as well avenge successfully after straight years being the #2 in annual box office showdowns, on the pretext that it will go smooth for the rest of the year.
That's all Im gonna say about the summer movies of 2016. One of the worst summers in recent years, probably. I even think the months prior to June had given us more fruitful, memorable, high-standard films than the dreaded summer, which is not a common scenario and might prove to be an interesting trend to hold on to for future meditations. But for now, let's just cling onto those better films and cross fingers for an auspicious fall movie season so to end 2016 on an uplifting note.