After Hollywood suffered a weak first quarter, a big rebound this summer turned things around. Now the all-important summer box office season is wrapping up more than 10 percent higher than last year, on track to beat the summer of 2011's record $4.4 billion in revenue.
This was largely thanks to a calendar packed with big-budget tentpoles. "We've had 15 films that have done over $100 million this summer, compared with about 13 films last year, so it was a deeper slate than last year," said Eric Handler, an analyst at MKM Partners.
This summer's record comes despite some massive, high-profile bombs. Sony's $130 million budget "After Earth," grossed just about $60 million domestically, showing Will Smith's waning star power. And "The Lone Ranger," fell so far short of expectations that Disney announced it'll take a write-down of as much as $190 million on its attempt to re-introduce the retro title.