Every summer, big Hollywood studios roll out big budget flicks, rich in special effects and celebrity actors. These blockbusters attract large audiences to multiplex and luxury movie theaters. Revenues from domestic and international ticket sales of these movie behemoths reach the billions of dollars.
Don't go in the water
The trend for summer superflicks started forty years ago with Jaws.
Filmmaker Steven Spielberg scared summer vacationers with this suspenseful shark attack story featuring a terrifying great white, a killing machine. Jaws raked in half a billion dollars worldwide, making it the highest grossing film of its time.
The on-screen recipe of thrills and chills continues today.
Avengers? or San Andreas? The tsunami of ticket sales at home and abroad towers over the hundreds of millions it took to produce these action mega-flicks. Shown in IMAX and 3D, extravaganzas like these are the offspring of big Hollywood studios and multiplex theaters. Their theme, saving the world from monsters or natural disasters of catastrophic proportions, is rather consistent.
In San Andreas, a massive earthquake threatens to devour California and action superstar Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson plays a rescue pilot battling against time to save his daughter, while in the process saving everyone else lucky enough to be in his path. The exceptional 3D visuals make up for what is, to say the least, a mediocre script. In its opening weekend, San Andreas grossed over $50 million, while Marvel's latest superhero flick, The Avengers: Age of Ultron, a $250 million production, has so far brought in over a billion dollars worldwide. Disaster films are Hollywood's major export as they cross cultural barriers and can excite any audience, while top stars such as The Avengers' Robert Downy Junior, Scarlett Johansson and Chris Hemsworth are bankable the world over.
For the older crowd, Hollywood also invests heavily in productions that hearken back to older film franchises. This summer, 14 years after Spielberg’s last Jurassic Park installment, Jurassic World comes roaring back, with a larger, fiercer T-Rex wreaking havoc. The film cost $150 million, and the revenues? The sky's the limit. The film's premiere in Washington, DC, featured endless lines of Indomitus Rex's movie fans. Universal Studios will profit not just from theater ticket sales but also from its pricey admission fees to the Jurassic Park theme park in Orlando, Florida, and its movie merchandise in the U.S. and abroad.
Other blockbusters return with mature mega-stars, mainly men, who still hold a spell over movie-goers. They capitalize on the 3D and IMAX film technologies to drive Hollywood's money-making machine. Tom Cruise returns to Mission Impossible – Rogue Nation, to take on, well, a rogue nation. The new MI5 - as the film is abbreviated affectionately - is the fifth of the series and a sure international box office success.
But wait! Arnold Swarzenegger is back, too!
In Terminator Genysis, the fifth installment of the Terminator franchise, Arnold Swarzenegger, soon to be 70, plays the iconic terminator-turned-savior-of-humanity, and proves he can still carry his weight and bring the masses to the theaters.