We are now at the end of the summer season for movies, and in all fairness its been a fairly mixed one. And with the news yesterday that this year saw the biggest box office earnings ever, yet the smallest cinema attendance since 1997, I’ve been inspired to over look the last four or so months of cinema. The rise in box office earnings has to be attributed to the rising ticket costs as a result of the onslaught of 3-D movies as of late, but the lack of attendance may well have something to do with the movies that came out this year. The biggest box office takings came from the likes of Pirates, Transformers and Harry Potter, all firmly established franchises. There’s been a few surprises, particularly with Bridesmaids and Rise of the Planet of the Apes, but ultimately the movies which have earnt the most money have been incredibly average (particularly with Pirates and Transformers, I’m starting to believe my 3 stars for that was rather too nice). But due to them being established franchises, people flocked to see them rather then catching something a bit more original. So, what movies do I believe to be the best of the bunch from this summer’s movie season? Before I reveal my Top 5, I’ll lay down the main rule: It has to be films that have had a cinema release in the period of May to the first week of September. Let’s get on with it shall we:

5. Fright Night- Box Office ATM: $18,081,797

Sure, I may have just recently given it a three star review, although I’m starting to think I should have given it four, as theoretically that star rating places it on par with Transformers: Dark of the Moon and The Hangover Part Two. I’ll have to see how I feel when I eventually watch it again, but that does say something about the quality of the movies this summer season if my countdown begins with a three star movie (it can only get better from here). However, that’s not to say Fright Night is a bad film, if you read my recent review, you’ll discover that I found the film to be a fun and refreshingly old-fashioned vampire movie, which has plenty to offer particularly in terms of its cast. And it really is a shame to see it not perform as well as I hoped. It only managed to open in 5th place in the US, and 7th in the UK. The box office does not reflect the quality of the film at all. If it did then it should be making more money then the last Transformers and Pirates combined. Now that’d be a box office taking worth talking about. But I do seriously recommend seeing this movie at the cinemas for a bit of vampire fun. And the music score alone is a reason to watch it, as it easily sits as one of the best film scores of this year.

4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two- Box Office ATM: $1,312,934,867

The biggest box office earner in this list, not a surprise considering it is now the highest grossing movie of this year, the highest grossing of the series and the third highest grossing movie of all time. And rightly so. The Harry Potter franchise has been huge from day one, but it seems fitting that the last installment should be the one that rakes in the most money. I guess. But it is certainly one of the strongest installments out of the whole franchise, amounting to a wholly satisfying experience that kept most fans happy (no matter how daft that prologue was). Potter was one of the main films that got both the most money and the most bums on seats this summer, as it is still holding strong in the UK Top Ten Charts. Granted, it’s at number nine, but still pretty impressive considering it’s above Cowboys and Aliens, which came out about three weeks ago. A little off topic, but I recommend watching the ‘How It Should Have Ended’ video for this film, it’s pretty funny and does bring some rather good points to light.

3. The Inbetweeners Movie- Box Office ATM: almost £35,000,000

It seems strange that two of my Top 5 Summer movies have come from the last week of the summer, but oh well, they earnt their places in this list. I caught The Inbetweeners Movie along with Fright Night during my long weekend in Jersey, and once I was sat there watching this, it was not hard to see why it has become the success it has. That £35 million has literally just come UK audiences, as the film has yet to open anywhere else. So, already, its national box office taking is nearly double the amount of Fright Night‘s worldwide takings. I’m starting to feel quite bad for old Fright Night. I’m not sure how well The Inbetweeners will do overseas, particularly in the States, but I think the creators and the cast will be more than happy with what they’ve done on the home front with their movie, which had the tiny budget of £3.5 million. And what about those recent rumblings of a sequel picking up four years later with one of the lads getting married? I wouldn’t bet on it, as the creators Iain Morris and Damon Beesley have denied these rumours rather quickly, stating that they’ve been mostly drunk since the films release, so talks of a sequel are unlikely. Personally, I’d like to see it end here, go out on a high!

2. X-Men: First Class– Box Office ATM: $352,520,467

The fifth movie in the X-Men canon came to be the biggest surprise of the summer for me. After the disappointing Wolverine movie, the franchise needed a strong entry to give it a fresh breath of energy and to get it back on track. And First Class did just that, surprisingly well. I didn’t expect it to be this good, but with an excellent cast led by the outstanding performances of James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender, and stylish direction from Matthew Kick Ass Vaughan, I guess there was no way this could go wrong. This is one movie that did fairly decent business in the box office, even though it did have a rather high budget of around $140 million. It’s one that certainly did more business as time went on, thanks to positive word of mouth. You can never underestimate the power of word of mouth when it comes to the movie industry. And thankfully, the box office takings and the almost universal praise from critics has inspired 20th Century Fox to move forward with a sequel! I’d be more than happy to re-visit these characters if all the actors returned and Vaughan was once again in the directors chair.

1. Super 8– Box Office ATM: $249,049,782

My favourite movie of this summer, is probably the most old school summer movie to come out in recent years. And there’s certainly no school like the old school. J.J. Abrams perfectly captures the spirit of Steven Spielberg’s earlier works, particularly the other worldly, yet human, backbone of his sci-fi classic Close Encounters of the Third Kind. This old fashioned style of filmmaking and storytelling may well be why Super 8 failed to make a huge impression in terms of box office takings. It was made for the tidy sum of $50 million (a very low amount for big Hollywood pictures these days) so that makes the takings look a bit better. However, the leaked copy that was owned by Howard Stern probably didn’t help the box office in the slightest, showing how piracy can have a damaging effect on movies these days. Yes, I may have not watched this in the cinema, but it was because I had no other choice and I really wanted to see it! I’m sure J.J. would understand. But if you did manage to catch this in cinemas, then I’m sure you’ll agree that this was the most emotional, personal and exciting movie to come out this summer. Some critics said it was unbalanced, true in some areas, but it’s a film with so much heart you’ll cease to care. It’s that kind of movie. Just not a billion dollar breaking one.

There you have it, my top 5 films of this summer. There are plenty of films that I didn’t manage to see that I probably would have really enjoyed and they may have well have found their way on to this list (here’s looking at you, Captain America). I wouldn’t say its been a disappointing summer in terms of movie, just one that has only had a few gems amongst a bundle of mediocrity. But there were some strong movies in the earlier months of the year, from the award season movies to the April releases of the awesome Scream 4 and enjoyable Thor. Hopefully the last three to four months of the year we’ll see some great movies, with the likes of Tintin, Mission Impossible 4 and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy heading our way in the near future. Lets just wait and see.

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