Biggest Box Office Surprises of 2015

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Biggest Box Office Surprises of 2015

Universal Pictures

Each weekend many film industry analysts offer their box office predictions. While often it’s easy to see a big hit or a huge bomb coming a mile away, each year Hollywood has a few big surprises when it comes to box office hits and misses. The following examples from 2015 show that even the best box office forecasters couldn’t predict some of Hollywood’s biggest winners and losers last year.

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'Steve Jobs' Bombed Hard

Universal Pictures

For whatever reason Hollywood was convinced that people wanted to see yet another movie about Apple co-founder Steve Jobs after the 2013 Ashton Kutcher movie Jobs and two recent documentaries. However, even with talent involved like director Danny Boyle, writer Aaron Sorkin, and stars Michael Fassbender and Kate Winslet, 2015’s Steve Jobs performed well below expectations and barely did better than the Kutcher movie at the box office despite far better reviews.

Steve Jobs was initially viewed as a major award contender, but based on the poor audience reception it appears it has been overlooked as the major award nominations have been gradually announced.

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'Ted 2' Did Less Than Half the Business of 'Ted'

Universal Pictures

Seth MacFarlane’s Ted was not only a huge hit in 2012, it was also one of the biggest comedy hits of the past decade, grossing $218.8 million at the U.S. box office. Naturally, a sequel to the movie was almost immediately put into production.

Ted 2 came out on the same weekend as the original did, but the three years in between were not kind. Ted 2 made over 60% less at the U.S. box office than Ted, ending with a gross of $81.3 million. But Ted 2 wasn’t the only 2015 comedy sequel to disappoint – Paul Blart 2 made less than half that the first Paul Blart movie made at the U.S. box office, and Hot Tub Time Machine 2 made less than a fourth that the original did.

Sometimes if a joke works once with audiences it’s best to just leave it that way.

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Four Movies Had Historically Bad Openings

Almost every year there is one movie that is a disaster of historic proportions when it comes to the box office. But 2015 had three movies in that had among the worst opening weekends ever for movies opening in 2000+ theaters: We Are Your Friends ($1.77 million), Rock The Kasbah ($1.47 million) and Jem and the Holograms ($1.38 million). Each movie made less than $800 per theater in its opening weekends. While all three films were made on low budgets, those numbers are still outrageously bad. To compare, only three other movies since 1982 opened in 2000+ theaters and made less than $2 million, and one of those was a 10th anniversary reissue of Saw in 2014.

Another major release bomb was Fox's Victor Frankenstein, which grossed just $2.35 million in its opening weekend. It was the worst opening weekend ever for a movie in over 2500 theaters and grossed less than $900 per theater. While none of those movies were expected to be big hits, nobody predicted that four movies in 2015 would have such historically bad openings.

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'Pitch Perfect 2' Obliterated 'Pitch Perfect' at the Box Office

Universal Pictures

As mentioned earlier, many 2015 sequels didn’t do as well as the originals did at the box office. Pitch Perfect 2 was a major exception. The original Pitch Perfect was a major sleeper hit when it grossed $65 million at the U.S. box office on a $17 million budget in 2012. It did so well that a sequel was almost immediately in the works – and that sequel grossed $69 million in its opening weekend alone. That's right – Pitch Perfect 2 made more in its opening weekend than the original did in its entire 20-week run. The sequel ended up grossing $183.8 million at the U.S. box office.

Many expected the sequel to do well, but not nearly three times as well. It’s no surprise that Universal has fast-tracked Pitch Perfect 3 for 2017.

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‘Jurassic World’ Outgrossed ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’

Jurassic World
Universal Pictures

Most analysts thought Jurassic World would be a big hit based on the nostalgia fans had for the dinosaur adventure series, but few thought it would beat The Avengers: Age of Ultron at the box office after 2012's The Avengers became only the third film to break $600 million at the U.S. box office.

But not only did Jurassic World beat The Avengers: Age of Ultron, it did so by $193 million, which nobody expected. In fact, reportedly Disney was disappointed by the gross of Age of Ultron since it trailed the first Avengers movie by $164 million – meaning that Jurassic World actually beat both Avengers movies at the U.S. box office.

By the way, it's worth noting that Chris Pratt appeared in both one of the most successful movies of 2015 (Jurassic World) and one of the biggest bombs of 2015 (Jem and the Holograms). That's a rare achievement!