Peanuts and Popcorn

Peanuts and Popcorn

The Rise and Fall of the 4th of July Box Office



It is a firmly held belief that Steven Spielberg’s Jaws was the beginning of the summer movie blockbuster trend. Before 1975, movies were not considered a big draw during the summer months. That all changed on June 20th of that year when Jaws was released. Over the years, the benchmark to reach for big ticket sales was over the 4th of July weekend. For a while, it even appeared that in order to have a successful blockbuster opening on the 4th, you would need Will Smith to have a starring role. He has appeared in five of the biggest summer hits.


Reports from all over are suggesting that this last weekend’s sales were down 40% from last year. Some are blaming the lower numbers on the weather, however, beautiful weather has not kept moviegoers from seeing such hits as Independence Day  or Spider-Man in years past. Even some of Hollywood’s worst bombs did fairly well on 4th of July weekend. This isn’t to say that all financially successful films are good. Many are just “so-so” or even downright offensive.

This year, the “winner” was the 4th installment of the Transformers series and its second week in for Age of Extinction ($55 million) followed by Tammy ($32 million), 22 Jump Street and Deliver Us from Evil (both about $14 million). Those numbers don’t sound that bad until you compare them to the top 12 of previous years:


Transformers: Dark of the Moon  is the top grossing 4th of July movie of all time. (Universal)

Transformers: Dark of the Moon is the top grossing 4th of July movie of all time. (Universal)

1              Transformers: Dark of the Moon – $97,852,865 (2011)

2              Spider-Man 2 – $88,156,227 (2004)

3              Despicable Me 2 – $83,517,315   (2013)


4              Transformers – $70,502,384         (2007)

5              War of the Worlds – $64,878,725 (2005)

6              The Twilight Saga: Eclipse – $64,832,191  (2010)

7              Hancock – $62,603,879 (2008)

8              The Amazing Spider-Man – $62,004,688  (2012)

9              Superman Returns – $52,535,096 (2006)

10           Men in Black II – $52,148,751 (2002)

11           Men in Black – $51,068,455 (1997)

12           Independence Day – $50,228,264 (1996)

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