Did The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Mark the End of the Summer Movie Season?

Last weekend, Sony (NYSE: SNE  ) Pictures' The Amazing Spider-Man 2 officially kicked off the summer movie season with a modest $91.6 million domestic debut. Now that's all well and good, but I can't help but wonder: Did we just witness the end of the much-hyped summer movie season?

Disney, Sony, and Time Warner are all battling for box office supremacy

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 couldn't outperform Disney's Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Credit: Sony Pictures

Don't get me wrong. Despite Sony "only" boosting the production budget for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 by roughly $20 million to $250 million, its launch marked a 48% improvement over that of its July 2012 predecessor. Sony investors, then, should be more than pleased with Spidey's relative outperformance.

But consider the fact Disney (NYSE: DIS  ) Marvel's $170 million effort in Captain America: The Winter Soldier grossed $95 million during its own weekend debut last month. Wasn't May supposed to be where the real money is made?

The last two years, for example, Disney's comic book-inspired properties have achieved amazing opening weekends by launching in May -- first with $207.4 million from Marvel's The Avengers in 2012, then last year with $174.1 million from Iron Man 3. And despite Winter Soldier's record-breaking April, those jaw-dropping numbers are one of the primary reasons Marvel's Captain America 3 and Time Warner's (NYSE: TWX  ) Batman vs. Superman are both slated for release on May 6, 2016.

Could it be, then, that studios should rethink when they can launch their respective tentpole properties? Or perhaps more importantly from our perspective, would investors cheer such a move?

Summer is still where it's at
Not necessarily.
Disney, Sony, and Time Warner are all battling for box office supremacy

Marvel's The Avengers achieved the highest May release of all time, Credit: Disney

Timing is still important to an extent, especially considering summer films make up the top five weekend releases of all time. Curiously, though, only the top two spots are held by the aforementioned May blockbusters from Disney, while third, fourth, and fifth were all July films from Time Warner in 2011's Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, 2012's The Dark Knight Rises, and 2008's The Dark Knight.
It's easy, however, to forget Disney Marvel's Thor only collected $65.7 million from its own first weekend in May 2011. For perspective, Iron Man 2 fared better the year before with $128.1 million, and the first Iron Man in 2008 grabbed around $98.6 million. 
But these were before The Avengers hit the big screen to give the entire franchise a big boost. I think it's fair to say, then, the incredible numbers we saw from Iron Man 3 and The Avengers were the undeniable results of franchise building, and have simply set unrealistic expectations for subsequent early May releases outside of Disney's Marvel Cinematic Universe.
And besides, we already have plenty to which we can look forward later this month, including Disney's May 30 release of Maleficent -- which I recently argued could hit $1 billion when all is said and done -- and the extraordinarily promising May 16 reboot of Godzilla from Legendary Pictures and Time Warner. That's also not to mention Paramount's Transformers: Age of Extinction on June 27, and Disney Marvel's wild card in Guardians of the Galaxy on August 1.

In the end, that's why I think it's safe to say the summer movie season is still firmly in tact.

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Comments from our Foolish Readers

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  • Report this Comment On May 10, 2014, at 7:53 AM, neilbrassfrog wrote:

    As far as net profit goes on box office (not counting merchandising), the key date will be June 6th. That is the release date of "The Fault In Our Stars," which has a very low budget relative to the major action blockbusters and, I predict, will be a top 5 summer movie as far as box office goes. There is a massive audience built in of teenage girls, so while most other movies will be trying to get the teenage boy's dollars, almost all the girls dollars will be going to The Fault In Our Stars.

  • Report this Comment On May 10, 2014, at 9:56 AM, mrcgregory wrote:

    The movie was not that good. It got those opening number because it is Spiderman. It's not getting good word of mouth buzz. The movie felt like it was 3 hours long. They tried to shove too much stuff into one movie to create a Marvel type format. There was maybe, just maybe 15 minutes of action in the whole movie.

  • Report this Comment On May 10, 2014, at 11:55 AM, liebevision wrote:

    The movie had a ton of negative reviews and is a sequel to a movie that wasn't that well received. Expecting it to compare to Marvels offerings is ridiculous.

  • Report this Comment On May 10, 2014, at 12:46 PM, MovieTech wrote:

    Uh, what about X-Men: Days of Future Past?! That movie is already tracking a $125 million opening weekend debut. Hopefully that will be the superhero movie of the summer as well.

  • Report this Comment On May 10, 2014, at 3:27 PM, maxtoo wrote:

    The Amazing Spider-man 2 was an excellent movie and $91 million is pretty good. So what are you people talking about? I think it's probably that if you launch 3 Marvel super hero movies in 8 weeks in this current economy you just may have some movie goers picking and choosing which one to go to or skip.

  • Report this Comment On May 11, 2014, at 12:04 AM, chrispike wrote:

    The Amazing Spider-Man 2 used Electro as a bad guy, so I can't see it due to my epilepsy. Not only that, but I've heard it's mediocre and didn't live up to what the first movie set in terms of quality. Personally, I'm looking forward to X-Men: Days of Future Past. I don't know if I'd call summer done until that movie comes out.

  • Report this Comment On May 11, 2014, at 4:44 AM, Droppo wrote:

    Maybe early Man is a bit too early to be talking about the end of the summer movie season. Maybe trying to write an article about such a thing based on how ONE movie did is actually a sign of UTTER STUPIDITY. Maybe there are other movies that will do better this summer because they are, in fact, better movies than Amazing Spiderman 2: Attack of the Meh. I'm ready for opening day of Guardians of the Galaxy and X-men: DOFP and if I like them, I will see them more than once. I regret seeing Spiderman at all and have decided that next time, I will wait for it to be released on Netflix.

  • Report this Comment On May 12, 2014, at 12:05 PM, redfox435cat wrote:

    It was a pretty bad movie, so bad in fact go look at fandango and yahoo, the user reviews cannot be found, they took them down and no new ones can be posted. Thats pretty bad

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