It’s been a rough summer at the box office, especially where big studio blockbusters are concerned. In particular, the domestic box office bombed hard, with just $3.54 billion in ticket sales over a 13 week period beginning with the first weekend in May. That figure may sound impressive on paper, but it represents a 2.5% dip from last summer’s returns and is the second lowest total since 2001 when adjusted for inflation. Outside of Disney, who have remained as rock solid as ever this year (although even they weren’t immune to disappointing box office returns, as we’ll see in a bit) pretty much every major studio had one or multiple movies tank this summer.
Surprisingly, it had almost nothing to do with quality (Suicide Squad is terrible and yet it ruled the box office for the month of August) or audiences growing tired of sequels (the summer’s two most successful films — Finding Dory and Captain America: Civil War — are both sequels). The biggest culprit, at least according to Forbes’s Scott Mendelson, appears to be saturation, as too many movies came out too close together, preventing the majority of them from enjoying financial success outside of their opening weekend. Here are the summer 2016 movies that were most hurt by market saturation and audience indifference:
12. X-Men: Apocalypse
With a projected worldwide box office haul of $543 million, X-Men: Apocalypse certainly wasn’t a flop … but it wasn’t a smash hit either. In truth, Apocalypse is something of a minor success for 20th Century Fox; with a $178 million budget, the film was able to make back its production and marketing costs, but it also didn’t achieve the same level of success as its 2014 predecessor, X-Men: Days of Future Past. That film made over $200 million more than Apocalypse, but the newest entry in the long-running X-Men film franchise also beat out films like First Class, The Last Stand, and X-Men United. In a different year, Apocalypse’s box office returns may have been considered more of a disappointment, but Fox was lucky that Deadpool was such a surprise success, which helps offset the latest X-Men film’s good but not great numbers.