The biggest blockbuster movie of every summer since 2000 at the US box office

Disney‘The Lion King’ (2019)
  • With the summer movie season absent this year, we looked back at the biggest movies of every summer at the box office since 2000.
  • Disney had only one movie rule the summer in the 2000s, but the company released seven of the 10 biggest summer movies of the 2010s.
  • The list includes critically acclaimed hits like “The Dark Knight,” but also critical duds like “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The summer movie season is home to some of the biggest blockbusters of the year, but this summer will look entirely different. There may not even be a 2020 summer movie season at all.

The coronavirus pandemic has forced movie theatres throughout the US to close and movie studios to delay releases, some until next year, like the would-be blockbuster “Fast and Furious 9.”

Some studios are still holding out hope that there will be a belated summer season at cinemas. Warner Bros. still has Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” on the release calendar for July and moved “Wonder Woman 1984” from June to August. Disney moved its “Mulan” remake from March to July.

But the odds of any moves coming to theatres this summer are looking slimmer every week, so we looked back at the biggest summer movies of the last two decades based on how much money they made at the US box office (with numbers from Box Office Mojo) and then adjusted for inflation. We counted movies that came out in May through August.

Superheroes, animated movies, and Disney have ruled most summers in this timeframe, and it shows just how quickly Disney dominated the industry. In the 2000s, Disney had only one movie rule the summer: “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” in 2006. But in the 2010s, the majority of the summers were topped by a Disney release.

Below is the highest-grossing movie in the US of every summer since 2000:


2000: “Mission: Impossible 2”

Paramount Pictures

Release date: May 4, 2000

Adjusted domestic gross: $US320.7 million

Original domestic gross: $US215.4 million

Original worldwide gross: $US546.4 million

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 57%

What critics said: “For all my profound reservations about the whole project, I wound up liking it more, or, at least disliking it less, than I had anticipated.” –Observer


2001: “Shrek”

DreamWorks

Release date: May 16, 2001

Adjusted domestic gross: $US387.7 million

Original domestic gross: $US267.7 million

Original worldwide gross: $US484.4 million

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 88%

What critics said: “With improbable finesse it buffs up some of the oldest tropes of storytelling and then gives them a mischievous tilt, so that we appear to be watching a celebration of a genre and a sneaky subversion of it at the same time.” – Independent


2002: “Spider-Man”

Columbia Pictures

Release date: May 3, 2002

Adjusted domestic gross: $US575.4 million

Original domestic gross: $US403.7 million

Original worldwide gross: $US821.7 million

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 90%

What critics said: “Spider-Man is an almost-perfect extension of the experience of reading comic-book adventures.” – New York Daily News


2003: “Finding Nemo”

Pixar

Release date: May 30, 2003

Adjusted domestic gross: $US530.7 million

Original domestic gross: $US380.8 million

Original worldwide gross: $US940.3 million

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 99%

What critics said: “Finding Nemo is laced with smart humour and clever gags, and buoyed by another cheery story of mismatched buddies: a pair of fish voiced by Albert Brooks and Ellen DeGeneres.” – Associated Press


2004: “Shrek 2”

Dreamworks

Release date: May 19

Adjusted domestic gross: $US598.9 million

Original domestic gross: $US441.2 million

Original worldwide gross: $US919.8 million

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 89%

What critics said: “This second edition of DreamWorks’s Oscar-winning ogre opus may not match the original for, well, originality, but it honours the prime injunction governing sequels: To thine own characters be true.” – Wall Street Journal


2005: “Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith”

LucasFilm

Release date: May 19, 2005

Adjusted domestic gross: $US499.2 million

Original domestic gross: $US380.3 million

Original worldwide gross: $US848.7 million

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 80%

What critics said: “A grave and vigorous popular entertainment, a picture that regains and sustains the filmic Force [Lucas] dreamed up a long time ago, in a movie industry that seems far, far away.” – Time Magazine


2006: “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest”

Disney

Release date: July 7, 2006

Adjusted domestic gross: $US538.4 million

Original domestic gross: $US423.3 million

Original worldwide gross: $US1.07 billion

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 53%

What critics said: “Lumpen direction, lousy writing and pouting performances aside, the worst thing about Dead Man’s Chest is its interminable length.” – Guardian


2007: “Spider-Man 3”

Sony

Release date: May 4, 2007

Adjusted domestic gross: $US416.1 million

Original domestic gross: $US336.5 million

Original worldwide gross: $US890.9 million

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 63%

What critics said: “At 141 minutes, this supe-opera is seriously overextended, with four distinct subplots and way too much hand-wringing over things like the heroine’s singing career.” – NPR


2008: “The Dark Knight”

Warner Bros.

Release date: July 18, 2008

Adjusted domestic gross: $US636.9 million

Original domestic gross: $US534.9 million

Original worldwide gross: $US1.004 billion

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 94%

What critics said: “The Dark Knight is a film that’s fantastic on the action front, seeds its acrobatics in its own reality, and always feels relevant even when its ideas are drowned out by clatter.” – Time Out


2009: “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen”

Paramount

Release date: Jun 24, 2009

Adjusted domestic gross: $US480.6 million

Original domestic gross: $US402.1 million

Original worldwide gross: $US836.3 million

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 20%

What critics said: “Transformers: The Revenge of the Fallen is beyond bad, it carves out its own category of godawfulness.” – Rolling Stone


2010: “Toy Story 3”

Pixar

Release date: June 18, 2010

Adjusted domestic gross: $US488 million

Original domestic gross: $US415 million

Original worldwide gross: $US1.07 billion

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 98%

What critics said: “I seriously doubt there will be a more hilarious and heartfelt blockbuster all summer.” –CNN


2011: “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2”

Warner Bros.

Release date: July 15, 2011

Adjusted domestic gross: $US434.3 million

Original domestic gross: $US381,011,219

Original worldwide gross: $US1.34 billion

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 96%

What critics said: “Fiennes and Rickman get the actorly moments they have been building toward for so long, and the film is most fun when it sticks to mechanics: roller coaster rides, battle scenes, close calls.” – Newsday


2012: “The Avengers”

Marvel Studios

Release date: May 4, 2012

Adjusted domestic gross: $US696.1 million

Original domestic gross: $US623.4 million

Original worldwide gross: $US1.52 billion

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 92%

What critics said: “Ultimately, it all comes back to Whedon: His clear vision for each character and how they might be profitably intermingled; his unexpected knack for action choreography; his funny, tender, immaculately constructed script.” – The Atlantic


2013: “Iron Man 3”

Marvel Studios

Release date: May 3, 2013

Adjusted domestic gross: $US450.2 million

Original domestic gross: $US409 million

Original worldwide gross: $US1.21 billion

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 79%

What critics said: “Iron Man 3 has good things in it, enough to please the series’ fans — and yet too many drawbacks to win many converts.” – San Francisco Chronicle


2014: “Guardians of the Galaxy”

Marvel Studios

Release date: August 1, 2014

Adjusted domestic gross: $US360.8 million

Original domestic gross: $US333.2 million

Original worldwide gross: $US773.3 million

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 91%

What critics said: “James Gunn has taken a group of characters that the majority didn’t care about two years ago and made them guaranteed fan favourites in a movie that’s not only one of the most awesome Marvel movies yet, but also 2014’s best.” – ComicBookMovie.com


2015: “Jurassic World”

Universal

Release date: June 12, 2015

Adjusted domestic gross: $US705.6 million

Original domestic gross: $US652.3 million

Original worldwide gross: $US1.67 billion

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 71%

What critics said: “You don’t go to the fourth Jurassic Park movie for up-to-date gender politics. You go for the crunchy dino-on-human action, and Jurassic World provides plenty of that.” – Slate


2016: “Finding Dory”

Pixar

Release date: June 17, 2016

Adjusted domestic gross: $US519.5 million

Original domestic gross: $US486.3 million

Original worldwide gross: $US1.03 billion

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 94%

What critics said: “Who would have thought one of the deepest films ever made about learning disabilities would star a talking blue fish?” – Salon


2017: “Wonder Woman”

Warner Bros.

Release date: June 2, 2017

Adjusted domestic gross: $US431.5 million

Original domestic gross: $US412.6 million

Original worldwide gross: $US821.8 million

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 93%

What critics said: “The character of Wonder Woman enters the almost exclusively male domain of DC comics movies … Under this pressure, Jenkins comes through with a work that radiates confidence and sangfroid.” – BBC


2018: “Incredibles 2”

Disney/Pixar

Release date: June 15, 2018

Adjusted domestic gross: $US621.4 million

Original domestic gross: $US608.6 million

Original worldwide gross: $US1.24 billion

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 94%

What critics said: “The movie is funny, exuberant, inventive. It’s even wise.” – Financial Times


2019: “The Lion King”

Disney

Release date: July 19, 2019

Adjusted domestic gross: $US545.2 million

Original domestic gross: $US543.6 million

Original worldwide gross: $US1.66 billion

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 53%

What critics said: “Watch this Lion King for the technical achievement and musical numbers, and then watch the original to feel satisfied.” – Chicago Reader

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