Blockbuster Breakdown

If you’re a toy, a superhero, a vampire or a dream reader, you probably had the best summer ever.

Fantasy monsters, Disney tear-jerkers and a single thought-provoking thriller dominated the box office this summer while competitors were either shrugged off or completely ignored.

Toy Story 3 was the summer’s top earner. As reported by Forbes.com, the third sequel to the Pixar classic earned $895 million in theatres. Once again, viewers were reminded of their childhood playthings as Woody, Buzz and the whole toy gang question the love of their owner, Andy, who is now growing up and college-bound. After being mistakenly given away to a daycare center, Andy’s toys get sucked into the seemingly affectionate care of toddlers only to be mishandled and torn to pieces come playtime. They meet a group of resentful and deceitful toys, led by Lotso Bear, who eventually learn that love is unconditional, no matter how old you get. Overall, it was a true coming-of-age story for the young and the young-at-heart alike.

When it comes to celebrity superheroes, none compare to Tony Starks, otherwise known as Iron Man. In a clever show of special effects and Robert Downey Jr.’s comedic yet charming character, the sequel was one of the summer’s hits, bringing in $622 million. Downey proves he was tailor-made to be the (barely) indestructible Iron Man as he struggles through memories of his past and the pressure to be as equally successful as his father. Stark’s relationship with his assistant, played by Gwyneth Paltrow, is affected by his risky behavior as he tries to overcome his rockstar lifestyle of drinking and partying while fighting off Ivan Vanko’s (played Mickey Rourke) legion of killer robots. In the end, he learns he must take care of himself before he can save the world.

The summer’s most-talked about film was undoubtedly Inception. Its A-list cast including Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon Levitt and Ellen Page lent to the thought-provoking thriller based on thought implantation and dream designing. Raking in $478 million, Inception is a movie worth every minute of the two hour dream sequence it was made to be. Written by Christopher Nolan (responsible for the Batman movies), the film explores the psychological motives behind one’s dreams and how they affect the perception of reality. A good chunk of its earnings can be attributed to the fact that moviegoers came back to theatres to watch the movie multiple times, hoping to understand it a little more with each screening. Viewers can agree that dreams are really what you make them. Or are they?

But the good did not come without the bad. Summer burnouts included Sex and the City 2. Although the highly anticipated chick flick provided a solid Friday night outing with the gal pals for a week or two, the sequel was not as great as the first. Let’s hope this is the last film endeavor for Carrie Bradshaw and her crew.

Fairy tale love stories proved to be the stuff that summer films were made of. Shrek Forever After did not bank as much as the previous three, ending the ogre saga on a note that wasn’t so happily ever after. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse caused hysteria among Twi-hards who lined up at theatres the Wednesday night of its release. With a new director at the helm and the same beloved characters in the form of a pale Robert Pattinson, an awkward Kristen Stewart and a chiseled Taylor Lautner, Eclipse could not overshadow its predecessor New Moon, which earned $710 million in comparison to its $650 million.

Other summer breeze-throughs included the Russell Brand and Jonah Hill comedy, Get Him To The Greek, Prince Persia 2: The Sands of Time, and Marmaduke and MacGruber. Forgive yourself if you don’t even remember these films’ names. They were only good while they lasted.

Other potential contenders that made it just in time before the end of summer was Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, The Last Exorcism and Eat, Pray, Love. 

This summer delivered quite a diverse selection that was either sink or swim. But overall, Inception successfully controlled the minds of viewers who kept coming back, hoping to make sense of the limbo. As for its fellow box office buddies, it will not be the last we see of a vampire or a werewolf, especially this fall. Regardless of whether you favor the fantasy over the reality, films will continue to serve as the past-times meant to simply entertain.