Wow, I never thought it was a bad summer at the box office until I read the list of the top grossing films.

Summer Box Office: “Dead Man’s” Best
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest and Poseidon both star big boats. The comparisons end there.
With one more weekend to go at the summer box office, Dead Man’s Chest has clinched the season’s title with a $407.5 million booty through Sunday. Arguably more impressive, it has moved up to sixth on the list of all-time moneymakers–any season, any year.
Poseidon, meanwhile, appears to destined to be the summer’s, if not the year’s, biggest bust. Made for a reported $160 million, the disaster remake sunk with $60.7 million.
On paper, the panned Poseidon will go down as the 17th “biggest” moneymaker of this beach season, according to stats released Tuesday by the box-office tracking firm Exhibitor Relations.
And while the movie has taken in $181.2 million worldwide, per, Poseidon also will go down as the redo that got shown up by its 24-year-old predecessor, The Poseidon Adventure, which grossed $84.6 million domestically back when movie tickets cost less than $2 each.
This summer, movie tickets cost, on average, $6.61 a pop–an all-time high, per Exhibitor Relations. Undeterred, audiences nudged up attendance about 3 percent, from 564.9 million admissions last summer to an estimated 582.5 million. And they pushed up revenue more than 6 percent, from $3.6 billion to an estimated $3.9 billion.
Up from summer 2005, the box office still was way off from summer 2003, when 17 movies, including the first Pirates of the Caribbean adventure, made at least $100 million
This summer, 11 movies will cross the Labor Day finish line with at least $100 million, the Exhibitor Relations estimates show. Of those, four are bona fide blockbusters grossing at least $200 million each: Dead Man’s Chest; Cars ($240.6 million); X-Men: The Last Stand ($234.2 million); and The Da Vinci Code ($217.5 million). And one is a relative blockbuster: The Devil Wears Prada, which was produced for a reported $35 million, made an estimated $120.6 million, and became the biggest hit of star Meryl Streep’s nearly 30-year screen career.
For box-office purposes, the summer began in early May with the release of Mission: Impossible III. With a $133.4 million take (eighth place), it was Paramount’s second biggest hit of the season, and former studio associate Tom Cruise’s seventh straight $100 million-plus performer. Worldwide, it’s made $394.6 million, per, covering its reported $150 million budget, and delivering many dollars directly to Cruise–as Viacom chieftain Sumner Redstone likely could attest.
Here’s a look inside some of the other numbers of summer, per Exhibitor Relations and stats:
– Though maligned of late, movie stars did their thing, and sold tickets. Six of the Top 10 summer movies were headlined by red-carpet fixtures: Johnny Depp, Tom Hanks, Adam Sandler, Cruise, Will Ferrell and Streep.
– So far, Sandler’s Click ($135.9 million, seventh place) is the biggest comedy not starring cartoons–well, the animated kind anyway.
– Before its run is over, Ferrell’s Talledega Nights ($127.8 million, ninth place) could lap Click for the human comedy title.
– Over the Hedge ($154.8 million, sixth place) was the biggest talking-animal comedy, topping Barnyard ($54.9 million, 20th place) and The Ant Bully ($25.7 million).
– Clerks II ($23.6 million) made $2 million less than perceived Kevin Smith flop Jersey Girl, but cost $30 million less to make than that 2004 comedy.
– Snakes on a Plane ($26.3 million) wasn’t all that.
– Step Up ($50.4 million) was all that. The teen dance movie without big stars or big buzz ended up in the same league with the likes of Keanu Reeves’ and Sandra Bullock’s The Lake House ($52.1 million).
– Together, Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson made $209.2 million last summer with Wedding Crashers. Separately this summer, Vaughn made $118.6 million with The Break-Up (11th place); Wilson, $73.9 million for You, Me and Dupree (13th place). Combined, they grossed a Crashers-esque $192.5 million.
– Well, at least M. Night Shyamalan’s Lady in the Water ($41.7 million gross; estimated $75 million budget) made for a good book…
– Superman Returns ($195.4 million, fifth place) couldn’t crack $200 million; My Super Ex-Girlfriend ($22 million) couldn’t crack anything.
– Depending on which production estimate is closer to the truth, should such a thing exist in Hollywood accounting departments, Superman Returns either almost made back its $205 million budget in U.S. theaters, or it almost fell a Poseidon-esque $65 million short.
– Standouts on the art-house scene included: Little Miss Sunshine ($22.9 million); A Prairie Home Companion ($20 million); and, Al Gore’s feel-bad-and-guilty movie of the summer, An Inconvenient Truth ($22.8 million).
Finally, here is a complete view of the projected Top 10 summer money-makers, per Exhibitor Relations. Figures are current as of last weekend:
1. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, $407.5 million
2. Cars, $240.6 million
3. X-Men: The Last Stand, $234.2 million
4. The Da Vinci Code, $217.5 million
5. Superman Returns, $195.4 million
6. Over the Hedge, $154.8 million
7. Click, $135.9 million
8. Mission: Impossible III, $133.4 million
9. Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, $127.8 million
10. The Devil Wears Prada, $120.6 million