Magic Mike, The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises

Photo by Claudette Barius/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc; Photo by Ron Phillips/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc

The summer movie season started out with a bang, and then it…

Say, did we mention it started out with a bang?

It wasn't exactly all downhill after The Avengers kicked things off in record fashion, but it was close. Overall domestic ticket revenue this summer will top out at $4.3 billion, down 2.2 percent from last summer, according to the box-office tracking firm Exhibitor Relations.

The Avengers' big return to theaters: a Titanic surprise?

Here are more findings from the season, which concludes this holiday weekend:

The Avengers Wasn't the Most Powerful Movie: Well, all right, it was, but it didn't make 16 times its production budget. That honor goes to Channing Tatum's Magic Mike, which cost $7 million and made $113 million domestically, per stats. Other bottom-line wonders: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, which made 13 times its $10 million budget for a worldwide total of $131 million; and, hey—whaddya know?—The Avengers, which did its $220 million budget about seven times better with a worldwide gross of $1.5 billion.

Men in Black 3 Was the Most-Valuable Movie: Per a rundown of the studios' latest fiscal reports, Sony was about the only major player that saw a significant uptick in ticket revenue, and that was due to the not-especially beloved MiB sequel, which grossed $624 million worldwide.  

The Dark Knight Rises Outgrossed The Dark Knight…Briefly: We've noted it before, but it's worth noting again. In the pre-Aurora world, The Dark Knight Rises scored $30.6 million from opening-day midnight screenings, and towered above its predecessor, which debuted to $18.5 million in 2008. In the post-Aurora world, the movie ran behind The Dark Knight in each and every successive major box-office period.

Total Recall Outgrossed Total Recall…Once:  The pricey Colin Farrell reboot opened to a soft $26 million, but averaged more per screen ($7,103) than a one-theater-only rerelease of the 1990 original ($5,788). And thus concludes the positive things to take away from the pricey Colin Farrell reboot.

Spider-Man Isn't British for Nothing: With Andrew Garfield behind the mask, nearly two-thirds of The Amazing Spider-Man's $705 million worldwide take came from overseas audiences, the largest percentage yet for a big-screen Spider-Man.

The Hunger Games Competed: This was a nifty trick, as The Hunger Games was not a summer movie, having opened back in March. But the blockbuster played and played and played, and from the start of the movie summer, on May 4, through Wednesday, it grossed another $33 million domestically, a total that on its own was roughly as big as Adam Sandler's That's My Boy, which, no, was not big at all.

Adam Sandler's That's My Boy Was Not an "Unfortunate, Large Miss": That precise distinction belongs to Battleship, which was branded as such by the chairman of Comcast, which runs Universal Pictures. (E! and Universal are both part of the NBCUniversal family, which is owned by Comcast.) The $200 million Battleship did make back its reported budget, grossing about $300 million worldwide. The same can't be said of Sandler's That's My Boy ($70 million budget; $50 million worldwide gross). Or Tom Cruise's Rock of Ages ($75 million budget, $50 million worldwide gross). Or Ben Stiller's The Watch ($68 million budget; $37 million worldwide).

What to Expect When You're Expecting Was No Prometheus: Prometheus, like a number of summer movies, including Snow White and the Huntsman, Johnny Depp's Dark Shadows and the aforementioned Battleship and Total Recall, failed to match or surpass their budgets from domestic ticket sales alone. The unheralded Jennifer Lopez-led ensemble comedy, however, grossed $41 million domestically, and $80 million worldwide, from a $40 million budget.

Ray Romano Is King of the World, Practically: Among the summer's animated films, the latest Ice Age sequel, Continental Drift, ran behind Brave and Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted—domestically. Internationally, the Romano-voiced wooly mammoth stood alone, grossing a whopping $660 million-plus for a worldwide total of about $815 million. That made Continental Drift the third-biggest overall hit of the season after The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises. This is par for the course for the Ice Age movies that probably have their own postage stamps in countries such as Germany, Finland and Brazil.

Here's a rundown of the summer's Top 10-grossing films heading into Labor Day weekend, per domestic stats from BoxOfficeMojo and The Numbers:

  1. The Avengers, $617.8 million
  2. The Dark Knight Rises, $425 million
  3. The Amazing Spider-Man, $258.6 million
  4. Brave, $230 million
  5. Ted, $215.2 million
  6. Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted, $213.9 million
  7. Men in Black 3, $178.5 million
  8. Snow White and the Huntsman, $155 million
  9. Ice Age: Contiental Drift, $154.3 million
  10. Prometheus, $126.3 million
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