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12 Summer Movies That Smashed Expectations


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Earlier this month we brought you the biggest box-office bombs of the summer.

Considering the summer generated a record $4.7 billion it's only fair also to look at the films that performed well. 

There were plenty of them. 

Note: These are not the highest-grossing films of the summer. This list is made up of the movies that surprised and exceeded expectations.

Other notable films include Disney Toons film "Planes"— an obvious spinoff of Pixar's "Cars"— earned $139 million worldwide when it only cost an estimated $50 million.

Seth Rogen's "This is the End" grossed $118 million on an estimated $32 million budget.

"Monsters University" doesn't appear on this list, because the film was expected to follow the Pixar streak of success. The "Monsters Inc." prequel had the second-largest opening of any Pixar movie ever behind 2010's "Toy Story 3."

There was no surprise that "Iron Man 3" fared well at theaters, but it wasn't expected to have the second-highest opening weekend of all time.

12. "Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain" (Lionsgate / Summit)

Release date: July 3
Estimated budget: n/a 
Opening weekend: $10 million
Worldwide gross: $32.2 million

While others were distracted with "Despicable Me 2" and "The Lone Ranger" bomb, Kevin Hart's second comedy movie snuck in to become the second-largest opening weekend for a comedy film. Now, it's the fourth highest-grossing stand-up comedy movies ahead of Martin Lawrence's 2002 Paramount film.

(Source: Box Office Mojo)

11. "Instructions Not Included" (Lionsgate)

Release date: August 30 (September 6, wide release)
Estimated budget: $5 million 
Opening weekend: $7.8 million
Worldwide gross: $28.3 million 

Chances are you never heard about this Spanish indie dramedy. While the end of summer was extremely slow, no one was talking about the film that follows a former Mexican playboy raising his daughter by himself. "Instructions" grossed $7.8 million its first weekend from only 348 theaters. During its wide release the following weekend, the film nearly beat out "Lee Daniels' The Butler" to take the second spot atop the box-office top ten.

(Source: IMDB pro / Box Office Mojo)

10. "Lee Daniels' The Butler" (The Weinstein Company)

Release date: August 16
Estimated budget: $30 million 
Opening weekend: $24.6 million
Worldwide gross: $104.8 million 

A silly name change didn't hurt Lee Daniels' film. Warner Bros. made a big stink over the rights to the title "The Butler" (they have a 1916 short by the same name) resulting in a long, exhaustive change. But if anything, the complaint produced more media hype for Weinstein's film and probably helped ticket sales.

TWC made a smart decision to move this film up from an initial October release to August when the box office is otherwise sluggish. The change resulted in the film being atop the box office five weeks straight. In its fourth week — Labor Day weekend — while most were talking about the "Getaway" bomb, "Butler" made a surge and actually beat out every new release. It's now one of TWC's highest-grossing films behind Oscar-nominated "Silver Linings Playbook."

(Source: Box Office Mojo)

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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