The Summer Box Office Challenge Update: Is the Glorious Streak Over???


The Movie Breakdown held the first Summer Box Office Challenge in 2015 and it has been an annual event on the podcast ever since. Another yearly tradition has been my defeating Scott at the challenge and then choosing three awful movies for him to review as my reward. While the challenge continues, it looks like the other tradition is coming to an end. For the first time, Scott seems set to win it. I'm slightly terrified of what three movies he will prepare to throw at me because he has years of pent-up angst over what I've made him suffer.

Here is the tally as it stands right now with our draft picks.


1. The Guardians of the Galaxy $118 414 021
2. Spider-man Across the Spiderverse $120 663 589
3. Flash $55 043 679
4. Fast X $67 017 410
5. Barbie
6. Haunted Mansion
7. Teenage Mutant Turtles: Mutant Mayhem
8. Ruby Gilliam Teenage Kraken $5 500 990
9. The Book Club: The Next Chapter $6 677 580
10. Back on the Strip
Total: $373 317 269


1. Indiana Jone and the Dial of Destiny $60 368 101
2. The Little Mermaid $95 578 040
3. Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part 1 $54 688 347
4. Elemental $29 602 429
5. Transformers: Rise of the Beast $61 040 464
6. Oppenheimer
7. Insidious: The Red Door $33 013 036
8. The Meg 2: The Trench
9. Blue Beetle
10. Stray
Total: $334 290 417

Both Scott and I have six of our picks come out in theatres at this point, and Scott is sitting oh-so-pretty with a $40 million lead. This isn't the first time that Scott leads me, and then I come from behind, but Scott's remaining picks look much stronger than my own.

There are rumblings that Barbie could open up to close to a hundred million, which would absolutely bury me because none of my final picks are approaching to that kind of opening. I'd also say Haunted Mansion and Teenage Mutant Turtles: Mutant Mayhem could boast close to or over $30 million opening weekends due to targeting families that are looking for something to do deep into the summer. 

All my final picks are less comforting when it comes to big numbers. Oppenheimer is a wild card because it could go anywhere from $15 million to a $50 million weekend, as Christopher Nolan's name does attract a crowd, but no idea how much people are itching to see a movie about the atomic bomb during popcorn munching season. The Meg 2 could give a possible $30 million, but it could also be much less and even combined with Oppenheimer not beating Barbie. Blue Beetle could be a big sleeper pick, but after the recent underperformances of other DC movies in Shazam: Fury of the Gods and Flash, it may be a win if it even approaches $20 million. 

I do think in the battle of the tenth picks that Stray will do better than the not at all marketed Back on the Strip, but the talking dog movie was pushed from a cushy June opening to the abyss of mid-August, which likely means the studios have little confidence in it, so neither do I.

So, what happened?

Scott clearly hit the jackpot with Spider-man Across the Spiderverse, which outperformed the original, and is proof that you don't discount the web-slinger even when other comic book movies flop. It also meant Scott walked away with two movies that made over $100 million, while the best I could achieve was $95 million. This was obviously the movie that should have been my first pick, but I was blinded by nostalgia.

I blame Top Gun: Maverick for my failings. The movie soared at the box office last year with a mix of leaning on 1980s nostalgia, being different from most other pictures, and being a fun adventure flick. I had assumed Indian Jones and the Dial of Destiny would have a similar appeal and be the big summer success story, Unfortunately, it had a disappointing critical reception, and I clearly overestimated what Indiana Jones means in current culture. I was fooled by the fact that I raised my kids on the classic movies, and so my son's love tricked me into thinking other younger kids are down with the Jones. It seems younger generations weren't that thrilled to see an 80-year-old Harrison Ford stumble around CGI. 

I also felt Top Gun would bump up the popularity of Mission Impossible, but the franchise delivered what it usually does. It didn't help that it came out on a Tuesday, and we only track the Friday to Sunday opening weekend. Moviegoers that may have increased those Friday numbers had already seen it.

Plus, the Pixar curse continues as the once guaranteed box office winner underperformed with Elemental. It likely suffered from less than stellar reviews, and releasing close to the Spider-man juggernaut. 

If I do lose, and I am pretty sure that is my fate, I am kind of relieved. It has been a harbinger looming over me for years thinking that the streak had to end, and Scott will enact his revenge. The way 2023 has gone for me, it seems appropriate this is the year he crams three horrible movies down my throat. 

Please remember that August 7th is the big kick-off to Beyond the Balcony rocking as a pop culture, movie review, and creative writing site. I hope to post a few things over the next few weeks, but that will be when I recommit to creating daily high-quality posts.

Do you think Scott has this year's competition wrapped up, or do I still have a chance for an upset?