With a handful of high-profile sequels like Iron Man 3 and Star Trek Into Darkness, May 2013 was always expected to be a huge month at the box office. It did not wind up disappointing: overall box office came in at a record $1.14 billion, which is up 11 percent from last May and up 10 percent from 2011's previous high ($1.04 billion).
Coming out of May, the domestic box office is now down around seven percent from 2012's record pace. In comparison, it was down 12 percent through the end of April.
By far, the top movie of the month was Iron Man 3. While it wasn't nearly as big as The Avengers—what movie is, really?—it did have the second-highest opening ever ($174.1 million) on its way to a massive $379 million through the end of May. It's on pace to wind up over $400 million, which should be enough to make it the top movie of Summer 2013. More importantly, though, the movie was a gigantic overseas hit, and now ranks fifth on the all-time worldwide chart with nearly $1.2 billion.
In second place, Star Trek Into Darkness grossed $169.2 million through its first 16 days in theaters. While that's a respectable figure, it is slightly behind its predecessor, which is a bit of a miss given that movie's strong reputation. By the end of its run, Star Trek Into Darkness should earn around $230 million (compared to the first movie's $257.7 million). One bright spot, at least, is international, where it's on pace to more than double the last movie's $128 million total.
A huge Memorial Day pushed May to its new record, and Fast & Furious 6 was at the front of the pack that weekend with a franchise-best $97.4 million ($117 million four-day). It ultimately earned $146.6 million through eight days in May, and it's on pace to set a franchise record with over $230 million; it's also already earned over $300 million overseas, and will likely wind up close to $500 million.
The biggest surprise of the month is Baz Luhrman's lavish adaptation of The Great Gatsby, which managed to open to over $50 million despite facing the second weekend of Iron Man 3. Through the end of the month, the movie had earned $124 million, which makes it a huge counter-programming success.
Meanwhile, the biggest disappointment of the month was easily The Hangover Part III. With the poor reputation of the second movie, Part III was always expected to miss the franchise-standard $250 million, but few expected it to be this bad: Part III's $77.4 million nine-day total was less than half of Part II's total at the same point. It's falling hard, and should close around $120 million. Don't cry too much for Warner Bros., though: Part III looks poised to come close to matching Part II's $332 million overseas figure.
Memorial Day animated movie Epic was also underwhelming. The movie opened to $33.5 million—the lowest-ever debut for a Blue Sky Animation movie—and had earned a meager $52.6 million by the end of the month. While it will ultimately close north of $100 million, it could very well be the studio's lowest-grossing movie ever behind Robots ($128.2 million). That's particularly weak when considering the absolute dearth of family-oriented movies in the marketplace right now—The Croods opened two months earlier, and Monsters University four weeks later.
Way behind everything else was Tyler Perry Presents Peeples, which earned just $9 million through 22 days. That figure is less than most Perry movies make in their first day.
Through the end of May, year-to-date box office is at $4.05 billion, which is less than seven percent behind 2012. That sounds worse than it actually is—two of 2012's three biggest movies (Avengers and Hunger Games) are now in the rear view mirror, and 2013 only needs to be up 4.5 percent for the remainder of the year to exceed 2012's $10.8 billion record. That's tough, but definitely achievable with guaranteed blockbusters like Man of Steel, Monsters University, Despicable Me 2, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug on the horizon.