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Analysis: Which summer movie had the highest social HIT score?

Despite a few real busts, this summer largely saw a rather buzzy box office — to the tune of over $4 billion so far. But it might surprise you to see which of the top 20 summer films were the most positively received by audiences.

EW has partnered with General Sentiment to develop an aggregate score to report — not just on what is trending in social media — but on what users are actually saying on social networks across the two weeks following a film’s release.

The most positive buzz on social networks, according to our data, was the discussion around Dreamworks’ animated film Turbo, followed closely by the Channing Tatum/Jamie Foxx action movie White House Down, and buddy cop Sandra Bullock/Melissa McCarthy romp The Heat. Not surprisingly, Johnny Depp’s critically panned Lone Ranger fell near the bottom of the list, but several films that had huge pre-release buzz, including Star Trek Into Darkness and Iron Man 3, saw their social buzz wind up somewhere in the middle after release.

Using a 100-point scale for each film — a score of 50 being neutral, a score of 51 and higher skewing positive, while scores of 49 and lower skew more negative, General Sentiment and EW can catch the sentiment of the social chatter – both positive and negative. Check out the HIT score below.
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Is the 3-D fad over?

All the way back in 2009, eager studio executives eyed Avatar‘s $2.8 billion worldwide gross and gushed “I see you” to the film’s groundbreaking 3-D technology. A few months later, Alice in Wonderland became a $1 billion hit, and before Johnny Depp had even wiped the makeup off his face, the industry had decided 3-D would be its savior.

Fox, Paramount, Disney, and Universal collectively shelled out $700 million to help equip theaters with new projectors, and the number of 3-D releases jumped from 20 in 2009 to 45 in 2011. Perhaps most importantly, audiences proved willing to pay an extra $3.50 per ticket, so Hollywood made a point of “enhancing” every film into a “premium” 3-D experience. Oh, what a difference four years makes: 3-D box office receipts are taking a serious tumble these days, and audiences are increasingly opting for cheaper 2-D tickets. So how did the format fall so far so fast? READ FULL STORY

Box office report: 'The Wolverine' earns $55 million; Plus 'Despicable Me 2' crosses $300 million mark

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Sometimes even earning the No. 1 spot can be seen as a modest disappointment, or at least that’s what the new narrative around The Wolverine (CinemaScore: A-) would have you believe.

With no competition this weekend, The Wolverine pulled in about $55 million domestically in 3,924 locations — on target with studio estimates, but far below tracking projections, some of which went so far as to predict an $80 million weekend. With the majority of screens showing the Fox tentpole in 3-D, the movie averaged about $14,016 per screen on an estimated budget of $120 million, so this weekend’s performance is really nothing to scoff at. Interestingly, at $55 million, the film is right in line with 2011’s X-Men: First Class which made $55.1 million in its first three days at the box office in early June. But so far The Wolverine is holding steady as the second lowest opening of all of Fox’s six X-Men movies — that title goes to the first in the series which opened at $54.5 million. But X-Men was also released 13 years ago with no 3-D surcharges, so it’s not an entirely fair comparison.

The Wolverine opened internationally this weekend as well to grosses of $86.1 million, playing on 15,152 screens in 101 territories, bringing its worldwide total to about $141.1 million. Fox estimates that audiences were about 58 percet male, and 42 percent under the age of 25.
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Box office preview: Can 'The Wolverine' save the summer box office?

Wolverine is all by his lonesome, tortured, extremely ripped self this weekend at the box office, and big things are expected. As the single new nationwide release, all eyes will be on the Fox juggernaut to see if it might actually be the summer movie to break through the box office slump with a strong opening. It’s not a question of whether or not it will win the weekend, it’s a question of just how brutally it will crush the recent big budget disappointments like The Lone Ranger, R.I.P.D., Pacific Rim, and White House Down. If anyone can take the pressure, it’s probably the clawed mutant.

Here’s how things might play out:
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Box office report: 'The Conjuring' spooks 'R.I.P.D.' with $41.5 million debut

Animated movies have topped the box office for the past four weekends, but this time around, audiences were ready to embrace something a bit edgier. As such, Warner Bros.’ horror film The Conjuring easily topped a crowded weekend with an eye-popping $41.5 million.

The $20 million James Wan-directed title garnered the best horror debut of the year, trumping The Purge‘s $34.1 million bow in May. It also had the second-best debut ever for an R-rated horror film, trailing only Paranormal Activity 3, which opened with $52.6 million in 2011. The film notched a powerful $14,306 per theater average, and if it receives strong word-of-mouth (which seems likely), it could become a $100 million smash. Audiences, which were 53 percent female and 59 percent above the age of 25, issued The Conjuring an excellent “A-” CinemaScore grade — an especially impressive rating given the fact that the horror genre that has seen its fair share of “D” and “F” grades.

The Conjuring‘s debut marks a career high for Wan, who broke onto the scene in 2004 with his $55.2 million hit Saw, a film so buzzy it steered horror films into the torture direction for years after its release. In 2011, Wan scored a spookier hit with Insidious, which, like The Conjuring, starred Patrick Wilson. Insidious earned $54 million against a $1.5 million budget and now has a sequel hitting theaters on September 13. The Conjuring will easily outgross both of those films, though it’s all but guaranteed that Wan’s next effort, Fast & Furious 7, will be his biggest hit yet. READ FULL STORY

Box office update: 'The Conjuring' summons $17 million on Friday, crushes pricey 'Turbo' and 'R.I.P.D.'

On a weekend stuffed with big-budget tentpoles, Warner Bros.’ modest horror release The Conjuring is scaring off every one of its rival releases. The $20 million James Wan-directed film pulled in $17 million on its first Friday at the box office. That’s slightly ahead of The Purge‘s $16.8 million opening Friday in may, and with better reviews and an excellent “A-” CinemaScore grade (a rarity in the horror genre), The Conjuring should surpass The Purge‘s $34.1 million debut. Right now, The Conjuring seems to be on pace for a $37 million weekend, which double Wan’s best previous opening, which came in 2004 when Saw cut up $18.3 million.

Despicable Me 2 held strong in second place with $7.5 million on its third Friday. The animated smash, which has already outgrossed Monsters University, wasn’t hurt too much by the arrival of yet another animated film, Turbo. Despicable Me 2 may capture another $25 million this weekend, which would push its total to $276 million.

In third place, Turbo, which had already earned $9.7 million on Wednesday and Thursday screenings, raced away with $6.5 million on its first Friday. The $135 million film about a snail (voiced by Ryan Reynolds) competing against racecars in the Indy 500, will take in about $19 million over its first weekend frame, which would give the Fox/DreamWorks release a lackluster $28.7 million in its first five days at the box office.

Grown Ups 2 fell 61 percent from its first Friday into fourth place with $6.4 million. The $80 million Adam Sandler comedy, which last weekend opened to $41.5 million, may take in another $20 million this weekend — good for a $79.5 million total.

Two new releases finished in fifth and sixth place. Red 2 took in $6.3 million on Friday, a full 14 percent drop from Red‘s $7.3 million opening Friday in 2010. The $85 million sequel may earn about $18 million this weekend. And then there was R.I.P.D., the Ryan Reynolds/Jeff Bridges action film that Universal say cost $130 million (though its budget has been reported at $154 million). R.I.P.D. earned just $4.8 million on Friday, which puts it on track for a disastrous $12.5 million debut and marks Universal’s first major misstep since Battleship.

Check back tomorrow for the full box office report.

Box office preview: 'The Conjuring' could race past 'Turbo' this weekend

This weekend, Ryan Reynolds will face himself at the box office (R.I.P.D. vs. Turbo), and Mary Louise Parker will too (Red 2 vs. R.I.P.D.), but neither star is likely to walk away with the No. 1 film. That distinction should belong to newcomer The Conjuring, which is scaring up huge pre-release buzz thanks to an extra-creepy marketing campaign. Here’s how I think the box office might look this weekend:

1. The Conjuring – $32 million
James Wan has made a name for himself in the horror genre with Saw and Insidious, two well-made projects that surprised box office analysts and critics alike. And he got a huge profile boost when he was named the director of the upcoming Fast & Furious 7. Thus, it’s no surprise that Wan’s latest project, The Conjuring, is arriving in theaters with heightened expectations. Of course, the film’s incredibly effective trailer — an extended scene that finds Lili Taylor playing hide-and-seek — has made it a buzzy release too.
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