A long, long time ago in a pre-Star Wars Hollywood, the crown jewel of the summer movie season was the Fourth of July. The studios regularly put out some of their biggest movies in the weeks leading up to the holiday, building up word of mouth so that once the Fourth arrived audiences would hopefully pull themselves away from barbeques, swimming pools and fireworks to head to the movies. Of course, the old rules changed, and summer crept into May from June before invading April, March and even February. In 1975 when Jaws came out in late June we were excited to see the big new thing over the Fourth. Now, by the time the Holiday arrives we’re already suffering from blockbuster fatigue and complaining that there’s nothing new worth seeing.

This year for the Fourth, Hollywood offered up two really big gambles (The Legend of Tarzan, The BFG) and a micro-budget horror sequel (The Purge: Election Year), and last year it was a doomed reboot-sequel (Terminator: Genisys) and another ode to Channing Tatum’s abs (Magic Mike XXL). However, this year audiences ultimately preferred to check out a Pixar movie (Finding Dory), and the same was true last year (Inside Out). Is that the new thing now, or has it always kind of been like this? In other words, what were some of the big movies which came out over Independence Day, and how did they fare at the box office?

Well, here’s a list highlighting the highest-grossing new movie for each July 4th weekend since 1985:

1985: Back to the Future

backtothefutureWeekend box office: $11.1 million
Position in the top 10: #1
#2 Movie That Weekend: Pale Rider ($7m)

Also Opening That Weekend: Red Sonja, The Emerald Forest

1986: Psycho III

MPW-50025Weekend box office: $3.23 million
Position in the top 10: #8
#1 Movie that weekend: The Karate Kid Part II ($6.2m)

Also Opening That Weekend: The Great Mouse Detective, About Last Night, Under the Cherry Moon, Big Trouble in Little China

1987: Innerspace

MPW-69008Weekend box office: $4.73 million
Position in the top 10: #3
#1 Movie that weekend: Dragnet ($7m)

Also Opening That Weekend: Adventures in Babysitting

1988: Coming to America

Coming-to-America_Eddie-Murphy-James-Earl-Jones-Madge-Sinclair-midWeekend box office: $21.4 million
Position in the top 10: #1
#2 Movie That Weekend: Who Framed Roger Rabbit ($14.5m)

Also Opening That Weekend: Nothing

1989: Karate Kid Part III

the-karate-kid-part-3-movie-poster-1989-1020470197Weekend box office: $10.3 million
Position in the top 10: #3
#1 Movie That Weekend: Batman ($30m)

Also Opening That Weekend: Great Balls of Fire, Do the Right Thing

1990: Die Hard 2

file_204675_5_Die_Hard_2_posterWeekend box office: $21.7 million
Position in the top 10: #1
#2 Movie That Weekend: Days of Thunder ($10.7m)

Also Opening That Weekend: Jetsons: The Movie

1991: Terminator 2: Judgement Day

Terminator 2Weekend box office: $31.7 million
Position in the top 10: #1
#2 Movie That Weekend: The Naked Gun 2 1/2 ($11.6m)

Also Opening That Weekend: Problem Child 2

1992: A League of Their Own

league of their ownWeekend box office: $13.7 million
Position in the top 10: #2
#1 Movie That Weekend: Batman Returns ($13.8m)

Also Opening That Weekend: Boomerang

1993: The Firm

firm_ver2Weekend box office: $32.4 million
Position in the top 10: #1
#2 Movie That Weekend: Jurassic Park ($25.2m)

Also Opening That Weekend: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Re-Issue, Son-in-Law

1994: The Shadow

shadow_ver1Weekend box office: $11.7 million
Position in the top 10: #2
#1 Movie That Weekend: The Lion King ($34.2m)

Also Opening That Weekend: Blown Away, I Love Trouble, Baby’s Day Out, Little Big League

1995: Apollo 13

apollo_thirteen_ver1Weekend box office: $25.3 million
Position in the top 10: #1
#2 Movie That Weekend: Pocahontas ($15.9m)

Also Opening That Weekend: Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, Judge Dredd

1996: Independence Day

independence-day-featWeekend box office: $50.2 million
Position in the top 10: #1
#2 Movie That Weekend: The Nutty Professor ($17.4m)

Also Opening That Weekend: Phenomenon

1997: Men in Black

men_in_blackWeekend box office: $51 million
Position in the top 10: #1
#2 Movie That Weekend: Face/Off ($16m)

Also Opening That Weekend: Out to Sea, Wild America

1998: Armageddon

ArmageddonWeekend box office: $36 million
Position in the top 10: #1
#2 Movie That Weekend: Doctor Dolittle ($19.6m)

Also Opening That Weekend: Nothing

1999: Wild Wild West

Wild Wild WestWeekend box office: $27.6 million
Position in the top 10: #1
#2 Movie That Weekend: Big Daddy ($20m)

Also Opening That Weekend: South Park, Summer of Sam

2000: The Perfect Storm

perfect_stormWeekend box office: $41.3 million
Position in the top 10: #1
#2 Movie That Weekend: The Patriot ($22.4m)

Also Opening That Weekend: The Patriot, Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle

2001: Cats & Dogs

cats_and_dogs_ver3Weekend box office: $21.7 million
Position in the top 10: #1
#2 Movie That Weekend: Scary Movie 2 ($20.5m)

Also Opening That Weekend: Scary Movie 2, Kiss of the Dragon

2002: Men in Black 2

2002_men_in_black_2_wallpaper_001Weekend box office: $52.1 million
Position in the top 10: #1
#2 Movie That Weekend: Mr. Deeds ($18.4m)

Also Opening That Weekend: Like Mike, Powerpuff Girls Movie

2003: Terminator 3

terminator-3-movie-posterWeekend box office: $44 million
Position in the top 10: #1
#2 Movie That Weekend: Legally Blonde 2 ($22.2m)

Also Opening That Weekend: Legally Blonde 2, Sinbad: Legends of the Seven Seas

2004: Spider-Man 2

all-marvel-movies-spider-man-2-poster-2004Weekend box office: $88.1 million
Position in the top 10: #1
#2 Movie That Weekend: Fahrenheit 9/11 ($16.2m)

Also Opening That Weekend: Nothing

2005: War of the Worlds

war_worlds_spielberg_41_xWeekend box office: $64.8 million
Position in the top 10: #1
#2 Movie That Weekend: Batman Begins ($15.6m)

Also Opening That Weekend: Rebound

2006: Superman Returns

superman returns movie posterWeekend box office: $52.5 million
Position in the top 10: #1
#2 Movie That Weekend: The Devil Wears Prada ($27.5m)

Also Opening That Weekend: The Devil Wears Prada

2007: Transformers

optimusprimeonesheetWeekend box office: $70.5 million
Position in the top 10: #1
#2 Movie That Weekend: Ratatouielle ($29m)

Also Opening That Weekend: License to Wed, Sicko

2008: Hancock

Hancock posterWeekend box office: $62.6 million
Position in the top 10: #1
#2 Movie That Weekend: Wall-E ($32.5m)

Also Opening That Weekend: Nothing

2009: Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs

ice_age_dawn_of_the_dinosaursWeekend box office: $41.6 million
Position in the top 10: #2
#1 Movie That Weekend: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen ($42.3m)

Also Opening That Weekend: Public Enemies

2010: Twilight: Eclipse

twilight_saga_eclipse_ver3Weekend box office: $64.8 million
Position in the top 10: #1
#2 Movie That Weekend: The Last Airbender ($40.3m)

Also Opening That Weekend: The Last Airbender

2011: Transformers: Dark of the Moon

transformers_dark_of_the_moon_ver5Weekend box office: $97.8 million
Position in the top 10: #1
#2 Movie That Weekend: Cars 2 ($26.2m)

Also Opening That Weekend: Larry Crowne, Monte Carlo

2012: The Amazing Spider-Man

amazing_spiderman_ver14Weekend box office: $62 million
Position in the top 10: #1
#2 Movie That Weekend: Ted ($32.2m)

Also Opening That Weekend: Savages, Katy Perry: Part of Me

2013: Despicable Me 2

despicable_me_two_ver7Weekend box office: $83.5 million
Position in the top 10: #1
#2 Movie That Weekend: The Lone Ranger ($29.2m)

Also Opening That Weekend: The Lone Ranger, Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain

2014: Tammy

tammyWeekend box office: $21.5 million
Position in the top 10: #2
#1 Movie That Weekend: Transformers: Age of Extinction ($37m)

Also Opening That Weekend: Deliver Us From Evil, Earth to Echo, America

2015: Terminator: Genisys

terminator-genesis-poster-arnold

Weekend box office: $27 million
Position in the top 10: #3
#1 Movie That Weekend: Inside Out ($29.7m)

Also Opening That Weekend: Magic Mike XXL, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

2016: The Legend of Tarzan

the-legend-of-tarzan-movie-posterWeekend box office: $38.1 million
Position in the top 10: #2
The Weekend’s #1 Movie: Finding Dory ($41.9m)

Also New This Weekend: The Purge: Election Year, The BFG

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Posted by Kelly Konda

Grew up obsessing over movies and TV shows. Worked in a video store. Minored in film at college because my college didn't offer a film major. Worked in academia for a while. Have been freelance writing and running this blog since 2013.

One Comment

  1. […] Happened In The End? Tarzan posted one of the weaker 4th of July openings in recent history, and will likely top out at $130m domestic. Its faring far better overseas, but […]

    Reply

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