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'The Avengers' Tops 'The Dark Knight Rises,' Ends Summer As Biggest Blockbuster

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With a steady stream of prominent franchises releasing new installments throughout the summer, the blockbuster season was as busy as anticipated, and movies like "The Avengers," "The Dark Knight Rises" and "The Amazing Spider-Man" ended up with some very big numbers.

Unexpected hits like "Ted" and "Magic Mike" also came out nowhere to have a major box office impact, with both putting up enormous totals considering their limited budgets.

It wasn't all gravy for the studios this summer, however, as there were plenty of bombs too, from "Battleship" to "That's My Boy." Here's a look back at what hit and what didn't during one of the busiest summer movie seasons in a while.

The Big Hits:

"The Avengers," (Disney):

Though not exactly a surprise, it was still impressive to watch just how big "The Avengers" turned out to be. The superhero fans were going to be there either way, but you don't get to $616 million in the U.S. without crossing over to other audiences as well. With $1.46 billion worldwide, "The Avengers" is one of the biggest hits in history and you can bet that the team will get back together again for another adventure down the road.

"The Dark Knight Rises," (Warner Brothers):

After all the hype and all the fanfare, "The Dark Knight Rises" is putting up some very big numbers, though they aren't quite as emphatic as many thought they'd be. "The Dark Knight Rises" is well on its way to crossing $1 billion just like its predecessor did, though it seems unlikely that it will challenge "The Avengers" to be the top overall draw of the year. Still, "The Dark Knight Rises" ends up being a very strong conclusion to one of the most popular and critically respected action franchises of the modern era.

"Ted," (Universal):

Easily the commercial comedy of the year so far, "Ted" was expected to have a fairly wide audience (it did have a $50 million production budget) but few thought it would catch on as well as it did. After crossing $200 million domestically, "Ted" joins "The Hangover 1 & 2" and "Wedding Crashers" as the only other R-rated comedies ever to reach the mark, and numbers overseas have been surprisingly strong as well. "Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane looks like he has a bright future in the movies, though topping "Ted" isn't going to be easy.

"Magic Mike," (Warner Brothers):

"Magic Mike" is easily the biggest surprise hit of the year. With a next-to-nothing production budget of $7 million, "Magic Mike" took on big productions like "The Amazing Spider-Man" and "Ted" and still managed to find a wide audience in the middle of the summer. Channing Tatum apparently moves the meter more than people expected, as he has two of the biggest low-budget hits of the year ("The Vow").

"Men in Black III," (Sony/Columbia):

"Men in Black III" ended up being just about the quietest $600 million box office earner in history. Lost in the shuffle of larger franchises with more momentum, "Men in Black III" brought in a steady $176 million in the U.S. and more than $443 million in foreign markets. It will be very hard to get Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones back on board for another entry, but the audience is still there.

The Misses:

"Battleship," (Universal):

Probably not the best $209 million ever spent making a movie. Marketed as the second coming of the "Transformers" franchise, "Battleship" was skipped by most of the audience that made Michael Bay's trilogy so popular and brought in just $65 million in domestic revenue. "Battleship" ends up only the second movie ever to cost $200 million to make and earn less than $100 million in the U.S. (the other is "John Carter"), making it the biggest bust of the summer.

"That's My Boy," (Sony/Columbia):

Coming off of his universally panned and mocked "Jack and Jill," prestige around Adam Sandler movies has suddenly taken a nose dive. With an inflated production budget of $70 million, "That's My Boy" was the most expensive comedy of the summer, though it made less than much cheaper comedies like "Moonrise Kingdom," "The Cabin in the Woods" and "The Very Best Marigold Hotel." Don't worry about Sandler's box office appeal, though, as his "Grown Ups 2" should be one of the biggest comedy hits of next summer.

"Rock of Ages," (Warner Brothers):

Audiences may love the 1980s, but that was not enough to get them interested in "Rock of Ages." Tom Cruise gave it his all as a hair band lead singer, and "Rock of Ages" still ended up with a disappointing $50 million worldwide haul. For a $70 million production based on a popular Broadway musical, that's not going to cut it.

Stuck in the Middle:

"The Amazing Spider-Man," (Sony/Columbia):

The numbers for the latest "Spider-Man" were promising, though "The Amazing Spider-Man" was far from a runaway success. Aided with a perfect July 4th release, "The Amazing Spider-Man" is up to nearly $260 million in the U.S., though it will finish well short of the benchmark of $300 million. Despite general support from critics and fans, "The Amazing Spider-Man" was also far and away the worst performing "Spider-Man," though it was just successful enough for a sequel to launch at the beginning of the 2014 summer schedule.

"Snow White and the Huntsman," (Universal):

"Snow White and the Huntsman" was one of the other major releases that didn't have the built-in audiences of the other major franchises. After putting up $153 million in the U.S. and $388 million worldwide, "Huntsman" is an overall success, though it never really caught on as Universal hoped it might.

"Dark Shadows," (Warner Brothers):

The worldwide appeal of Johnny Depp and Tim Burton largely saved "Dark Shadows," helping it recover from very weak domestic numbers. "Dark Shadows" finished with $236 million worldwide, though that's still low for a major summer release that cost $150 million just to produce. Burton and Depp have combined for some big hits, though "Dark Shadows" is as forgettable as they come.

Top five potential blockbusters for next summer:

1) "Man of Steel"

2) "Monsters University"

3) "Iron Man 3"

4) Untitled "Star Trek Sequel"

5) "Lone Ranger"

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