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Summer Box Office 2014: Which Studio Was the Winner?

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The movies might have been packed with explosions, but the summer box office ended with more of a whimper. Gross domestic ticket revenue peaked at $4.05 billion to end the Labor Day weekend, down 15% from $4.75 billion a year earlier. For the first time since 2001, no single summer hit crossed the $300 million mark.

Don't feel too bad for the major studios, though. While there were no runaway hits the likes of last year's Iron Man 3 or The Avengers in 2012, there were still plenty of million-dollar franchises to cruise by on.

Here are the winners and losers of the summer 2014 box office by studio. 

6. Comcast's (CMCSA) Universal Studios

Funny Makes Money Award: Neighbors, a frat-boy flick starring Seth Rogen and Zac Efron, led the charge with an early May release and pulled in a total $266.6 million globally, nearly 15 times its production costs.

Women Can Anchor Action Movies Award: Lucy also proved a prickle in the side of naysayers who argue female characters cannot front multimillion-dollar movies. The Scarlett Johansson flick generated $270.2 million worldwide.  

Winner of The Critics Were Right Award: Seth MacFarlane's A Million Ways to Die in the West limped out of the gate in late May making only $42.7 million domestically, little more than the $40 million cost it cost to produce the movie. Expectations were high given MacFarlane's 2012 film Ted scored $218.8 million over its domestic run. 

Other films:

  • The Purge: Anarchy ($103.6M)
  • Get On Up ($29.6M)
  • Wish I Was Here ($4.03M)

Total gross: $759.9 million. An impressive total given no film cost more than $50 million to make. However, it's a pittance compared to 2013, a year in which Despicable Me 2 made more than $970 million.

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