Can you guess what the biggest film of the summer was?

We bet you can’t. (Not really).

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AFTER A LACKLUSTRE 2014 summer, Hollywood has bounced back with one of its best seasons ever.

But the most surprising part of the turnaround is that superheroes aren’t the ones who saved the day.

Instead, Hollywood’s summer was led by a banner season from Universal Pictures, the lone major studio with nary a cape in its cupboard. With a record-setting $5.3 billion-plus in revenue so far this year, Universal has powered Hollywood to a near record summer with a diverse string of hits including the season’s top film “Jurassic World” ($1.6 billion worldwide), the top animated hit, “Minions,” and one of the most successful sequels, “Pitch Perfect 2.”

After the summer limps to a close this weekend, the North American box office will have tallied about $4.4 billion in ticket receipts, according to box office data firm Rentrak.

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That’s second only to the record $4.75 billion summer of 2013 and an improvement of about 7.5% from last summer’s downturn.

And the superhero-less Universal led the way.

“It’s a lot of hard work, but it’s also an indication that we’re tapping audiences in different ways with the different kind of movies we’re releasing,” says Nick Carpou, distribution head for Universal.

“I think our diverse slate doesn’t tend to tire people out.”

If superhero domination is slipping at all, it’s not by much. “Avengers: Age of Ultron” was the summer’s second highest grossing film in North America with $457.7 million, and Marvel has already staked out prime summer release dates for years to come, the billions sure to follow.

Film Title: Straight Outta Compton Straight Outta Compton has proved a big hit this summer. Apexchange Apexchange

But this was the first summer since the final “Harry Potter” chapter in 2011 that a comic book movie didn’t top all films.

“Ant-Man” (seventh place with $170.1 million) was bedeviled by creative differences and fell well short of Marvel’s last irreverent entry, the mammoth summer 2014 hit “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

It will probably go down as merely a dent in the superhero movie’s armor, but it’s also possible that the summer of 2015 will later be seen as a turning point. As Steven Spielberg reminded in a recent interview with The Associated Press, these things are cyclical: “There will be a time when the superhero movie goes the way of the Western,” he said.

There were bombs, just as there always are. Disney’s “Tomorrowland,” starring George Clooney, made barely $200 million globally — a mark Sony’s heavily marketed “Pixels,” with Adam Sandler, hasn’t reached.

Read: Trailer Watch: Which movie should you go see this weekend?

Read: Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s actually a Superman drone

Associated Foreign Press
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