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Hollywood's summer swoon: What's up and what's down at the box office

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Two months into its most lucrative season, Hollywood's summer is down nearly 20 per cent from last year at North American theatres.

WHAT'S WORKING

— Sequels. Hollywood is often criticized for its constant recycling, but the top six movies at the summer box office are all either sequels, reboots or new twists on old properties: "X-Men: Days of Future Past," ($227 million), "Maleficent" ($215 million), "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" ($201 million), "Godzilla" ($198 million), "Transformers: Age of Extinction" ($180 million) and "22 Jump Street" ($161 million). The well-received "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes," out this weekend, is also expected to be big at the box office.

— Anything by Phil Lord and Chris Miller. The directing pair have two of the year's top 10 films to their name: "The Lego Movie" ($257 million) and "22 Jump Street." Both became hits by irreverently parodying their own crassness as a toy movie and as an unnecessary sequel.

WHAT'S NOT

— Family fare. Disney's "Maleficent" has benefited from the relative dearth of kid-friendly options by appealing to families. But the other family films, "How to Train Your Dragon 2" ($142 million) and "Rio 2" ($142 million), have failed to generate the kind of summer box office usually expected of such big-budget animated releases.

— Comedies without Seth Rogen. Rogen's "Neighbors" ($148 million) and "22 Jump Street" (in which he makes a cameo) are the two biggest comedies of the year. But releases led by Melissa McCarthy, Adam Sandler and Seth MacFarlane have struggled to break out. Sandler's "Blended" ($44 million), MacFarlane's "A Million Ways to Die in the West" ($42 million) and McCarthy's "Tammy" ($36 million) have all been dragged down by weak reviews.

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