Summer movie season: box office flat in 2012


But flying highest? "The Avengers."

Marvel's "The Avengers" opened the summer season and ended it at the top of the box office heap. The film has earned $618 million domestically and $1.5 billion worldwide.

The best news for fans? Director Joss Whedon will return to direct "The Avengers 2," set for May 2015.

The Aurora, Colorado theater shooting tragedy may have darkened some of box office for the end of the Batman trilogy. Still, "The Dark Knight Rises" took in $423 million, for second place.

Another superhero caught the third-place spot on the summer scorecard. Andrew Garfield slipped on the suit and revitalized the franchise, bringing "The Amazing Spider-Man" $258 million.

Animated films are another summer staple, and the latest from Pixar hit the box office bull's-eye. "Brave" is fourth on the summer list, earning $230 million.

The biggest surprise for the summer has "Ted" ending up in fifth place. Mark Wahlberg and an R-rated talking teddy bear brought in $214 million.

The biggest winner on the independent movie front also proved that projects starring actors older than 50 can still bring in an audience. "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" will end up the most profitable indie film of the summer, earning $131 million worldwide, $45 million in the U.S. alone.

On the other end of the scale, there were several high-profile misfires, including "Battleship," "Total Recall," "The Dictator" and "Dark Shadows."

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