The Reel Breakdown

Summer 2012 Winners and Losers

Photo: Disney/Universal

From "The Avengers" to "The Expendables 2," this has been an active -- some might say overactive -- summer. Now, with our back-to-school list-making, let's scan the summer's winners and losers:

Winners :

    1. Joss Whedon and "The Avengers": The summer's opening -- and best -- studio tent-pole blockbuster. Now, Whedon will direct the sequel, too.

    2. Matthew McConaughey: The hunky actor got a career infusion with his Oscar-baiting male stripper in the surprise hit "Magic Mike." Continue to take it off, Matt! (Add in the underrated "Bernie" and "Killer Joe," too, for a massive and interesting comeback.)

    3. Wes Anderson and "Moonrise Kingdom": Anderson's most successful live-action movie also boosted the careers of Bill Murray and Bruce Willis.

    4. Jeremy Renner and "The Bourne Legacy": Renner proved that he could open a movie and make audiences forget Matt Damon as Jason Bourne -- and he also had a piece of "The Avengers" action as "Hawkeye."

    5. Tom Hardy and "The Dark Knight Rises": Hardy is the summer's breakout action star with dramatic chops -- see also "Lawless" -- and he rises with the Dark Knight franchise.

    6. Seth MacFarlane, Mark Wahlberg, and "Ted": A sleeper hit about a dirty-mouthed stuffed bear and his arrested-development owner drew on "The Family Guy" fan-base and Wahlberg's ability to pull off comedy or action with understated charm.

    7. Quvenzhané Wallis and "Beasts of the Southern Wild": The indie Oscar-bait movie has its staunch supporters and cynical detractors, but no one is doubting the eight-year-old star's performance and we're betting on an Oscar nom

[Related: Indie Roundup: 'Robot & Frank']

Losers:

    1. Kristen Stewart: With the unfaithful kiss seen round the world, KStew put a stake in the heart of her participation in the sequel to "Snow White and the Huntsman" and her fairy-tale romance with Robert Pattinson.

    2. "Battleship": Sunk.

    3. "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter": Not all vampire movies are created equal, and this big-budget fiasco sucked at the box office.

    4. "Total Recall": The most forgettable of the big-budget remakes.

    5. "Dark Shadows": They were crying into their Count Chocula on this one, but Johnny Depp-Tim Burton collaborations tend to remain undead, and this movie, which had a decent global gross, may have legs beyond 2012.

    6. "Savages": Oliver Stone lights up and misfires in this underwhelming adaptation of Don Winslow's terrific novel about the clash between the Mexican Baja Cartel and smug Southern California dope peddlers -- and the death of hippie naiveté. It may be more disappointing because expectations were so high.

See Joss Wheldon give commentary to a clip from 'The Avengers':

'The Avengers' Clip Commentary