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Metacritic's 7th Annual Movie Studio Report Card

  • Publish Date: January 27, 2016
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Ranking the performance of film studios in 2015

Over the past month and a half, we've been examining the best and worst entertainment of 2015, including a look at the year's best-reviewed movies. But before we put 2015 in the history books, we have one more bit of data to get through: our annual evaluation of movie studio performance.

For the seventh straight year, we have analyzed both the box office performance and overall film quality of the seven-ish major studios and a few dozen of the larger "indie" distributors in an attempt to determine the best and worst studios of the past year.

This year's rankings begin below. Our previous Movie Studio Report Cards are available here: 2015 (for films released in 2014) | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010

Which studios released the best films?

To compile these annual report cards, we calculate the average Metascores for each individual distributor, and then assign a letter grade to enable easy comparisons between studios. We do grade on a curve: the highest average Metascores get A's, the lowest F's, and everything else slots in between.

Grades for the studios' 2015 films are listed below, and—as always—you'll find most of the majors toward the bottom of the list. However, one major studio graded far higher than the rest. Disney averaged a strong 66.8 for its 11 scored releases in 2015, and, at 6th place overall, the company has achieved the highest ranking ever for a major studio in the seven years we have been compiling these reports.

The studio with the best overall film slate in 2015, however, was an indie. Cinema Guild took 1st place in 2012 and 2013, and would have repeated in 2014 had it released enough films to qualify for our rankings. That wasn't a problem last year. Its 74.6 average in 2015 was actually the company's lowest score since 2012, but it was still over two points higher than any other distributor last year. (Note that the previous year's 1st place studio, GKIDS, is absent from our new rankings because it released just five films in 2015, two short of our minimum.)

Results for all studios (with at least seven scored films) are below. = Major studio

2015 Film Quality Assessment for Studios with 7 or More Scored Releases
Studio (Ranked by Grades*) # Films ** # Great % Good % So-So % Bad Average Metascore Quality Grade
1 Cinema Guild 7 2 100% 0% 0% 74.6    A+
2 Kino Lorber 27 5 89% 7% 4% 72.5    A
3 Sony Pictures Classics 17 4 82% 12% 6% 69.3    A
4 First Run Features 7 1 86% 14% 0% 70.1    A
5 Film Movement 8 0 88% 13% 0% 69.3    A–
6 Disney 11 3 73% 18% 9% 66.8    A–
7 A24 11 3 64% 27% 9% 66.7    A–
8 Fox Searchlight 8 1 75% 25% 0% 66.8    A–
9 Drafthouse Films 8 1 50% 50% 0% 66.8    A–
10 Magnolia Pictures 21 3 67% 19% 14% 65.0    B+
11 The Film Collaborative 9 0 78% 22% 0% 66.1    B+
12 Cohen Media Group 11 2 45% 55% 0% 64.5    B+
13 Oscilloscope Laboratories 11 1 73% 18% 9% 64.7    B+
14 Broad Green Pictures 9 1 44% 56% 0% 64.3    B
15 Music Box Films 11 1 64% 27% 9% 63.7    B
16 Abramorama 8 2 38% 50% 13% 61.9    B
17 Strand Releasing 15 1 67% 27% 7% 61.5    B–
18 Roadside Attractions 11 1 55% 27% 18% 60.4    B–
19 The Orchard 15 0 60% 33% 7% 59.8    C+
20 Weinstein Company 24 3 33% 50% 17% 58.3    C+
21 Samuel Goldwyn 8 0 63% 25% 13% 58.5    C+
22 FilmBuff 11 1 36% 55% 9% 57.8    C+
23 IFC Films 58 5 47% 34% 19% 56.3    C+
24 Universal 21 1 33% 57% 10% 55.8    C
25 Focus Features 11 0 45% 36% 18% 54.7    C
26 Gravitas Ventures 16 0 50% 25% 25% 54.2    C
27 Well Go USA 14 0 29% 57% 14% 52.5    C–
28 Amplify 10 0 40% 30% 30% 51.9    C–
29 Paramount 11 2 36% 18% 45% 50.9    C–
30 Warner Bros. 25 2 16% 56% 28% 49.8    D+
31 20th Century Fox 17 0 24% 35% 41% 48.6    D+
32 Screen Media Films 10 0 20% 60% 20% 46.9    D
33 Alchemy 14 0 21% 36% 43% 46.3    D
34 Lionsgate 28 2 11% 54% 36% 45.1    D
35 Freestyle Releasing 12 0 17% 42% 42% 45.5    D–
36 Vertical Entertainment 10 0 20% 40% 40% 45.2    D–
37 Sony 15 0 7% 60% 33% 45.2    D–
38 Entertainment One 15 0 0% 33% 67% 39.8    F
39 RLJ/Image Entertainment 13 0 8% 38% 54% 37.5    F
40 ARC Entertainment 9 0 0% 11% 89% 28.9    F

* Grades are determined (on a curve) almost entirely by average Metascore, but with a small bonus awarded for each "great" film (with Metascore of 81 or higher) released during the year.
** Films with Metascores. Re-releases, and films with fewer than four reviews (the minimum required to calculate a Metascore) are excluded. Only studios with 7 or more scored American releases during 2015 are included. A few additional distributors did release at least 7 films in the U.S. last year but are not listed because most or all of their films do not have Metascores (these were mainly films in foreign languages).

The Metascore is a weighted average of scores from top professional critics, on a scale from 0 (bad) to 100 (good). The Average Metascore is a simple mean of all Metascores for the studio's 2015 releases. # Great indicates the total number of 2015 films with Metascores of 81 or higher. % Good represents positively-reviewed films (Metascore of 61 or higher). % So-So represents films receiving mixed or average reviews (40-60). % Bad represents negatively-reviewed films (39 or lower). Note that percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding. The Quality Grade is an overall quality assessment assigned by Metacritic to represent the studio's output for the year in comparison to its peers. All scores in this report are from January 25, 2016.

Details by individual studio

Below are the films released by each individual distributor during 2015, ordered by average Metascore (beginning with the major studios as a group and then moving on to the smaller companies). Only those distributors with at least seven scored releases are included. Note that some films listed below do not have any reported box office grosses; these films were primarily or exclusively released on VOD in North America (and/or had such a negligible theatrical presence that box office figures were not reported).

The majors

Disney

Image
2015 Film Quality
Grade Avg. Score % Good *
A– 66.8 73%
up 7.0 vs '14
Per-Film Total Mkt. Share
2015 Box Office Results (Domestic) **
$221.3m $2.28 billion
up 41% vs '14
19.8%
Rank: 2nd

For the second straight year, Disney released better films overall than any major studio—and this time, it wasn't even close. It's the first time in three years that one of the majors has averaged above 61 (the cutoff we use to indicate generally positive reviews from critics) for its annual release slate, and Disney's strong 2015 average score puts it 11 points higher than its nearest major competitor (Universal). Disney is thus the only major to receive a grade higher than C.

Disney's 2015 highlights included Pixar's Inside Out—the year's third-highest-scoring film overall–as well as the Steven Spielberg-directed Bridge of Spies. Those two films helped the studio earn 14 Oscar nominations, second only to Fox.

And a little film called The Force Awakens not only collected strong reviews, but also helped the studio grow its box office grosses considerably compared to the prior year. Disney finished 2015 with its highest-ever domestic and worldwide totals; the latter figure ($5.85 billion) would have set an all-time record for any studio were it not surpassed (also last year) by Universal.

Though it may not reach the same heights (at least critically), the year ahead should be another successful one for Disney, and not just because Force Awakens continues to be a box office force (earning another $230 million domestically in January so far). The studio's 2016 slate includes another Star Wars film (Rogue One), a Finding Nemo sequel from Pixar (Finding Dory), a pair of Marvel releases (Doctor Strange and Captain America: Civil War), and a new animated property that will introduce the latest Disney princess (Moana).

* % Good = percentage of all 2015 releases receiving positive reviews from critics (with a score of 61 or higher).
** Per-Film is the average domestic gross per new film released nationwide by the studio in 2015, and includes additional 2016 domestic box office grosses through January 24, 2016 for any 2015 releases that are still playing in theaters. Total includes all receipts earned during 2015, including for those films carrying over from 2014. Market Share/Rank is share of domestic receipts among all distributors (including those omitted from this report). Source of box office data: Box Office Mojo

Films Released in 2015 Brand Domestic Gross Metascore User Score
Inside Out Pixar $356,461,711 94 8.8
Bridge of Spies Touchstone $71,517,000 81 7.8
Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens Lucasfilm $879,289,346 81 6.8
Monkey Kingdom Disneynature $16,432,322 72 7.5
Cinderella Disney $201,151,353 67 7.6
Avengers: Age of Ultron Marvel $459,005,868 66 7.0
The Good Dinosaur Pixar $119,982,000 66 7.3
Ant-Man Marvel $180,202,163 64 8.0
McFarland USA Disney $44,482,410 60 7.3
Tomorrowland Disney $93,436,322 60 6.5
Strange Magic Touchstone $12,429,583 25 5.2

* Domestic Gross (here and in all remaining tables on this page) includes box office grosses through January 24, 2016 for any 2015 releases that are still playing in theaters. Source: Box Office Mojo.

Universal

Image
2015 Film Quality
Grade Avg. Score % Good
C 55.8 33%
up 8.3 vs '14
Per-Film Total Mkt. Share
2015 Box Office Results (Domestic)
$115.6m $2.44 billion
up 119% vs '14
21.3%
Rank: 1st

Calling Universal's 2015 film slate "hit or miss" might be overly generous given that only one in every three films received approval from critics. And the studio didn't get the major Oscar nominations it was hoping for with the under-seen Steve Jobs and surprise hit Straight Outta Compton. But, led by those two titles and the Amy Schumer comedy Trainwreck, the studio actually saw its Metascore average increase by over 8 points compared to its 2014 releases.

Financially, however, 2015 was an unequivocal success for the studio. In fact, it was the best year for any studio in any year. Universal shattered records with its $2.44 billion domestic gross, $4.44 billion international gross, and $6.89 billion combined worldwide gross. (By comparison, the previous worldwide record was set by Fox, with $5.5 billion in 2014.) Those figures enabled Universal to shoot up from 5th place in domestic market share (and 6th globally) in 2014 to 1st place in both categories last year.

It will be extremely hard for the studio to match those figures in 2016, as many of its biggest franchises are sitting out the year and Universal's planned 21-film slate doesn't feature any sure-thing blockbuster hits aside from (maybe) a still-untitled Bourne sequel. Unless titles like the belated sequels Bridget Jones's Baby and My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 and videogame adaptation Warcraft perform far beyond expectations, 2016 could be one long hangover for the studio.

Films Released in 2015 Domestic Gross Metascore User Score
Steve Jobs$17,766,658826.8
Trainwreck$110,212,700755.7
Straight Outta Compton$161,197,785727.5
Furious 7$353,007,020676.8
Crimson Peak$31,090,320667.4
Everest$43,482,270647.1
Pitch Perfect 2$184,296,230635.8
Jurassic World$652,270,625596.8
Unfriended$32,482,090595.8
Sisters$85,936,990586.4
Minions$336,045,770565.8
Legend$1,872,994558.4
The Visit$65,206,105556.5
Blackhat$8,005,980515.3
Krampus$42,725,475497.5
Ted 2$81,476,385486.4
Fifty Shades of Grey$166,167,230463.0
By the Sea$538,460446.7
Jem and the Holograms$2,184,640422.2
Seventh Son$17,223,265304.0
The Boy Next Door$35,423,380305.5

Paramount

Image
2015 Film Quality
Grade Avg. Score % Good
C– 50.9 36%
down 4.9 vs '14
Per-Film Total Mkt. Share
2015 Box Office Results (Domestic)
$58.7m $674.7 million
down 36% vs '14
5.9%
Rank: 6th

Last year was mostly one to forget for Paramount. True, the studio did have some financial success with its latest Mission: Impossible installment, impressed critics with Charlie Kaufman's stop-motion-animated oddity Anomalisa, and earned a best picture nomination with The Big Short.

But other 2015 highlights were hard to find. Once again, just around two-thirds of its releases failed to earn positive reviews from critics. And the number of Paramount films earning out-and-out bad reviews increased from one in 2013 to three in 2014 to five last year. That group includes a film that was so bad it appears to have killed the once-lucrative, decades-old Terminator franchise.

Overall, the studio's 2015 domestic receipts fell well below the $1 billion it collected in 2014, while Paramount's market share dropped from over 10% to under 6% (though it remained in sixth place among all studios).

Will 2016 be any better for Paramount? The studio does not appear to have any releases on tap that will match The Big Short's best picture nomination (with the possible—if unlikely—exception of Richard Linklater's upcoming spring release Everybody Wants Some), while its box office fortunes ride in large part on the success of upcoming Star Trek and TMNT sequels.

Films Released in 2015 Studio Domestic Gross Metascore User Score
AnomalisaParamount$1,410,699877.5
The Big ShortParamount$56,713,841818.5
Mission: Impossible - Rogue NationParamount$195,042,377757.8
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of WaterParamount$162,994,032626.6
Project AlmanacParamount$22,348,241475.4
Daddy's HomeParamount$138,780,265426.8
Terminator GenisysParamount$89,760,956386.2
CaptiveParamount$2,583,30137n/a
Scouts Guide to the Zombie ApocalypseParamount$3,703,046325.7
Paranormal Activity: The Ghost DimensionParamount$18,300,124303.8
Hot Tub Time Machine 2Paramount/MGM$12,314,651293.4
Capture the FlagParamount$6,690n/an/a

Warner Bros.

Image
2015 Film Quality
Grade Avg. Score % Good
D+ 49.8 16%
down 4.0 vs '14
Per-Film Total Mkt. Share
2015 Box Office Results (Domestic)
$45.9m $1.60 billion
up 2.6% vs '14
13.9%
Rank: 3rd

Warner Bros. released two unexpectedly great movies in 2015, and oddly enough both were revivals of film franchises that launched in the 1970s: Mad Max: Fury Road, and Creed (part of the Rocky franchise). Both scored excellent reviews and landed on numerous year-end top-10 lists. The former also received 10 Oscar nominations including best picture (while the latter was arguably robbed of a similar honor).

As far as 2015 highlights go, however, that's about it for the studio. Warners' success rate (of films receiving positive reviews from critics) dropped from 39% in 2014 to just 16% last year, while the studio's average Metascore declined by four points. There were also box office flops aplenty, including Jupiter Ascending, In the Heart of the Sea, We Are Your Friends and Pan, just to name a few.

Experts are already predicting additional potential flops for the coming year, including the big-budget reboot of Tarzan, which is reportedly testing poorly in advance screenings. (Negative fan reaction to the new trailer for this summer's Suicide Squad is similarly worrisome.) Still, 2016 isn't without hope, as the adaptation of J.K. Rowling's Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them has the potential to kickstart a (semi-)new lucrative franchise. And Warners' best chances at a critical hit this year probably reside in Clint Eastwood's Sully, Key & Peele's Keanu, or Jeff Nichols' Midnight Special.

Films Released in 2015 Studio Domestic Gross Metascore User Score
Mad Max: Fury RoadWarner Bros. Pictures$153,636,354898.6
CreedWarner Bros. Pictures$108,294,759828.2
Black MassWarner Bros. Pictures$62,575,678687.4
Batkid BeginsNew Line Cinema$74,70963n/a
Magic Mike XXLWarner Bros. Pictures$66,013,057605.5
Run All NightWarner Bros. Pictures$26,461,644597.7
FocusWarner Bros. Pictures$53,862,963566.2
The Man from U.N.C.L.E.Warner Bros. Pictures$45,445,109567.6
The 33Warner Bros. Pictures$12,227,722555.3
Our Brand Is CrisisWarner Bros. Pictures$7,002,261537.1
The InternWarner Bros. Pictures$75,764,672516.8
The Water DivinerWarner Bros. Pictures$4,196,641506.6
In the Heart of the SeaWarner Bros. Pictures$24,565,757476.7
MaxWarner Bros. Pictures$42,656,255476.1
We Are Your FriendsWarner Bros. Pictures$3,591,417464.9
San AndreasNew Line Cinema$155,190,832435.5
Lost RiverWarner Bros. Pictures$45,431426.9
Jupiter AscendingWarner Bros. Pictures$47,387,723404.5
EntourageWarner Bros. Pictures$32,363,404385.2
PanWarner Bros. Pictures$35,088,320364.8
Get HardWarner Bros. Pictures$90,411,453343.8
Point Break * Warner Bros. Pictures$28,168,287343.1
VacationNew Line Cinema$58,884,188346.4
Hot PursuitNew Line Cinema$34,580,201313.7
The GallowsNew Line Cinema$22,764,410306.7

* International distribution handled by Lionsgate

Fox

Image
2015 Film Quality
Grade Avg. Score % Good
D+ 48.6 24%
down 5.7 vs '14
Per-Film Total Mkt. Share
2015 Box Office Results (Domestic)
$83.2m $1.30 billion
down 27% vs '14
11.3%
Rank: 4th

Fox easily led all studios this year with 20 Academy Award nominations, including best picture nods for both Ridley Scott's The Martian and Alejandro G. Iñárritu's The Revenant. But those two films, along with Paul Feig's summer comedy hit Spy, were about all that went right for the studio in 2015.

The year was also a disappointment financially, with Fox's worldwide receipts falling by $1 billion compared to 2014 (when the studio was 1st in global market share). The studio's biggest 2015 flop was its decidedly unfantastic attempt to reboot the Fantastic Four franchise.

Fox will no longer be able to count on an Avatar sequel to lift its 2016 fortunes (the movie has been delayed indefinitely), though it does have X-Men and Independence Day sequels due this summer as well as the rapidly approaching Deadpool, the potential hits in a rather unambitious 2016 slate. What it definitely lacks are potential Oscar nominees, unless you think Assassin's Creed is going to be the first-ever awards-worthy videogame movie.

Films Released in 2015 Brand Domestic Gross Metascore User Score
The Martian20th Century Fox$227,625,414808.0
The Revenant20th Century Fox$119,192,522768.1
Spy20th Century Fox$110,825,712755.5
The Peanuts Movie20th Century Fox$129,748,700678.4
Kingsman: The Secret Service20th Century Fox$128,261,724588.0
Paper Towns20th Century Fox$32,000,304566.4
Joy20th Century Fox$54,219,638566.4
HomeDreamWorks Animation$177,397,510557.3
Poltergeist20th Century Fox$47,425,125473.6
Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials20th Century Fox$81,697,192436.3
Victor Frankenstein20th Century Fox$5,775,076365.3
Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip20th Century Fox$82,460,716332.6
The Longest Ride20th Century Fox$37,446,117334.9
Unfinished Business20th Century Fox$10,219,501323.7
Hitman: Agent 4720th Century Fox$22,467,450284.1
Fantastic Four20th Century Fox$56,117,548272.6
Taken 320th Century Fox$89,256,424264.6

Lionsgate

Image
2015 Film Quality
Grade Avg. Score % Good
D 45.1 11%
up 8.0 vs '14
Per-Film Total Mkt. Share
2015 Box Office Results (Domestic)
$27.2m $673.8 million
down 10% vs '14
5.9%
Rank: 7th

Elevated to "major" classification after its merger with Summit a few years ago, Lionsgate doesn't appear eager to keep its new status. The studio's receipts continue to decline, though it was able to match the domestic results of Paramount in 2015.

But, though we graded Lionsgate a "D" in 2015—a year in which just three of its films received positive reviews from critics—the quality of the studio's output actually appears to be increasing, albeit slightly. After a major decline in 2014, Lionsgate's average Metascore rebounded strongly (by 8 points) in 2015, helped in large part by the critical hit Sicario, which received three Oscar nominations (albeit in minor categories). Then again, the studio also released 10 negatively reviewed titles last year—more than any other major distributor.

The year ahead looks to be mostly (lackluster) business as usual for Lionsgate, with another Divergent sequel the studio's best chance at a box office hit. But the studio does have some potential critical successes, including J.C. Chandor's Deepwater Horizon dramatization and the musical La La Land from Whiplash director Damien Chazelle.

Films Released in 2015 Brand Domestic Gross Metascore User Score
Shaun the Sheep Movie * Lionsgate$19,375,982818.7
SicarioLionsgate$46,889,293818.3
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2Lionsgate$280,375,074656.9
The Voices Lionsgate587.3
The DUFFLionsgate$34,030,343566.6
CymbelineLionsgate544.7
What We Did on Our HolidayLionsgate548.2
Knock KnockLionsgate Premiere$36,336536.6
The Age of AdalineLionsgate$42,629,776517.3
Spare PartsPantelion Films$3,618,912507.1
FreeheldSummit Entertainment$573,335507.2
American UltraLionsgate$14,440,985506.2
CootiesLionsgate Premiere$60,058496.4
She's Funny That WayLionsgate Premiere$111,996457.9
The Divergent Series: InsurgentSummit Entertainment$130,179,072425.4
Child 44Summit Entertainment$1,224,330415.5
Dragon BladeLionsgate Premiere$74,068416.7
Wild Card Lionsgate405.4
Don VerdeanLionsgate Premiere$31,30939n/a
The Vatican TapesPantelion Films$1,784,763375.0
HeistLionsgate Premiere$50,136377.0
The Last Witch HunterSummit Entertainment$27,367,660345.2
Love the CoopersLionsgate$26,302,731315.3
Last Knights Lionsgate277.4
MortdecaiLionsgate$7,696,134273.3
NightlightLionsgate26n/a
ExtractionLionsgate Premiere$16,775252.2
Vice Lionsgate171.3
A La MalaPantelion Films$3,629,842n/an/a
LadronesPantelion Films$3,063,505n/an/a
Un Gallo con Muchos HuevosPantelion Films$9,080,818n/an/a

* USA distribution only

Sony

Image
2015 Film Quality
Grade Avg. Score % Good
D– 45.2 7%
down 1.2 vs '14
Per-Film Total Mkt. Share
2015 Box Office Results (Domestic)
$59.7m $966.3 million
down 23% vs '14
8.4%
Rank: 5th

Sony released one well-reviewed film in 2015: Robert Zemeckis' box office dud The Walk. The remainder of the studio's slate flopped with critics and/or moviegoers, including major disappointments from previously acclaimed directors like Chappie (Neill Blomkamp), Ricki and the Flash (Jonathan Demme), and Aloha (Cameron Crowe).

The result? A decline in both average Metascore and box office receipts compared to 2014—which wasn't even a great year for the studio.

Can Sony turn things around in 2016? There are no obvious hits in its lineup, though the studio has once again enlisted major or critically acclaimed directors, including Imitation Game helmer Morten Tyldum (for the sci-fi film Passengers), Paul Feig (for a female Ghostbusters reboot), Antoine Fuqua (a Magnificent Seven remake co-written by True Detective's Nic Pizzolatto), Ron Howard (Inferno), and Ang Lee (Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk).

Films Released in 2015 Brand Domestic Gross Metascore User Score
The WalkTriStar$10,137,502707.5
SPECTREColumbia Pictures$199,270,327606.7
GoosebumpsColumbia Pictures$79,768,035596.8
Wolf Totem *Columbia Pictures$210,591585.4
The Night BeforeColumbia Pictures$43,035,725586.5
ConcussionColumbia Pictures$33,822,809566.3
Ricki and the FlashTriStar$26,822,144546.7
Hotel Transylvania 2Columbia Pictures$169,325,789447.3
ChappieColumbia Pictures$31,569,268417.3
Aloha **Columbia Pictures$21,067,116404.3
The Perfect GuyScreen Gems$57,027,435363.2
The Wedding RingerScreen Gems$64,460,211353.1
PixelsColumbia Pictures$78,747,585275.2
War RoomTriStar$67,790,117265.5
Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2Columbia Pictures$71,038,190132.4
Freaks of NatureColumbia Pictures$70,958n/a n/a

* North American distribution only
** International distribution handled by 20th Century Fox

The others

Cinema Guild

Quality Avg. Metascore Total U.S. Box Office # of Releases % Good
A+ 74.6 down 8.9
vs 2014
$563k
Rank: 48th
7 100%

It's not often that a distributor could see its average Metascore sink by nearly 9 points and still wind up on top, but that's the case for Cinema Guild, 2015's best studio (by average Metascore) and our leader in three of the past four years. (It would have been a perfect four-for-four had the company released just one additional film in 2014, but it fell just short of our seven-film minimum.) Founded in the 1960s, Cinema Guild focuses mainly on documentaries and foreign dramas—including, last year, Asghar Farhadi's latest gem—and almost never releases a critical misfire. In fact, the most recent negatively reviewed release we could find was released way back in 2002.

Films Released in 2015 Domestic Gross Metascore User Score
About Elly$470,760878.8
Horse Money$6,50884n/a
Counting$8,37479n/a
Jauja$60,231776.5
When Evening Falls on Bucharest or Metabolism67n/a
The Princess of France$5,21265n/a
Because I Was a Painter63n/a

Kino Lorber

Quality Avg. Metascore Total U.S. Box Office # of Releases % Good
A 72.5 up 4.5
vs 2014
$1.3m
Rank: 54
27 89%

Another arthouse staple that regularly appears near the top of our annual rankings, Kino Lorber had its best year in recent memory in 2015, achieving a nearly 90% success rate—and a year-leading total of five separate titles scoring 81 or higher—despite an ambitious 27-film release slate. Only two other distributors released more films last year, and they didn't come anywhere close to the same amount of critical acclaim.

Films Released in 2015 Domestic Gross Metascore User Score
Jafar Panahi's Taxi$294,848916.1
Hard to Be a God$28,608905.8
Of Men and War89n/a
The Forbidden Room$31,73483n/a
Arabian Nights: Volume 2, The Desolate One$5,00181n/a
Arabian Nights: Volume 1, The Restless One$9,71680n/a
Arabian Nights: Volume 3, The Enchanted One$3,61980n/a
Tu Dors Nicole$5,662797.0
The Pearl Button$37,46779n/a
Li'l Quinquin$7,192797.5
Güeros$60,114777.8
The Messenger76n/a
A Hard Day$19,004768.2
La Sapienza$135,39274n/a
Farewell, Herr Schwarz$4,44572n/a
52 Tuesdays$1,828717.8
How to Smell a Rose: A Visit with Ricky Leacock at his Farm in Normandy71n/a
The Kindergarten Teacher$36,19068n/a
Sembene!$10,94568n/a
Bikes vs Cars68n/a
The Great Museum$17,04866n/a
1001 Grams$10,98365n/a
The Kidnapping of Michel Houellebecq$11,54664n/a
Steak (R)evolution$8,02563n/a
Seeds of Time$4,63059n/a
The Wanted 18$5,68059n/a
Patch Town29n/a

Sony Pictures Classics

Quality Avg. Metascore Total U.S. Box Office # of Releases % Good
A 69.3 down 3.8
vs 2014
$62.0m / 0.5% share
Rank: 15th
17 82%

Sony's specialty arm has now finished among the top three studios in each of the seven years we have been ranking distributors. That's an impressive feat, especially since 2015 could almost be considered a down year for the studio, since it secured just one Oscar nomination (for the acclaimed foreign-language film Son of Saul) after collecting 18 nominations the previous year. And, for the second time in two years, the distributor released a negatively reviewed film (the melodrama Aloft) after going five years without releasing any. SPC did see a 48% increase in box office revenues compared to 2014, however, thanks mainly to the strong performance of 2014 holdover Still Alice.

Films Released in 2015 Domestic Gross Metascore User Score
Son of Saul$504,891886.8
The Diary of a Teenage Girl$1,477,002876.3
The Salt of the Earth$1,343,349838.2
Coming Home$377,607817.4
Wild Tales$3,106,530778.6
Grandma$6,958,790776.9
Testament of Youth$1,822,250768.0
Lambert & Stamp$183,320755.8
Merchants of Doubt$308,15670n/a
The Lady in the Van$329,455696.5
Truth$2,532,567667.1
Infinitely Polar Bear$1,430,655647.9
Jimmy's Hall$560,59263n/a
Labyrinth of Lies$781,21362n/a
Irrational Man$4,030,360537.2
Saint Laurent$429,477526.9
Aloft$53,086344.2

First Run Features

Quality Avg. Metascore Total U.S. Box Office # of Releases % Good
A 70.1 up 7.9
vs 2014
$166k
Rank: 86th
7* 86%

* With Metascores

The documentary specialist notched another significant jump in quality in 2015 (as it did the year before), with most of its releases receiving approval from critics (and none qualifying as duds). Highlights include Welcome to Leith, a documentary following the actions of a white supremacist in a small town that plays like a thriller, and the more lighthearted but still dramatic Top Spin, which examines the cutthroat world of competitive ping pong.

Films Released in 2015 Domestic Gross Metascore User Score
Top Spin$5,85881n/a
Welcome to Leith$36,01080n/a
One Cut, One Life$9,40675n/a
Eastern Boys$16,831746.9
Antarctic Edge: 70° South$7,19362n/a
The Other Man: F.W. de Klerk and the End of Apartheid$1,74762n/a
Our Man in Tehran$5,57358n/a
Know How$3,323n/an/a
The Looking Glass$1,711n/an/a
Making Rounds$1,484n/an/a
Miss Hill: Making Dance Matter$4,706n/an/a

Film Movement

Quality Avg. Metascore Total U.S. Box Office # of Releases % Good
A– 69.3 up 2.6
vs 2014
$434k
Rank: 72nd
8 88%

The 14-year-old, New York-based distributor of arthouse fare scored positive reviews for all but one of its eight releases in 2015.

Films Released in 2015 Domestic Gross Metascore User Score
Theeb$200,85680n/a
Breathe$42,297786.5
Famous Nathan74n/a
Amour Fou$13,70269n/a
The Lesson$9,04568n/a
Stations of the Cross$1,50568n/a
Human Capital$158,549637.3
Marie's Story$11,72054n/a

A24

Quality Avg. Metascore Total U.S. Box Office # of Releases % Good
A– 66.7 up 4.8
vs 2014
$55.6m / 0.5% share
Rank: 16th
11 64%

In its third year, A24 has moved from upstart into the top tier of indie distributors, with its focus on talent continuing to pay off—literally, in the case of Alex Garland's Ex Machina, A24's biggest-ever box office hit. The company broke into the Oscar picture for the first time with seven nominations, including a best picture nomination for Room and a best documentary nomination for Amy Winehouse profile Amy, one of critics' favorite docs of 2015.

Films Released in 2015 Domestic Gross Metascore User Score
Room$7,953,680868.1
Amy$8,413,144858.5
The End of the Tour$3,002,884827.9
Ex Machina$25,442,958787.9
Mississippi Grind$130,541777.5
While We're Young$7,587,485776.5
Slow West *$229,094726.9
Son of a Gun486.4
Barely Lethal$6,075445.3
Cut Bank446.4
Dark Places$208,588397.4

* International distribution handled by Lionsgate

Fox Searchlight

Quality Avg. Metascore Total U.S. Box Office # of Releases % Good
A– 66.8 down 4.9
vs 2014
$119.3m / 1.0% share
Rank: 10th
8 75%

Even though some of its prestige pictures—namely, Paolo Sorrentino's Youth and Davis Guggenheim's doc He Named Me Malala—didn't quite live up to expectations, Fox's specialty film division still had a fairly good 2015, led by best picture nominee Brooklyn. The distributor's 2016 slate will include the buzzy 19th century slavery drama The Birth of a Nation, for which Fox Searchlight just paid a record $17.5 million to acquire at Sundance.

Films Released in 2015 Domestic Gross Metascore User Score
Brooklyn$27,539,321878.0
Mistress America$2,500,431756.5
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl$6,758,416748.2
Far from the Madding Crowd$12,236,500717.5
Youth$2,397,284647.2
He Named Me Malala$2,668,936615.4
The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel$33,078,266516.2
True Story$4,719,695505.7

Drafthouse Films

Quality Avg. Metascore Total U.S. Box Office # of Releases % Good
A– 66.8 down 1.9
vs 2014
$732k
Rank: 60th
8 50%

The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema sibling company released fewer films in 2015 than the year before, again splitting the difference between arthouse fare (like the year's #2 documentary, The Look of Silence, and the unique, dialogue-free teen thriller The Tribe) and midnight movies (such as the violent Japanese film The World of Kanako).

Films Released in 2015 Domestic Gross Metascore User Score
The Look of Silence$109,089928.4
The Tribe$150,564787.2
Spring$49,970697.5
The Connection$190,98067n/a
Amira & Sam$31,849588.2
The Keeping Room$27,16658n/a
R100$24,956576.4
The World of Kanako$16,62755n/a

Magnolia Pictures

Quality Avg. Metascore Total U.S. Box Office # of Releases % Good
B+ 65.0 up 8.7
vs 2014
$7.3m
Rank: 28th
21* 67%

* With Metascores

With its mix of documentaries (Iris, Best of Enemies), foreign films (White God, A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence), and edgier/artier/boundary-pushing dramas (Tangerine, Entertainment), Magnolia rebounded from its more disappointing 2014 performance. It probably helps that the company released 12 fewer movies in 2015 than the year before—and even made more money in the process.

Films Released in 2015 Brand Domestic Gross Metascore User Score
Tangerine Magnolia $702,354857.4
ExperimenterMagnolia$155,575817.9
A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on ExistenceMagnolia$222,989817.1
IrisMagnolia$1,310,678807.1
White GodMagnet$282,358807.3
Best of EnemiesMagnolia$892,802778.2
The WolfpackMagnolia$1,301,696756.8
Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of the National LampoonMagnolia$62,66074n/a
Ballet 422Magnolia$333,554747.6
ResultsMagnolia$104,507735.9
Steve Jobs: Man in the MachineMagnolia$494,506727.0
Sunshine SupermanMagnolia$88,097708.7
The Wrecking CrewMagnolia$801,606677.6
Entertainment Magnolia $55,50665n/a
The Dead LandsMagnet$5,240595.8
[REC] 4: ApocalypseMagnet$837535.2
Noma: My Perfect Storm Magnolia $21,13047n/a
The Little DeathMagnolia$18,238466.6
Skin TradeMagnet$1,242395.4
SerenaMagnolia$176,391365.1
Kill Me Three Times Magnet $24,296303.4
The Lady in the Car with Glasses and a GunMagnolia$2,167n/an/a
Nowitzki: The Perfect ShotMagnolia$41,340n/an/a

The Film Collaborative

Quality Avg. Metascore Total U.S. Box Office # of Releases % Good
B+ 66.1   $78.3k
Rank: 104th
9 78%

Unique because of its non-profit status, the Los Angeles-based indie distributor has never qualified for our rankings before, since 2015 is the first year in which the Collaborative released at least seven scored films.

Films Released in 2015 Domestic Gross Metascore User Score
(T)error73n/a
197173n/a
Song from the Forest70n/a
A Sinner in Mecca68n/a
The Royal Road65n/a
Manos Sucias65n/a
The Hand That Feeds63n/a
Tab Hunter Confidential$78,32360n/a
The Man Who Saved the World55n/a

Cohen Media Group

Quality Avg. Metascore Total U.S. Box Office # of Releases % Good
B+ 64.5 up 6.8
vs 2014
$2.6m
Rank: 42nd
11 45%

The eight-year-old indie distributor saw its box office receipts decline by half compared to 2014 despite releasing a better slate of movies last year, led by a pair of foreign-language Oscar nominees in Timbuktu (also one of 2015's best-reviewed films, period) and Mustang.

Films Released in 2015 Domestic Gross Metascore User Score
Timbuktu$1,076,075926.9
Mustang$443,165837.6
Hitchcock/Truffaut$284,69079n/a
The New Girlfriend$146,754747.3
Deli Man$502,29462n/a
In the Name of My Daughter$277,52857n/a
In the Courtyard57n/a
3 Hearts$164,99256n/a
Two Men in Town56n/a
Going Away$19,50154n/a
Paulette$29,49440n/a

Oscilloscope Laboratories

Quality Avg. Metascore Total U.S. Box Office # of Releases % Good
B+ 64.7 down 2.4
vs 2014
$989k
Rank: 57th
11 73%

Though it released a critical dud (road trip comedy Big Significant Things) for the first time since 2012, the Adam Yauch-founded company earned—as usual—mostly positive comments for its 2015 slate, topped by Brazilian drama The Second Mother.

Films Released in 2015 Domestic Gross Metascore User Score
The Second Mother$376,986828.9
Buzzard$14,591775.6
The Wonders$73,37876n/a
Animals$21,82171n/a
What Our Fathers Did: A Nazi Legacy$40,11969n/a
Gabriel$5,91767n/a
Félix And Meira$447,353667.4
Catch Me Daddy64n/a
Mad As Hell52n/a
Body$2,63452n/a
Big Significant Things36n/a

Broad Green Pictures

Quality Avg. Metascore Total U.S. Box Office # of Releases % Good
B 64.3   $34.7m
Rank: 18th
9 44%

Established in 2014, Broad Green first started releasing films last year, with mixed-to-good results. Its higher profile films, especially the Robert Redford-starring A Walk in the Woods and also (to a lesser extent) the Sarah Silverman drama I Smile Back—were disappointments. But the French EDM drama Eden impressed critics, while the Michael Shannon-starring 99 Homes also earned mostly good reviews. Broad Green has an intriguingly diverse 2016 lineup in the works, ranging from Terrence Malick's Knight of Cups to the comedy sequel Bad Santa 2.

Films Released in 2015 Domestic Gross Metascore User Score
Eden$65,460827.2
99 Homes$1,411,927767.9
10,000 km$12,42375n/a
Song of Lahore68n/a
I Smile Back$58,738596.4
Learning to Drive$3,447,633597.2
Break Point57n/a
Samba$151,53053n/a
A Walk in the Woods$29,504,281515.6

Music Box Films

Quality Avg. Metascore Total U.S. Box Office # of Releases % Good
B 63.7 down 0.2
vs 2014
$4.8m
Rank: 36th
11* 64%

* With Metascores

The Chicago-based distributor pretty much matched its mixed-bag 2014 performance last year, with releases ranging from sublime (Israeli drama Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem, a Golden Globe nominee) to highly skippable (biopic Paulo Coelho's Best Story).

Films Released in 2015 Brand Domestic Gross Metascore User Score
Gett: The Trial of Viviane AmsalemMusic Box $988,150907.8
MeruMusic Box $2,334,228778.1
Of Horses and MenMusic Box $11,89474n/a
AlléluiaDoppelgänger $6,33472n/a
Censored VoicesMusic Box $36,87372n/a
Beloved SistersMusic Box $54,030667.4
FlowersMusic Box $59,47763n/a
The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and DisappearedMusic Box $944,193585.0
Gemma BoveryMusic Box $191,53358n/a
The Film CriticMusic Box $7,35840n/a
Paulo Coelho's Best StoryMusic Box $8,808302.8
Emptying the SkiesMusic Box $11,811n/an/a

Abramorama

Quality Avg. Metascore Total U.S. Box Office # of Releases % Good
B 61.9   $719k
Rank: 62nd
8 38%

Another documentary specialist, Abramorama earned its B grade by virtue of just three of its 2015 films, led by Laurie Anderson's experimental documentary Heart of a Dog.

Films Released in 2015 Domestic Gross Metascore User Score
Heart of a Dog$335,78584n/a
Racing Extinction81n/a
An Honest Liar$180,59076n/a
This Changes Everything$16,69259n/a
Heneral Luna$206,04058n/a
Rock in the Red Zone54n/a
Live From New York!51n/a
Lucky Stiff32n/a

Strand Releasing

Quality Avg. Metascore Total U.S. Box Office # of Releases % Good
B– 61.5 down 3.3
vs 2014
$469k
Rank: 70th
15 67%

Strand released a few more mediocre films in 2015 than it did in the year before, but impressed critics with Céline Sciamma's coming-of-age drama Girlhood.

Films Released in 2015 Domestic Gross Metascore User Score
Girlhood$60,765857.4
Mala Mala$10,76175n/a
A Borrowed Identity$281,54073n/a
In the Basement$3,64368n/a
Guidance$4,90066n/a
Futuro Beach$20,26264n/a
Cupcakes$9,12964n/a
The Summer of Sangaile$1,94663n/a
Love at First Fight$25,229637.2
Xenia$3,18162n/a
Salvation Army$3,92957n/a
The Cut$28,06656n/a
Set Fire to the Stars$4,28049n/a
Gerontophilia$4,91648n/a
My Name Is Hmmm...32n/a
Drown$1,631n/an/a

Roadside Attractions

Quality Avg. Metascore Total U.S. Box Office # of Releases % Good
B– 60.4 up 1.2
vs 2014
$37.2m / 0.3% share
Rank: 17th
11 55%

While 2015 wasn't a dramatic improvement over the prior year, Roadside did notch slight gains in box office receipts and average Metascore. Contributing to both was Brian Wilson biopic Love & Mercy as well as aging Sherlock Holmes drama Mr. Holmes, even if neither film picked up the acting nominations that some experts had been predicting.

Films Released in 2015 Studio Domestic Gross Metascore User Score
'71Roadside $1,270,847837.5
Love & MercyRoadside $12,551,031808.2
Chi-RaqRoadside/Lionsgate/Amazon$2,643,127775.4
MommyRoadside $3,494,070748.5
Z for ZachariahRoadside $121,461686.1
Mr. HolmesRoadside/Miramax$17,737,646677.8
Miss You AlreadyRoadside/Lionsgate$1,162,653598.4
MaggieRoadside/Lionsgate$187,112526.5
Where Hope GrowsRoadside $1,156,000418.3
Beyond the ReachRoadside $45,895343.8
StonewallRoadside $187,674304.1

The Orchard

Quality Avg. Metascore Total U.S. Box Office # of Releases % Good
C+ 59.8   $3.1m
Rank: 39th
15 60%

Originally a music distributor (owned by Sony but operated independently), New York-based The Orchard branched out into film distribution in 2015 with a rather interesting assortment of titles that included oft-praised documentaries Finders Keepers and Cartel Land (the latter is an Oscar nominee) and critically approved if divisive narrative films like Nasty Baby, Digging for Fire, and The Overnight.

Films Released in 2015   Domestic Gross Metascore User Score
Finders KeepersThe Orchard$35,55580n/a
Cartel LandThe Orchard$704,352768.5
CreepThe Orchard747.8
Dior and IThe Orchard$1,028,953707.4
Digging for FireThe Orchard$119,364695.1
The OvernightThe Orchard$1,110,522657.6
Nasty BabyThe Orchard$79,80064n/a
Kung Fu ElliotThe Orchard63n/a
The Yes Men Are RevoltingThe Orchard$50,19061n/a
6 YearsThe Orchard537.4
Meet Me in MontenegroThe Orchard$8,612518.6
Loitering with IntentThe Orchard49n/a
Treading WaterThe Orchard47n/a
PreservationThe Orchard443.5
Club LifeThe Orchard$4,44432n/a

The Weinstein Company

Quality Avg. Metascore Total U.S. Box Office # of Releases % Good
C+ 58.3 down 3.4
vs 2014
$301.5m / 2.6% share
Rank: 9th
24 33%

The biggest of the non-major distributors, TWC saw its box office receipts grow by nearly 36% last year compared to 2014 (thanks to hits like Paddington and 2014 holdover The Imitation Game), even as the overall quality of its films declined. Only one-third of the studio's 2015 releases earned positive reviews from critics, compared to 59% the year before, and TWC released four poorly reviewed titles last year after releasing only one in 2014. Still, the company's best 2015 releases were very good indeed, led by Carol, 2015's highest-scoring film (which picked up six of TWC's nine Oscar nominations, though it was somehow left out of the best picture competition). Other highlights included a pair of arty horror films, It Follows and Goodnight Mommy.

Films Released in 2015 Brand Domestic Gross Metascore User Score
CarolThe Weinstein Company$10,574,031957.8
It Follows Dimension/RADiUS-TWC$14,674,076837.7
Goodnight MommyRADiUS-TWC$1,178,196818.5
PaddingtonTWC-Dimension$76,271,832778.2
The Hunting GroundRADiUS-TWC$405,917778.2
Heaven Knows WhatRADiUS-TWC$80,734757.3
MacbethThe Weinstein Company$1,050,846717.7
The Hateful EightThe Weinstein Company$51,050,675687.3
The Last Five YearsRADiUS-TWC$145,427607.2
Adult BeginnersRADiUS-TWC$108,808576.1
Southpaw The Weinstein Company$52,421,953577.9
EvaThe Weinstein Company$16,73857n/a
Escobar: Paradise LostRADiUS-TWC$195,792566.9
When Animals DreamRADiUS-TWC54n/a
The Young and Prodigious T.S. SpivetThe Weinstein Company$173,56453n/a
A LEGO BrickumentaryRADiUS-TWC$101,53151n/a
Woman in GoldThe Weinstein Company$33,307,793517.1
My Life Directed by Nicolas Winding RefnRADiUS-TWC50n/a
Monsters: Dark Continent RADiUS-TWC424.8
BurntThe Weinstein Company$13,603,571425.7
No EscapeThe Weinstein Company$27,288,872386.5
Shanghai *The Weinstein Company$46,42536n/a
EverlyRADiUS-TWC357.2
Before We GoRADiUS-TWC$37,151316.6

* First USA release; was originally released in China in 2010

Samuel Goldwyn Films

Quality Avg. Metascore Total U.S. Box Office # of Releases % Good
C+ 58.5 up 11.9
vs 2014
$5.4m
Rank: 33rd
8 63%

That average Metascore may not look impressive, but it actually represents a huge improvement for Samuel Goldwyn, which typically isn't one of the more impressive arthouse distributors. In fact, this is the first year in our seven years of compiling these reports that Goldwyn managed to earn positive reviews for over half of its releases.

Films Released in 2015 Domestic Gross Metascore User Score
Tangerines$144,501738.7
The Farewell Party$172,86071n/a
Fresh Dressed69n/a
A Brilliant Young Mind$171,793657.5
Yakuza Apocalypse$12,756625.5
That Sugar Film$3,500564.6
Lila & Eve$38,263457.5
90 Minutes in Heaven$4,842,699281.4

FilmBuff

Quality Avg. Metascore Total U.S. Box Office # of Releases % Good
C+ 57.8 up 4.4
vs 2014
$113k
Rank: 94th
11 36%

The VOD specialist continues to hover near the middle of the pack, though it did impress critics with its documentary TransFatty Lives.

Films Released in 2015 Domestic Gross Metascore User Score
TransFatty Lives81n/a
The Russian Woodpecker74n/a
Vessel68n/a
Prince65n/a
The Reconstruction of William Zero57n/a
Uncle John56n/a
Road Hard$113,169505.2
CodeGirl49n/a
Suburban Gothic49n/a
Funny Bunny47n/a
The Strongest Man39n/a

IFC Films

Quality Avg. Metascore Total U.S. Box Office # of Releases % Good
C+ 56.3 up 0.2
vs 2014
$12.0m
Rank: 25th
58 47%

For years, IFC has released more films than any other distributor, but in 2015 it managed to outdo even itself with nearly 60 releases (though some were VOD only). As always, the quality of those films varied widely, taking in films that were among the year's best (including drama 45 Years, 2015's #2 overall film) and among the year's worst The Human Centipede III, which scored lower than all but one film last year). IFC matched Kino Lorber's year-high total of 5 films scoring 81 or higher, a group that included the German drama Phoenix, as well as Peter Strickland's under-the-radar British drama The Duke of Burgundy, which landed on numerous critic top-10 lists. Still, releasing ever more titles each year isn't doing the studio any favors with critics. IFC has not received positive reviews for more than 50% of its releases since 2011.

Films Released in 2015 Brand Domestic Gross Metascore User Score
45 YearsSundance Selects$740,203947.7
PhoenixSundance Selects$3,166,858897.9
The Duke of BurgundySundance Selects$56,282877.1
Orion: The Man Who Would Be KingSundance Selects84n/a
Seymour: An IntroductionSundance Selects$620,731837.0
Clouds of Sils MariaSundance Selects$1,841,555787.1
Queen of EarthIFC Films$86,626786.4
MediterraneaSundance Selects$5,846779.0
Time Out of MindIFC Films$164,849756.7
The Search for General TsoSundance Selects$41,45572n/a
Welcome to New YorkSundance Selects71n/a
A Murder in the ParkSundance Selects$7,12570n/a
Killing Them SafelySundance Selects70n/a
The Seven FiveSundance Selects$40,67469n/a
A Gay Girl in Damascus: The Amina ProfileSundance Selects69n/a
The HarvestIFC Midnight686.9
The Stanford Prison ExperimentIFC Films$649,690678.4
MisunderstoodSundance Selects67n/a
Wild CanariesSundance Selects$9,79467n/a
Do I Sound Gay?Sundance Selects$108,62065n/a
The HallowIFC Midnight$8,967658.1
DementiaIFC Midnight64n/a
Sleeping with Other PeopleIFC Films$814,775647.3
The SalvationIFC Films$42,070647.6
Good KillIFC Films$316,472636.1
BackcountryIFC Midnight626.4
MatchIFC Films$30,56662n/a
Soul Boys of the Western WorldSundance Selects60n/a
ManglehornIFC Films$132,075565.1
RealityIFC Midnight55n/a
A Ballerina's TaleSundance Selects$96,90055n/a
The D TrainIFC Films$669,688556.0
Wyrmwood: Road of the DeadIFC Midnight546.9
The Riot ClubIFC Films$6,041545.2
The Emperor's New ClothesSundance Selects53n/a
EjectaIFC Midnight53n/a
5 to 7IFC Films$138,981527.4
BareSundance Selects52n/a
Slow LearnersSundance Selects$22,10251n/a
DixielandIFC Films49n/a
October GaleIFC Films48n/a
Hungry HeartsSundance Selects$6,92148n/a
One & TwoIFC Midnight47n/a
Closer to the MoonSundance Selects47n/a
StungIFC Midnight46n/a
#HorrorIFC Midnight42n/a
AsthmaIFC Films41n/a
Contracted: Phase IIIFC Midnight357.9
HellionsIFC Midnight34n/a
Jenny's WeddingIFC Films$3,504335.3
Every Thing Will Be FineIFC Films32n/a
The StrangerIFC Midnight32n/a
Dark SummerIFC Midnight315.5
NarcopolisIFC Midnight30n/a
Bound to VengeanceIFC Midnight27n/a
Alien OutpostIFC Midnight265.0
The LoversIFC Films193.2
The Human Centipede III (Final Sequence)IFC Midnight$14,56252.7

Focus Features

Quality Avg. Metascore Total U.S. Box Office # of Releases % Good
C 54.7 up 3.5
vs 2014
$117.6m / 1.0% share
Rank: 11th
11 45%

Universal's specialty films division had a lousy 2014 (in terms of quality), and rebounded only slightly in 2015, increasing its average Metascore by over 3 points and its percentage of films with positive reviews from 25% to 45%. But Focus didn't impress critics with any of its films, and only one other distributor among the 40 listed here failed to release at least one film that scored higher than 67. Academy voters were a bit more generous, awarding The Danish Girl with four Oscar nominations (though even they ignored Suffragette).

Films Released in 2015 Brand Domestic Gross Metascore User Score
Maps to the StarsFocus World$350,741675.8
SuffragetteFocus Features$4,702,420676.5
Cop CarFocus World$134,552666.4
The Danish GirlFocus Features$9,724,377666.1
Black SeaFocus Features$1,171,559626.5
5 Flights UpFocus World$1,020,921556.9
Insidious: Chapter 3Gramercy Pictures$52,218,558526.8
A Little ChaosFocus World$558,173516.7
TrashFocus World$17,484507.7
Self/lessGramercy Pictures$12,279,691348.5
Sinister 2Gramercy Pictures$27,740,955325.7

Gravitas Ventures

Quality Avg. Metascore Total U.S. Box Office # of Releases % Good
C 54.2 up 12.6
vs 2014
$811k
Rank: 58th
16 50%

Now that's an improvement. After scoring positive reviews for just 2 of its 21 releases in 2014, Gravitas upped its success rate to 50% last year, and had some success with documentaries Peace Officer (an award winner at SXSW) and All Things Must Pass, a look at Tower Records directed by Colin Hanks. The VOD-dependent distributor also opted to release more films theatrically in 2015, increasing its box office rank from 106th to 58th.

Films Released in 2015 Domestic Gross Metascore User Score
Peace Officer$26,63275n/a
All Things Must Pass$172,39473n/a
Appropriate Behavior$46,912738.3
I Believe in Unicorns73n/a
Being Evel727.7
Man from Reno$101,438696.6
The Nightmare$28,281683.2
Unbranded$410,18564n/a
Da Sweet Blood of Jesus526.3
Sneakerheadz$1,90350n/a
Preggoland45n/a
Backstreet Boys: Show 'Em What You're Made Of$153,068428.7
Manny353.6
Addicted to Fresno34n/a
Lovesick28n/a
Any Day14n/a

Well Go USA

Quality Avg. Metascore Total U.S. Box Office # of Releases % Good
C– 52.5 up 6.6
vs 2014
$6.0m
Rank: 32nd
14* 29%

* With Metascores

Specializing in bringing Asian films to American moviegoers, Well Go typically ranks near the bottom of our annual list, though it had its biggest critical hit to date in 2015 with Hsiao-hsien Hou's gorgeously shot martial arts drama The Assassin, which earned the veteran director an award at Cannes.

Films Released in 2015 Domestic Gross Metascore User Score
The Assassin$632,542806.4
Kung Fu Killer$129,78466n/a
Assassination$1,904,68264n/a
The Taking of Tiger Mountain$228,984618.8
Wild City$34,86660n/a
These Final Hours578.4
Killers51n/a
Partisan50n/a
The Beauty Inside$108,08348n/a
Mojin: The Lost Legend$1,243,81048n/a
Memories of the Sword$111,07147n/a
Police Story: Lockdown447.4
The Road Within317.0
Supremacy28n/a
Lost in Hong Kong$1,302,281n/an/a
Northern Limit Line$337,907n/an/a
Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal$165,428n/an/a

Amplify

Quality Avg. Metascore Total U.S. Box Office # of Releases % Good
C– 51.9 down 5.4
vs 2014
$725k
Rank: 61st
10 40%

A fairly new company (formed when distributors Variance Films and GoDigital merged in 2014), Amplify released nearly as many bad films as good in 2015, representing a slight decline from its first-year performance.

Films Released in 2015 Brand Domestic Gross Metascore User Score
WildlikeAmplify749.0
Kumiko, The Treasure HunterAmplify$623,383686.8
Tom at the FarmAmplify677.8
DifretAmplify61n/a
ChampsAmplify599.0
Little AccidentsAmplify$10,07156n/a
FeltAmplify54n/a
ListeningAmplify358.1
Christmas EveAmplify$91,30224n/a
Enter the Dangerous MindVariance Films22n/a

Screen Media Films

Quality Avg. Metascore Total U.S. Box Office # of Releases % Good
D 46.9 up 6.5
vs 2014
$28.8k
Rank: 119th
10 20%

Despite releasing (if only briefly) the worst movie of the century, Screen Media actually had a better 2015 than 2014. That doesn't mean last year was a good one, as only two of its 10 releases received approval from critics.

Films Released in 2015 Domestic Gross Metascore User Score
Faults707.7
Ten Thousand Saints627.2
7 Chinese Brothers$28,18056n/a
Alex of Venice56n/a
All the Wilderness54n/a
Ride48n/a
Shelter43n/a
American Hero42n/a
The Face of an Angel375.2
United Passions$60710.7

Alchemy [formerly Millennium Entertainment]

Quality Avg. Metascore Total U.S. Box Office # of Releases % Good
D 46.3 up 5.2
vs 2014
$2.7m
Rank: 41st
14 21%

Reborn in 2015 as Alchemy, the former Millennium Entertainment had a minor hit in comedic documentary Meet the Patels. But 43% of its releases were panned by critics.

Films Released in 2015 Domestic Gross Metascore User Score
Black Souls$101,088768.0
Meet the Patels$1,700,681708.2
Welcome to Me$608,852696.7
The Humbling595.9
Madame Bovary$44,23552n/a
Love$249,083515.3
The World Made Straight48n/a
Strangerland$17,472425.3
Zipper393.8
The Runner394.4
Kidnapping Mr. Heineken334.9
Survivor263.5
Dawn Patrol24n/a
Accidental Love202.4

Freestyle Releasing

Quality Avg. Metascore Total U.S. Box Office # of Releases % Good
D– 45.5 up 12.1
vs 2014
$4.9m
Rank: 35th
12* 17%

* With Metascores

Freestyle Releasing had some box office success last year with faith-based dramas like Woodlawn and Do You Believe?, which led to the distributor's acquisition by Entertainment Studios, the company run by former comedian Byron Allen. Though Freestyle's output was mostly hammered by critics, its 2015 still represents a significant improvement over its disastrous 2014, when the company finished dead last in our rankings.

Films Released in 2015 Studio Domestic Gross Metascore User Score
The Girl in the BookFreestyle Releasing$8,24568n/a
Northern SoulFreestyle Releasing$8,88664n/a
The Sisterhood of NightFreestyle Releasing$6,87060n/a
WoodlawnFreestyle/PureFlix$14,391,198576.4
The Suicide TheoryFreestyle Releasing$6,43451n/a
CakeFreestyle/Cinelou$1,951,776496.5
ZombeaversFreestyle Releasing$14,947446.5
After the BallFreestyle Releasing$161,82039n/a
The Devil's ViolinistFreestyle Releasing$11,294384.8
Old FashionedFreestyle Releasing$1,914,090293.6
The LettersFreestyle Releasing$1,646,574251.4
Do You Believe?Freestyle/PureFlix$12,985,600224.8
Beyond the MaskFreestyle/Cinelou$1,236,094n/an/a
Brotherly LoveFreestyle/Cinelou$478,595n/an/a
Hell and BackFreestyle/Cinelou$157,768n/an/a
One Small HitchFreestyle Releasing$7,965n/an/a
Three Night StandFreestyle Releasing$4,076n/an/a
Hayride 2Freestyle Releasing$2,571n/an/a

Vertical Entertainment

Quality Avg. Metascore Total U.S. Box Office # of Releases % Good
D– 45.2   $68.4k
Rank: 107th
10 20%

The fairly new genre film specialist (which mainly relies on digital distribution) had its largest annual film slate ever in 2015—though, judging from the results, that's not necessarily a good thing.

Films Released in 2015 Domestic Gross Metascore User Score
He Never Died728.1
Predestination$68,372698.0
The Final Girls597.9
Robot Overlords47n/a
Extinction465.6
Into the Grizzly Maze43n/a
Air335.8
Out of the Dark33n/a
Playing It Cool296.6
Home Sweet Hell221.5

Entertainment One

Quality Avg. Metascore Total U.S. Box Office # of Releases % Good
F 39.8 down 11.3
vs 2014
n/a 15 0%

Entertainment One is one of just two distributors (with at least 7 releases) in 2015 to fail to release a single positively reviewed film.

Films Released in 2015 Domestic Gross Metascore User Score
Jackie & Ryan55n/a
The Girl Is in Trouble55n/a
The Wannabe49n/a
Wild Horses44n/a
Pound of Flesh415.1
Dirty Weekend39n/a
Growing Up and Other Lies39n/a
10 Cent Pistol37n/a
Bravetown365.6
Big Sky367.6
Walter367.9
Lost in the Sun34n/a
Outcast332.5
Cas & Dylan32n/a
Black November$5,78231n/a

RLJ/Image Entertainment

Quality Avg. Metascore Total U.S. Box Office # of Releases % Good
F 37.5 up 0.5
vs 2014
$78.4k
Rank: 103rd
13 8%

The year wasn't a total disaster for RLJ. The company did manage to release one good film: the Kurt Russell-starring horror-western Bone Tomahawk. That's an improvement over 2014, in which RLJ/Image failed to win critic approval for any of its 11 releases.

Films Released in 2015 Domestic Gross Metascore User Score
Bone Tomahawk 71 7.4
Criminal Activities 51 n/a
The Rewrite 51 6.5
A Christmas Horror Story 49 7.0
Digging Up the Marrow $10,969 45 n/a
Dark Was the Night 40 6.0
Burying the Ex 37 3.0
Blackbird $78,400 33 n/a
Some Kind of Hate 28 n/a
Return to Sender 23 1.4
Pay the Ghost 23 3.1
The Cobbler 23 5.3
Condemned 14 2.3

ARC Entertainment

Quality Avg. Metascore Total U.S. Box Office # of Releases % Good
F 28.9   n/a 9 0%

Falling just one film—and two points—short of "perfection," ARC scored negative reviews for eight of its nine releases last year. And that 28.9 is the lowest single-year average score for any distributor in the seven years we have been compiling these reports. So ... congratulations?

Films Released in 2015 Domestic Gross Metascore User Score
Echoes of War 41n/a
The Barber 39n/a
Phantom Halo 37n/a
Freedom 30n/a
See You in Valhalla 28n/a
Safelight 26n/a
The Squeeze 26n/a
Chloe and Theo 24n/a
The Walking Deceased 92.3

View our previous Movie Studio Report Cards:
2015 (for films released in 2014) | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010

More of our Best of 2015 coverage:
Best Movies of 2015 | Film Awards & Nominations | Critic Top 10 Lists

 

Comments (1)

  • LamontRaymond  

    Dang! ARC Entertainment almost had the record! It's probably SUPER tough to put out nothing but universally loathed films. And is there a profit motive in it? Even it's one non-red film, "Echoes of War" was pounded by 3 of the 6 critics who had to sit through it. Next year, go all RED, baby...

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