Posts Tagged ‘blockbusters’

Top 10 Grossing Films of 2011

January 12, 2012

Now that 2011 is history, it is time to consider how movies fared in the past year. The top ten grossing films in the U.S. were:

1.)  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 $381 Million
While it was sad to see the films end, they ended very well. God bless J.K. Rowling for her imagination and for being brave enough not to drag out the Harry Potter story. The books and films ran their course and the characters all lived happily ever after, except for Dumbledore, Voldemore and Professor Snape.

2.)  Transformers: Dark of the Moon        $352.3 Million

3 .)  The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1     $276.1 Million
I can’t wait for Part II so that these Twilight films will end. Once. And. For. ALL!

4.) The Hangover Part II        $254.4 Million
Low-brow humor brings in the dough.

5.) Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides   $241 Million

6.)  Fast Five        $209.8 Million

7.)  Cars 2           $191.4 Million
Since sequels worked for Toy Story, the folks at Pixar felt it would work for Cars and it did.

8.)   Thor         $181 Million
Stan Lee must be a very happy camper since his creations have finally made it to the silver screen.

9.)   Rise of the Planet of the Apes        $176.7 Million

10.)  Captain America: The First Avenger   $176.6 Million
See number 8.

Well, what about Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol? You must be asking. After all, this was the film that heralded Tom Cruise’s return to being a box office draw. Well that film was 18th on the Box Office Mojo list for 2011 with a total U.S. gross of $141.1 Million as of January 3, 2012.

Still, what do these films say about the movie industry. Well, they don’t just say, they shout that sequels still sell. Eight out of the 10 films on the list were sequels. I’ve written quite a lot about how sequels, redos and reboots have littered the movie landscape, so a word to the wise is sufficient. (i.e. The suits haven’t gotten the message so, gentle moviegoer, seek out something original and ignore the sequels, redos and reboots.)

I don’t mind movies based on comic books, because comic books lend themselves to being on the silver screen, especially with the technology now available.  With today’s technology, a good special effect team can make it very easy to suspend disbelief and buy into the illusion that someone can leap tall buildings in a single bound, swing from skyscraper to skyscraper or design an exoskeleton suit that makes him impervious to injury and have incredible strength. Of course, a good special effects team can’t help if someone is a bad actor. Remember, there are limits as to what special effects can do.

Of course, I must admit that I am still on the fence regarding the upcoming Spider-Man reboot. The three Spider-Man films directed by Sam Rami and staring Toby Maguire as Peter Parker/Spider-Man did well at the box office, with audiences and critics. It wouldn’t hurt anyone to have ended it at the third film and let other characters in the Marvel universe get their chance in the spotlight. Yet, I’ve seen some of the images from the film and they have piqued my curiosity. Stay tuned for further developments.

You know, when I ended a similar blog entry in January 2011, I predicted that 2011 would bring more blockbusters, sequels and animated films. I was right and the above list proves it. Just goes to show you that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.

Sources:
http://boxofficemojo.com/yearly/chart/?yr=2011&p=.htm

http://www.hollywood.com/news/The_Box_Office_Year_in_Review_2011/12394979

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2011 Holiday Movies

November 24, 2011

The last Thursday in November marks Thanksgiving in the U.S., a holiday first celebrated by colonists, commonly known as Pilgrims, at Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts in 1621. It was established as a national holiday in 1863 by President Abraham Lincoln. This is a day in which Americans gather with family and friends to give thanks and share a meal of, most likely, turkey. November also marks the start of the holiday movie season. Holiday movies can be animated, blockbusters, family fare that aims for the ol’heartstrings or anything else.  As you can guess, I’m going to spotlight some holiday movies that are either currently playing or will be released.

November
A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas

Our favorite escapees from Guantanamo Bay, Harold and Kumar, decide to celebrate Christmas in style. Unfortunately, they end up burning down Harold’s father-in-law’s Christmas tree. Uh-oh. Stars Kal Penn, John Cho, Neil Patrick Harris and it is currently in theaters.

Tower Heist
Working stiffs lose their pension because the boss was running a ponzi scheme. So, they decide to rob the boss. Yes, karma bites. Stars Eddie Murphy, Ben Stiller and Casey Affleck and it is currently in theaters.

J. Edgar
A bio-pic about  J.Edgar Hoover, the man who ran the Federal Bureau of Investigation (F.B.I.) for almost 50 years. The film has been getting some Oscar buzz and it was directed by Clint Eastwood. I still feel Eastwood should have gotten the Oscar for Hereafter. Let’s hope the Academy smiles on Eastwood this time around. Stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Armie Hammer and Naomi Watts and it is currently in theaters.

Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1
Vampires, vampires go away. Don’t come back any day (or night).

Oh, and by the way, Edward and Bella get married and they finally do it. Stars Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner and it is currently in theaters.

The Muppets
Kermit and Miss Piggy, now that’s one couple I want to see together. They and the other Muppets reunite to save their old theater from a greedy oil tycoon. (Is there any other kind?) Stars Amy Adams, Jason Segel, Chris Cooper, as well as Kermit, Miss Piggy and the rest of the Muppet crew. The film is currently playing in theaters.

December
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

Elementary my dear reader, this looks like this could be better than the 2009 release and I would be delighted if that were the case. Oh, and Holmes battles his nemesis, Professor Moriaty. Stars Robert Downey, Jr., Jude Law and Jared Harris and it will be released on December 16.

The Iron Lady
This is a bio-pic of Margaret Thatcher, prime minister of England in the 1980’s. It stars none other than Meryl Streep (Need an accent, call…) and will be released on December 16.

Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol
Does Tom Cruise still have it in him to carry a blockbuster? We’ll find out with MI 4. The movie will be released on December 21.

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Here is the American film version of the book of the same name by Stieg Larsson. The mystery involves a journalist who searches for a woman who has been missing for 40 years and he is helped by a computer hacker. Stars Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara and Stellan Skarsgard. The film will be released on December 21.

The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn
The holiday season Spielberg releases a movie, Part 1. This is a motion capture film, meaning that movement is recorded and then translated into a digital model. Another famous motion capture film is The Polar Express. This films deals with friends going off on an adventure to find treasure. Stars Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, Daniel Craig and will be released on December 21.

War Horse
The holiday season Spielberg releases a movie, Part 2 and this deals with a boy and his horse, during World War I. Stars Jeremy Irvine, Emily Watson and David Thewlis. It will be released on December 25.

Well there it is, some of this year’s holiday films. Which ones will hit it big and which ones will bomb? Your guess is as good as mine. Still, save me the middle seat in the middle of the theater.

Sources:
http://www.history.com/topics/thanksgiving/page2

http://www.cityoffilms.com/reel-news/the-city-of-films-fall-holiday-movie-guide-2011/3/

http://www.cityoffilms.com/reel-news/the-city-of-films-fall-holiday-movie-guide-2011/4/

Movie Stars Go to the Small Screen

October 27, 2011

Lately, major film stars have turned up on television shows and I’m not talking about guest appearances. Christina Ricci is on the ABC drama Pan Am. Zooey Deschanel is in the FOX sitcom New Girl. Believe it or not, back in the 1950’s and 1960’s it was verboten for movie actors to do anything on television. When the studio system dissolved, television evolved into a training ground for many, many actors. Take Sally Field, she got her start in television shows such as Gidget and The Flying Nun, then she went to movies such as Norma Rae, Places in the Heart and, yes, all those Smokey and the Bandit films. George Clooney took a similar path to film, since he learned the craft on various sitcoms before hitting the jackpot with the NBC drama ER. He then did some back and forth between film and television, before settling on film. Now, there seems to be going back and forth between television and film. In fact Sally Field went back on television, since she was on the ABC drama Brothers and Sisters. Anyway, this is interesting enough to get me thinking. (Oh geez! There you go again. You must be saying now.) So, here’s my take on this development.

It’s the Recession
While Ricci was in the Adams Family films and Deschanel was in Elf, these aren’t actress known for working in blockbusters. So, while the studios are spitting out remakes and retreads, since they are sure bets in these economic times, actresses like Ricci and Deschanel are left scrambling for work. Where can they find work? Independent films? Maybe. Yet, if they want a more regular paycheck, there’s television and that’s where they went. After all, there’s nothing wrong with following the money.

Willingness to Try Something Different
Ricci and Deschanel are both young enough to try something new without their career’s taking a big hit. If they want to grow as actresses, they should be on the lookout for roles that aren’t just “girl next door” or types they’ve done before. If these roles are found on television, then what’s the harm in signing up with a television program? Lucille Ball worked in film for 20 years before she went to television and no one faults her for making the switch.

Demographics
This applies to more to Sally Field, than to Ricci and Deschanel. The audience for film skews towards the 18 to 35 demographic. So, it can be difficult for actresses over 40 to find roles in film that aren’t just the killjoy or shrewish mom. If an actress over 40 wants to keep working and have roles that are more than just “types”, series television is a viable option.

So, if actors and actresses like Field, Deschanel and Ricci find a role that helps them to grow as artists or even if it just helps to pay their bills, more power to them. Opportunities aren’t always found where one would expect them. If doing something different helps them out, good for them. They are taking responsibility for their lives. No matter who you are or what stage of live you are in, that’s always a good thing.

Sources:
http://popwatch.ew.com/2011/09/21/new-girl-zooey-deschanel-terrible/

http://screenrant.com/pan-am-series-premiere-review-mcrid-133372/

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000398/

2011 Summer Movie Review

September 8, 2011

The first Monday in September is Labor Day in the U.S. and that day is considered the unofficial end of summer. It also marks the end of the summer movie season. This year’s summer movie season saw its share of blockbusters and bombs. Box office totals for this summer movie season have not been released in time for me to include in this blog entry.  Still, early indications are that the 2011 summer movie season was good, though not great, for the studios. Anyway, without further ado, here are some highlights of the 2011 summer movie season.

Blockbusters
This just in! Nine out of the 10 biggest money making films were either sequels or superhero films. Okay, so that isn’t such a big surprise. Then again, that’s what I like about summer movies. They are exercises in escapist entertainment. There’s a good guy and a bad guy, good guy gets the bad guy and the good guy gets the girl in the end. Not to mention, there loads of cool special effects to liven things up. Yes, I go on and on about the lack of originality in the current moviemaking environment, still if a blockbuster is original, I’ll go and see it. Of course, millions of other people went to see blockbusters this summer (original or not), as well, and here is the breakdown for you. Box office numbers are for the U.S. only.

1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows
$366,007,900
2. Transformers: Dark of the Moon
$348,540,006
3. The Hangover Part II
$254,174,506
4. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
$240,141,369
5. Fast Five           
$209,837,675
6. Cars 2           
$186,951,457
7. Thor
$181,015,141
8. Bridesmaids           
$167,661,310
9. Captain America: The First Avenger                   
$164,747,643
10. Kung Fu Panda 2                                                    
$163,942,842

Bombs
Of course, not every film was a hit. Some movies were just plain bad and the audiences responded accordingly by staying away. Some movies just didn’t find or attract their audience. Then there were some that just had people scratching their heads. So, in case you were wondering, here is a breakdown of the summer movies of 2011 that bombed at the box office (as opposed to being the bomb). Again, box office numbers are for the U.S. only.

1. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
$    1,300,000
2. Glee The 3D Concert Movie                                 

$  11,700,000
3. Fright Night                                                            

$  14,300,000
4. Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer
$  15,000,000
5. Conan The Barbarian                                           

$  16,600,000
6.
Priest
$  29,100,000
7. The Change Up                                                        

$  34,500,000
8.
Larry Crowne                                                         
$  35,600,000
9.
Cowboys & Aliens                                                   
$  93,500,000
10.Green Lantern                                                        

$116,000,000

What Do I Think
I’m not surprised that the movies in the Blockbuster list did well. After all, Pixar films  have done well. The last Harry Potter film was scheduled for this summer and if it wasn’t going to do well, loads of people would have lost their jobs and we would have heard all about it and then some.

I’m also not surprised that Conan The Barbarian, The Change Up and Priest bombed. In particular, Conan The Barbarian is one of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s signature roles. He knew how to play an action figure better than anyone else. So, the expectation was pretty high for Conan. When it didn’t meet expectations—bombs away! As for the Green Lantern, I thought it would be this summer’s Iron Man. Unfortunately, for DC Comics and Warner Brothers, it wasn’t. Still, there are loads of superheroes in the DC universe. So, there are other comics books they can greenlight for movies.

As for Larry Crowne and Cowboys & Aliens, I am surprised and disappointed that these films didn’t do as well as expected. They each had a lot going for them, namely A-list stars and good concepts. Yet, for Larry Crowne, I think the problem was that it came out in July, as opposed to August. July is when the blockbusters are blasting away at the multiplex. August is when the studios release films that aren’t exactly shoot’em ups.  As big as Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts are, if the movie they are in is going to be released in July, there better be a car chase and shooting at bad guys or else no one will see it. After all, The Help was released in August and it is doing very well without having explosions or car chases. Now Cowboys & Aliens, talk about an original idea that didn’t go very far. Having cowboys fight aliens—why didn’t I think of that? Why didn’t it do better and why did the The Hangover Part II make over $348 million at the box office?  The world will never know.

On that happy note, I say farewell and invite you to come back next week for another exciting read about the world of movies, movie posters and collecting.

Sources:
http://movies.yahoo.com/photos/collections/gallery/3572/2011-summer-box-office#photo0

http://movies.yahoo.com/news/summer-box-office-s-10-biggest-flops-of-2011.html

Highest Grossing Films of 2010

January 6, 2011

Here are the top ten domestic grossing films, as reported in the December 24, 2010 issue of The Hollywood Reporter

1.     Toy Story 3 $415 million  (The folks at Pixar and Disney must be very happy.)

2.     Alice in Wonderland $334.2 million

3.     Inception $292.5 million (Christopher Nolan has proven that he doesn’t need Batman to boil his pot.)

4.     Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 $265.7 million

5.     Shrek Forever After $238.5 million

6.     The Twilight Saga: Eclipse $300.5 million (Team Jacob or Team Edward? Who cares! Vampires AND Werewolves aren’t sexy.)

7.     Iron Man 2 $312.1 million

8.     Despicable Me $250.5 million

9.     How to Train Your Dragon $217.6 million  (Or How to Train Your Dragon and Make Millions in the Process)

10.  Clash of the Titans $163.2 million

Joking aside, four out of the ten films in the 2010 list are animated. It is not hard to figure out why, since the ongoing recession has people yearning not just for an escape but a reminder of childhood and animated films do both.  (I explored this idea further in my blog entry of July 21, 2010 and you can read it here: https://justmovieposters09.wordpress.com/2010/07/21/animated-movies%E2%80%94they%E2%80%99re-not-just-for-kids-anymore/). Also, half of the films in the list are sequels. Love’em or hate’em, sequels make the cash register go cha-ching million of times over. From Harry Potter to Twilight and loads of movies in between, people like to see how characters progress over time. I admit, I like sequels for that very reason. Because people want to see the next chapter, they go the see the sequel and the film makes lots of money. It’s not rocket science, folks. It’s what the engineers call “If it works, it works” principle.

So, what will 2011 bring in movies? While I could wax poetic about the art of film, the reality is that the studios aren’t going to mess with a good formula. So, there will be more blockbusters, sequels and animated films in 2011. Of course, there is a chance that I’m wrong and there will be less films that are just formulaic plots with different characters and more films that explore the human condition.

Naaaaa.

Source:
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/gallery/top-10-grossing-films-2010-65349

Library of Congress Adds Movies to the 2010 Film Registry

December 30, 2010

The Library of Congress announced its 2010 Film Registry list. The Library of Congress Film Registry seeks to preserve films that are “…culturally, historically or aesthetically significant, to be preserved for all time.” These films aren’t necessarily the best films of a particular genre. Rather they are representatives of the time in which they were made.  The films range from comical (Airplane and The Pink Panther) to dramatic (All the Presidents Men and Malcolm X) to groundbreaking (Newark Athlete and The Front Page) to even the blockbusters (The Empire Strikes Back and Saturday Night Fever).  In case you are wondering which films made the list for 2010, they are:

1.            Airplane (1980)

2.           All the President’s Men (1976)

3.           The Bargain (1914)

4.           Cry of Jazz (1959)

5.           Electronic Labyrinth: THX 1138 4EB (1967)

6.           The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

7.            The Exorcist (1973)

8.           The Front Page (1931)

9.           Grey Gardens (1976)

10.          I Am Joaquin (1969)

11.           It’s a Gift (1934)

12.           Let There Be Light (1946)

13.           Lonesome (1928)

14.           Make Way For Tomorrow (1937)

15.           Malcolm X (1992)

16.           McCabe and Mrs. Miller (1971)

17.           Newark Athlete (1891)

18.           Our Lady of the Sphere (1969)

19.           The Pink Panther (1964)

20.           Preservation of the Sign Language (1913)

21.           Saturday Night Fever (1977)

22.           Study of a River (1996)

23.           Tarantella (1940)

24.           A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945)

25.           A Trip Down Market Street (1906)

Yes, some on the list are more well known than others. Yet, whether they are a documentary, short film or feature film, they all have a story to tell. Be it about political corruption, the importance of dreams, social justice or just getting the bad guy before he strikes again, stories are how human beings inform and instruct each other and subsequent generations. So, the having the Library of Congress preserve these films isn’t just a publicity stunt to make them look less stuffy.  Rather it is keeping with the library’s mission to “…further human understanding”. So, these films to the Film Registry will help future generations know more about life in the 20th Century. Either that or they’ll be very entertained.

To learn more about the films on the list, go to:
http://www.loc.gov/today/pr/2010/10-273.html

Source:
http://www.loc.gov/today/pr/2010/10-273.html

2010 Holiday Movies

November 11, 2010

It’s that time of year when the studios bring out the family/animated films, a few blockbusters and throw in some “serious” films for last minute Oscar contention, all to entertain the movie going public and make a few bucks for themselves, as well.

Here are few films that will be playing at a multiplex near you.

November 2010

Burlesque
What happens when you put Cher and Christina Aguilera in the same movie? You get Burlesque, which is really the old story of a small town girl who goes to the big city to live out her dreams.

Love and Other Drugs
That little blue pill makes it to the big time. Well, sort of. This movie is based on Jamie Reidy’s book Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman and stars Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal. There has been some Oscar buzz about this film. Of course, what’s next, a film about penicillin? Aspirin? Castor oil, even? Scratch castor oil. I don’t think the powers that be would swallow that.

Tangled
Leave it to Disney to put out an animated film for the holidays.  This film is a retelling of the Rapunzel tale whereby, the princess leaves the castle to hang with bandit Flynn Rider. This film features the voices of Amanda Moore, Zachary Levi and Donna Murphy.

December 2010

Black Swan
Yes, those posters with Natalie Portman have been all over the Internet. Soon the actual movie will come out and it is about a ballet dancer, Portman who starts a relationship with a new dancer in the troupe, only to find her position in the troupe will be changing just as a production of Swan Lake comes up. Yes, that doesn’t sound like much, still the movie hasn’t come out yet, so let’s wait and see how it turns out.

Tron Legacy
This is another Disney production for the holidays. I saw Tron when it came out in movie theaters in 1982 and it was a sight to see. The use of computer animation was brilliant and groundbreaking. The trouble was I was so lost in the visuals that I briefly forgot what the movie was about. I soon remembered and continued enjoying myself. Well, not only is computer animation much more advanced in 2010, making this a must see movie, but Jeff Bridges and Bruce Boxleitner are back in their original roles. If I go to see this movie, I’ll be sure to pay closer attention, since the visuals are expected to be so much better this time around.

Gulliver’s Travels
It was bound to happen, Jack Black taking on a classic of English literature and the classic is none other Jonathan Swift’s satire Gulliver’s Travels. Black is Lemuel Gulliver and CGI helps with everything else. Black was great in School of Rock and I won’t be surprised if he will be just as good in Gulliver’s Travels.

So, there you have it. A little taste of what’s coming up for the holiday movie season. If you want more information go to:

http://www.reelzchannel.com/article/1126/2010-holiday-movie-guide

Source:
http://www.reelzchannel.com/article/1126/2010-holiday-movie-guide

Never Too Early To Promote A Movie Or Is It?

August 4, 2010

The character posters for upcoming Green Lantern movie were released recently at the San Diego Comic Con. You can see the images here: http://screenrant.com/green-lantern-character-posters-sandy-70401/

The movie is scheduled for release on June 17, 2011. Yes, that is almost a year from now.  That leads to this question: Why promote a film so early? One reason is the cost associated with making a movie. According to the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), the average cost of making a movie in 2006 was $65.8 million. That figure takes into account movies ranging from blockbusters to little independent films. As for the blockbusters, the cost for Avatar has been reported to be anywhere from $230 million to $500 million, Iron Man 2 costs about $170 million and those are just two recent films.  Since the studios are spending this much money on a film, they obviously want a return on their investment.

Another reason, is that there is so much in the way of entertainment choices, namely cable, DVD’s and the Internet, that the powers that be at movie studios want their film to be top of mind when it comes to answering the question “What do you want to do tonight?” After all, one would hope that the more someone is reminded that a particular movie is coming out, the more likely he or she will go out to see it.

The trouble with promoting a film so early is people will ignore the hype and move on to something else. Some film franchises, like Star Wars, and Star Trek have huge fan bases, so just the mere mention of one of these films being in a pre-production phase will get the blogosphere and fanboys buzzing. Of course, not every film has such a fan base to draw on. When I first learned that a Green Lantern movie was going to be made, I had to look up who the Green Lantern is.[1] Since not all moviegoers write a blog, I wouldn’t be surprised if others didn’t bother to do research on the character.

Will this advanced publicity help or hurt the Green Lantern?  That question will be answered in the summer of 2011. Of course, if it were up to me, I would start promoting a film six months before it is to be released.  I feel that six months is just enough time to build up demand without people tuning out the publicity.  Then again, I don’t run a studio, so my ideas don’t count.


[1] The Green Lantern is a superhero in the DC Comics universe.  The origin story of the Green Lantern goes like this:  A construction engineer, named Alan Scott, was the only survivor of a train accident. The reason he survived was because he was holding a magical lantern. He makes a ring out of part of the lantern and uses the power of the lantern to fight crime.

Sources:

http://www.comic-con.org/cci/

http://screenrant.com/green-lantern-character-posters-sandy-70401/

http://www.cinematical.com/2007/03/08/mpaa-in-2006-an-average-movie-cost-65-8m-to-produce/

http://www.vanityfair.com/online/oscars/2009/12/how-much-did-avatar-really-cost.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/10/movies/10box.html

451 “All American Comics” #16, The Green Lantern Origin and First Appearance, Very Rare 1940. Mastronet Americana Catalog, October 2001, pg. 153