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Summer Box Office Winners and Losers

September 8, 2010

Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg in the surprisingly hilarious film - The Other Guys

The summer movie season ended as it began – with lackluster offerings. Labor Day signaled the end to a summer box office season, which boasted impressive numbers ($4.35 billion), though largely due to inflated ticket prices for 3D offerings rather than big crowds.

Winners

  • Inception
    The “cerebral” thriller netted an impressive $697 million worldwide. Fans of the movie are making repeat trips to the multiplex and bringing friends. Nearly two months since its splashy debut, Inception still enjoys a home in the box office top ten.
  • Toy Story 3

    While there may not have been a lot of new old toys on display, there was still plenty for the boomer and space age generations to enjoy. I’m pretty sure I was the only person in the packed theater to laugh at the homages to old prison-break movies like Cool Hand Luke, with Buzz playing Boss Carr, and “the box” being the sand box (“I’m pretty sure those weren’t Lincoln Logs…”). I had to explain to my kids later on what that was about; they finally understood when I told them that Cool Hand Luke was the movie with the oft-parodied line “what we’ve got here is a failure to communicate.”

    (source)

    Toy Story 3 was a real crowd pleaser, boosting Pixar’s bottom line to the tune of over 1 billion dollars in global box office bidness.

  • Salt

    While not doing the kind of bragtastic numbers of films such as Inception or Toy Story, Salt‘s respectable global take of $262 million should hopefully settle the debate of whether Jolie can get butts into theater seats. In addition the film has what’s termed in the “industry” as legs, meaning it’s still holding steady and earning its keep.

  • The Expendables

    For a film with more lulz than legitimate box office potential and who some snarky folks didn’t predict would earn $100 bucks, much less $100 million domestically (about $200mil global and is the top global box office draw), The Expendables showed the world these old ass dogs could learn a few new tricks. The success of the film means a franchise is inevitable. Lucky us.

Losers

  • Films such as Knight and Daze, Killers and Jonah Hex and all those interchangeable romantic comedies I can’t be arsed to mention.
  • Jerry Bruckheimer Jerry’s summer consisted of a doubled fisted assault of fail with two express tickets to stinktonia: The Prince of Persia: Sands of Time and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. It was pretty brave to subtitle Persia, though now it’ll be an embarrassing reminder of the cheek involved with assuming that turkey had Franchise written anywhere on it.
  • Michael Cera. With disappointing grosses for Scott Pilgrim and some critics – coughAnthonyLanecough – wondering why Cera’s even a star in the first place. Perhaps the backlash will deflate Cera’s head and he’ll start the only project we really want to see him do: Arrested Development.
  • Audiences. Between soaring ticket prices, craptastic offerings, indistinguishable from one another, audiences were treated to a dismal summer at the movies.

    Sarah Linn of She Likes to Watch wrote a recent piece entitled Summer movies suck so far, which finally gave voice to my grumblings regarding the steaming pile Hollywood has been releasing since Memorial Day. While Linn does not delve deeply into the topic, I found her willingness to blog about it quite refreshing. If you’re wondering what summer movies from the stone age have to do with the current crop of awful playing on multiplex screens all over the country, let me spell it out of for you. This summer has seen the near erasure of marginalized folks in nuanced roles. It has seen those same groups who were starting to enjoy some complex treatment in action films demoted to eye candy, harmful stereotypes and the whitewashing of characters who were of color in the original source material. Summer 2010 is one of the worst for feminist action movie fans in years

    (source)

What are your thoughts on Summer Movies 2010. What releases are you looking forward to this fall?

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. September 8, 2010 12:25 pm

    I agree with you about the cheek in subtitling the Prince of Persia. Just because the video game was part of a trilogy does not guarantee the same for the film.

    I’m looking forward to Red. I don’t get why this wasn’t a summer release, unless someone decided there was already one action movie featuring old people. I’m also very eagerly anticipating Tr2n.

  2. eieioj permalink
    September 8, 2010 12:25 pm

    I only saw Inception, Toy Story 3, and Scott Pilgrim in the theatres this summer, and I enjoyed all of them (I’m apparently enough of a hipster/videogame/comic book addict/Edgar Wright fangirl for Scott Pilgrim…plus I liked the comics). My guy saw a sneak-peek/premiere of The Expendables a month or so before it was released and said he loved it (he said it wasn’t “good,” but it was a lot of fun and everything a summer movie should be, which makes it aces with him). Oh, and I saw The A-Team, but I’m not sure if it counts as a “summer” movie.

    I honestly can’t be bothered to pay $10 (plus concessions) for something that isn’t going to blow my mind or make it worth it for me. And the dollar theatre here keeps holding on to all of the cruddy movies instead of cycling through the second-run stuff like they usually do.

  3. September 8, 2010 12:27 pm

    Also, with so many streamable and downloadable options at home — being able to take a break without missing anything or knocking over anyone’s popcorn is a big plus — I have very little interest in going to a multiplex to see anything that doesn’t benefit from a huge screen or 3D glasses. And I’m not a big 3D fan.

  4. September 8, 2010 3:11 pm

    I honestly can’t be bothered to pay $10 (plus concessions) for something that isn’t going to blow my mind or make it worth it for me. And the dollar theatre here keeps holding on to all of the cruddy movies instead of cycling through the second-run stuff like they usually do.

    I wonder if this doesn’t have something to do with the cost of showing first run films. It seems that films go quickly from theatrical release to DVD, which probably doesn’t make showing them at the dollar theaters financially beneficial. When faced with the choice of seeing a film second run or watching it at home, folks are probably more inclined to watch them at home. Bummer, because matinée prices are a joke! Barely a bargain.

  5. September 8, 2010 3:13 pm

    Also, with so many streamable and downloadable options at home — being able to take a break without missing anything or knocking over anyone’s popcorn is a big plus — I have very little interest in going to a multiplex to see anything that doesn’t benefit from a huge screen or 3D glasses. And I’m not a big 3D fan.

    Agreed. With the exception of Tr2n, there’s little that I feel necessitates multiplex viewing. Even the Wall Street sequel seems like something I’d enjoy at home or on the screen. Though most likely, since it’s positioning itself as Oscar bait, I’ll probably have to see it in the theater.

  6. Octavia permalink
    September 9, 2010 5:23 am

    The husband and I plan to spend the $16+ to see Piranha (in 3D apparently. I’m prepared to feel ill) because it looks utterly, hilariously terrible. We’ll be the couple unapologetically cackling and stuffing our faces with over-priced sweets. Rooting for the mutant piranha, obviously.

    Apart from this promised monstrosity… yeah. The movie offerings have been so disappointing. We haven’t been to see a movie in… months, possibly longer. And nor have we been inspired to download any new releases. So much fail in the US summer releases, on many levels. And I’m sick of people still telling me to go see Inception. All it’s done is make me more stubborn (yeah I’m apparently 8 years old).

    I love your Bitch piece. MIB III?!! Be still my freaking out heart! Omg. We go a bit swoony over Will Smith in our house, so.
    I’d been wondering if maybe I was just getting grumpier about movies as I got a bit older (also likely), but your Bitch piece encapsulates exactly why. I want MIB and Independence Day quality, damn it.

  7. September 9, 2010 8:17 am

    Apart from this promised monstrosity… yeah. The movie offerings have been so disappointing. We haven’t been to see a movie in… months, possibly longer. And nor have we been inspired to download any new releases. So much fail in the US summer releases, on many levels. And I’m sick of people still telling me to go see Inception. All it’s done is make me more stubborn (yeah I’m apparently 8 years old).

    I saw Inception and enjoyed it, but didn’t think it was the be-all-end-all that others have found it. It’s the kind of movie I can enjoy in the theater, but could just as easily enjoy if it came on cable and I was folding laundry. I think it’s more annoying because it’s a very niche film, which tries to universalize its appeal by framing those who don’t find it appealing as “haters” or clueless.

  8. Octavia permalink
    September 9, 2010 9:06 am

    “I think it’s more annoying because it’s a very niche film, which tries to universalize its appeal by framing those who don’t find it appealing as “haters” or clueless.”

    Definitely!

  9. September 9, 2010 9:37 am

    It really isn’t for everyone and positioning itself that way was brilliant, but definitely creative marketing.

  10. September 9, 2010 2:59 pm

    God this is sort of depressing to look at haha. Not only were most mainstream releases underwhelming, there aren’t even a lot of indie or foreign releases that I loved. It’s a good thing there are an unfathomable number of movies I haven’t yet seen, since dvd rentals filled up a lot of my movie-watching this summer.

    And thank goodness for Winter’s Bone.

  11. September 9, 2010 7:52 pm

    I went to the theater three times this summer and enjoyed them all: Inception, Joan Rivers Work of Art, and Predators. But….that was it, three times in three months isn’t much to brag about, as someone who loves going to the movies. I mean, the second one I only saw in the theater because it was my birthday and it was an outing, it could have waited for dvd.

  12. September 10, 2010 11:49 am

    I know I always say the same thing (“I never go to movies anymore.”), and I know I always say, “Thanks for telling me I’m not crazy for never going.” But well, this just seals it for me yet again. The only movie I’ve seen this summer was the Basquiat doc, Radiant Child. And I’m good with that. I highly reccomend seeing Radiant Child, btw… It’s a nice celebration of his art.

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