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Mar 7, 2010

A Startling Revelation (maybe)

I just learned that Alice in Wonderland, the movie I pushed for a boycott of, is breaking all kinds of records at the box office, earning something like $116 million in its opening weekend. My powers of persuasion and/or my scope is weak. I figured that a large part of its success was due to a dearth of kids movies since Christmas-time, with Tooth Fairy being the only one that really came to mind. I knew it was more or less a failure, but I was curious as to just how big of one it was. So I headed on over to Box Office Mojo and looked at the chart for 2010, where I saw that it has made ~$55 million to date.

And that's when I stumbled upon something much more interesting.

As of right this second, I've seen just three of the top 20 box office grossers (The Book of Eli, Daybreakers, Shutter Island) so far this year. It's not like I'm a theatrical hermit, either, seeing ~75 movies a year. On the other hand, I've seen three (really four, as they combine the Oscar Shorts into one entry somehow; Animated Shorts, Live Action shorts, The Ghost Writer, Saint John of Las Vegas) of #21-71.

Because I'm an elitist snob, this makes me somewhat proud, and reminds me of what it's like when I look at the Billboard Top 40 albums these days. Music plays a constant role in my life, yet my tastes are so far gone from the pop charts (as are most people over the age of 12, I believe) that I usually own no more than two or three of those top 40, and I've never even heard a song from probably half (and I consider myself to be pretty knowledgeable of overall pop culture goings on).

Well, now it's passed over to film, though I admit that this probably has more to do with generally crappy January/February crappy fare than anything else, and had I looked at the same list on the same date in previous years, I might not be so surprised now. Still, just three of the top 20? This means you're failing, Hollywood. At least with me.

7 people have chosen wisely: on "A Startling Revelation (maybe)"

Jess said...

Fletch, I succeeded in following your boycott (though I used it more as confirmation that I didn't want to see it anyway). Also, I blame the year to date crappiness of movies on the Winter Olympics. I don't know if so many people watched the Olympics because nothing was at the movies or if they didn't bother countering the Olympics. Also, the delay in the Oscars due to the Olympics also meant that new movies were delayed release. I travel at nearly the same time every year to a place that actually has 3 nearby movie theaters and this is the first time there's been NOTHING I want to see that I haven't already seen. However, when I get home next weekend, good movies (or at least movies I want to see)start being released!

Nick said...

Of the Top 20 highest grossing so far, according to Box Office Mojo, I've seen... 7.

Shutter Island, Book of Eli, Percy Jackson/Lightning Thief, Legion, Daybreakers, The Crazies, and From Paris With Love.

As for 21-71... I've hardly heard of the majority of them, much less seen any of them.

Mike Lippert said...

It's nice to be able to find a large majority of films that aren't considered big box office successes, but at the same time, as Pauline Kael said, "movie are so rarely ever great art that if we can't appreciate great trash we might as well not even go."

Fletch said...

Jess - yes, hopefully, things are on the uptick, as there should be a number of movies coming out in the very near future that we all want to see, and that just might also be big grossers.

Nick - understandable given your locale, but not so much with the internets being, you know, worldwide. Your time spent at work is killing your slacking/movie geekery.

Mike - well put, though I'm not sure which philosophy that quote is pushing us to more: staying home or seeing garbage? I suppose it's the former, but that can be hard work sometimes.

Castor said...

I did follow your directive and did not see the movie! It's pretty mind blowing that it made so much money, it didn't seem that they were much buzz about it leading up to it and the reviews have been quite negative when compared to recent Disney fare.

The Film Cynics said...

That takes a lot of effort, dude. More effort than it takes to keep up with the ceaseless flow of substandard films that make it to the silver screen.

I, on the other hand, get a kick of jumping on the bandwagon now and again and surf a wave of pop-culture now and then. Sometimes it's because it offers me the chance to be persnickety, other times it's to get caught up in some mind numbing wackiness. Besides, it's fun - that's a better reason than any other.

Keeping it down to 3 in the top 20 though - that's discipline. Might I suggest you take part in Kick-Ass? It was made outside the system, but it still might make it into the top 20.

Reel Whore said...

I totally sucked at following your directive. Actually, it's more that I sucked at staying current w/ my fellow bloggers therefore not hearing of the boycott until after the fact. That said, I wish I had known.

I have seen 4 of the Top 20 (Alice, Eli, Shutter & Wolfman) and only 1 of the rest (Last Station). I have become a complete snob, but it's inevitable. The majority of folks see about 12 movies in theaters, we see 70+. At a certain point, mindless entertainment just becomes mindlessly dumb and predictable. We need quality to really excite us, or at the least, to be very forgiving upon entry.

Lucky for me, the cheap theater has nearly every January release now (Legion, Youth in Revolt, Daybreakers, etc) so my movie count is about to skyrocket. Got a triple feature planned for this weekend.