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Feb 15, 2011

Box office boom?

Twenty-seven films earned $100 million or more at the box office in 2010, down from 32 in 2009 and 29 in 2008. You have to go back to 2006 to find a year in which fewer films topped the $100 mil mark, though with an average ticket price more than $1.30 cheaper, that's no surprise. Ticket sales and total grosses both dropped compared to their 2009 levels. In hindsight, this doesn't surprise me. When I glance at the list of films that were released last year, I don't 13 films that the collective 'we' might have labeled as surefire hits:

* Toy Story 3 * Iron Man 2 * The Twilight Saga: Eclipse * Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 * Inception * The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader * Sex and the City 2 (note: this failed to reach $100 mil) * TRON * Clash of the Titans * The A-Team (failed to reach $100 mil) * Alice in Wonderland * Grown Ups * Despicable Me

One could make arguments about any number of other films, from Tangled to How to Train Your Dragon to The Last Airbender, but those are the ones I'm going with, and as you see, not even all of them managed to hit the milestone.

Contrast that to 2011. I recently took place in Anomalous Material's movie version of a fantasy football auction draft, in which a group of us bid on films that we thought would score critically and commercially over the course of the next year or so. I was awestruck at the number of 'tentpoles' scheduled to hit theaters not only over the not-really-summer season (April-August), but all year long. From this year's slate, I've compiled a list of 24 films that I expect to top $100 million this year:

* Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II * The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part I * Transformers: Dark of the Moon * Cars 2 * Kung Fu Panda 2 * X-Men First Class * Thor * Captain America: The First Avenger * Green Lantern * Rio * Zookeeper * Super 8 * The Adventures of Tintin: the Secret of the Unicorn * Scream 4 * Fast Five * Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides * The Hangover Part II * Cowboys & Aliens * Puss in Boots * Happy Feet 2 * Rise of the Apes * Sherlock Holmes 2 * Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked * Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol

Keep in mind two things: 1) I'm probably overlooking some hits as it is, and 2) this doesn't even take into account the surprise hits that almost no one is expecting to connect on a mega scale, like with The Karate Kid and True Grit in 2010.

Are you overwhelmed with the number of 'blockbusters' hitting theaters this year? Do you think it will be a record year not only for grosses but for tickets sold? Do you plan on seeing significantly more films this year?

* All statistics courtesy of Box Office Mojo.

7 people have chosen wisely: on "Box office boom?"

Anonymous said...

No, I'm not overwhelmed because this year I plan on wising up and not seeing all of them.

That being said, I would have expected less and less blockbusters as it seems the studios have been moving more towards gathering around one or two major films per year.

Fletch said...

I'm certainly on a wait-and-see approach with many of them (Thor, Green Lantern - which looks awful, X-Men, etc.), but to tell the truth, I'm guaranteed to see less because of the baby more than anything else. In any other year, though, I think I might be tempted to see a lot more.

Castor said...

There will definitely be a surplus of blockbusters this year with a lot of one-week box office wonder. I don't know if it's going to be a banner year for Hollywood but certainly, things could get really bloody if it doesn't.

Jack L said...

I definitely think this is going to be a fruitful year for Hollywood...
Did you see the article saying that 2011 was a record year for sequels, about 27 of them I believe.

I can truthfully sai that the only film I'm really looking forward to out of all the ones you mentioned is Tintin, I love the comics and I think Spielberg will do a great job...The rest of the films all look average.
I think Sucker Punch could be great fun as well, but I'm not to sure about that one as I have yet to enjoy a Zac Snyder film, still I think it could make a fair amount at the bow office.

Sebastian Gutierrez said...

Sure, it's overwhelming, but, I'm not complaining. I got Transformers, Puss in Boots, and The Hangover in my draft, plus a 17% stake in Harry Potter.

One that I think will make mad dough is Winnie the Pooh. A lot of nostalgia for the people who grew up with it and you know all the kids today will swarm to that mother fucker like tidal wave.

Jess said...

I totally screwed up my draft (I'm hoping to be a dark horse or at least not come in last), but I was shocked by how many HUGE movies will be coming out.

Fletch said...

Castor - yeah, I can see that. There are a lot of questionable 'blockbusters' out there - chief among them Lantern and Thor, I'm thinking. I'll also be hoping that Cars 2 bombs, but I wouldn't bet on it...

Jack - lol at the 27 sequels thing. I tend to think that trend will continue until Hollywood more or less runs out of them and just starts doing more of what they're already doing with Spider-Man and Superman. I think it's time to reboot The Transporter series, no? ;)

Sebastian - I hope that Winnie is good and does well, but I think it's too old-fashioned for today's kids. The Muppet movie could have the same issue. I hope I'm wrong...we'll see.

Jess - haha, never give up! Outside of the ones I called out above, I think most of these will hit pretty big, the only thing stopping them will be the sheer volume of them, leading to what Castor pointed out above - if the next HUGE MOVIE comes out 7 days from the last one (if that), there just won't be time or enough movie screens for them all to make it.