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.