Avengers, Avengers, Avengers! With over $623 million in domestic box-office receipts, The Avengers was the number one movie of 2012. In comparison, last year’s number one was Harry Potter and the Deadly Hallows: Part 2, which brought in only $381 million. This year’s number two was The Dark Knight Rises and number three was The Hunger Games. Both of those films made over $400 million each. So, in 2012 three movies made more, much more, than the number one movie last year made.
The top three movies of 2012 brought in a whopping $1.5 billion at the box office. Last year it took the top five movies to make the same amount, give or take a few million. So, 2012 looks like it will be a pretty good year for movies and reverse the downturn that box office revenue took from 2010, a record year, to 2011.
The Year in Movies
OK, all those numbers are kind of like “inside baseball” and only matter to the people who make movies, own theatres or pretend that it makes much of a difference in their day to day life. What it means however, is that 2012 had a lot of movies that a lot of people liked, compared to 2011 where there were a lot of high expectations, but some didn’t get met.
Last year was the year of the sequel. The top seven movies were all sequels and two thirds of the top twenty were either direct sequels, prequels or based on
Marvel characters. In stark contrast, if you count Avengers, Skyfall and the reboot of Spiderman as sequels, four of the movies in the top ten were new, and half of the top 20 were not sequels. That’s a healthy number of new, original movies, which will, no doubt, spawn future sequels of the their own.
Box Office Hits
So, let’s look at the hits – The Avengers exceeded everyone’s expectations. The total was more than the sum of its pieces. Sure, Ironman, Thor and Captain America were back, but none of their movies on their own could come close to what The Avengers did. Plus, there will be more movies in each series, as well as The Avengers. BIG win.
The Dark Knight Rises was held back a bit by the dreadful occurrence in Aurora, Colo., and perhaps because of that didn’t perform as well as The Dark Knight, but it still came in a very strong number two. Another big win.
Who knew The Hunger Games would soar to number three? Lot’s of people who loved the books probably, but still the movie was a nice kick in the box office last spring, just when it was needed. Since this is the beginning of the series not only was Hunger Games a big win, it also means more Hunger Games movies, which could make even more at the box office than the original.
A big surprise was The Amazing Spiderman, which restarted the series with new actors and a new director, but an almost identical story. OK, the villain was different, but it was the the original story we saw in the first Spiderman. Good enough for over a quarter billion dollars and number four.
Another series that came to an end was The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -Part 2. While not quite as stellar as the final movies in the Batman trilogy and the Harry Potter series, it was a home run that is still bringing in moviegoers.
Brave continued the unbroken string of blockbusters for Pixar, even with a female heroine as the star. Pixar lost a bit of luster last year with Cars 2, but Brave came roaring back this year. Another home run for Disney.
The box-office was shaken and stirred by Skyfall which is the biggest hit in the 50-year history of the James Bond franchise. Skyfall proves there is still a lot of life left in 007.
There were some, out of the blue surprise hits in 2012. Magic Mike might have been the biggest surprise of all. A movie about a male stripper might seem like a long shot, but instead it shot to the top of the box office. Ted, the story of a boy and his foul mouthed teddy bear, scored with audiences, as did The
Lorax, Snow White and the Huntsman, Wreck-it-Ralph, 21 Jump Street and Argo.
Box Office Misses
What were some of the misses? Well, one of the most expensive flops of the year was John Carter which cost a fortune to make and audiences largely ignored. Johnny Depp could not breathe much life into Dark Shadows while Expendables 2 didn’t have nearly the muscle of the first. Wrath of the Titans was a disappointment compared to Clash of the Titans and Mirror Mirror showed audiences preferred Snow White as an action hero. Other misses included The Dictator and Total Recall, Battleship, Rock of Ages, Prometheus and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, which didn’t live up to expectations.
With The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Les Misérables and other films still playing through the end of the year, 2012 will end up ahead of 2011 and approach the record revenue in 2010. Not too shabby.
Question: What was your favorite hit of 2012? Do you agree with our “hits” and “misses?”
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