Friday, January 11, 2013

#510. Box Office 2009

I'd been waiting since 2002 for another Star Trek movie.  It finally happened in 2009!

1. Avatar ($749 mil)
The massive success of this latest James Cameron spectacle is still a little hard to process.  On the one hand, it was one of the earliest beneficiaries of the new 3D surge.  On the other it was very much a spectacle, the way The Avengers was in 2012, something many people subsequently said they'd seen before.  But not like this.  I almost feel bad for Cameron, though, working on the sequels.  This may not be a popular success that will hold up subsequent entries to mass popularity.  I could be wrong.  Maybe the next few stories will have Star Wars kind of scope, game-changing elements that will solidify the mythology.  Or it could be like the Matrix trilogy, where further stories past the popular first one will contradict expectations and thus infuriate the geek response.  Well, we'll see.

2. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen ($402 mil)
Massive success, for instance, can work both ways, as numerous films in this survey have proven.  This one, for instance, is considered the worst of Michael Bay's efforts in this franchise.  Yet clearly it made a pretty penny.  Oh how I love reactive thought.  First lots of people see something because lots of people are seeing something.  Then because lots of people are seeing something, some of them either decide that lots of people are seeing something because it's good, or simply because lots of people are seeing something.  And the latter will always conclude that something lots of people are seeing is by definition not worth seeing.  It totally makes sense, somehow...

3. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince ($301 mil)
The sixth film in this series is also the final before the two-part finale.  Grosses have started to go up again, momentum is building, and the very thing I'm wondering about Avatar above and what helped make Revenge of the Fallen a massive success starts to take over.  This era is all about franchises, being able to say you've experienced the series that seems like it's defining the era. Anyway, this is probably the Harry Potter most like Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings films.

4. The Twilight Saga: New Moon ($296 mil)
Well, see?  Greater success for this franchise once everyone realizes it's a popular franchise.

5. Up ($293 mil)
Everyone talks about the opening sequence for this Pixar effort.  Otherwise what's there to distinguish it, beyond the collar that translates what the dog thinks?

6. The Hangover ($277 mil)
A modern comedy milestone is reached and new stars are born.  Some still question making more of these, but I say it's a good thing.  It's a good formula, good cast, and makes for consistently good films.

7. Star Trek ($257 mil)
Not the first time a Star Trek has landed in the top ten box office successes for a given year, but still by far the biggest gross in the series, thanks to a reboot some fans always dreaded but that turned out really well.  Interestingly, I was always going to appreciate the casting of the villain.  Originally Nero was offered to Russell Crowe.  Instead Eric Bana played him.  The rest of the cast is dynamite as well, including that dude who plays the older Spock.  What's his name again?

8. The Blind Side ($255 mil)
Sandra Bullock becomes massively popular, more popular than she's ever been, and totally, totally deserves it.  This one's about football.

9. Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel ($219 mil)
Cringe-inducing title.  But clearly kids love it.

10. Sherlock Holmes ($209 mil)
Robert Downey, Jr. in his other current franchise.  Although Iron Man is bigger.  What I like about this one is that it gives Jude Law, albeit in a supporting role, something popular to appear in.  Finally!

Other personal highlights:

13. X-Men Origins: Wolverine ($179 mil)
15. 2012 ($166 mil)
16. The Proposal ($163 mil)
17. Fast and Furious ($155 mil)
18. G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra ($150 mil)
19. Paul Blart: Mall Cop ($146 mil)
20. Taken ($145 mil)
21. A Christmas Carol ($137 mil)
22. Angels & Demons ($133 mil)
23. Terminator Salvation ($125 mil)
25. Inglourious Basterds ($120 mil)
27. District 9 ($115 mil)
31. Watchmen ($107 mil)
35. He's Just Not That Into You ($93 mil)
37. The Ugly Truth ($88 mil)
38. Up in the Air ($83 mil)
41. Where the Wild Things Are ($77 mil)
42. Zombieland ($75 mil)
43. Coraline ($75 mil)
44. Law Abiding Citizen ($73 mil)
47. I Love You, Man ($71 mil)
49. Race to Witch Mountain ($67 mil)
54. The Time Traveler's Wife ($63 mil)
59. Funny People ($51 mil)
63. Land of the Lost ($49 mil)
66. Underworld: Rise of the Lycans ($45 mil)
75. Crazy Heart ($39 mil)
76. Surrogates ($38 mil)
77. Ninja Assassin ($38 mil)
78. Invictus ($37 mil)
79. State of Play ($37 mil)
81. The Pink Panther 2 ($35 mil)
86. The Men Who Stare at Goats ($32 mil)
87. (500) Days of Summer ($32 mil)
91. The Soloist ($31 mil)
100. The Fourth Kind ($25 mil)
107. Fantastic Mr. Fox ($21 mil)
116. The Hurt Locker ($17 mil)
122. A Perfect Getaway ($15 mil)
137. Extract ($10 mil)
146. Everybody's Fine ($9 mil)
151. Pirate Radio ($8 mil)
153. The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus ($7 mil)
161. Moon ($5 mil)
168. Two Lovers ($3 mil)
181. Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans ($1 mil)
193. Me and Orson Welles ($1 mil)
227. Red Cliff ($600 thou)
316. Bronson ($100 thou)
377. The Slammin' Salmon ($40 thou)
432. Killshot ($10 thou)

Source: Box Office Mojo

A special bonus!  Here are my predictions for key categories in this year's Oscars, based on yesterday's announcement of the nominees:


PT Dilloway, Superhero Author said...

I've seen 29 of those. Yay! Other than Watchmen it was a down year moviewise for me until the end of the year. Then I saw "Sherlock Holmes" and "Up in the Air" and "Avatar" all during holiday vacation. The former two I really enjoyed. The latter I watched in 2D and it was really not good enough to waste money on the 3D. Really though I never watched the very end. I assume he came back to life in that ritual? I had to go meet someone and it was running late so I just walked out with a couple minutes left.

This week I actually rewatched "Sherlock Holmes" "Up in the Air" and "500 Days of Summer" because I got them for XMas/birthday gifts. I watched the latter last night and it's one of those movies like "Garden State" where I really GOT it in terms of empathizing with the main character's plight.

Anyway, I hated Star Trek. HATED it. Around the time "Kirk" got stuck on Hoth I just thought to myself, "You aren't Captain Kirk and you never will be!" And that was pretty much it for me and that movie, though I stayed to the end. My brother is far more of a "Trekkie" and he hated it too. I think my final comment on that was it was Star Trek for people who like Star Wars.

Transformers 2 I watched in the theater only because I was bored and I was a fan of the first one. The old lady behind me at one point whispered to her husband, "This is so stupid!" I completely agree. What I hated the most was Jetfire was my favorite Transformer of the originals (he was based on a Robotech Veritech originally) and Blackbirds are sweet looking planes, but they totally fucked it up so the character was just another lame joke. And that was pretty much it for me and that movie.

Watchmen I saw only 4 times in the theater, though I probably could have watched it more. It's pretty much the only movie where I bought a special edition DVD. I have BOTH special editions: the Director's Cut that has some added footage and the "Ultimate" edition with more added footage and the animated "Tales of the Black Freighter" spliced in. I bet you're one of those who wanted the giant squid monster in it, but I think the way they did it worked out pretty well and was less convoluted.

You're probably right that the Avatar sequels will be panned. People only liked the first one because of how cool it looked. No one really gave a shit about the story. If you watch it in 2D it's such a vanilla story that it's like Cameron just took parts of a bunch of other movies (including his own movies like Aliens and Terminator) and spliced them together. But it looks neat! That's what counts, right?

Rusty Webb said...

In retrospect - I'm not too thrilled with the year overall. Well, I did love Star Trek. That made it worthwhile no matter what else happened.

Tony Laplume said...

I hated the giant squid. I loved Ozymandias using Dr. Manhattan as a scapegoat. Just one of the many reasons why I love other people telling the same story someone already told, because there's always the chance of improvement. I realize it's sacrilege to claim someone can improve on Alan Moore. It absolutely happened with this film.

I liked Star Trek because it put a big focus on the character arcs for Kirk ("Kirk") and Spock. It's something that was always missing from the series and even movies, which only focused on where they were going rather than where they'd been.

Tony Laplume said...

Another reason why I personally was thrilled with 2009 was that Eric Bana had a banner year. Not only Star Trek but The Time Traveler's Wife and Funny People.


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