Thursday, February 27, 2014

#691. Box Office 2013

2013 was another wild year at the movies, deep into the new franchise era, although a couple of high concept original ideas broke into the top ten as well...

1. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire ($423 mil)
The second installment of this adaptation from the Suzanne Collins books marks the first time in the over thirty year span I've covered in this series where a movie featuring a female lead (Jennifer Lawrence) captures the top of the yearly box office.

2. Iron Man 3 ($409 mil)
The Avengers cycle rolls along with this first follow-up to The Avengers itself, Tony Stark attempting to figure out how to move on.

3. Frozen ($384 mil) 
Animated movies have become reliably big business (Toy Story 3 and Shrek 2 are two recent examples of ones that reached all the way to the top).  This is Disney rediscovering its own groove.

4. Despicable Me 2 ($368 mil)
The prevailing trend in these animated flicks is trying to learn how far you can push the canvas.  This is one of the success stories, featuring a quasi-unlikable lead.  Although apparently quite likable.

5. Man of Steel ($291 mil)
A movie that is fast becoming known as much for its upcoming sequel as for the controversy about its ending, which apparently solidifies this as a darker interpretation of Superman.

6. Gravity ($269 mil)
The Sandra Bullock love machine remains intact!

7. Monsters University ($268 mil)
This sequel to Monsters, Inc. changes pretty much everything about the concept except the central stars.

8. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug ($256 mil)
The high point of this Peter Jackson franchise was Return of the King winning the crown in 2003.  Although I argue this is the best effort so far.

9. Fast & Furious 6 ($238 mil)
One of the unlikeliest successes stories in recent Hollywood lore was the increasing and continuing success of this series.

10. Oz the Great and Powerful ($234 mil)
May have broken the idea that only Judy Garland can sell the L. Frank Baum concept to broad audiences.

11. Star Trek Into Darkness ($228 mil)
Anytime Star Trek is a huge success is still pretty surprising to fans who remember when it became mainstream poison (ever more so) only a decade earlier.

12. Thor: The Dark World ($205 mil) 
The fact that Thor can have not one but two successful movies is the true strength of the Avengers allure.

13. World War Z ($202 mil)
A lot of people worried a great deal that this movie wouldn't do well.  It did.

15. The Heat ($159 mil)
Bullock strikes again, and Melissa McCarthy proves she's a box office draw.

17. The Great Gatsby ($144 mil)
Leonardo DiCaprio is a reliable draw now.  This wasn't always the case.  After Titanic he struggled a great deal. 

18. American Hustle ($144 mil)
The success of this movie is a great testament to the continuing appeal of movies that don't feature blockbuster effects or animated characters.

20. Identity Thief ($134 mil)
Melissa McCarthy again, in a movie released prior to The Heat.  She's most definitely a star.

22. The Wolverine ($132 mil)
Hugh Jackman became an instant star when he debuted this role in X-Men, but has always struggled to translate that into mass appeal when he stars on his own.

23. Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues ($125 mil)
Honestly, it seemed at one point that Will Ferrell would have been far happier with all the promotional appearances as Ron Burgundy.

24. G.I. Joe: Retaliation ($122 mil)
Dwayne Johnson is in the same boat as Jackman, really.  But he's found a reliable career folding into existing franchises.

25. Lone Survivor ($121 mil)
The mass success of this one was surprising, but there always seems to be a market for war movies actually about war.

26. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 ($119 mil)
The filmmakers behind these quirky movies got a much bigger hit on their hands with The Lego Movie this year.

27. Now You See Me ($117 mil)
One of the bigger surprises of the year.  

28. Lee Daniels' The Butler ($116 mil)
A word-of-mouth smash.

29. The Wolf of Wall Street ($112 mil)
DiCaprio and Scorsese strike gold again.

30. The Hangover Part III ($112 mil)
Probably won't be another one, and I bet everyone's fine with that.

31. Epic ($107 mil)
Even though this is an animated movie more than a Colin Farrell movie, I still count this as a Farrell success.  He gets so few of them.

32. Captain Phillips ($106 mil)
Tom Hanks is so reliable it's easy to take him for granted, but every so often he can still have a hit on his hands.

36. Olympus Has Fallen ($98 mil)
Of the improbable battle of White House movies, this Gerard Butler movie was the winner.  And a rare winner for Butler as well!

37. 42 ($95 mil)
Baseball movies are an underappreciated genre.  Maybe this one was more relevant as one of the many success stories of 2013 for movies featuring black leads.

39. Planes ($90 mil)
A surprise success for a Cars variant that wasn't supposed to be released in theaters.

40. Lone Ranger ($89 mil)
This seems like a fine opportunity to remind people Johnny Depp is not usually a huge draw outside the guise of Jack Sparrow.

44. Saving Mr. Banks ($82 mil)
Tom Hanks again, in a movie that I find vastly underappreciated.  But it still made a good amount of money.  And counts as another success for Colin Farrell, the mostly uncredited third lead.

46. White House Down ($73 mil)
The competition for Olympus Has Fallen.

47. Mama ($71 mil)
A number of horror success stories in 2013, including this one starring Jessica Chastain.

50. The Best Man Holiday ($70 mil)
The unlikely follow-up to a movie released in 1999.

52. A Good Day to Die Hard ($67 mil)
The biggest success of movies featuring action stars of the '80s.

58. Prisoners ($61 mil)
Another success story for the traditional adult drama.

59. After Earth ($60 mil)
M. Night Shyamalan learned along with the rest of us that Will Smith's hot streak is officially over.

62. Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters ($55 mil)
These movies are rarely huge successes.

69. Pain and Gain ($49 mil)
Probably the only time Dwayne Johnson will flaunt his muscles outside of an action role.

70. 12 Years a Slave ($49 mil)
Not a huge success, but a good amount for a movie with such difficult subject matter.

76. Riddick ($42 mil)
The problem of trying to create a blockbuster out of a movie (Pitch Black) that wasn't itself a blockbuster is that you have to try hard to make it a blockbuster.  Keep trying, Vin Diesel.

82. Carrie ($45 mil)
First starring role for frequent scene stealer Chloe Moretz.

85. Blue Jasmine ($33 mil)
For anyone else this is not a huge success.  For Woody Allen, this is a huge success.

87. Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain ($32 mil)
Probably helps explain his 2014 success.

92. Grudge Match ($29 mil)
Rocky vs. Raging Bull.

94. Kick-Ass 2 ($28 mil)
Jim Carrey's biggest success of the year.  In his defense, he didn't actually star in any movies this year.

97. The World's End ($26 mil)
The conclusion to the Wright/Pegg/Frost trilogy.

100. Dallas Buyers Club ($24 mil) 
People Critics finally take Matthew McConaughey seriously.

101. Don Jon ($24 mil)
Joseph Gordon-Levitt's plan for world domination has taken into account that it will take a little time.

102. Her ($23 mil)
Remarkably, Joaquin Phoenix was able to survive I'm Not Here.

107. The Way, Way Back ($21 mil)
Jim Rash is trying to steal Joseph Gordon-Levitt's plan.  Don't tell him.

120. The Counselor ($16 mil)
Cormac McCarthy is too old for his plan.  He will bequeath it to the car Cameron Diaz humps in this movie.

121. Nebraska ($16 mil)
MacGruber goes straight.  (Does not find a Stargate.)

123. Fruitvale Station ($16 mil)
Michael B. Jordan's calling card for Johnny Storm.

124. About Time ($15 mil)
Rachel McAdams will be traveling through time to find a massive hit in time travel movies.

126. Spring Breakers ($14 mil)
Became notorious.  Still working on becoming a cult classic.  

129. Out of the Furnace ($11 mil)
Casey Affleck is not Batman.

130. Dead Man Down ($10 mil)
Colin Farrell is not a huge box office draw.

137. Before Midnight ($8 mil)
The great indy love trilogy.  But they should keep making these.

139. Machete Kills ($8 mil)
Not the box office, however.

146. The Bling Ring ($5 mil)
The latest from Sofia Coppola.

153. Much Ado About Nothing ($4 mil)
After all the chatter about Whedon's Shakespeare and to have only gotten this much in return...

160. The Fifth Estate ($3 mil)
This was a Benedict Cumberbatch movie, damn it.  It should have made millions!  Oh wait, it did.  Just not a lot of them.

176. Oldboy ($2 mil)
Josh Brolin is awesome.  But people don't like Spike Lee anymore.  So Spike Lee is hardly about to make Josh Brolin a box office star.

178. Blue is the Warmest Color ($2 mil)
It is also a lesbian color, apparently.

179. Austenland ($2 mil)
It may be an Austenland, but it's an Avengers world.

184. The Iceman ($1 mil)
Michael Shannon is awesome!  That's why everyone was so upset to see Superman kill him.  Because otherwise he's not blockbuster material, alas...

197. Girl Most Likely ($1 mil)
Who would've thought that the biggest winner from Bridesmaids wouldn't be Kristen Wiig?

222. 56 Up ($700 thou)
This is the model the Before... movies should follow.  Keep them going!

227. To the Wonder ($500 thou)
Terrence Malick apparently used up his box office clout with Tree of Life.

231. The Reluctant Fundamentalist ($500 thou)
The book was awesome.  Glad there's a movie now, too.

243. Ain't Them Bodies Saints ($300 thou)
Casey Affleck only stars in movies with incredibly elaborate titles.  Might I recommend Ain't Them Bodies Avengers?

283. Arthur Newman ($200 thou)
Emily Blunt.  Why wasn't this movie a bigger success???

290. Midnight's Children ($100 thou)
Based on a book by Salman Rushdie.  Can we get the Satanic Verses movie already???

313. John Dies at the End ($100 thou)
Spoiler alert!!!

359. Byzantium ($80 thou)
Neil Jordan is pretty awesome.  Here he has Gemma Arterton and Saoirse Ronan to work with.

361. Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon ($80 thou)
Didn't even know there was a second one.  Still haven't seen the first one, though.

476. Dear Mr. Watterson ($20 thou)
A companion of sorts to the book Looking for Calvin & Hobbes.


Stephanie said...

That is quite a rundown! What stood out for you?

Trisha F said...

I want to give the little movies at the bottom a hug!

Tony Laplume said...

Stephanie, at some point I hope to see all of these movies. It will probably take years.

Trisha, little movies always deserve hug!

Lisa Southard said...

And I have seen none of them. Must try to get out more...

Tony Laplume said...

None? None at all? As in you never went to see a movie? But don't make me guilt you into such things. In my movie-going prime I was also working at a theater, so I was technically cheating. But it's sometimes an awesome kind of cheating!


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