Summer 2010 Box-Office roundup

As we close out the Summer 2010 movie season, here’s the final box-office Top 10…

Rank  Movie Title  Studio  Total Gross/Theaters  Opening Weekend/Theaters  Open  Close
1 Toy Story 3 BV $405,726,000 4,028 $110,307,189 4,028 6/18 –
2 Iron Man 2 Par. $312,128,345 4,390 $128,122,480 4,380 5/7 8/19
3 The Twilight Saga: Eclipse Sum. $298,003,000 4,468 $64,832,191 4,468 6/30 –
4 Inception WB $270,749,000 3,792 $62,785,337 3,792 7/16 –
5 Shrek Forever After P/DW $238,042,000 4,386 $70,838,207 4,359 5/21 –
6 Despicable Me Uni. $236,102,000 3,602 $56,397,125 3,476 7/9 –
7 The Karate Kid Sony $175,514,424 3,740 $55,665,805 3,663 6/11 –
8 Grown Ups Sony $159,104,656 3,534 $40,506,562 3,534 6/25 –
9 The Last Airbender Par. $130,577,000 3,203 $40,325,019 3,169 7/1 –
10 Salt Sony $113,300,000 3,612 $36,011,243 3,612 7/23 –
[source: B.O.M]

Take-aways from Summer 2010:

Iron Man 2 was labeled a big disappointment when it opened but, um, a $312 mil tally ain’t bad! Was that mostly the critics influencing the industry perception or was it that it was the first big film of the summer and everyone wants records shattered right out of the gate? Just because a franchise film doesn’t defeat the opening weekend of the previous entry doesn’t automatically doom it to box-office death.

It was not a good summer for non-animated comedy. No The Hangover or Wedding Crashers in sight. Only Grown Ups from the Adam Sandler crew (more like Groan Ups, am I right? Heyoooo….) and The Good Guys did okay but it cost $100 mil before marketing so who knows how much they’ll make on that one. Sex & The City 2, Dinner for Schmucks, Get Him to the Greek, Knight & Day, The Switch, The Bounty Hunter and several other forgettable comedies and comedy hybrids all underperformed. I’d say that was just a matter of quality. If you don’t bring the funny, star names don’t count.

The buzz of the summer was the public’s supposed rejection of the tepid franchise films. Had Hollywood’s sequel and remake assembly line finally broken down?

Well, I do believe there’s some truth to that, but that was largely a reaction to the season being back-loaded. The May and June offerings just didn’t bring as much punch as previous years. But, let’s see…of the top 10, six are sequels, remakes or TV adaptations.  Four were originals that began (or could have began in a free market situation) with a spec script (Inception, Salt, Despicable Me and Grown Ups) but they needed HUGE stars to get made. In slots 11-20, you add only 3 more originals (The Expendables, The Other Guys and Knight & Day) so, yeah, Hollywood is still relying on those franchises. It’s not safe yet to proclaim “sequels and remakes are dead.” Not even close.

I still think there were strong messages sent to the industry this summer:

1) Don’t expect huge records and growth every year no matter what you throw out. It’s still based on content. You can’t get around that. The Dark Knight, the first Iron Man and Toy Story 3 are all box-office monsters because they’re good films, not just because they’re sequels.

2) You have to think out of the box with marketing these days with so many entertainment options and so much advertising being blasted at us 24/7. The Expendables kicked Predators butt because of a crazy-cool internet viral campaign, not necessarily because of content (a rare exception to the rule of content, but these aren’t exactly art films here, people).

3) Timeliness and relevance are very important. No one gave a poop about Sex & The City 2 because there was no reason for it to exist. The first film was only 2 years ago — the reruns run incessantly on cable and the big fans have it all on dvd anyway — the attempt to inject a socially conscious theme by sending the women to Dubai to fight for Muslim women (?) fell flat as it was so far outside the canon of the series and perhaps worst of all, the retread of Carrie’s old love triangle (Aidan, really?) was about as fresh and sexy as varicose veins.

Same with Prince of Persia — every gamer I know was clueless as to why Hollywood would think there was a hungry audience waiting for this tired title.

4) PG-13 is still king. The ol’ four quadrant movie is still ruling the summer at the box-office. But it will only take until the next hit R-rated blockbuster to come out and they’ll once again say “audiences want R-rated movies for adults.” Again, it’s all about content. If Inception had been R, it still would have caused a phenomenon.

5) The geeks alone can’t open a film (or carry it). Comic Con is not an accurate barometer of a film’s true buzz. Witness: Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World — every geek I know LOVED that movie (something about references to Tekken and Street Fighter? Ugh.). All the video game references make their loins tingle. But the general public’s loins? Not tingling.

In conclusion…

6) The public wants one thing: for Hollywood to make my script.

Still waiting on that It’s Your Move reboot,

Dan Calvisi

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