1. Toy Story 3 $415M - $648M - $1.06B
2. Alice in Wonderland $334M - $690M - $1.02B
3. Iron Man 2 $312M - $309M - $621M
4. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse $300M - $392M - $692M
5. Inception $292M - $532M - $825M
6. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 $269M - $558M - $828M
7. Despicable Me $250M - $289M - $539M
8. Shrek Forever After $238M - $501M - $739M
9. How to Train Your Dragon $217M - $277M - $494M
10. The Karate Kid $176M - $182M - $358M
[Key - Chart Position - Title - Domestic Take - International Take - Final Global Take]
Welcome to the box office review of 2010. It's been quite a year both in the US and on the global market, with studios relying heavier than ever on the later market to shore up poor results in the former one. We had some big hits, bigger disappointments and a whole lot in between - quite often in 3D of course. We're just covering the box office hits released in 2010 in this report but interestingly enough Avatar, which was released at the tail of 2009, made more money in 2010 than any actual 2010 release thanks to its continued success spilling over into the new year.
3D was again a dominant force this year though there were signs of public apathy, especially for those films whose 3D was attached during post production (Clash of the Titans being of particular note in that regard). With the global recession still hitting hard and 3D ticket costs hitting record prices, the public began to either go for the cheaper 2D tickets or simply skip the film altogether and wait for the faster-than-ever home DVD/Blu-Ray release. The top ten is split fifty-fifty, 2D/3D but Hollywood isn't ready to give up those higher ticket costs just yet and have a record number of 3D presented films due in 2011.
Animation was strong once again, as were the expected franchise films but remakes had to settle for a back seat position in 2010, with just two having any major impact. While the horror genre was well covered this past year, very few had any breakout success. Similarly, while the comedy genre was also well served, none of them could crack the top ten, and examples of a solid comedy were few and far between.
So, without further ado, here are the top ten biggest films in North America in 2010 and more besides....
1. Toy Story 3 - $415M - $648M - $1.06B
The third and final Toy Story film had an odd trip to our screens. Disney owned the rights to the Toy Story series and its characters and with Pixar having fulfilled its contract with Disney, it was expected the company would split away and find a new studio to help fund and distribute its productions. Disney exercised its contractual rights and moved forward with a third film (much to the annoyance of Pixar), based around a faulty Buzz Lightyear product recall. But in 2006, when Pixar were purchased by Disney, Pixar head John Lasseter was put in charge of animation for both Disney and Pixar. One of his first decisions was to halt production on the third Toy Story film and bring any potential production back to Pixar. They chose to proceed with a sequel, scrapping the Buzz Lightyear storyline and opting for a story which would see Andy going off to college and the toys heading for a day care centre. Lee Unkrick took the sole directing credit and a 2010 release was set. The rest, as they say, is history.
Reviews were nearly universally positive making Toy Story 3 one of the best reviewed movies of the year. The film hit the ground running back in June, opening to a stunning $110M, of which $41M was for its opening day alone - setting the opening day record for an animated feature (helped in part by those 3D ticket prices). The film went from strength to strength, not just in North America but on the global market too. Less than a month later Toy Story 3 was already the biggest film of the year up to that point, surpassing the previous holder Alice in Wonderland in the second week of July. Even Finding Nemo's long standing honour of being the biggest Pixar movie would fall come the end of the summer. Woody & pals held steady through July and into August and would become one of only a handful of films to surpass $1B in total global takings. Given the amount of ancillary products related to Toy Story 3, it likely also surpassed Cars as Pixar's most successfully merchandised film. By the end of 2010, Toy Story 3 had broken into the All Time Domestic Box Office chart (no.9) and sat at no.5 on the All Time Global Box Office Chart. Suffice it to say, Toy Story 3 was the biggest film of 2010 and by a good way too.
2. Alice in Wonderland - $334M - $690M - $1.02B
Summer is usually the busiest and biggest time of the year for films but this year that mould would be somewhat broken, giving us three films in the top ten that opened outside of the summer window. Alice In Wonderland is one such film and along with Avatar, really showed how 3D ticket prices could work wonders for your box office. The film, directed by Tim Burton is not a new version of the oft-told tale but rather a re-imagining, seeing Alice, now a young woman, returning to Wonderland to slay a Jabberwocky that is being controlled by the evil Red Queen. Burton roped in long time collaborator Johnny Depp to take on the role of the Mad Hatter and filled the remainder of the cast out with a mixture of newcomers and old hands, including his wife, Helena Bonham Carter. The initial trailer debuted in July 2009 and was followed by a full trailer in November of the same year (Both of which played up Depp's Hatter role. Only once the film had debuted did the public discover how little he was actually in it).
The film ran in to some controversy prior to release when Buena Vista announced it was shrinking the films theatrical window to just 12 weeks. Cinema chains were outraged and eventually forced a 14 week compromise.
Alice In Wonderland received a worldwide release at the start of March. Reviews were distinctly average but that didn't appear to deter the public. The film opened to a very impressive $116M, with a good 15% of that figure coming from 3D ticket prices. A second weekend haul of $62M set the film well on its way to being one of the biggest of 2010. Internationally the film would be even stronger and would go on to earn more than double its final domestic haul. Alice would remain in the top ten for eight weeks, three of which were at number one. Like Toy Story 3, Alice in Wonderland would join the illustrious one billion dollar club by the end of its global run, thanks in part to those 3D ticket prices and the great showing on the international market. It also goes without saying that this was the biggest film of Tim Burton's career.
3. Iron Man 2 - $312M - $309M - $621M
Another film with a bumpy start. For some unfathomable reason, Marvel decided to announce the release date for Iron Man 2 without informing director Jon Favreau. Things took an ugly turn when Marvel decided to move forward without Favreau, saying that the ground work had been done with the first film and any half decent director could bring the character back to the screen. Fortunately everything was worked out behind closed doors and Favreau was announced as director, with Robert Downey Jnr and Gwyneth Paltrow returning too - though Terence Howard would be replaced by Don Cheadle. Production proceeded at a rapid pace, with Favreau quick to dispute any story which claimed he was shooting for 3D. The first spectacular footage debuted at Comic-Con, with a full trailer being attached to Downey Jnr's Sherlock Holmes in December 2009. Iron Man 2 was set to open the summer blockbuster season on April 28th.
Reviews were above average with the film attaining a 73% fresh rating at RottenTomatoes. After a very healthy opening day take of $51M, the film would go on to make $128M over its opening weekend. A week later the film successfully faced off against Robin Hood and scored a further $52M. Iron Man 2 would spend two weeks at the top spot and remain within the top ten for a total of seven weeks. How much not being in 3D cost the film in takings is open to speculation. Partly due to front loading and also the increased competition, Iron Man 2 struggled to $300M and would actually finish below the final gross of the first movie. All that said, no one lost money on the $200M production, with its budget (both production and marketing) covered by its domestic tally, leaving its international gross to provide Marvel and Paramount with a decent profit. Iron Man will feature next in The Avengers film, before returning to a third stand alone adventure. Jon Favreau has already ruled himself out of directing a third movie (perhaps before Marvel got chance to).
4. Twilight: Eclipse - $300M - $392M - $692M
For the third Twilight movie, Summit switched directors again. With Chris Weitz still on post-production duties for Twilight: New Moon, 30 Days of Night director David Slade proved to be an interesting choice to take on the directorial role on Eclipse; interesting because only a few month earlier Slade had been bad mouthing the books and the films, something that Twilight fans were quick to bring up upon his appointment. A quick statement from Summit and Slade himself seemed to appease fans somewhat, with the director promising a much more 'male' friendly version of the story. As usual the production was swamped by fans desperate for a glimpse of stars Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner and Kristen Stewart. The previous two Twilight films had opened during November and earned a combined global total of over a billion dollars. Hoping for an even bigger hit, Summit chose to open the film slap bang in the middle of summer - a potentially risky proposition as summer would provide a lot more competition for the film, regardless of its fan base.
Reviews for such a film are by and large redundant; the fan base will show up whether it's 1% rotten or 100% fresh. This also has a counter effect on such a film too - the front loading is so high that the film barely recovers in the subsequent weeks. Eclipse opened over the July 4th weekend and would see an amazing five day total of $176M. That total represented more than half of what the film's final total would be. Because its weekend total came in at $83M, its second weekend percentage fall wasn't actually that bad but again, by the end of that weekend, Eclipse was pretty much done and dusted. Repeat viewings pushed the film to $235M but it only made a further $65M during the rest of its box office run (another fourteen weeks). By and large this is academic, but more so with a film like Eclispse as its production budget is relatively low. Furthermore, because the series has such a strong fan base, marketing doesn't have to go into overdrive to get people into cinemas. The film proved to be even stronger overseas, adding another $392M to Summit's coffers. Knowing the series' days are numbered, the studio has opted to split the final film into two parts (see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows for similar), with the first part of Breaking Dawn due in November 2011. Expect weekend records to fall again.
5. Inception - $292M - $532M - $825M
How do you follow up a one billion dollar hit? If you're Christopher Nolan, you choose to make a complex, star-studded original idea with a budget around the $200M mark. The cast alone for Inception had more than a few people taking interest, featuring as it did Leonardo Di Caprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Michael Caine, Cillian Murphy, Marion Cotillard and Ken Watanabe. But if the cast piqued interest, the concept of the story proved even more intriguing; Nolan revealed very little other than to say the story took place in people's minds. The tagline for the film followed that concept with 'Your Mind is the scene of the crime', while the teaser trailer featuring a spinning top baffled further. When the full length trailer was unveiled it shed little further light on the ideas behind the films but displayed some stunning imagery including a train crashing down a city street, a fight in what appeared to be a hotel corridor in zero gravity, and a cityscape literally folding in on itself. The risks for Inception were huge, while the cast were well known players, Warner Bros was unsure if the public would show up for a film that they knew very little about. Furthermore, Inception was as far from summer blockbuster fodder as possible and would require you to not check your brain at the door.
Looking back now, it's hard to see what WB was worrying about. Inception opened to stellar reviews and currently sits at no.6 on the IMDb all-time top 250. Inception opened to $62M over its first weekend, the second highest debut for a science fiction film (behind Avatar). Perhaps even more impressive were its weekend to weekend drops. During its second frame, against The Sorcerer's Apprentice, Inception dropped just 32% and added a further $42M to its total. A week later saw the film successfully head off Angelina Jolie's Salt and drop just 36%. All told, Inception would hold the top spot for three weekends and retain a top ten chart position for ten weeks. Word of mouth and near essential repeat viewings were said to have kept the film in the public's eye for so long. Come the end of its run, Inception had made $292M domestically and an astounding $532M on the international market proving that a summer film didn't have to consist of a join the dots plot with some explosions thrown in.
6. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt.1 - $269M - $558M - $828M
Our sixth film is also the newest in the top ten. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is the seventh entry in the series but will not be the final film. Warner Bros, claiming that the seventh book of the series was too long for a single film, decided to split The Deathly Hallows into two movies with the second part due in the summer of 2011. Cynics called it a snatch for more cash (as they did with Summit's choice to split Breaking Dawn into two movies) but Warner Bros. proceeded none the less. David Yates, director of the previous two movies, would once again take up the reins on the final parts of the series, all the established cast would return, to be joined by newcomers to the series Bill Nighy and Rhys Ifans. As with Twilight, WB could have by and large ignored marketing the film save for issuing its release date. The first trailer debuted with Twilight: Eclipse, but footage from both pt.1 and pt.2 had been shown at ShoWest in March, with MTV debuting further footage during their annual movie awards. All appeared to be going well with hype for the film but an 11th hour decision by Warner Bros. not to release the film in 3D may have cost it a much higher finish on the 2010 charts. The official word is that the 3D conversion would not be ready for the film's November release and rather than delay or compromise the quality of the 3D, they elected to remove it from the equation (the home release of the film and the theatrical release of pt.2 will be in 3D).
Reviews were strong and fell in line with the rest of the Harry Potter series. Deathly Hallows' opening weekend was the strongest of the series to date, at $125M. Unfortunately, a strong opening is usually followed by a nasty second weekend drop off and in the case of this Harry Potter film, that drop was around 60%. Competition on that second weekend was widespread, with Tangled debuting, alongside three other major releases. Such was Tangled success and Potter's frontloading, the Disney movie managed to knock the boy Wizard off the top spot a week later. If nothing else, Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows witnessed some of the biggest, if not the biggest, front loading of the series. Four weekends after release the film was already seeing single-figure taking weekends. Internationally the film was performing a lot like Inception and currently sits on a total of over half a billion dollars. With the film still on general release it still has a slim chance to move higher up the Harry Potter series chart, where it currently resides at no.5. Will the final entry in the series break the long standing record held by the first film? Perhaps 3D could be the key - had Deathly Hallows pt.1 been in 3D, it would have now been looking at a figure closer to $310M.
7. Despicable Me - $250M - $289M - $539M
Despicable Me is a surprise entry on the chart. Prior to its release, the Universal movie was on very few radars and with Toy Story 3 still going strong, a quick in and out of the charts was expected. Add to the situation the fact that this was to be Universal's first foray in the CG animation market and the production budget was just $69M, a minor disaster was on the cards. The story followed Gru, a villainous mastermind who finds his life changed when he takes in three orphaned girls. Steve Carrell, Russell Brand, Jason Seagal and Julie Andrews all lent their vocal talents to the production. Hype appeared to be kept to a minimum, at least in terms of how other CG releases are marketed. It looked, going into the opening weekend that Despicable Me would need to rely heavily on the international market and a decent home release to turn any sort of profit. Signs that Despicable Me would be something different arrived in the guise of the very positive reviews the film received just prior to release.
Despicable Me opened to a great (and not a little surprising) $56M, knocking Twilight: Eclipse out of the no.1 position and taking over Toy Story 3's role as the family film of the moment. The following weekend, with Inception making its debut, Despicable Me dropped just 41%. A week later and the drop was even better, just 28%. In the film's fifth weekend on release it crossed the $200M threshold, becoming the first Universal film to do so since The Bourne Ultimatum way back in 2007. With that low production budget the film was well into profit by its second weekend on general release and would go on to make $250M by the end of its theatrical run. The international market was quick to catch on to the film's success in the US and added a further $289M to its already impressive total. If nothing else, Despicable Me proved that a film didn't need a huge marketing budget behind it, or an established animation company, to be a hit. The inevitable sequel is already in the works.
8. Shrek Forever After - $238M - $501M - $739M
Dreamworks decided to give Shrek a rest after the third film which, while profitable, was disliked by critics and fans alike. Instead, Dreamworks moved forward with a Madagascar sequel while also hoping to launch new franchises with Monsters Vs Aliens and Kung Fu Panda. When a fourth Shrek movie was announced, the studio was quick to add that this was to be the final film in the Shrek series (a spin off Puss In Boots movie is due late 2011). All the main cast would return to their roles, along with Walt Dohrn as villain Rumplestiltskin. The story would see Shrek wishing for a day just to be himself again. When he signs such a deal with Rumplestiltskin he has little idea the trouble he's about to find himself in. Reviews still weren't anywhere near Pixar standard and paled too, when compared to Dreamworks earlier 2010 release 'How To Train Your Dragon'. Never the less, Shrek had proved time and again to be Dreamworks cash-cow. With 3D on its side, what could go wrong?
Well ultimately little did go wrong for Shrek Forever After but it got off to something of a rough start. Even with those increased 3D ticket prices the film opened to just $70M back in May. While $70M would generally be considered a great opening frame, when compared to the $121M of Shrek the Third, it pales somewhat. The knives were out come Sunday night when the weekend figures were issued. Shrek was dead, the franchise was over. Each week Shrek Forever After hung in there, seeing some ok weekend holds, nothing above 42% until its fifth weekend on release, at which point Toy Story 3 made an appearance. But while the film would go on to be the lowest grossing of the series, it still made $238M on the domestic market and more than half a billion globally. There are more than a few studios who wish they could have a $700M+ 'disappointment'.
9. How To Train Your Dragon - $217M - $277M - $494M
With the Shrek franchise coming to an end in 2010, Dreamworks would need new potential franchises to fill in the hole left by the green ogre. With a Kung Fu Panda sequel already in the works for 2011, Dreamworks turned their attention to a series of books that had debuted in 2000. How To Train Your Dragon is actually the second book in Cressida Cowell's series of books, which currently number eight. The story concerns a Viking by the name of Hiccup who intends to follow in his father's footsteps and become a dragon slayer, but upon capturing a dragon he has a change of heart and befriends it instead. Initial trailers disappointed to quite an extent and the poster campaign did little to help matters. But then reviews began to appear and caused people to do a double take - they were simply exceptional, up there with Pixar's best. All Dreamworks needed now was for the public to show up.
How To Train Your Dragon opened on the low side of expectations, with a $43M three day haul, much lower than some of the studio’s other animation hits. At that point it looked like the film would go the way of Monsters Vs Aliens, a decent performer but not enough to launch a franchise off the back of. A week later the film saw a pretty solid hold, down 33% on that first frame. One week further on and it seemed word of mouth was getting around about How To Train Your Dragon as the film slipped just 14%. By its fifth weekend on release the film had actually moved back into the number one position as it approached $180M in takings. The film would become one of the success stories of the earlier part of the year and would still hold a fifth position spot when Shrek Forever After debuted in May, nine weeks after its March opening. When How To Train Your Dragon finally closed on July 22nd it had taken over $215M in the US and a further $277M internationally. Dreamworks had found another franchise and plans are already in place for a second film, with options secured on the entire series.
10. The Karate Kid - $176M - $182M - $358M
The only remake in the top ten (and one of only two in the top twenty) is the Karate Kid. Originally titled The Kung Fu Kid, the film reverted back to the original title some time during post production (Some locations around the world actually kept the first title). Jackie Chan was signed on in the Mr Miyagi role (now renamed Mr Han) and Jaden Smith, son of Will, as Dre Parker, the 2010 version of Daniel Larusso. The action was moved to China but the basic plot was kept the same (in fact, so similar was it to the original movie that the writer of the 1986 version of the film joked that he should have received a writing credit on the film). While the original film was over 25 years old, it was still well remembered and much loved and fans were quick to dismiss this remake as a simple cash in, jumping on any story to emerge from the production, such as the removal of the legendary crane kick. Initial trailers were actually far better than anyone expected them to be and reviews were equally positive, with a number singling out Mr Han as being Jackie Chan's best role in years.
No one was quite sure what to expect over the Karate Kid's opening weekend but one imagines it wasn't anywhere near the $56M it managed to take. The film more than doubled the take of its nearest rival, The A-Team, which had also debuted in that frame. The following weekend saw Toy Story 3 debut but The Karate Kid didn't suffer a major collapse in takings, rather it fell a quite respectable 46%, crossing the $100M barrier on its tenth day of release. Even with the return of Adam Sandler (Grown Ups) and Tom Cruise & Cameron Diaz (Knight & Day), The Karate Kid dropped just 48% and still managed a $15M weekend. All told the film managed six weekends in the top ten, seeing its biggest fall on that final weekend in the chart. For the $40M production, a $176M domestic return was more than worth the mocking it had received during its making. Chan fans abroad ensured the film performed equally well on the global market too. The Karate Kid became a hugely profitable hit for Sony.
So with the top ten out of the way, what else performed above and beyond during 2010? Sitting just outside the top ten is the remake Clash of the Titans, a Sam Worthington special effects extravaganza, whose 3D was much maligned upon release. While the film managed a $163M US finish, internationally the film really soared and took an impressive $330M, assuring a sequel, Wrath of the Titans, would go into production a year later.
Adam Sandler returned to the big leagues after the financial disappointment of Funny People in the summer of 2009. Alongside Chris Rock, Kevin James and Rob Schneider, Sandler starred in Grown Ups, a comedic tale about a group of high school friends who get together to commemorate the passing of their old basketball coach over a July 4th weekend. The film managed $162M off a budget of $80M and almost became the biggest film of Sandler's career in the process.
Tangled and Megamind (both still on general release) opened within a few weeks of each other. The former is said to be Disney's final 'Princess' movie and had something of difficult trip to screens which would see it rack up production costs of $260M. While it’s well on the way to covering those costs, it'll take a decent home DVD/Blu-Ray release to see the film turn a profit. Megamind on the other hand, cost $130M to produce, a figure it has just about recouped at this point, but with probable high marketing costs, it too will need to rely on its global return and the home market to see a comfortable profit.
M. Night Shyamalan's adaptation of the cartoon The Last Airbender opened strong, despite horrific reviews, but would see more than 75% of its final take within ten days of opening. As we've seen before and will again before the end of this report, the international market made The Last Airbender a bigger success than the domestic market could muster. While the film made $131M/187M (US/International) it appears Paramount have decided against any further Airbender productions.
Martin Scorcese teamed with actor Leonardo Di Caprio for the fourth time for the psychological thriller Shutter Island back in February. The pair struck gold again and the film went on to become Scorcese's second biggest release in the US, narrowly missing out on beating The Departed's $132M haul (with global takings factored in, Shutter Island is his biggest film with $294M against a total global take of $289M for The Departed).
Like Adam Sandler, Will Ferrell was coming off the back of a costly flop in the shape of Land of the Lost. Ferrell opted to pass on Cop Out and instead develop The Other Guys, a big budget cop comedy that also featured Mark Wahlberg, The Rock, Steve Coogan and Eva Mendes. Made for $100M (though some places tagged it as low as $80M and as high as $110M), the comedy had some solid weekend to weekend drops but only managed to just about cover its production budget. Still, this was a major improvement from Land of the Lost's $49M return from a budget of at least $100M.
Hoping to start a new action franchise, Sony brought us Angelina Jolie as super spy Evelyn 'Salt' and saw the $110M flick score over $290M in total worldwide ticket sales. While a sequel is yet to be greenlit, director Phillip Noyce has already ruled out returning to the director's chair.
While comedies were a little short on the ground this year, at least in terms of 'The Hangover' style success, three films did manage decent returns. The best of these was Jackass 3D, opening strong and taking a series best $116M. Date Night, with Tina Fey and Steve Carrell opened on the lower end of expectations back in April but simply refused to go quietly into the night. The film ended up hanging around the top ten for eight weeks and only saw a weekend to weekend percentage drop higher than 37% once it left the top ten. Date Night ended up making $98M in total. Meanwhile, back in November Todd Phillips was hoping for great things from his Robert Downey Jnr/Zack Galifinakis flick Due Date. While it opened well enough, the comedy faltered quite quickly, seeing single figure takings by its third weekend of release. All told Due Date finished its domestic run with $97M and earned a further $92M overseas.
Speaking of overseas, four films which performed poorly in the U.S were granted a second lease of life thanks to the international market. The first of these on the release schedule was The Prince of Persia: Sands of Time. The Jerry Bruckheimer production opened to just $30M despite a huge marketing push and could only muster a $90M domestic finish. However, on the international scene the film saw a huge $244M in takings, giving the $200M production a much needed boost.
Robin Hood saw a similar fate, a disappointing $36M opening frame followed by a $105M finish domestically. Overseas the film opened much stronger and finished on $212M. The film carried similar production costs to Prince of Persia. Jerry Bruckheimer was thanking the international market again in July when the $150M Sorcerer's Apprentice opened to just $17M, with a $63M finish. Thankfully a $152M international haul saved the Nicholas Cage flick from infamy. Finally, Tom Cruise, who passed on The Tourist to make Knight & Day, saw the film score just $76M in North America but thanks to his appeal overseas (along with that of co-star Cameron Diaz) watched the film add another $185M to its total.
The 'Facebook' film, The Social Network, scored both critically and financially. One of the best reviewed films of the year, it would go on to make $91M and pick up all manner of award plaudits, with many more expected in the coming months.
80s action heroes Bruce Willis and Sylvester Stallone both saw success this year. Willis with comic book adaptation Red (alongside Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren and John Malkovich) and Stallone with The Expendables, featuring Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren and Mickey Rourke (with cameos from Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger). Red made $88M while The Expendables scored $103M. Denzel Washington began 2010 with the $94M hit The Book of Eli and ended the year with Unstoppable, a $78M and counting train-disaster flick.
Comedies Dinner with Schmucks, Get Him to the Greek and Hot Tub Time Machine, while not scoring as well as the other comedies mentioned here, all turned a profit for their respective studios, as did Cop Out, Kevin Smith's first foray into directing a project he himself had not written.
Comic-Con hits Kick Ass and Scott Pilgrim Vs The World somewhat disappointed once outside their fan base arena. Kick Ass lost the weekend to How To Train Your Dragon and the headlines had already been written by the time the weekend actuals announced Kick Ass to be the real winner of the frame with $19.3M. The film would make just another $28M during the rest of its theatrical run. Pilgrim suffered a worse fate thanks to its $60M production budget. Despite Edgar Wright's tireless promotional efforts, Pilgrim opened to just $10M and closed with just $31.5M.
In terms of further underperformers, The A-Team could only muster $77M from a budget of around $110M. The return of Gordon Gecko in Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps had to accept a $52M finish while Zack Snyder's animated Legends of the Guardian ended its theatrical run with $55M from a budget of around $80M. Mel Gibson's big screen return was also a muted affair with the $80M budgeted Edge of Darkness turning in just $41M.
Thanks to the international market, 2010 saw few out and out failures but they were there if you looked close enough. The aforementioned Scott Pilgrim was generally deemed a flop, as was the Matt Damon starrer The Green Zone ($100M budget, $35M return). The misguided remake of Let The Right One In, Let Me In, made just $12M while the Jude Law/Forest Whittaker sci-fi flick, Repo Men, could only manage $13M.
In the last month of the year it appears two more films will be granted flop status. The James L Brooks flick How Do You Know? starring Reese Witherspoon, Paul Rudd, Owen Wilson and Jack Nicholson cost $120M to produce and has so far made $15M, managing just one week in the top ten. Opening equally poorly over Christmas Day was the Jack Black starrer Gulliver's Travels, which could muster just $7M over two days.
Brendan Fraser and a bunch of woodland creatures could only push Furry Vengeance to $17M. Fraser saw even worse figures alongside Harrison Ford in February's Extraordinary Measures. The true life drama closed with $12M in takings. Russell Crowe slipped up with The Next Three Days, earning just $21M and Robert Pattinson struggled to open the non-Twilight movie, Remember Me ($8M opening weekend, $19M final tally). Finally, The Wolfman, which made a decent $63M was kneecapped by its $150M+ production budget, a figure generated by major re-shoots and effects work.
Arguably the most infamous failure of the year was comic-book adaptation Jonah Hex. The production was plagued with overruns and re-shoots, culminating in its director being replaced during shooting/locked out of the editing suite/the cause of major re-shoots (delete whichever rumour you don't agree with). Despite starring Josh Brolin, Megan Fox, John Malkovich and Michael Fassbender (whose role was slashed to pieces) the film collapsed upon release, closing with just $10M in takings. The studio abandoned any plans to open the film theatrically in any major overseas locations. The official budget for Hex was stated to be $47M but unofficial word puts it as high as $100M.
And so finally, we come to the horror genre. Paranormal Activity looks to have replaced Saw as the Halloween horror franchise of choice. The sequel, made for just $3M, took $84M in North America and a further $84M overseas. Saw VII managed $45M domestically, from the highest production budget of the series ($20M) and finished with a total global taking of $122M. The remake of A Nightmare On Elm Street, with Jackie Earle Haley as Freddy Krueger managed a $63M finish and The Crazies, a remake of the George A Romero flick, scored $39M. The fourth in the Resident Evil franchise, Afterlife, played up its 3D angle and made $60M domestically and a huge $233M abroad while Fox's attempt to reboot the Predator series scored $52M during July. Smaller films such as The Last Exorcism, Daybreakers and Legion all managed to turn a profit thanks to their low budgets.
There were many more releases that this report hasn't covered, such as the return of Julia Roberts in Valentine's Day & Eat Pray Love, Danny Trejo's Machete and Emma Stone's Easy A, but it's already gone on much longer than I anticipated. Hopefully 2011 will prove to be just as interesting (and disappointing, no doubt) as 2010 has. It just remains for me to thank everyone who reads the box office report each week and to all those who have contributed comments, feedback and general discussion, especially the RLLMUK Film & TV cats. One final thank you to my wife and daughter who have to put up with being ignored for a couple of hours on Saturday and another hour on Sunday once the numbers are issued and the report is a go.
Technical thanks go to boxofficemojo, The Box Office prophets and Gitesh Pandya, the box office guru.
Happy New Year!
The Box Office Report will return in January 2011 in Disney Digital 3D.
*3D not available in all areas. Extra charges may apply.
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