Steve’s Box Office Report: April 2009
Top 10 Films for the Month of April:
2. Hannah Montana: The Movie – $79,576,189
3. Obsessed – $68,261,644
4. 17 Again – $64,167,069
5. State of Play – $37,017,955
6. Earth – $32,011,576
7. The Soloist – $31,720,158
8. Observe and Report – $24,007,324
9. Fighting – $23,091,010
10. Adventureland – $16,044,025
1. Crank: High Voltage – $13,684,249
2. Sunshine Cleaning – $12,062,558
3. Dragonball: Evolution – $9,362,785
As we continue on through the year of 2009 and dive deep into the spring season, the year had leveled out a slight bit coming out of March after the year started pretty well. With the slate of films that were set to come out this month, it was pretty clear that at least one movie would do well and it was up to how the rest of the films would end up doing. The first film from this month that makes it into this category is the film that was expected to do well and that is Fast and Furious, the fourth film in the franchise which sees Dominic Toretto and Brian O’Conner team up to avenge Toretto’s lover’s murder and capture a drug lord. After the dismal performance of Tokyo Drift and originally being set for an early June release, the film would be pushed back to April which would end up being very beneficial as it would be the highest grossing film in the series thus far which we will touch on later in the review. The next film from this month that makes it into this category is the musical comedy Hannah Montana: The Musical, based on the TV series of the same name which sees Miley Stewart taken back to her hometown to gain perspective on her life and career. Following the success of the concert film and the ongoing run of the TV show, they finally hit the big screen with a traditional film that did fairly well despite the mixed reviews and played out well with a lack of family films released this month. The next film from this month that makes it into this category is the erotic thriller film Obsessed, a film about an office temp who tries to seduce her boss much to his wife’s chagrin. Like the previous two films, this film would receive mixed to negative reviews from critics who considered it a cheap rehash of other erotic thrillers, but there was just enough there including the final fight at the end that drew moviegoers in and it would debut at #1 in its opening weekend while finishing with close to $70 million. The fourth and final film from this month that makes it into this category is the comedy 17 Again, a film about a man who is turned back into a 17-year old and looks to rebuild his life in this new body. The film would also receive mixed reviews from critics which seems to be a trend for the films released this month, but this would also end up drawing in plenty of moviegoers as it also finished #1 in its opening weekend while finishing in the top 5 for the month. It just goes to show you that the critical reviews itself don’t matter completely because as long as the films look intriguing enough, they will end up doing well which we see from the films that made it into this category.
April Losers: State of Play, the Soloist, and Dragonball: Evolution
So as I mentioned earlier, the grade for this month was mainly going to hinge on how the remaining slate of films would end up doing because it was pretty obvious that Fast and Furious was going to dominate the month. While the month ended up having a solid amount of winners for the month, we did have our fair share of losers for the month though now it’s about how bad they were and if it was enough to drag the month down. The first film from this month that makes it into this category is the political thriller State of Play, based on the BBC miniseries of the same name which sees a journalist try to uncover the details behind the death of a congressman’s mistress. Unlike the films that made it into the winner’s category, this film actually received positive reviews from critics though it would end up failing to find its footing amongst the mainstream audience, and while the film would have a decent opening weekend it would end up disappearing into the background and ultimately lands in this category. The next film from this month that makes it into this category is the drama film the Soloist, based on the life of Nathaniel Ayers who became homeless after developing schizophrenia. The film would also receive mixed reviews from critics and had been moved from a previous release date, and as a result it would end up underperforming in its opening weekend and would fall flat which we will get into later in the review. The third and final film from this month that makes it into this category is the sci-fi film Dragonball: Evolution, a film based on the Dragonball manga which sees a young Goku try to save Earth from Lord Piccolo who seeks to obtain the powerful Dragon Balls. The film would receive negative reviews from critics as well as from fans of the manga who felt the film wasn’t honoring the source material, and it would end up bombing in the box office and thus killed off any plans for a possible sequel or franchise. So the failures of these three films were of different ranges and didn’t do enough to totally effect the bottom line of April, but it was just enough to keep April from reaching a decent ceiling that it could’ve reached.
The Surprise/Story of April 2009: Fast and Furious power slides to top spot of April 2009
As we head into the month of April, the year had leveled off a bit which I mentioned earlier and there was a feeling that this month had to heat things back up heading into the month of May which was looking pretty loaded. As I had also mentioned earlier, there was at least one film that was guaranteed to do well and that was Fast and Furious, and thus the eyes were going to be on the remaining films of the month to see if they could do well. Well as expected, Fast and Furious easily took the top spot for the month of April as it makes over $150 million and now three out of the four months this year has as least one film make over $100 million. As for the rest of the films from this month, there were three films that made over $60 million with Hannah Montana coming close to $80 million, so the top half was fairly strong while the bottom half were relatively close to each other. So while this month doesn’t completely regain the momentum that had begun at the beginning of the year, it is about on par with March and doesn’t derail the train so there is at least a little bit of fire going into the month of May.
Overachiever of April 2009: Fast and Furious
Going into the month of April, there were a lot of eyes on Fast and Furious and to see if it would end up being successful especially after the terrible performance of the last film in the franchise which was Tokyo Drift. Obviously, this film had a lot more going for it as the entire original cast appeared for this film and this was considered the true sequel to 2 Fast 2 Furious instead of Tokyo Drift which was considered a standalone film. After being originally scheduled for an early June release, the film was moved to early April which ended up being a smart move given how loaded May was and the studio didn’t want it to get lost in the shuffle amongst some other films. Ultimately, the move would pay off as it would debut at #1 with over $70 million and finished its run with just over $155 million, making it the highest grossing film in the franchise to this point four films in. Even though the film would end up being the lowest rated film of the franchise in terms of critical reviews, it was still popular enough with the mainstream audience that they came out to see it and helped propel it to the highest grossing opening weekend for the month of April. As a result, it was clear there was still plenty of gas left in the tank of this franchise and thus there is no question that Fast and Furious deserves its title as the overachiever of the month.
Underachiever of April 2009: The Soloist
Heading into this month with most of the focus on the success of Fast and Furious, most of the other films released this month didn’t have much focus behind them though you would hope that some of them did better than expected. As a result, choosing a film to be the underachiever of the month was a bit of a challenge and it was hard to choose a film that deserved this dishonor. Ultimately, I ended up going with a film that seemed to have some potential and didn’t pan out as well as hoped and that was the Soloist. Granted, many people were probably not fully aware of Nathaniel Ayers or the story that Steve Lopez wrote on him, but given that it was being led by two big names in Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey Jr. seemed to think that it could get by just on star power. But as we know from past reviews, star power can’t carry a film alone and coupled with the dismal reviews from critics would lead to the film being buried behind Obsessed and Fighting along with the second weekend performance of 17 Again. As a result, the film would end up finishing in the bottom half of the top 10 for the month and it ends up being named the underachiever of the month, but it will be interesting to see how it pairs up with the remaining underachievers for the rest of the year.
April 2009 Awards Watch: Hannah Montana: The Movie and Obsessed
As we were continuing into the spring, we now kick off the new year in terms of the award season as we look ahead to next year and what films will be jumping into the fray for the big three. Last month only saw two films make it into this category as the award year was coming to an end, and now with a new year beginning this month only has two films that make it into this category as well. The first film from this month that makes it into this category is Hannah Montana: The Movie which ends up being nominated for two Golden Raspberry Awards (Worst Actress and Worst Supporting Actor) though it wouldn’t win either one. The other film from this month that makes it into this category is Obsessed which was also nominated for two Golden Raspberry Awards (Worst Actress and Worst Supporting Actress) though it also wouldn’t win either award. Ultimately, the month of April 2009 ended up being a fairly forgettable month in terms of potential award contenders.
Overall Thoughts of April 2009:
So overall, the month of April in 2009 ended up being a pretty down the middle month with one standout film and nothing else pretty substantial to help carry the month higher than it ends up going. As mentioned a couple of times in this review, the month was pretty much going to be carried by one film and it was about whether the rest of the films were going to carry their weight, but ultimately nothing else broke away from the pack and things seemed to be in a holding pattern going into May. It was a good sign for this month in that a film made over $100 million which was not common at that time for the month of April and we will see going forward that it does become a theme where April has at least one major blockbuster come out just before the summer season. 2009 has been a pretty decent year thus far in that the year started pretty well with January and a little bit into February, but things did level off in March and April kept things on the same level without moving the needle too far either direction. We will see as the summer season officially begins next month if the year gets back on the fast track and can finish ahead of what 2008 did. As for the month of April in 2009, it was a pretty straightforward month with one major film doing well and everything else being on par with each other.
Final Grade: C