Steve’s Box Office Report: August 2009
Top 10 Films for the Month of:
1. G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra – $150,201,498
2. Inglorious Basterds – $120,540,719
3. District 9 – $115,646,235
4. Julie and Julia – $94,125,426
5. The Final Destination – $66,477,700
6. The Time Traveler’s Wife – $63,414,846
7. Halloween II – $33,392,973
8. (500) Days of Summer – $32,391,374
9. Shorts – $20,919,166
10. A Perfect Getaway – $15,515,460
1. The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard – $15,122,676
2. Ponyo – $15,090,399
3. Taking Woodstock – $7,460,204
4. Post Grad – $6,380,019
5. Bandslam – $5,210,988
As we hit the final month of the summer of 2009, it has been a pretty solid if somewhat underwhelming summer with only a few films performing very well and things have tailed off a bit after a hot start back in May. Coming into August, there was a wide array of films being released this month and the hope was that a few of them surprised people and did very well, and we actually have a solid number of films that end up being winners. The first film from this month that makes it into this category is the war film Inglorious Basterds, a film set in an alternative universe where a group of soldiers and a Jewish girl both plot to kill Adolf Hitler and end World War II. The film which was Quentin Tarantino’s 6th film and his first main film since 2004 would receive critical acclaim from critics, and it would be considered one of the best films of the year and would be Tarantino’s highest grossing film to this point. The next film from this month that makes it into this category is the sci-fi film District 9, a film set in an alternate timeline where a group of aliens arrive in South Africa and are quarantined off into their own internment camp. One of the more ambitious films of the year, it would also receive critical acclaim and was considered by many as one of the best films of the year which we will delve into later in the review. The next film from this month that makes it into this category is the comedy film Julie and Julia, a film about a young woman who tries to cook all of Julia Child’s recipes while the film also looks at Child’s early days in cooking. Based off of two different books, the film would also receive positive reviews from critics and it would come close to cracking $100 million partly due to the lack of solid comedy films during the month. The next film from this month that makes it into this category is the horror film the Final Destination, the next installment in the franchise about a group of people who cheat Death and Death comes back to claim them. Unlike the previous three films, this film was panned by critics who considered it more of the same much like the previous films though it would somehow overcome it and become the highest grossing film in the franchise which would appear that the franchise still has some legs left. The next film from this month that makes it into this category is the sci-fi romance film the Time Traveler’s Wife, based on the novel of the same name of a man who can time travel while also trying to build a relationship with a woman. The film would receive mixed to negative reviews from critics though with a lack of romance films released this month, it still managed to do well enough to finish with just over $63 million which was able to barely make it a winner for the month. The final film from this month that makes it into this category is the romantic comedy (500) Days of Summer, a film about a boy who looks back on his previous failed relationships while spending 500 days with a girl named Summer. Released the previous month in limited theaters before going wide this month, the film would receive positive reviews from critics who considered it one of the “sleeper hits” of the year and it would have a decent run. The fact that this many films from this month made it into this category is a testament to how strong the month ended up being, and even though the final numbers were lower than the other months it was still a pretty successful end to the summer of 2009.
August Losers: G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra and Taking Woodstock
Going into the month of August, there were a wide array of films that were going to be released and you figured that some of them would break out of the pack and have a good run, but there were going to be some films that ended up being left behind and not do as well. While there weren’t as many films that made it into this category as there were in the winners category, there were a few films that did not do well and end up as the losers of the month. The first film from this month that makes it into this category is the action film G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, a film about two soldiers who join the Joes in combating M.A.R.S. led by the mysterious Cobra. Even though the film debuted at number one in its opening weekend and finished at the top of the month, there was a feeling that it should’ve done so much better even despite the mixed reviews which we will go into more later in the review. The other film from this month that makes it into this category is the comedy film Taking Woodstock, based on the memoir of Elliot Tiber and the leadup to Woodstock in 1969. The film would receive mixed reviews from critics who felt it was a disappointment especially with how little of the actual event was shown, and it would end up being one of the bombs of the year though it was not as bad as other bombs from the year. So while there were only two films from this month that make it into this category, the fact that one of them was supposed to be one of the big blockbusters of the year shows that no month is safe from that.
The Surprise/Story of August 2009: G.I. Joe rises up to the top of August 2009 to end summer on a moderate note
So as we go into the final month of the summer, the box office was in an interesting spot as May started off things hot only for June and July to cool things off a bit though they still had some major successes as well. When looking at the films released this month, there was one film that was being labeled as a major blockbuster while the other films didn’t have as many eyes on it so some of them could potentially break out and have a good run. At the end of the month, the blockbuster that was G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra did end up finishing at the top of the month with a solid amount of money and coupled with the success of Inglorious Basterds and District 9, the month of August was a solid month and managed to end the summer on a good note.
Overachiever of August 2009: District 9
When the month of August started, one of the films that had a decent number of eyes on it but not enough to really give it too much mind was District 9. This was a pretty unique film in that it was the first for director Neil Blomkamp though he did have support from Peter Jackson, and the subject matter of the film was very controversial in that it aped a lot of the aspects from the apartheid era in South Africa. Add to the fact that the cast was relatively unknown and the film was shot in a found footage style, and there were a lot of questions as to whether the film would be able to find an audience especially coming out the week after G.I. Joe. In the end, it would end up overperforming even the most modest expectations as it would debut at number one in its opening weekend and would finish in the top 3 of the month with over $115 million. Coupled with the positive reviews from critics who considered it one of the best films of the year and as one of the sleeper hits of the year, and there is no question that District 9 deserves its place here to be the overachiever of August 2009.
Underachiever of August 2009: G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra
As mentioned earlier in the recap, G.I. Jose: The Rise of Cobra was being viewed as the last big blockbuster of the summer and it was in a good spot in terms of release as it was coming out at the beginning of the month. This was an interesting film in that considering how popular the toy line is and those that remember the old cartoon, having a modern day G.I. Joe seemed like it would be a success especially coming off the recent success of Transformers. Unfortunately, much like Transformers which received mixed to negative reviews from critics, G.I. Joe would suffer the same fate as it would receive negative reviews from critics who felt it was unfaithful to the comic series. But unlike Transformers who overcame the reviews and delivered great numbers for both films, G.I. Joe could not do the same thing as even though it did finish with over $150 million and topped the month, there was the feeling that it could’ve done so much more and as a result it deserves the title of the underachiever for the month of August.
August 2009 Awards Watch: G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, Inglorious Basterds, District 9, Julie and Julia, and (500) Days of Summer
As we have seen throughout the summer, we have not seen a lot of films from the last three months make it into this category which has been somewhat surprising given how critically acclaimed or panned some of those films were. However, the script is flipped here as we have a solid number of films from this month make it into this category and the film count for the big 3 awards is starting to get a little bigger. The first film from this month that makes it into this category is G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra which would win one Golden Raspberry Award (Worst Supporting Actress) while being nominated for 5 more (Worst Picture, Worst Supporting Actor, Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-Off, or Sequel, Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay), and it solidifies its place as one of the worst films from the year. The next film from this month that makes it into this category is Inglorious Basterds which would win one Academy Award (Best Supporting Actor) while being nominated for 7 more (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Cinematography, and Best Film Editing). The film would also win one Golden Globe Award (Best Supporting Actor) while being nominated for 3 more (Best Picture – Drama, Best Director, and Best Screenplay), and it was a great show for the film and proved that Tarantino still had plenty left as a director. The next film from this month that makes it into this category is District 9 which would be nominated for 4 Academy Awards (Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing, and Best Special Effects) though it wouldn’t win any, but it was still a great showing for the film especially to get a Best Picture nod. The next film from this month that makes it into this category is Julie and Julia which would be nominated for one Academy Award (Best Actress) which it wouldn’t win, and it would win one Golden Globe Award (Best Actress – Musical or Comedy) while being nominated for one more (Best Picture – Musical or Comedy), and it was a good showing for the film as well. The final film from this month that makes it into this category is (500) Days of Summer which would be nominated for two Golden Globe Awards (Best Picture – Musical or Comedy and Best Actor – Musical or Comedy), and it was a good showing though it seemed like it should’ve gotten more accolades for how well it was received. It was interesting that the top film from the month was heavy in the awards honoring the worst while the rest were heavy in the awards honoring the best, but that is what’s great about the box office and the films that come out.
Overall Thoughts of August 2009:
Overall, this ended up being a pretty solid month and while it didn’t quite match the success of the previous months this summer, it was still a good month to end what turned out to be a pretty solid summer. While this summer had nothing to match what the Dark Knight did the previous year, there were still some pretty good films released during the summer and this month was no different. We did have three films from this month cross the $100 million mark which was a good showing for the month and one more than came close to reaching the mark, and the remaining films from the month did fairly decent enough though they didn’t do enough to make some noise. 2009 has been a very interesting year thus far as we started pretty strong, went into a bit of a lull through the spring, and then got hot starting in May before cooling off briefly going into this month and we will see how things end up playing out as the fall begins. As for the month of August 2009, it ended up being a pretty solid month and ends the summer of 2009 on a fairly strong note.
Final Grade: B