Steve’s Box Office Report: August 2011
Top 10 Films for the Month of August:
1. Rise of the Planet of the Apes – $176,760,185
2. The Help – $169,708,112
3. Final Destination 5 – $42,587,643
4. Spy Kids 4-D: All the Time in the World – $38,538,188
5. The Change-Up – $37,081,475
6. 30 Minutes or Less – $37,053,924
7. Colombiana – $36,665,854
8. The Debt – $31,177,548
9. Our Idiot Brother – $24,816,118
10. Don’t be Afraid of the Dark – $24,046,682
1. Conan the Barbarian – $21,295,021
2. Fright Night – $18,302,607
3. One Day – $13,843,771
4. Glee: The 3D Concert Movie – $11,862,398
August Winners: Rise of the Planet of the Apes and the Help
We continue on through the year of 2011 as we come to the final month of the summer in August, and after the major highs we achieved in July there sadly was only one way to go and that was down though the question was how low would August go. While none of the films from this month were expected to reach the same heights that Harry Potter got the previous month, there were at least two films from this month that managed to do very well and prop the month up. The first film from this month that makes it into this category is the sci-fi thriller film Rise of the Planet of the Apes, a reboot/origin story of the original series where a scientist gives a chimpanzee a substance that makes it super evolved and leads to an uprising. The film would receive positive reviews from critics who felt it was a fresh take on the classic series and it would make over $176 million, and it was almost guaranteed that the franchise would continue with a sequel coming soon. The other film from this month that makes it into this category is the period drama the Help, based on the novel of the same name of a young woman and her relationship with two black maids during the Civil Rights Movement. The film would receive positive reviews from critics and became a surprise hit by making over $169 million which I will delve into later in the recap. There is no question that these two films were going to be the heavy hitters of the month and sure enough, they did extremely well and helped carry the month as well as end the summer on a solid note.
August Losers: Conan the Barbarian
Aside from the top two films from this month, the rest of the films released this month didn’t have high expectations and the majority of them pretty much finished around the same range of money made which is pretty interesting to see. However, there was one film that did not live up to whatever expectations it had and that was the action film Conan the Barbarian, a remake of the 1982 film which sees the legendary character try to avenge the death of his father at the hands of an evil warlord. The film would receive negative reviews from critics who felt it was far inferior to the original and it would finish with just over $21 million, making it one of the bigger bombs of the year and killing any potential to continue the franchise moving forward. Thankfully in terms of the success of the month, the failure of this film wasn’t large enough to bring the month down a lot though it was still a black mark on the month.
The Surprise/Story of August 2011: Apes rule the box office as “Rise” takes top spot of August 2011 to end summer on a moderate note
As mentioned earlier, there was no question that this month was going to be a step down from the previous month just because there was nothing that was going to even come close to matching what Harry Potter did, but there were a few films that looked like it could come close to a few of the other films released last month. Going into the month, the one film that would have the most eyes on it was Rise of the Planet of the Apes given that it was a fresh take on this legendary franchise while also serving as the origin story to the franchise. Carried by strong performances by James Franco and especially Andy Serkis as Caesar, the film would become a surprise hit for the month as it came out in a prime spot at the beginning of the month with Harry Potter slowing down by that point. It would have a solid run throughout the month and wound up finishing with over $176 million which was a major success for the film and as mentioned, you knew that the franchise would continue on as a sequel was sure to come. Coupled with a great performance by the Help and some decent earnings by the other films in the top 10, and the month of August ended up doing pretty well and finished the summer of 2011 on a good note.
Overachiever of August 2011: The Help
Going into the month of August, the Help was just one of many films that were coming out aimed at adults and given the fact that the films were all different genres, it was going to be interesting to see which film would end up breaking out and having a good run. The Help did have an advantage with the positive reviews and even though it opened in second in its opening weekend, it would steal the top spot away from Rise of the Planet of the Apes and held the top spot for the rest of the month and even the first weekend of September. Easily blowing away all of the other films from this month and nearly stealing the top spot for the month away from Rise of the Planet of the Apes, the Help was one of the biggest success stories of the month and was a no-brainer choice for being named the overachiever of the month.
Underachiever of August 2011: Final Destination 5
So unlike the overachiever of the month which was an easy choice, it was a lot harder to pick the underachiever because none of the other films released this month had too high of expectations and they ended up doing about as well as was expected of them. Of these films, the one that seemed to have the most eyes on it was the horror film Final Destination 5, the newest installment in the franchise that sees a group of people cheat Death and Death comes to claim them. Much like its predecessors, the film relies heavily on blood, gore, and more unique ways to die though it does switch things up a bit when it is revealed to be a prequel to the original film, and unlike the other films this one received positive reviews from critics who felt it was a breath of fresh air for the franchise. The film would end up finishing with just over $42 million which put it in the top 3 for the month, but it was also the lowest grossing film in the franchise though there are rumors that the franchise could continue with a potential sixth film. Having said that, I think that at the end of the day Final Destination 5 ends up being named the underachiever of the month though it is easily one of the weakest underachievers that we’ve have had this year to this point.
August 2011 Awards Watch: Rise of the Planet of the Apes and the Help
As we have seen throughout the summer of 2011, we have had a lot of blockbusters that made a lot of money, but for some reason we haven’t see a lot of award contenders come out over the summer and that trend doesn’t end here. We only have two films from this month that make it into this category and probably to the surprise of no one, it is also the two films that happened to make the most money from this month. The first film from this month that makes it into this category is Rise of the Planet of the Apes which was nominated for one Academy Award (Best Visual Effects) which it wouldn’t win, but it was a big win for the film to get at least one award nod like that. The other film that makes it into this category is the Help which would win one Academy Award (Best Supporting Actress) and was nominated for three more (Best Picture, Best Actress, and Best Supporting Actress), and it would also win one Golden Globe Award (Best Supporting Actress) and was nominated for four more (Best Picture – Drama, Best Actress – Drama, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Original Song). Even though there were only two films from this month that made it into this category, one of them was one of the bigger films of the year in terms of awards and the other was good enough to get a nod as well.
Overall Thoughts of August 2011:
Overall, the month of August for 2011 ended up being a fine month that ended the summer on a slightly positive note, but it was a step down from the previous few months that we have seen. August has typically been a down month for the summer as kids were going back to school around this point, and after Labor Day weekend we have typically seen the box office slowly dip before ramping back up again for the holidays. Usually, we could see one or two films released in August that do very well and that is what we saw here, and the rest of the films tend to range from average to below average with possibly one or two bombs. 2011 has been a very good year to this point as we had a bunch of blockbusters, most of them in the summer and we will see how the year continues to play out as we go into the fall. As for the month of August 2011, it finished the summer on a good note and was a solid month for the year.
Final Grade: C+