Steve’s Box Office Report: January 2011
Top 10 Films for the Month of January:
1. The Green Hornet – $98,780,042
2. No Strings Attached – $70,662,220
3. The Dilemma – $48,475,290
4. The Rite – $33,047,633
5. The Mechanic – $29,131,498
6. Season of the Witch – $24,827,228
7. Country Strong – $20,218,921
8. 127 Hours – $18,292,814
9. Biutiful – $5,101,237
10. The Company Men – $4,441,272
1. Barney’s Version – $4,439,201
January Winner: No Strings Attached
We begin a brand new year with 2011 and after 2010 ended on a pretty strong note with December, it was going to be interesting to see how the new year started especially after January 2010 was so bad. Fortunately, this January already has a slight edge over last year as we do have at least one winner of the month this year as opposed to last year which had none at all. That being said, we only have one winner this month and that is the romantic comedy No Strings Attached, a film about a couple who agree to have a “no strings attached” relationship without falling in love. The film would receive mixed reviews from critics and debuted at number one in its opening weekend, and it would have a fairly decent run as it would finish with just over $70 million which is good for a romantic comedy. While it was good we have a film in this category unlike the previous year, the fact that there is only one is still not that good and it doesn’t bode well for the month.
January Losers: The Green Hornet, the Dilemma, Biutiful, and Barney’s Version
As I just mentioned, it was good that we had at least one winner of the month for this year as opposed to last year where there were none, but on the flip side this year has one more loser of the month compared to last year which only had three. Compounding that fact is the issue that at least one of the films in this category was expected to be one of the bigger films of the month, and it is never a good sign when that happens. That film is the superhero film the Green Hornet, based on the comic book of the same name where a newspaper publisher teams up with a mechanic to fight crime in Los Angeles. The film would receive mixed reviews from critics who felt it didn’t live up to the comic and while it had a solid debut, it couldn’t build on it and finished with just under $100 million and I will delve more into it later in the recap. The next film that makes it into this category is the dark comedy film the Dilemma, a film about a business who sees his best friend’s wife kiss another man and he struggles with telling him while they work on a major project together. The film received negative reviews from critics who felt the film couldn’t decide what it wanted to be and it would finish with just over $48 million which was a disappointment given the star power. The next film that makes it into this category is the drama film Biutiful, a film about a man who has cancer and tries his best to leave on his own terms. The film would receive positive reviews from critics and was a big awards contender which I will talk about later, but the film would severely underperform with just over $5 million which is bad compared to other award contenders. The fourth and last film from this month that makes it into this category is the comedy-drama film Barney’s Version, based on the novel of the same name about the life of an impulsive and blunt man. The film would receive positive reviews from critics though would be overshadowed by other award contenders and finished with just over $4 million. This is an interesting group of losers as two of them were not major films that just finished with low amounts of money, but the other two were pretty big releases and didn’t do well which does hurt the month pretty badly.
The Surprise/Story of January 2011: The Green Hornet “stings” its way to the top of weak January 2011
Coming off a pretty strong end to 2010, 2011 was poised to continue that momentum given the films coming out this month along with the holdovers from December 2010 still doing fairly well. While a couple of the big films in December were geared towards families, almost all of the films from this month were geared towards adults and most of them were fairly dark whether they be horror films or just have dark undertones. At the end of the day, the Green Hornet was looked at as the film to really carry the month and it would finish at the top though it would just miss the $100 million mark. But besides that and a fairly strong showing from No Strings Attached, the rest of the films underwhelmed or underperformed and led to a fairly weak January though again it was slightly better than the previous year.
Overachiever of January 2011: No Strings Attached
Much like there were no winners of the month last year, there was also no overachiever of the month last year as none of the films released that month were deemed worthy of being the overachiever. However, this year there is a film that is deserving of this title and that is No Strings Attached which on the surface didn’t look like it would do that much, but in the end it did perform pretty well and finished with just over $70 million. Even though it wasn’t even close to challenging the Green Hornet for the top spot of the month, it was still more successful than many of the films released this month though most of that was being a romantic comedy amongst a bunch of dark films. Carried by the star power and playing fairly well into February with the Valentine’s Day tie-in, the film had a good run and deserves its spot as the overachiever of the month though it will be interesting to see how it stacks up against the other overachievers.
Underachiever of January 2011: The Green Hornet
Going into the month of January, the one film that had the most eyes on it was the Green Hornet as it had some pretty solid hype going in by those that knew either the comic or the TV series or even the original radio program where it originated. Coupled with some pretty strong star power and having a release date on Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend, all signs pointed to the film having a good debut and going onto have a solid run as something different in the superhero genre. However, despite a fairly strong debut on the 4-day weekend with just over $40 million, the film would fail to find its audience and coupled with the mixed to negative reviews it received, it would miss hitting the $100 million and killed off any potential for a future franchise. As a result of this, the Green Hornet is easily the biggest disappointment of the year to this point and it is more than worthy of the title of the underachiever of the month.
January 2011 Awards Watch: Season of the Witch, Country Strong, 127 Hours, Biutiful, and Barney’s Version
As the new year starts, we get the last of the award contenders coming out between this month and the next month though sometimes the films that come out in February are included in the next year’s awards. But this month’s films were in contention for this year’s awards and we have a few films from this month that make it into this category. The first film that makes it into this category is the supernatural film Season of the Witch, a film about two Knights who take a girl accused of being a witch to a monastery to lift a curse from their land. The film would receive negative reviews from critics and was nominated for one Golden Raspberry Award (Worst Actor) though it wouldn’t win. The next film from this month that makes it into this category is the drama film Country Strong, a film about an unstable country singer who attempts to resurrect her career. The film would receive negative reviews from critics though it would end up being nominated for one Academy Award (Best Original Song) which it wouldn’t win, and it was also nominated for one Golden Globe Award (Best Original Song) which it wouldn’t win. The next film from this month that makes it into this category is the biographical survival film 127 Hours, based on the true story of canyoneer Aron Ralston who gets trapped in a slot canyon and must fight for survival. The film would receive positive reviews from critics and was nominated for six Academy Awards (Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Score, Best Original Song, and Best Film Editing) though it wouldn’t win any. It would also receive three Golden Globe nominations (Best Actor – Drama, Best Original Song, and Best Screenplay) though it wouldn’t win any, and it was just an example of a great film being overshadowed by other great films. The next film from this month that makes it into this category is Biutiful which was nominated for two Academy Awards (Best Actor and Best Foreign Language Film) though it wouldn’t win either, and it was also nominated for one Golden Globe Award (Best Foreign Language Film) though it wouldn’t win. The last film from this month that makes it into this category is Barney’s Version which was nominated for one Academy Award (Best Makeup) which it wouldn’t win, and it would win one Golden Globe Award (Best Actor – Comedy or Musical) and this was the only win for any of the films from this month. It is not often that the films get a ton of nominations and one of them only gets one win, and we will see if that happens again going forward.
Overall Thoughts of January 2011:
Overall, the month of January of 2011 ended up being a pretty blasé month though it was nowhere near as bad as what the previous year was. To be fair, last year didn’t have a major release in it like this year did with the Green Hornet even if it didn’t reach its full potential, and this year also didn’t have a juggernaut film like last year did with Avatar overshadowing the January releases. Having said that, you would think that the Green Hornet would’ve been more successful and carried the month to a higher level, but unfortunately it wasn’t able to and as a result, the month ended up being pretty tepid as a whole. 2010 ended up being a fairly solid year and December had ended the year on a strong note while giving some momentum to 2011, but sadly January wasn’t able to build on that and we will see how the box office continues on through February. As for the month of January 2011, it was a pretty dismal month to start the year though again it wasn’t nearly as bad as the previous year.
Final Grade: D-