Steve’s Box Office Report: March 2009
Top 10 Films for the Month of:
3. Knowing – $79,957,634
4. I Love You, Man – $71,440,011
5. Race to Witch Mountain – $67,172,594
6. The Haunting in Connecticut – $55,389,516
7. Duplicity – $40,572,825
8. The Last House on the Left – $32,752,215
9. 12 Rounds – $12,234,694
10. Miss March – $4,543,320
As we continue on into the year of 2009, the year had been going slightly better than what 2008 had been doing coming off a strong January and a decent February. Going into March, there were some interesting films coming out during this month and it would be fascinating to see what would succeed and what might end up falling flat. The number of winners of this month ended up being exactly on par with March from last year and we have 4 films from this month make it into this category. The first film from this month that makes it into this category is the animated film Monsters vs. Aliens, a film about a girl who becomes a giant after being hit by an asteroid and she joins a group of monsters who are called to save Earth from invading aliens. Despite receiving mixed reviews from critics who felt it was a slight step down from previous Dreamworks pictures, it was still well received from the general public and finished just shy of $200 million which was a major success for this original film. The next film from this month that makes it into this category is the sci-fi thriller film Knowing, a film about an astrophysics professor who finds a paper containing various numbers that correspond to actual disasters and he must decipher the last three. Despite debuting at number one in its opening weekend, the film would receive negative reviews from critics and was considered yet another dismal effort for star Nicolas Cage who was continuing to slide into mediocrity. The next film from this month that makes it into this category is the comedy I Love You, Man, a film about a friendless man who tries to find a best man for his wedding though it ends up straining his relationship with his future bride. The film would receive positive reviews from critics and despite debuting at number two in its opening weekend behind Knowing, the film would go on to have a fairly successful run with just over $71 million. The fourth and final film from this month that makes it into this category is the horror film the Haunting in Connecticut, a film about a family who move into a former mortuary and are haunted by the spirits inhabiting the house. The film would end up receiving negative reviews from critics who felt it was too generic even for a horror film, but it would end up finishing ahead of the other horror film released this month the Last House on the Left though it didn’t even make it into the top 5 of the month. These four films were a pretty diverse collection of films and each a varying degree of success, and it was enough for the month of March to end up being a fairly successful one while also being a bit more successful than last year.
March Loser: Watchmen
So last March, we ended up with no films being included in this category but sadly that is not the same case this year as we do have at least one film that makes it into this category. It does end up only being one film though so it shows that at least the rest of the films that did just well enough that they were able to stay out of this category. Having said that, the only film from this month that makes it into this category is the neo-noir superhero film Watchmen, based on the DC comic series of the same name which is set in an alternative universe where superheroes are being killed in a mysterious conspiracy. This was an interesting film in that its style was very outlandish and dark compared to other superhero films, and there was a considerable amount of buzz behind the film with many drawing comparisons to 300 from two years ago. However, while the film would debut at number one in its opening weekend at the start of the month, it would go on to fall off a cliff over the course of the month thanks to the polarizing reviews. At the end of its run, it would finish with just over $100 million though it was well below what I’m sure was expected of it and thus leads it to being the loser of the month though its bad luck isn’t over yet.
The Surprise/Story of March 2009: Monsters vs. Aliens takes the top spot of decent March 2009
When looking at the month of March for this year, the list of films set to be released was a pretty interesting slate ranging from family films to horror films, from action to comedy as something looked to be the one to set itself apart from everything else. Last year we saw an animated film make it to the top of the list and it seemed pretty certain that Monsters vs. Aliens would do the same, but there was some thought if Watchmen would take the top spot based on the hype surrounding it. Coupled with the fact that Watchmen came out at the beginning of the month and Monsters came out at the end seemed like Watchmen could finish on top, but at the end of the day Monsters ended up dominating the month and even into next month. While both films did end up finishing with over $100 million with Monsters coming close to $200, the rest of the films were a slight bit underwhelming though not by much and the months ends up being a decent month though it we are still slightly down from where we started.
Overachiever of March 2009: Monsters vs. Aliens
So going into the month of March, Monsters vs. Aliens was one of the films on the slate that was being looked at as to whether it would do well or not. Coming off of the successes of Kung Fu Panda and Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa last year, Dreamworks was on a pretty solid roll and it was clear they wanted to see Monsters have the same success. Ultimately, the film would go on to have a pretty successful run as it made more than Madagascar 2 did, but not quite up to the level that Kung Fu Panda did. Granted, Panda came out during the summer and was better reviewed than Monsters was, but with a real lack of films aimed at families over the last month or so this was a good spot for Monsters to make some good money which it ended up doing. Although it wasn’t good enough to merit a future series much like Panda, it was still a relative strong showing for Monsters and as a result it deserves the title of overachiever of the month.
Underachiever of March 2009: Watchmen
When it was announced that Watchmen was finally going to be brought to the big screen, it was a long time coming as the comic series was one of the most popular released back in the 1980s. A film based on the series has been in the works since it came out back in the 80s and after some starts and stops, it was finally going to be released with Zack Snyder at the helm who had just gained great success with 300 two years ago. Being one of the few comic films coming out that was rated “R”, there was even more intrigue behind it especially given its content of being set in an alternate universe and featuring very different characters. It would finish number one in its opening weekend with a solid amount of money and it looked like it would have a great run, but unfortunately the film would receive polarized reviews from critics and the general public. As a result of this, the film would drop off very quickly over the next few weeks as many felt it was not as faithful to the original source material as many hoped it would be and it did not branch out as much as DC probably thought it would. As a result, it would finish with just over $100 million and didn’t even make back its budget which results in it being not only the loser of the month, but also the underachiever of the month due to falling flat after some solid hype.
March 2009 Awards Watch: Duplicity and Miss March
So as we come into the month of March, the awards season for 2008 had just ended back in February and now we are back to square one as the awards season for 2009 is now underway. Usually the month of March doesn’t have many films that make it into this category, but this month does have two films that somehow manage to make it into this category. The first film from this month that makes it into this category is the romantic comedy crime film Duplicity, a film about two spies who had a relationship being forced to work together on a con. The film would end up receiving mixed reviews from critics and ended up finishing with just over $40 million, and it would manage to earn one Golden Globe nomination (Best Actress – Comedy or Musical) which it wouldn’t win though it was a bit of a win to just earn that nomination. The other film from that month that makes it into this category is the comedy film Miss March, a film about a guy who awakens from a 4-year coma to find out his old high school sweetheart is now a centerfold in Playboy and he tries to win her back. The film would be critically panned by critics who considered it one of the worst films of the years and it did receive one Golden Raspberry Award (Worst Supporting Actor) which it wouldn’t win, and it is pretty interesting that it wasn’t nominated for more though there were more films even worse than this one. These last few years has seen the month of March not have many award contenders and this one is not that different, and it would be interesting if that remains the same going forward or if it changes.
Overall Thoughts of March 2009:
So overall, the month of March 2009 ended up being a fairly solid month though it was a bit of a disappointment considering how well the year has started. As mentioned, there were a couple of films from this month that could’ve done really well and while did pretty well, the rest didn’t do enough to pick up the slack and carry the month to the next level. We did have two films that made over $100 million with one coming close to $200 million, but as mentioned the rest didn’t even come close to making that mark though it was still a slight improvement over last year. 2009 has been a pretty solid year thus far as January started things off strong and February was solid as well though it was a bit down from January, and now March ends up being slightly better than February though not up to what January did. As we continue into the spring, we will see how April ends up and if it can bring things back to what January had started. As for the month of March, it is a pretty decent month that ends up being somewhat solid though not up to what it could’ve been.
Final Grade: C