Steve’s Box Office Report: March 2010
Top 10 Films for the Month of March:
1. Alice in Wonderland – $332,430,200
2. How to Train Your Dragon – $217,581,231
3. The Bounty Hunter – $67,061,288
4. Diary of a Wimpy Kid – $63,901,573
5. The Last Song – $62,950,384
6. Hubble 3D – $52,499,484
7. Hot Tub Time Machine – $50,287,556
8. Green Zone – $35,053,660
9. She’s Out of My League – $32,010,860
10. Brooklyn’s Finest – $27,163,593
1. Our Family Wedding – $20,255,281
2. Remember Me – $19,068,240
3. The Ghost Writer – $15,541,549
4. Repo Men – $13,794,835
We now head into the spring of 2010 and after starting the year pretty dismally in January, we saw things pick up a bit in February and now we enter March as we had a few films that looked like they could do very well. This was especially true for family films as we had been pretty devoid of solid films for the last two months, and this month we have a couple of films that look like they will make some money which they do. The first film from this month that makes it into this category is the fantasy film Alice in Wonderland, a sequel/remake of the classic Disney film where Alice returns to Wonderland to save her friends from the Red Queen and restore the White Queen to power. The film would receive mixed reviews from critics who praised the effects but felt the narrative was disjointed, but the mainstream audience embraced it fully as it would make over $330 million and would end up being one of the most successful films of the year. The next film from this month that makes it into this category is the animated film How to Train Your Dragon, a film about a Viking teenage who tries to impress his father by becoming a dragon slayer only to befriend the dragon he captured. Coming out at the end of the month so as not to compete immediately with Alice in Wonderland, the film would receive positive reviews from critics and went onto make nearly $220 million which made it one of Dreamworks’ most unlikely success stories. The next film that makes it into this category is the comedy film the Bounty Hunter, a film about a bounty hunter who must catch his ex-wife who skipped bail and bring her in for her court date. The film would receive negative reviews from critics who felt it was too formulaic and wasted its stars, but the mainstream didn’t care as the film would make $67 million which was a nice little success for this film. The next film from this month that makes it into this category is the comedy film Diary of a Wimpy Kid, based on the book of the same name of two friends who try to become popular in middle school. The film would receive mixed reviews from critics and while it debuted under Alice in Wonderland, it would still go on and find some success by making nearly $64 million which ensured that the franchise would continue. The last film from this month that makes it into this category is the romance film the Last Song, based on the novel of the same name about a troubled teen who sets to reconcile with her father while also falling in love. As the second film based on a Nicholas Sparks novel to come out this and only a month after Dear John, the film would also receive negative reviews from critics though it still played out well by making close to $63 million which did fall short of matching Dear John. So it has become clear that the box office has been on the upswing since starting in a pit back in January, and now we will see if it keeps going up or if we plateau a bit before hitting the summer.
March Losers: Green Zone and the Ghost Writer
In a month that was mainly dominated by films aimed towards families, we did have a few films that were geared towards adults and as we saw, two of them managed to make it into the winners category. However, there were a few films that ended up not doing as well and we do have two films that end up being placed in this category. The first one that makes it into this category is the action thriller film Green Zone, based on the book of the same name about a solider who is serving in Iraqi during the Second Gulf War and his search for WMDs. The film would receive mixed reviews from critics and was also polarized for its status as a political film, and it would end up being one of the bigger bombs of the year as it barely made over $35 million which was a complete disaster for the film. The other film from this month that makes it into this category is the political thriller film the Ghost Writer, a film about a writer who is hired to pen the autobiography of the British Prime Minister and he uncovers secrets that puts his life in danger. Unlike a lot of the films from this month, this film would receive positive reviews from critics though it would have a soft limited opening in February, and it wouldn’t fare much better when it went wide as it finished with just over $15 million. While these two films didn’t do that badly that they would drag the month down with them, they were still pretty dismal in terms of the losers and they do remain blemishes on the month.
The Surprise/Story of March 2010: Moviegoers return to Wonderland as Alice easily takes top spot of March 2010
As mentioned earlier, 2010 had been devoid of films that were aimed towards families and the ones that had been released the previous two months failed to break out and only made decent money. With this month, you figured that Alice in Wonderland was going to do fairly decent and it was just a question of how high it would go, and the wildcard of the month was How to Train Your Dragon since Dreamworks was looking to launch a new franchise after Shrek and potentially Kung Fu Panda. There was a lot of intrigue with how Alice would turn out given that it was a live-action remake being made by Tim Burton and a lot of the focus was on Johnny Depp’s portrayal of the Mad Hatter. At the end of the day, Alice exceeded even the most modest of expectations as it easily debuted at number one in its opening weekend, and it would maintain control of the whole month until Dragon came out and it would be one of the more successful live-action remakes in history. Coupled with a strong performance from Dragon and a couple of other solid performances from most of the other films from this month, and March 2010 ended up being a very good month and thus far was easily the high point of the year at least until the summer.
Overachiever of March 2010: Alice in Wonderland
As the decade began, Disney had decided that they wanted to start introducing some of their newer fanbase to the classics from their library, but instead of just re-releasing the films they would instead remake them into live-action films as the technology made it more feasible to do so. They had already done one for the Jungle Book and two for 101 Dalmatians, and now they made the decision to make Alice in Wonderland live action which I’m sure was being seen as a major gamble given the content of the book and that the original was liked, but was not considered a classic. However, there was some intrigue with this film between Tim Burton and Johnny Depp coming together again for this film and the fact that it was treated as a sequel instead of a straight remake, and coming out at the start of March was a prime spot especially with a lack of family films out at the time. In the end, the film would have a great run that I don’t think anyone could’ve ever expected and it deserves the title of overachiever of the month, and it also opened the door to future live-action remakes which would become one of Disney’s hooks for the rest of the decade.
Underachiever of March 2010: Hot Tub Time Machine
Going into this month, there weren’t too many comedies that came out and you figured that something had the potential to breakout even amongst the family films since they were going for adults not interested in those films. One of the films that looked to be a potential breakout hit was the comedy film Hot Tub Time Machine, a film about a group of friends who go back in time through a hot tub and they try to change their timelines. The film would receive mixed to positive reviews from critics and it looked like it was going to do well even coming out against How to Train Your Dragon, but in the end while it did ok the fact that it just barely made over $50 had to be seen as a disappointment. While it was still well enough that talks of a sequel could now start, the fact that it didn’t break out like I think many were expecting leads to it being named the underachiever of the month.
March 2010 Awards Watch: Alice in Wonderland, How to Train Your Dragon, the Bounty Hunter, the Last Song, and Remember Me
As we head into the month of March, we officially put the close on the award season of 2009 and now we kick off the award season of 2010 with a few films from this month making it into this category. Now obviously it all comes down to what film gets nominated for what award and which award gets the most films included in it, and looking at it at face value it looks like the Golden Raspberries are once again the dominant award. Not all of them are included for that as the first film from this month that makes it into this category is Alice in Wonderland as it would win two Academy Awards (Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design) while being nominated for one more (Best Visual Effects). It would also be nominated for 3 Golden Globe Awards (Best Picture – Musical or Comedy, Best Actor – Musical or Comedy, and Best Original Score) and this was a nice little haul for this film that had many question marks going in. The next film from this month that makes it into this category is How to Train Your Dragon which was nominated for two Academy Awards (Best Animated Picture and Best Original Score) though it wouldn’t win either, and it was also nominated for a Golden Globe Award (Best Animated Picture) which it wouldn’t win though this was a good win for this film and Dreamworks. The next film from this month that makes it into this category is the Bounty Hunter which was nominated for four Golden Raspberry Awards (Worst Picture, Worst Actor, Worst Actress, and Worst On-Screen Couple) though it wouldn’t win any of them. The next film that makes it into this category is the Last Song which was nominated for one Golden Raspberry Award (Worst Actress) though it wouldn’t win and those last two had the benefit of there being other films that were worse. The fifth and last film from this month that makes it into this category is the drama film Remember Me, a film about two young adults who fall in love while dealing with their own personal drama. The film would receive negative reviews from critics and was nominated for one Golden Raspberry Award (Worst Actor) though it wouldn’t win as again it benefitted from other bad films coming out during the same time. So as mentioned, the Golden Raspberry Awards once again have the majority of the nominated films and we will see if that continues or if the other two awards can outperform it.
Overall Thoughts of March 2010:
Overall, the month of March 2010 was a pretty good month and was easily the best month of the year thus far though in all honesty the bar was set pretty low thanks to January. It does help when one of the films released during a month is in essence guaranteed to be a blockbuster and March had that with Alice in Wonderland, but the fact they had two blockbusters this month was an added bonus. In addition to those two, the majority of the rest of the films were fairly solid and helped carry the month though most of the carrying was done by Alice which it did pretty easily for the most part. 2010 has not been the best year thus far as it started at the bottom of a pit and February helped pull it out a little bit, but thankfully March was a big success and now things look brighter for the year though we will see how things play out in April. As for the month of March in 2010, it was a pretty good month with two major blockbusters and a few solid performances by the other films.
Final Grade: B+