Steve’s Box Office Report: March 2011
Top 10 Films for the Month of March:
1. Rango – $123,477,607
2. Battle: Los Angeles – $83,552,429
3. Limitless – $79,249,455
4. The Adjustment Bureau – $62,495,645
5. The Lincoln Lawyer – $58,009,200
6. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules – $52,698,535
7. Red Riding Hood – $37,662,162
8. Paul – $37,412,945
9. Sucker Punch – $36,392,502
10. Beastly – $27,865,571
1. Mars Needs Moms – $21,392,758
2. Jane Eyre – $11,242,660
March Winners: Limitless and Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules
We know head into the next month of 2011 with March and the start of the spring season, and after a pretty weak start to the year there was some expectation that March would turn things around though this year didn’t have a film like Alice in Wonderland to overdeliver. Having said that, we did have two films from this month that made it into this category and the first one to make it is the sci-fi thriller film Limitless, a film about a man who takes a drug that enhances his ability to use his brain to its full capacity and he increases his lifestyle while trying to stay alive. The film would receive mixed to positive reviews from critics who praised the premises though they felt it didn’t achieve its full potential, and the film would earn $79 million and ended up being one of the few bright spots of the month. The other film from this month that makes it into this category is the comedy film Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules, the sequel to the original film where Greg is forced to bond with his older brother Rodrick. The film would receive negative reviews from critics who felt it was a step down from the previous film, but it would finish with $52 million which was lower than the first film though it was well enough to ensure the series would potentially continue. Considering that March is usually seen as the month to really get the ball rolling for the year, this was a fairly weak showing for the winners and the month is not off to the best start.
March Losers: Sucker Punch, Mars Needs Moms, and Jane Eyre
With only two winners for the month, it would seem that there would be a lot more losers of the month given some the final figures that the films had, but amazingly enough we only have three films that make it into this category though the fact that there are more losers than winners is not a good sign. The first film from this month that makes it into this category is the fantasy action film Sucker Punch, a film about a girl who is institutionalized and she imagines a fantasy world where she and other girls fight for survival. The film would receive negative reviews from critics who praised the visuals but criticized the story, and it would flop in the box office by making just $36 million which I will touch on later in the recap. The next film from this month that makes it into this category is the animated film Mars Needs Moms, a film about a boy who must rescue his mother after she has been kidnapped by Martians. The film would receive negative reviews from critics and would end up being a bomb as it barely made over $21 million, and it was one of the worst losses for Disney in recent history. The third and final film from this month that makes it into this category is the romantic drama film Jane Eyre, based on the classic novel of the same name which follows the life of the title character. The film would receive positive reviews from critics who considered it one of the best of the year, but it would not do well in its limited run as it finished with just over $11 million and fizzled out fairly quickly. Even though there were only three losers, the fact that two of them were two of the bigger bombs of the year doesn’t bode well for the month.
The Surprise/Story of March 2011: Rango moseys his way to the top of weak March 2011
As I mentioned earlier, the month of March is typically the month where the box office should start to rise up as it is the start of spring and it will build momentum going into the next few months, and while the last few years has seen that happen we have seen a few times where that doesn’t happen. This month does have an advantage in that one film made it over $100 million and that is Rango, an animated film about a domesticated chameleon who becomes the sheriff of a town under threat. The film would receive positive reviews from critics and was a rare animated film not released by one of the big companies, and the fact that it made over $100 million was big and it would easily take the top spot for the month. However, while it did have a good run, the rest of the films from this month either underdelivered or flat out bombed though it wasn’t nearly as bad as it looks, so the month ends up falling about in the middle towards the lower end of the year.
Overachiever of March 2011: Limitless
Originally, I had thought that there was no film that deserved to be the overachiever of the month even though on the surface it seems like Rango could’ve had a shot, but while it did make over $100 million it wasn’t enough to put it in this category. But upon closer review, I have to give the nod to Limitless as even though it had an interesting premise, it seemed like it would just be another film that slipped through the cracks and not many would end up seeing it. However, the premises was unique enough that people had to see it and coupled with the star power of Bradley Cooper and Robert DeNiro, the film would end up having a pretty solid run even though it finished with just under $80 million. The film would also spawn a TV series which I’m sure no one expected to happen and as a result, the film does deserve to be named the overachiever of the month though it is one of the more weaker overachievers.
Underachiever of March 2011: Sucker Punch
When the first trailer came out for Sucker Punch, there was a lot of hype and anticipation behind it given the visuals and the fact that Zack Snyder was directing after his success with 300 and Watchmen. But as the film drew closer, reviews for it were becoming more negative as many compared it unfavorably to a video game as well as its depiction of women though women were supposed to be the heroes in the film. Despite this, there was still some thought that the film would have a solid opening and go on to possibly have a surprise run, but sadly that didn’t happen as it opened with $19 million and finished second behind the Diary of a Wimpy Kid sequel. Things wouldn’t get much better for the film as it would end up finishing with just over $36 million which was a major disappointment for the film, and it would end up being one of the bigger bombs of the year and begin an interesting run for Snyder. Without any question, this film deserves to be the underachiever of the month and might be considered one of the biggest underachievers of the year.
March 2011 Awards Watch: Rango and Jane Eyre
As I have mentioned throughout the last few years, March is usually when the previous year’s award season comes to an end and we begin the next award season though some films released in March occasionally make it into the previous year’s season. Having said that, we only have two films from this month that make it into this category with the first being Rango as it would win one Academy Award (Best Animated Film), and it was a big win as it was first non-Disney or Pixar to win that award since Happy Feet and it would be a long time before this happens again. The film would also be nominated for one Golden Globe Award (Best Animated Film) which it wouldn’t win, but again it was a big win for the film to get these nods given that it wasn’t from one of the big animation studios. The other film from this month that makes it into this category is Jane Eyre which was nominated for one Academy Award (Best Costume Design) though it wouldn’t win it. This is probably one of the weaker March outings in terms of award contenders and we will see if any March after this is worse.
Overall Thoughts of March 2011:
Overall, the month of March 2011 was a pretty standard month and there’s really not much more I can say about it. After the last two months of 2011, there was some pressure on March to try and turn things around though ultimately while some films did fairly decent with one making over $120 million, it wasn’t enough to turn things around completely and gain some major traction. As mentioned, we did have a film make over $120 million and there were some other films that did well given their target audience, but we did have some films that underperformed or bombed completely. 2011 has been an interesting year thus far as January and February were not that good though to be fair a lot of focus was on the films to come later in the year, but now it is up to April to try and build the momentum going into the summer. As for the month of March, it is a fairly average month that wasn’t great though it wasn’t terrible either.
Final Grade: C