Steve’s Box Office Report: November 2007
Top 10 Films for the Month of November:
- American Gangster – $130,164,645
- Enchanted – $127,807,262
- Bee Movie – $126,631,277
- Beowulf – $82,280,579
- No Country for Old Men – $74,283,625
- Fred Claus – $72,006,777
- This Christmas – $49,121,934
- Hitman – $39,687,694
- Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium – $32,061,555
- August Rush – $31,664,162
- The Mist – $25,594,957
- Lions for Lambs – $15,002,854
- Awake – $14,377,198
November Winners: American Gangster, Enchanted, No Country for Old Men, and This Christmas
It has been pretty safe to say that the year of 2007 has been a real roller coaster ride of a year as we started slow, picked up a bit in March, peaked throughout the summer, and has been on a downslide throughout the fall. Now we are heading into what is usually the busiest time of year with the holiday season upon us and these last two months had a lot of ground to make up after how dismal the fall has been. However, when you look at the overall scope of November 2007 all it did was pretty much continue the downward spiral that was going on even though there were a few bright spots with some of the films released this month. The first film released this month that makes it into this category is the crime drama American Gangster, a film loosely based on the real life gangster Frank Lucas and his rise to power by smuggling heroin into the USA. Despite some controversy surrounding the figures portrayed in the film, it did earn positive reviews from critics and was able to finish first in its opening weekend ahead of Bee Movie which I’m sure stunned some people and it would go on to have a pretty solid run throughout the month. The next film released this month that is a winner of the month is the animated/live action film Enchanted, a Disney film which sees an animated princess thrown into real-life New York City and try to make her way home while adjusting to reality. The film was well received from critics who enjoyed Disney taking a playful jab at their own films, and this film would play out pretty well over Thanksgiving as it had the second highest opening on Thanksgiving weekend behind only Toy Story 2 even though it was still on the lower end of Thanksgiving weekends. The third film released this month that makes it into this category is the thriller film No Country for Old Men, based on the novel of the same name which follows a Texas welder and Vietnam veteran as they struggle to survive in 1980s West Texas. It would end up being one of the best reviewed films of the year with many considering it the Coen Brothers greatest film, and it would be listed on more critics’ top 10 lists than any other film released this year which validates it as one of the best films of 2007 as it would have a good run in limited release before having a solid run after it was widely released. The fourth and final film released this month that makes it into this category is the comedy musical This Christmas, a film which sees the eldest son of a family visit them on Christmas for the first time in four years. Unlike the previous three films in this category which were well reviewed by critics, this one was not liked as much and would receive more mixed reviews, but it would end up doing mildly decent with its holiday tie-in and coming out on Thanksgiving weekend though it couldn’t hold a candle to Enchanted. So while there were some films that would go on to have solid runs throughout the holiday season, they were unable to hold a candle to the previous year and ultimately the year continued downward and the year would need a Christmas miracle to save it.
November Losers: Bee Movie, Beowulf, Fred Claus, and Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium
So as I just mentioned, the month of November did have some films that would go on to have pretty good runs and make a good chunk of money, but it wasn’t enough to drag the box office out of the hole that the fall had dug. On top of that, there were several other films released this month that looked like it could’ve assisted the winners in making November a successful month, but instead you could say that it ended up just being more weight that dragged down the month and helped lead to it being underwhelming in terms of previous Novembers. The first film released this month that ends up being one of the losers of the month is the animated film Bee Movie, a film which sees a bee try to sue the human race for exploiting his fellow bees for honey. Despite coming out right at the beginning of the month and with October having been devoid of any family films, this should’ve been the prime spot for Bee Movie to make a good amount of money going into Thanksgiving before Enchanted came out. However, the middling reviews ended up hurting it in the long run and after finishing second in its opening weekend to American Gangster, it was all downhill from there as it would be lapped easily by Enchanted though it did end up finishing in the top three for the month which considering how much it made isn’t much of a compliment. The second film released this month that ends up being a loser of the month is the fantasy film Beowulf, loosely based on the epic poem that sees the hero come to Denmark to protect the people from a monster and his mother. The film would end up receiving positive reviews from critics despite the way it was filmed and its differences from the novel, but it wasn’t enough to draw the mainstream to it and it would lead the least attended mid-November weekend in 14 years which one could argue ended up being the lowest point of this whole year. The third film released this month that ends up being put in this category is the holiday comedy film Fred Claus, a film which sees Santa Claus’ brother Fred return to the North Pole to work for Santa to earn money needed only to cause problems between the two. Despite the holiday tie-in and having Vince Vaughn as the star when he was still at his drawing best, the film would end up being poorly reviewed from critics and would crumble under the weight of Bee Movie and Enchanted. It wouldn’t be the only family film to suffer as the fourth and final film released this month that ends up being a loser is the film Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, a film where an eccentric owner of a magic toy shop takes a struggling pianist under his wing to eventually take over his shop when he leaves. Despite positive feedback for the performances of Natalie Portman and Jason Bateman, the film would receive poor reviews from critics and would end up debuting under Bee Movie and Fred Claus before being completely crushed by Enchanted and it would barely make it into the top 10 of the month. This has to be one of the first times since doing these recaps that in a month that saw so many family films released in one month after a month where none were released, only one film broke out which was Enchanted while the others that are in this category either underwhelmed or pretty much tanked completely which led to the overall underperforming of the month.
The Surprise/Story of November 2007: Gangsters overtake princesses and bees to win underwhelming November 2007
So as I had mentioned earlier in the recap, 2007 has been on a bad downward slide throughout the fall after a pretty hot summer and it was supposed to be around this time when things would turn around and the year would end on a high note. However for whatever reason, the doldrums that the box office had become throughout the fall continued here into November and it was a major step backwards especially when you compare to last year at this time. To put it into a bit of perspective, the last month saw no films aimed at families released and this month alone saw four films released that were geared towards families with one tying in the holiday season. However, only two films managed to break the $100 million mark which were Enchanted and Bee Movie with Enchanted finishing just ahead of Bee Movie by a mere $1 million. But even with four family films being released this month, they all ended up playing second fiddle to American Gangster which finished with just over $130 million which may look impressive if it was released in one of the other down months. But coming out in a month that saw a family film make almost $200 million the previous year, there is only one word that can describe this month and it was in fact “underwhelming” as the box offices blahs continue and now it comes down to December to salvage the year.
Overachiever of November 2007: No Country for Old Men
This was an interesting month in that the family films that were released this month either did fairly decent like Enchanted and Bee Movie or underperformed like Fred Claus (more on that in the next category). It looked like there would be a film that would go on to have a very successful run similar to Borat last year which was a surprise hit, but this year didn’t see that happen as none of the other films ended up overperforming and lift the month up. In terms of what film would be considered to be the overachiever of the month, the only film that really met the criteria was the film No Country for Old Men. After having a solid run on the limited circuit, the film would go wide on Thanksgiving weekend and would end up playing very well throughout the months behind great reviews from critics who considered it one of the greatest films of the decade. We will get into the film’s success in a few categories from now which as mentioned would help validate it as one of the best films of the year, and as such earns its spot as the overachiever of the month.
Underachiever of November 2007: Fred Claus
As I have mentioned a few times in the last year and a half that I’ve done this report, either the overachiever or underachiever of the month would be an easy choice for one and a hard choice for the other one. In this case, the overachiever was a bit difficult to choose while choosing an underachiever was a bit easier considering there were a bit more options to choose from. Given that there were four family films released this month and half of them underwhelmed, it was more than likely that one of them would be declared the underachiever of the month and sure enough that comes to fruition as my choice for underachiever of the month is Fred Claus. As mentioned in the loser of the month category, Vince Vaughn was still a pretty bankable star at this point and it was interesting to see him in a movie like this playing Santa’s older brother, and given how close to the holidays the film was released it seemed like a no-brainer that it would do well. Instead, the film was panned by critics who felt Vaughn was out of place in a family film and coming out a week after Bee Movie and two weeks before Enchanted, it proved to be a disaster and the film would quickly bottom out by the time Christmas rolled around. You know you’re in big trouble when a film based around Christmas that is released around Christmas ends up tanking, and it goes to show that simply having the Christmas presence isn’t enough to make money during the holiday and it ends up being a microcosm as to how underwhelming the month was.
November 2007 Awards Watch: American Gangster, Enchanted, Bee Movie, No Country for Old Men, August Rush, and Awake
As we head into the end of the year, everyone knows that it was now time for the bulk of the awards contenders to come out around this time and attempt to make some good money going into the ceremonies. This month saw a very unique group of films released that ranged from positive reviews to negative reviews, and it would be interesting to see which ones would get the nod in any of the three award shows. The first film from this month that makes it in this category is American Gangster as it would be nominated for two Academy Awards (Best Supporting Actress and Best Art Direction) though it wouldn’t win either, and it would also be nominated for 3 Golden Globe Awards (Best Picture – Drama, Best Actor – Drama, and Best Director) though it wouldn’t win any of those either. The second film released this month that makes it here is Enchanted as it would be nominated for one Academy Award (Best Original Song for three different songs) though none of them would win, and it would also be nominated for two Golden Globe Awards (Best Actress – Musical or Comedy and Best Original Song) though it wouldn’t win either one. The next film from this month that gets into this category is Bee Movie which would be nominated for one Golden Globe Award (Best Animated Picture) though it wouldn’t win and so far the November films are not having much success though that would change with the next film. The next film from this category that makes it in here is No Country for Old Men which would win four Academy Awards (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Adapted Screenplay) and this would be the most wins for a film in this year’s ceremony, and it would also be nominated for four more awards (Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Cinematography, and Best Film Editing). The film would also win two Golden Globe Awards (Best Supporting Actor and Best Screenplay) while also being nominated for two more (Best Picture – Drama and Best Director) which would solidify its standing as one of the best films of the year. The next film released this month that makes it into this category is the drama August Rush, a film about a piano prodigy who tries to learn about his past while his mother was also looking for him. Despite the poor reviews from critics, the film would end up receiving one Academy Award nomination (Best Original Song) though it wouldn’t win and was one of the lower end films to get a nomination. The sixth and final film from this month to get included in this category is the thriller Awake, a film about a man who remains conscious during surgery and uncovers a murder attempt against him by his girlfriend. The film would be panned by critics and would be the only film in this month to receive any Golden Raspberry Award nominations as it received two (Worst Actress and Worst Screen Couple) though it wouldn’t win either one. It is pretty interesting considering how underwhelming the month ended up being in terms of money made, yet a bunch of films managed to snag plenty of award nominations and victories which is quite a testament to those films succeeding despite being in a disappointing month.
Overall Thoughts of November 2007:
So overall, it is pretty safe to say that even though this month did fare better than some of the other months of the year, November 2007 ends up being probably the most disappointing month of the year to this point. As mentioned, the fall of 2007 has been very dismal and this was the chance to turn things around and end the year on a high note much like we saw last year, but ultimately November ends up continuing that downward trend and the entire box office appears to be in a slide going into December. Now the month was not a complete failure unlike other months like January and October as a few films did crack $100 million and did fairly well, but again they would’ve been more impressive in another month and not a month like November that’s supposed to be one of the big months of the year. 2007 has been quite the year for the box office as it has had its high points (mainly the summer) and certainly its low points (January and the fall), and coming off this month which ended up being pretty disappointing it is now up to December to try and end the year on a high note. As for the month of November 2007, it is a pretty disappointing month that continues the box office blahs that the fall had brought on.
Final Grade: C