Steve’s Box Office Report: November 2009
Top 10 Films for the Month of:
1. The Twilight Saga: New Moon – $296,623,634
2. The Blind Side – $255,959,475
3. 2012 – $166,112,167
4. A Christmas Carol – $137,855,863
5. Old Dogs – $49,492,060
6. Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire – $47,566,524
7. Planet 51 – $42,194,060
8. Ninja Assassin – $38,122,883
9. The Men Who Stare at Goats – $32,428,195
10. The Fourth Kind – $25,486,040
1. Fantastic Mr. Fox – $21,002,919
2. The Box – $15,051,977
3. Pirate Radio – $8,017,917
November Winners: The Twilight Saga: New Moon, the Blind Side, and Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire
As we head into the penultimate month of 2009, the fall of 2009 has been somewhat decent coming off a pretty solid summer and this month had to deliver given how anticipated the month of December was going to be. There were a few major releases coming out this month that had a lot of eyes on them and it would be interesting to see which ones would succeed and what would end up falling flat even with the holidays coming up. The first film from this month that makes it into this category is the second film in the Twilight saga which is New Moon, a film that sees Bella struggle to come to terms with her relationship with Edward while forming a friendship with shape-shifter Jacob. Following the success of the first film the previous year, you knew this franchise was going to continue and the sequel completely destroyed what the first film managed to do making almost $300 million and ensuring the franchise would continue on. The next film from this month that makes it into this category is the sports drama the Blind Side, based on the biography of the same name of football player Michael Oher and his troubled life before being discovered by the Tuohy family. Positioned as perfect counterprogramming to New Moon, the film would go on to have tremendous success with $255 million which I don’t think anyone could’ve expected and we will delve further into that later in the recap. The third and final film from this month that makes it into this category is the drama Precious, based on the novel “Push” which sees a young woman struggle with her pregnancy while suffering abuse from her mother. The film would receive positive reviews from critics and would have a solid run in theaters despite barely hitting over 1,000 theaters, and it would make a good amount of money and finished well ahead of a few other films that were in far more theaters. While there were only three films that ended up being included in this category, the first two did more than enough to carry the month and make it a fairly successful month.
November Losers: 2012, A Christmas Carol, Planet 51, and Pirate Radio
While we did have a few successes from this month that helped prop it up, we did have a decent amount of films that did not do well and could possible stunt the momentum that the winners had made. It is interesting since two of these films did do well in terms of money that was made and part of that was due to the holiday season, but it still wasn’t enough for them to keep themselves out of this category. The first film from this month that makes it into this category is the disaster film 2012, a film about a novelist trying to keep his family safe as a series of natural disasters occur around the world. Playing off the 2012 phenomenon going on at the time, the film would receive negative reviews from critics and while it would debut at number one in its opening weekend, it would end up trailing off fairly quickly and got lapped by New Moon and the Blind Side though it did still finish in the top 3. The next film from this month that makes it into this category is the dark fantasy film A Christmas Carol, based on the novel of the same name as Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by 3 ghosts to help him change his ways. Despite the tie-in to the holiday season and coming out at the beginning of the month, the film would receive mixed reviews from critics and the film would end up underperforming which we will get into deeper later in the recap. The next film from this month that makes it into this category is the animated film Planet 51, a film about an astronaut who lands on an alien planet and helps its inhabitants from an evil general. The film would receive negative reviews from critics and despite coming out the week before Thanksgiving, it would be crushed under the weight of bigger films and finished with just over $42 million. The fourth and final film from this month that makes it into this category is the comedy film Pirate Radio, a film about a group of Englishmen who play rock music on a pirate radio from a ship in the North Sea. The film would receive mixed to positive reviews from critics and would not only fail in North America, but it also failed in the United Kingdom as it would disappear quickly from theaters. It is always interesting to see films make this category especially when they make over $100 million, and it ultimately can make or break the month though in this case it wasn’t quite enough to break it.
The Surprise/Story of November 2009: Twilight sparkles again as “New Moon” wins November 2009
Going into the month of November, a lot of focus was starting to shift over to December and in particular one film that had a lot of question marks going in as to whether it would succeed or not. But before we get to that month, we have to get through the month of November which also had a few films that were pretty anticipated and it would be interesting to see how they would do. The one film that did have plenty of eyes on it was New Moon mainly due to the success of the first Twilight film the previous year, and usually the sequel would either build off the success of the previous film or possibly finish lower than the previous film. In this case, it was the former for New Moon as it completely crushed what Twilight did and finished with about $100 million more than what the first Twilight ended up doing. Even though the film received negative reviews from critics who considered it one of the worst of the year, the fanbase was obviously large enough that it wouldn’t matter and it was clear this franchise was set to take over for Harry Potter which was nearing the end of its run. Following the success of this film, you knew it would only be a matter of time that the next novel in the series Eclipse would come out though it would break the pattern of being released in November which we will see if that affects it in any way. But back to the month of November 2009, there is no question that New Moon was the big winner of the month and one of the big successes for the year of 2009.
Overachiever of November 2009: The Blind Side
Going into the weekend before Thanksgiving, all eyes were on New Moon as that was the one expected to make the most money which it ended up doing, but coming out that same time was the Blind Side. Considering it was going up against New Moon, it had the potential to either be good counterprogramming to that film or it was going to get swallowed up by it though the latter seemed somewhat unlikely given the Thanksgiving weekend coming up and that we were in the middle of the NFL season. Coupled with the mixed reviews from critics and there was some uncertainty behind whether the film would do well, but it would end up striking a cord with audiences and it would go on to have a very successful run. It would even sneak its way to the top spot in the box office in its third weekend in theaters and it would end up being one of the most successful sports movies in history, and as a result of this there is no question that the Blind Side is more than worthy of being named the overachiever of the month.
Underachiever of November 2009: A Christmas Carol
When we get into the months of November and December, it is usually customary that we see at least one Christmas movie come out whether it be a minor film or very occasionally a major blockbuster. In this case, we have the latest adaptation of the classic Charles Dickens novel A Christmas Carol by Disney who had done two previous adaptations of the novel prior to this. It was also the second Christmas film to be done by Robert Zemeckis who had previous success with the Polar Express and he would try to strike lightning twice by filming A Christmas Carol the same way. Add into the fact that it would be released at the beginning of the month and you figured that it would make a decent amount of money going into Thanksgiving, but unfortunately it did not pan out that way as it opened with a very small amount though it did debut at number one. While the film would end up making a decent amount of money and finished in the top 5 with almost $138 million, it was certainly a disappointment given some of the hype going in and as a result it is deserving of being the underachiever of the month.
November 2009 Awards Watch: The Twilight Saga: New Moon, the Blind Side, Old Dogs, Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire, and Fantastic Mr. Fox
So as I have mentioned before, as we hit the end of the year we now start seeing the major award contenders start to come out as we hit the home stretch going into the award shows. Usually, the last two months of the year see the majority of the award contenders come out and it is typically a good mix of films that get nominated for at least one of the big three. The first film from this month that makes it into this category is New Moon which would be nominated for four Golden Raspberry Awards (Worst Supporting Actor, Worst Screen Couple, Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-Off, or Sequel, and Worst Screenplay) though it wouldn’t win any as there were other films even worse than it. The next film from this month that makes it into this category is the Blind Side which would win one Academy Award (Best Actress) and was nominated for one more (Best Picture), and Sandra Bullock would make history by winning an Academy Award and a Golden Raspberry Award in the same year. The film would also win one Golden Globe Award (Best Actress) which would result in what ended up being probably one of Sandra Bullock’s most successful years as an actress. The next film from this month that makes it into this category is the comedy film Old Dogs, a film about a man who is called on to take care of his children and enlists his best friend to help him. The film would be panned by critics who considered it one of the worst of the year and it would be nominated for four Golden Raspberry Awards (Worst Picture, Worst Actor, Worst Supporting Actress, and Worst Director) though it wouldn’t win any as again there were worse films than it. The next film from this month that makes it into this category is Precious which would win two Academy Awards (Best Supporting Actress and Best Adapted Screenplay) while being nominated for four more (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, and Best Film Editing). The film would also win one Golden Globe Award (Best Supporting Actress) while being nominated for two more (Best Picture – Drama and Best Actress – Drama), and this solidifies its standing as one of the best films of the year. The fifth and final film from this month that makes it into this category is the animated film Fantastic Mr. Fox, based on the novel of the same name of a fox who steals food from a trio of farmers with the help of his friends. The film would receive positive reviews from critics and was nominated for one Academy Award (Best Animated Feature) which it wouldn’t win, and it was also nominated for one Golden Globe Award (Best Animated Feature) which it wouldn’t win though getting these nominations did show how good the film ended up being. So we ended up having almost an even balance of films being nominated for all three awards and it was a pretty successful month in that sense.
Overall Thoughts of November 2009:
So overall, the month of November 2009 ended up being a pretty solid month thanks to a couple of big films doing very well that they made up for the rest of the films not doing as well. As mentioned, this month has a bit of an advantage in having Thanksgiving weekend included so with school being out that weekend, that could give some films an extra bump to help make it some extra money. Compared to 2008, this month was a lot more successful with four films making over $100 million and two made well over $200 million, and the fall of 2009 has been slightly better than what the fall of 2008 has been to this point. The year of 2009 has been pretty successful for the most part aside from a few moments and as we head into the final month of the year, we will see if they can end on a high note or end on a downer. As for the month of November 2009, it was a pretty good month and serves as a good push going into December.
Final Grade: B