Steve’s Box Office Report: October 2011
Top 10 Films for the Month of October:
1. Puss in Boots – $149,260,504
2. Paranormal Activity 3 – $104,028,807
3. Real Steel – $85,468,508
4. Footloose – $51,802,742
5. The Ides of March – $40,962,534
6. In Time – $37,520,095
7. The Three Musketeers – $20,374,484
8. The Thing – $16,928,670
9. The Rum Diary – $13,109,815
10. Johnny English Reborn – $8,305,970
1. The Big Year – $7,204,138
October Winners: Paranormal Activity 3, Footloose, and the Ides of March
We continue on through the year of 2011 as we now hit October and to this point the year has been quite solid especially after a hot summer and even September wasn’t too bad. Given that there were films released this month that seemed to try and cater to all audiences, it was going to be interesting to see if anything really stood out or not. We do have a few films that did well as the first film from this month that makes it into this category is the horror film Paranormal Activity 3, the next film in the franchise which serves as a prequel that sees how Katie and Kristi became possessed. Building on the goodwill of the previous two films, this film would set new standards for horror films as it would finish with over $104 million and showed that the franchise still potentially had legs to continue. The next film from this month that makes it into this category is the musical film Footloose, a remake of the 1984 film of the same name where a boy moves to a small town and challenges the town’s ban on dancing. The film would receive positive reviews from critics who did feel it didn’t distinguish itself from the original enough, but it would end up finishing with just over $51 million which was a solid success for a remake of a classic film. The third and last film from this month that makes it into this category is the drama film the Ides of March, a film about a campaign manager who works to get his candidate the Democratic nomination and is caught up in a web of lies. The film would receive positive reviews from critics and went on to make just over $40 million which was a solid enough win for the film. While these three films did well enough to make it into this category, there is a feeling that they weren’t quite enough to make the month a great month especially if there are more losers of the month.
October Losers: Real Steel, the Three Musketeers, the Thing, the Rum Diary, Johnny English Reborn, and the Big Year
With most of the films from this month being geared towards adults, you figured that maybe a few of them would end up breaking out and having a great run or there was the possibility that the market would be too oversaturated and the films would suffer. Ultimately, the latter ended up happening as we do get more films that are in this category than the previous category which is never good for the month. The first film from this month that makes it into this category is the sports drama film Real Steel, a film about a former boxer who uses a robot to fight while trying to reconnect with his son. The film would receive mixed reviews from critics and ended up finishing with over $85 million which put it in the top 3, but there was a feeling that it could’ve done much better and gotten closer to the $100 million mark. The next film from this month that makes it into this category is the action film the Three Musketeers, based on the novel of the same name where the Musketeers reunite to save France from war. The film would receive negative reviews from critics who felt it was one of the weaker adaptations of the novel, and the film would finish with just over $20 million which was a major disappointment as it was seen as a possible breakout film. The next film from this month that makes it into this category is the horror film the Thing, a remake of the 1982 film of the same name where a group of scientists find an alien in Antarctica and must survive it. The film received negative reviews from critics who felt it was an unnecessary remake and it would collapse under the weight of Paranormal Activity 3 as it finished with just over $16 million and was one of the bigger flops of the year. The next film from this month that makes it into this category is the dramedy film the Rum Diary, based on the novel of the same name of an author that takes a job as a freelance newspaper writer in Puerto Rico as he struggles to adjust to life there. The film would receive mixed to negative reviews from critics and ended up falling in the cracks of the months as it finished with just over $13 million, and it would pretty much just vanish from theaters by the end of the year. The next film from this month that makes it into this category is the action comedy film Johnny English Reborn, a sequel to the 2003 film where Johnny English has to save the Chinese Premier from assassins. The film would receive negative reviews from critics and finished with just over $8 million which barely got it into the top 10, and it will be interesting to see if the franchise tries to continue or if it just dies off here. The last film from this month that makes it into this category is the comedy film the Big Year, a film about three men who compete with each other to see who can identify more birds in a calendar year. The film would receive negative reviews from critics and finished with just over $7 million as it would be one of the bigger failures of the year despite the star power in the film. Again, this seemed to be a case of oversaturation as not one of these films were able to break out in what seemed like a fairly open month and it does bring the month down a bit.
The Surprise/Story of October 2011: Shrek Universe back on top as “Puss in Boots” takes top spot of October 2011
Back in May 2010, Shrek Forever After came out and at the time it seemed like that would be the last film in the franchise as it seemed to have no more juice left and new franchises from Dreamworks started to come into their own. However, we do get one more film from that universe with the spinoff Puss in Boots, a standalone film that sees Puss battle Jack and Jill as well as fellow cat Kitty Softpaws and his former friend Humpty Dumpty to retrieve golden eggs and restore his honor. The film would receive positive reviews from critics and was seen as a breath of fresh air for the franchise by focusing on a different character, and the film would end up making over $149 million which does put it at the bottom of the franchise but was strong nonetheless for a spinoff. Coupled with a strong performance by Paranormal Activity 3 and those two films provide a good positive for the month of October even though the rest of the month ended up being weighed down by the other films not doing well. Having said that, getting just one film to make over $100 million in October is not common so to have two is a major plus and it helps keep the momentum of the year going into the holiday season.
Overachiever of October 2011: Footloose
Anytime that you have a classic film from the past and announce that you are going to do a remake of it, the decision is going to have some concern surrounding it as most will compare it to the original and more often than not consider it not up to the standard of the original. Case in point, when it was announced Footloose was being remade for the modern audience, there was some criticism given how well received the original was and I’m sure many felt this new one would just be a cheap knockoff of the original. At the end of the day, while the remake was still seen by some as inferior to the original, others felt it was a decent enough remake even though some of the performances by the actors were criticized. As mentioned, the film did finish with over $51 million which was a strong performance and put it solidly in the top 5 for the month as well as make it one of the winners of the month, and because of that it deserves to be named the overachiever of the month.
Underachiever of October 2011: Puss in Boots
Going into the month of October, it was fairly clear that Puss in Boots was going to be the one that did the most business despite coming out at the end of the month and during a time where most kids were in school. However, there was a real lack of family films out during this time and with the other films this month geared towards adults, it was a good time to have a family film come out and obviously the film also had the Shrek tie-ins to bring in some more people. In the end, the film did finish at the top of the month with over $149 million which was a strong number for a film about a minor character from the franchise. Unfortunately, there was a feeling that the film could’ve done even better given how popular Puss was, but being that he was the only returning character and the other ones were new did hurt the film’s prospects a bit. Also, the fact that it finished well below the Shrek films indicated that perhaps the franchise was in need of a break though it was doing fairly well with its TV specials, and as a result Puss in Boots ends up being the underachiever of the month though it was not the biggest one of the year.
October 2011 Awards Watch: Puss in Boots, Real Steel, and the Ides of March
As we inch closer to the holiday season, it is during this time that the award contenders start coming out in force and while most of them come out in the last two months of the year, we do have some that come out during October and we do have three films from this month that make it into this category. The first film from this month that makes it into this category is Puss in Boots which was nominated for one Academy Award (Best Animated Picture) which it wouldn’t win, and it was also nominated for one Golden Globe Award (Best Animated Film) which it wouldn’t win though being nominated for both was a good win for the film. The next film from this month that makes it into this category is Real Steel which was nominated for one Academy Award (Best Visual Effects) which it wouldn’t win, but again it was a good win for the film to at least get the nomination. The last film from this month that makes it into this category is the Ides of March which was nominated for one Academy Award (Best Adapted Screenplay) which it wouldn’t win, and it was also nominated for four Golden Globe Awards (Best Picture – Drama, Best Director, Best Actor – Drama, and Best Screenplay) though it wouldn’t win any, but again getting this many nominations was a big win for the film. This is a rare month that there were no Golden Raspberry nominations which just proves that even if some of the films from this month were not well-received, they weren’t as bad as other films from the year which was a bit of a plus.
Overall Thoughts of October 2011:
Overall, the month of October 2011 ended up being a fairly average month in that it wasn’t one of the worst, but it is a step down from the previous few months especially after how hot the summer was. The fall is usually a down time for the box office after the summer and going into the holiday season though sometimes the fall months can surprise everyone, but in this case this month wasn’t too surprising in that it fell in line with what was expected from the month. We did have two films that crossed over $100 million which was a big success for the month, but for the most part the rest of the films did average business and split the audience too much in the end. 2011 has been a good year to this point as it started well and as mentioned, the summer was great and now we will see how the holiday season ends up finishing the year. As for the month of October 2011, it was a fine month though near the lower half for the year of 2011.
Final Grade: C-