Steve’s Box Office Report: April 2011
Top 10 Films for the Month of April:
1. Fast Five – $209,837,675
2. Rio – $143,619,809
3. Hop – $108,085,305
4. Water for Elephants – $58,709,717
5. Source Code – $54,712,227
6. Insidious – $54,009,150
7. Madea’s Big Happy Family – $53,345,287
8. Soul Surfer – $43,853,424
9. Hanna – $40,259,119
10. Scream 4 – $38,180,928
1. Arthur – $33,035,397
2. Your Highness – $21,596,445
3. African Cats – $15,428,747
4. The Conspirator – $11,538,204
5. Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil – $10,143,779
6. Prom – $10,130,219
April Winners: Fast Five, Rio, Hop, Water for Elephants, Source Code, Insidious, Madea’s Big Happy Family, and Soul Surfer
We continue on into the spring of 2011 and to this point, the year has been fairly tepid especially after last month which was not that good and things seemed to be trending downward. Thankfully, there were plenty of films in this month that had potential to succeed and we get a lot of winners for the month, and in fact this might be the highest amount of winners we’ve had to this point though I will have to go back and double check. The first film from this month that makes it into this category is the action film Fast Five, the next in the “Furious” franchise where the team work to steal $100 million while avoiding arrest from a DSS agent. The film would receive positive reviews from critics who considered it a transition film for the franchise and it would finish with over $209 million which would make it the highest grossing film in the franchise to this point which ensures the franchise would continue. The next film that makes it into this category is the animated film Rio, a film about a macaw who is brought to Rio de Janeiro to mate with a female macaw while trying to avoid being kidnapped and smuggled. The film would receive positive reviews from critics and became a bit of a surprise hit as it finished with over $143 million which was a huge win, and it would be interesting to see if the film potentially gets a sequel. The next film that makes it into this category is the comedy film Hop, a film about the son of the Easter bunny who wants to be a drummer and he befriends a human as they attempt to save Easter from a chick. The film would receive negative reviews from critics though it would easily overcome them due to the Easter tie-in and it would finish with just over $108 million which was a big win for the film. The next film that makes it into this category is the romantic drama Water for Elephants, a film about a vet who joins the circus and falls in love with the ringmaster’s wife while caring for the animals. The film would receive mixed reviews from critics and despite coming out against other big films, the film would have a solid run and ends up finishing with just over $58 million. The next film from this month that makes it into this category is the sci-fi thriller Source Code, a film about a wounded Army captain who is sent into a simulated reality to stop a series of bombings. The film would receive positive reviews from critics who felt it was a breath of fresh air for the sci-fi genre, and it would finish with just under $55 million which was a solid win for the film. The next film that makes it into this category is the horror film Insidious, a film about a boy who becomes a vessel for a variety of entities from another dimension who try to inhabit his body. The film would receive positive reviews from critics and finished with just over $54 million and we will dive further into the film later in the review. The next film that makes it into this category is the comedy film Madea’s Big Happy Family, a film about the titular character working to bring the family together to learn the news about her niece’s health. The film would receive negative reviews from critics though like other Tyler Perry films, it would do fairly well as it finished with over $53 million which shows the character still had bankability. The eighth and final film from this month that makes it into this category is the drama Soul Surfer, a biographical film about surfer Bethany Hamilton who loses her arm in a shark attack and she struggles to recover from it. The film would receive mixed reviews from critics and thanks to it coming out close to Easter, the film would finish with just under $44 million which was a solid win for the film. With eight films making it into this category, this was a tremendous success for the month of April which typically wouldn’t even have half the number of films in this category in prior years.
April Losers: Your Highness
After the last category had an insane number of films included in it, this category ends up only having one film included in it which again goes to the great success that the month had with considering only one film is here. The one film from the month that makes it into this category is the comedy fantasy film Your Highness, a film about a prince and his brother who go on a journey to save their father’s kingdom from an evil sorcerer. The film would receive negative reviews from critics and it would end up finishing with just over $21 million, making it one of the biggest bombs of the year and it ultimately collapsed under the other films from this month. In a month that had way more successes than failures, the fact that it had this big of a failure is a bit of a black mark on the month though it is not enough to drag it down completely.
The Surprise/Story of April 2011: Fast Five continues resurgence of “Furious” franchise as it takes the top spot of April 2011
Back in 2009, Fast and Furious came out and went on to have a great run which showed that this franchise still had plenty of legs going forward, and now we jump ahead two years to here where the fifth installment in the franchise comes out. As I mentioned earlier, many consider this installment to be the turning point of the franchise as it went from being about street races to becoming heist movies that were centered around cars. Despite the change in philosophy for the franchise, the film would still receive positive reviews from critics who felt that the series was still on the upswing after the success of the previous film. Even though the film would come out at the end of the month and have to mainly compete with the big films coming out in May, it would still have a tremendous run by becoming the first in the franchise to make over $200 million. As a result, it would become the highest grossing film in the franchise to this point and you knew that it was only a matter of time before the next film in the series is released, and we will see if the franchise continues to grow or if we start seeing a bit of franchise fatigue set in with the sixth installment.
Overachiever of April 2011: Insidious
Going into the month of April, a lot of eyes were on Fast Five which did very well along with several other films from this month including Hop and Rio which were geared heavily to families, and one thing that has not been extremely well represented to this point in the year is horror. For this month, we had two horror films come out and with more eyes being on the other one, Insidious seemed to fly under the radar especially with the mixed reviews it was getting. In the end, the film ended up being pretty successful finishing with just over $54 million and it finished pretty far ahead of the bigger horror film released this month, and because of this success the film would go on to spawn an unlikely franchise which we will talk about going forward and there is no question that this film deserves the title of overachiever of the month.
Underachiever of April 2011: Scream 4
As I mentioned in the previous category, there were two horror films that came out this month and all eyes were on Scream 4, the fourth in the franchise where Sidney Prescott returns home on the 15th anniversary of the original murders and she discovers Ghostface is back and once again killing. After the third film in 2000 seemed to bring an end to the franchise, it was instead revived and having most of the original cast from the trilogy along with Wes Craven coming back brought some good hype that the film would be a success. The film would end up receiving mixed to positive reviews from critics who considered it an improvement from the third film, but felt it lacked the scares of previous films and felt too cliché. Coupled with the unexpected success of Insidious and the film ended up finishing with just over $38 million making it the lowest grossing installment in the franchise. As a result, this film ends up deserving the title of the underachiever of the month and it will be interesting to see what happens with the franchise going forward.
April 2011 Awards Watch: Rio, Arthur, and Your Highness
We now officially kick off the new awards season and this month ends up being fairly light in terms of award contenders, and I don’t think that April typically has a ton of contenders that are up for one of the big three and we only end up having three films make it this year. The first film from this month that makes it into this category is Rio which was nominated for one Academy Award (Best Original Song) which it wouldn’t win, and it was interesting that it got a nomination but not for Best Animated Film. The next film from this month that makes it into this category is the comedy film Arthur, a remake of the 1981 film where a wealthy philanderer is forced to marry someone so he can keep his inheritance. The film would receive negative reviews from critics who felt it was an unnecessary remake and it would receive two Golden Raspberry nominations (Worst Actor and Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-off, or Sequel) though it wouldn’t win either one. The third and final film from this month that makes it into this category is Your Highness which was nominated for one Golden Raspberry Award (Worst Supporting Actor) though it wouldn’t win. These last two months have been fairly light in terms of award contenders and we will see if things start to beef up with next month.
Overall Thoughts of April 2011:
Overall, the month of April 2011 ended up being a pretty great month that was mainly carried by a few films, but most of the other films that were released this month held up well also and this was a very good month. The last couple of years has seen the April releases being pretty tepid with the exception of maybe one or two films, but this was the first year where multiple films released this month did very well and maybe it will set a new template that perhaps April will become a prime month for major releases. We had our first film crack $200 million this month with two more making over $100 million, and the rest of the films ranged from good to fairly average with only a few misses. 2011 has been an interesting year thus far as there were some successes though the bulk of the year has been pretty tepid, but now the box office has some momentum and we will see how it builds going into the month of May. As for the month of April in 2011, it was a very good month and arguably the best April to this point since I started doing these recaps.
Final Grade: B+