Steve’s Box Office Report: January 2010
Top 10 Films for the Month of January:
1. The Book of Eli – $94,835,059
2. Tooth Fairy – $60,008,770
3. The Lovely Bones – $44,114,232
4. Edge of Darkness – $43,313,890
5. Legion – $40,168,080
6. When in Rome – $31,145,051
7. Daybreakers – $30,101,577
8. Leap Year – $25,918,920
9. The Spy Next Door – $24,307,086
10. Youth in Revolt – $15,275,308
1. Extraordinary Measures – $12,068,313
2. The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus – $7,689,607
January Winners: None
So we now kick off not only a brand new year, but a brand new decade as a whole as we have officially shut the door on the 2000s and now kick off the 2010s, and after the decade that the 2000s was one has to believe that the 2010s were going to be just as interesting. Coming off what ended up being a really good 2009, it was safe to say that expectations seemed pretty high for 2010 and the January releases looked to keep that momentum going and start the year off hot much like January 2009 did. Unfortunately, despite a wide range of films being released that was aimed at about every demographic, nothing was able to do well as no film hit over $100 million and no film actually enough of a profit to make it into this category. As a result for the first time since starting these recaps with May 2006, we have no winners of the month which is crazy to think since every month had at least one winner but to have no winners is a testament for all the wrong reasons. Looking ahead, I would be very surprised if another month ended up having no winners of the month and if this was just a one-time thing, but it is a thing that had to happen at some point and it ends up happening here.
January Losers: The Lovely Bones, Edge of Darkness, and the Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
It’s funny because we have had at least one time where we had at least one winner of the month and no losers of the month, and I would have to look back to see if it happened more than once. However, we have the first instance where we have no winners of the month and we have a few films from this month that make it into this category which doesn’t do much to help this month. The first film from this month that makes it into this category is the drama film the Lovely Bones, based on the novel of the same name about a girl who is stuck in purgatory after being murdered and she struggles between wanting vengeance and helping her family move on. The film would receive mixed reviews from critics and struggled to find a footing in its limited run, and when it went wide it pretty much sank under the weight of other films and quietly disappeared from theaters by the end of the month. The next film from this month that makes it into this category is the thriller Edge of Darkness, based on the TV series of the same name about a detective who looks to avenge his daughter’s murder while delving into her activities. The film would receive mixed reviews from critics who felt Mel Gibson provided a vintage performance, but otherwise the film would fail to find an audience partially due to its dark material and it topped out at $43 million while barely making it into the top 5 for the month. The third and final film from this month that makes it into this category is the fantasy film the Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, a film about a traveling troupe leader who takes people through a magic mirror to explore their imaginations. The film would also receive mixed reviews from critics and had the distinction of being the last film Heath Ledger was working on before his untimely death, but it would also struggle to find an audience during its limited run and it would ultimately fizzle out when it went wide. So while there weren’t as many losers of the month as you would probably think, the fact that there were no winners of the month doesn’t help balance things out and it drags the month down pretty considerably.
The Surprise/Story of January 2010: New releases falter as Avatar continues dominance into January 2010
As I mentioned earlier, 2009 had ended on such a high note that you expected 2010 to keep the momentum going, but when you looked at this slate of films coming out it was an interesting mix of films catered to a lot of different audiences. It did seem like a bunch of the films released this month were pretty dark aside from a select few, and there were a few films that were coming off limited runs and looking to make a final push to awards season. Ultimately, the films ended up being crushed under the weight of Avatar which started strong in the end of 2009 and continued its run here as it had a stranglehold on the top spot in the box office for the entire month. While there was one film that actually did come close to hitting $100 million with the Book of Eli, all of the remaining films were really tepid in their box office returns and as a result the month suffers as a whole and 2010 is off to a bad start.
Overachiever of January 2010: None
It is very rare in these recaps that we have two categories not have a film be listed in it and I don’t count the awards category since there are a few months that have no film be nominated for one of the big three. Usually the overachiever is one of the winners of the month though it could happen at times that the overachiever is not included, but in this case not one film from this month ended up overachieving. The one film that came close to being named overachiever was the Book of Eli as it was touted as a potential breakout and it would’ve gotten the award if it crossed the $100 million mark, but because it just fell short of that mark it also fell short of being named the overachiever. We could just have a cop out and have Avatar be the first back-to-back overachiever as it continued its climb into immortality, but that wouldn’t be completely fair to the January releases though again it shows the utter dreck that this month’s films ended up being.
Underachiever of January 2010: Tooth Fairy
Unlike the overachiever of the month where there was nothing to choose from, there is an abundance of choices to choose from for the underachiever of the month though in the end there was only one true choice for me. This seemed like the time where a family film could’ve stepped up and try to challenge Avatar for the top spot, and in this case it is the film Tooth Fairy which is about a hockey player who is forced to work as the tooth fairy after being deemed a crusher of dreams. This was the latest family film for Dwayne Johnson and he had some success with his previous releases, but for some reason the film didn’t click completely as it received negative reviews from critics. Now while the film did end up being one of the few from this month that made a profit and finished with just over $60 million, there is a feeling that it should’ve done so much more and thus it is more than worthy of being the underachiever of the month though again the entire month could be considered for this category as well.
January 2010 Awards Watch: The Lovely Bones and the Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
As we kick off the year, we are now full on into awards season as we may get at least a few more films that manage to get into this category for that current year’s season and not have to wait until the next year. We were able to get two films from this month that managed to make it into this category and the first one was the Lovely Bones, and it would be nominated for one Academy Award (Best Supporting Actor) which it wouldn’t win and it also received one Golden Globe nomination (Best Supporting Actor) which it wouldn’t win. The other film from this month that makes it into this category is the Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus which would be nominated for two Academy Awards (Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design) though it wouldn’t win either. So while none of the remaining films from this month were nominated for the Golden Raspberry award, it still doesn’t escape the fact that this month’s slate of films have been extremely underwhelming.
Overall Thoughts of January 2010:
Overall, the first month of the brand new year and the brand new decade was a completely terrible month and was a total letdown for how strong 2009 ended. While on the surface it is easy to just pass things off that Avatar was still so dominant that it blanketed the performances of the films released this month, that excuse can only go so far because if you have films that are appealing enough they can overcome that with ease. As mentioned, this is not the first time that January has been bad as 2007 was much worse than this, however to start off a new decade with this is not good and 2010 now has a major uphill battle to climb to regain some momentum. As for the month of January 2010, it is a very poor month and not a good start to the year or the decade.
Final Grade: F