Steve’s Box Office Report: May 2010
Top 10 Films for the Month of May:
1. Iron Man 2 – $312,433,331
2. Shrek Forever After – $238,736,787
3. Robin Hood – $105,269,730
4. Sex and the City 2 – $95,347,692
5. The Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time – $88,656,132
6. Letters to Juliet – $53,032,453
7. Just Wright – $21,540,363
8. MacGruber – $8,525,600
9. Babies – $7,320,323
10. Sea Rex 3D: Journey to a Prehistoric World – $6,096,582
May Winners: Iron Man 2, Shrek Forever After, and Letters to Juliet
We continue on through the year of 2010 with the month of May as we kick off the summer season. The slate of films for this month was an interesting crop as there were some films that you knew were going to do well in some capacity, but there were plenty of films that could either surprise people to end up flopping in the end. Ultimately, we only had 3 films make it into this category and the first is the next installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe which is Iron Man 2, a film that sees Tony Stark face a threat that has personal implications while coming to terms with his possible mortality with what is keeping him alive. While many felt it was a slight notch below its predecessor, it still did great at the box office and easily surpassed the first one while showing everyone that the MCU was here to stay. The next film from this month that makes it into this category is the animated film Shrek Forever After, the fourth film in the franchise that sees Shrek yearning for the days when he was a feared ogre and Rumpelstiltskin agrees to help him though with possible consequences. The film would receive mixed reviews from critics who felt it was the worse of the series, but it still made quite a good chunk of money and showed that the franchise was still viable even though this film felt like the end of the franchise with new ones starting to crop up. The third and final film from this month that makes it into this category is the romance film Letters to Juliet, a film about a fact checker who answers a “Letter to Juliet” and helps the writer of the letter look for her long-lost love. The film would receive mixed to negative reviews from critics who felt it was rather lackluster even as a romance film, but it still managed to walk away with just over $53 million which was perfectly fine considering some of the bigger films that came out around the same time. While it is a bit disappointing that only three films made this category, two of them pretty much dominated the whole month and attributed to the bulk of the success of the month which is fine.
May Losers: Robin Hood and Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
As I mentioned in the previous category, there were a few films that looked like they could potentially be surprise hits though in the end I don’t think we got much in the way of surprise hits which was a bit disappointing. On the flip side, it was going to be interesting to see if anything ended up being a flop and sure enough we had two films that flopped which isn’t good given that they were pretty anticipated going in. The first film from this month that makes it into this category is the epic drama film Robin Hood, a retelling of the classic tale of Robin Hood as he grows to become a hero to England while preparing for a surprise invasion from France. The film would receive mixed reviews from critics who felt it was a lackluster film and not the best adaptation of the classic story, and while the film did reach over $100 million it still fell well short of its budget and as a result it ends up being one of the bigger bombs of the year. The other film from this month that makes it into this category is the action fantasy film Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, based on the video game of the same name of a young man who finds a mysterious dagger that can control time as he teams with a princess to prevent an alteration in the timeline. The film would receive mixed to negative reviews from critics though some felt it was a better video game adaptation than most others, but the film would bomb at the box office even being released over Memorial Day weekend and it was another in a line of video game adaptations bombing. It’s too bad because I’m sure there were people that were looking forward to these two films and had some decent expectations, but in the end both failed to deliver and they ended up keeping the month of reaching the top level.
The Surprise/Story of May 2010: MCU launches to a new level as Iron Man 2 wins May 2010
When the year of 2010 started, there were a lot of films coming out that were going to have plenty of eyes on it and people were anxious to see how they were going to do. At this point two years ago, we saw the launch of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with the release of Iron Man which did very well and then the next month was the Incredible Hulk which was a bit of a disappointment. Knowing we were going to have to wait two years until the next installment, the anticipation was pretty high to see if Iron Man 2 would build off of Iron Man or it would play more like Incredible Hulk and become a major speed bump for this fledging franchise. In the end, Iron Man 2 ended up being a major success and while it just missed Iron Man by a few million dollars, it had to come as a major relief to Marvel knowing that there was an audience for this universe. We would now have to wait another year for the next installment meaning that the anticipation was going to grow again, but for now Iron Man 2 was a big success and easily took the top spot for the month of May as nothing else including Shrek Forever After came even close to matching it.
Overachiever of May 2010: Iron Man 2
Back in 2008, the Marvel Cinematic Universe launched with Iron Man and it was a major success, and then a month later the second film in the franchise came out in the Incredible Hulk and that was a bit of a disappointment in the box office. Knowing we would have to wait two years until the next installment came out, you knew the anticipation was going to be high and Marvel had to be on edge to see how Iron Man 2 would end up doing. The reviews for it were fairly positive with many saying that it was a good follow up to the original, though some did feel that there were aspects that didn’t work and it didn’t feel as fresh as the first one though that it always hard for a sequel to do. Ultimately, when the film did release at the beginning of the month it crushed the opening weekend of the first Iron Man by making close to $130 million showing that the MCU was now a viable franchise and had plenty of legs going forward. Now while the film just missed passing Iron Man by only a few million dollars, you can’t take away how well the film did and the complete domination of the month which easily earns it the title of the overachiever of the month.
Underachiever of May 2010: Sex and the City 2
I have made reference to May 2008 a few times and I do it again here as it was that year we saw the release of Sex and the City, and that movie did very well despite the mixed reviews and it seemed inevitable that a sequel was possible. Sure enough two years later, we get the release of Sex and the City 2 which sees the four gal pals travel to Abu Dhabi for a vacation as they deal with their own personal issues. Unlike the first film which had more mixed reviews from critics, this one received negative reviews from critics who felt it was a sad end to the long-running TV series and the film was also criticized for certain aspects of it regarding race and sexism. Also unlike the first film which managed to perform well and exceeded most expectations, this one ended up falling flat on its face as not only did it fail to match the predecessor, it didn’t even finish with $100 million. This happened despite the fact it came out over Memorial Day weekend and looked prime to be solid counterprogramming to Shrek and Prince of Persia, but in the end it was a major disappointment and is more than worthy of the title of underachiever of the month.
May 2010 Awards Watch: Iron Man 2 and Sex and the City 2
After the new award season started fairly strong between February and March, things have dipped quite a bit as the previous month only had one film in this category and now this month only has two films make it into this category. It doesn’t say much for the films in this month when the majority of them don’t make it into this category for any of the big three, and perhaps that just proves how middling they were for the most part. The first film from this month that makes it into this category is Iron Man 2 which was nominated for one Academy Award (Best Visual Effects) which it wouldn’t win, but it was still a win for Marvel to at least get an Academy Award nod. The other film from this month that makes it into this category is Sex and the City 2 which would win three Golden Raspberry Awards (Worst Actress, Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-off, or Sequel, and Worst Screen Ensemble) while being nominated for four more (Worst Picture, Worst Director, Worst Supporting Actress, and Worst Screenplay) which reaffirms its status as one of the worst films of the year. We will see going forward if this category becomes more meatier in the coming months, but right now it is not off to the best start for the 2010-2011 season.
Overall Thoughts of May 2010:
Overall, the month of May 2010 was a pretty solid month though after looking deeper into it, it was not as good as I had originally thought and because of that I had to knock the grade very slightly. Usually when you have a couple of films do very well, you tend to skew the grade for the month towards that and you just assume that the rest of the films from that month didn’t have that much of an impact. But when you compare it to previous months with the same grade, you realize that the month was not as good as originally thought and that happens here as this month was not an “A” level month like I thought. Having said that, this month did have some successes with Iron Man 2 and Shrek Forever After driving most of the business, and the rest of the films either bombed, underdelivered, or met their expectations which were probably low going in and we will see how things continue to play out through the summer. As for the month of May 2010, it is a pretty good month though it does have to be considered a bit of a disappointment given the number of what looked like strong contenders being released this month.
Final Grade: B+