Steve’s Box Office Report: September 2012
Top 10 Films for the Month of September:
1. Hotel Transylvania – $148,313,048
2. Looper – $66,486,205
3. Resident Evil: Retribution – $42,345,531
4. Finding Nemo 3D Re-Release – $41,428,283
5. End of Watch – $41,003,371
6. Trouble With the Curve – $35,763,137
7. House at the End of the Street – $31,611,916
8. The Master – $16,377,274
9. Dredd – $13,414,714
10. The Words – $11,494,838
1. Won’t Back Down – $5,310,554
2. The Cold Light of Day – $3,763,583
September Winners: Hotel Transylvania, Looper, End of Watch, and House at the End of the Street
We are now coming out of the summer of 2012 and hitting the fall with the month of September, and for the most part September is usually a month that sees the box office see a bit of a downturn. There are some instances where we do have some surprise hits come out this month and this year is one of those instances where we get a few films that came out at the right time and benefitted from it. The first film from this month that makes it into this category is the animated film Hotel Transylvania, a film where Dracula opens up a hotel for monsters and balances managing the film while raising his daughter when a human unexpectedly arrives. The film would receive mixed reviews from critics who felt that while it would appeal to children, it wouldn’t to adults though that proved not to be the case as the film would make over $148 million which I will delve further into later in the recap. The next film from this month that makes it into this category is the sci-fi film Looper, a film about a contract killer who comes face-to-face with his future self who he is supposed to kill. The film would receive critical acclaim from critics who felt it was a fresh and original sci-fi film, and it would end up finishing with over $66 million which was a great showing for the film and landed it at the number two spot. The next film from this month that makes it into this category is the action thriller film End of Watch, a film about a pair of police officers who go about their daily lives while dealing with gangsters in Los Angeles. The film would receive positive reviews from critics who praised the performances of the stars, and the film would end up finishing with just over $41 million which barely got it into the top 5 for the month. The fourth and final film from this month that makes it into this category is the horror film House at the End of the Street, a film about a girl who befriends a boy who lives in a house which was the site of a murder as she learns the boy is not who he seems. The film would receive negative reviews from critics who felt it was a weak horror film though it would finish with over $31 million which was a fine showing for this film, especially coming out in September. While the month was mainly carried by the top film of the month, the other films that made it into this category did well enough to prop the month up and keep the momentum of the summer going.
September Losers: Resident Evil: Retribution, Finding Nemo 3D Re-Release, Trouble With the Curve, and Dredd
Even though we had a good amount of films that made it into the previous category, we end up having the same amount of films make it into this category and it makes the month end up on even keel. While none of these films were complete bombs that pull the month down too far, they were still fairly decent failures and nothing came even close to getting near the top film of the month. The first film from this month that makes it into this category is the fifth film in the Resident Evil series with Retribution, a film which sees Alice captured by the Umbrella Corporation and she must make her escape from the Extreme North. The film would receive negative reviews from critics who felt that the franchise was well passed its expiration date, and it would end up finishing with over $42 million and we will see if this is the end or if it keeps going. The next film from this month that makes it into this category is the 3D Re-Release of Finding Nemo, a film which sees Marlin try to find his son Nemo after he is captured by humans. The film would still receive positive reviews from critics though ultimately finished with just over $41 million which I will get into further later in the recap. The next film from this month that makes it into this category is the sports drama film Trouble With the Curve, a film about an aging baseball scout who is joined by his daughter as he struggles to prove he can still find talent. The film would receive mixed reviews from critics and despite coming out near the end of the baseball season, the film would finish with over $35 million which wasn’t enough to get it into the top 5 despite its prospects. The fourth and final film that makes it into this category is the sci-fi film Dredd, based on the comic strip Judge Dredd which sees the titular character try to bring down a crime lord. The film would receive positive reviews from critics who felt it was different enough from the 1995 film, but it would end up making just over $13 million which was a big disappointment. Again, while these films didn’t do bad enough to drag the month down to extremely low depths, it was enough to negate the progress made by the winners and the month ends up being even.
The Surprise/Story of September 2012: Animation scares away the competition as “Hotel Transylvania” easily takes top spot of September 2012
Since I started doing these recaps a little over 6 years ago, the month of September has always been an interesting month in that it seems like there aren’t many films that come out that cater to families due to kids returning to school. But we have seen a few times where an animated film come out and do very well, like Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs back in 2009 and even last year with the 3D Re-Release of the Lion King though that was more of an anomaly due to that September being weak. There have also been times when an animated film has come out this month and has not done well, so when Hotel Transylvania came out it was going to be interesting seeing which way it would go especially since it came out at the end of the month. In the end, Hotel Transylvania went the same way as Cloudy and Lion King as it dominated the month and finished with over $148 million which was a tremendous success for the film that had some doubt going in. Coupled with a strong showing by Looper and the rest of the top 5 making over $40 million, and the month of September 2012 ended up being a solid month which was good given the summer ended on a slightly tepid note.
Overachiever of September 2012: Hotel Transylvania
Going into this month, there was a lot of questions as to whether Adam Sandler was still a draw because his last two films, “Jack and Jill” and “That’s My Boy” were utter failures and he was on a clear downswing. The fact that he had not done an animated film since 2002’s “Eight Crazy Nights” was another unique facet to this, and in addition Sony Animations were looking to score another hit following Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs in 2009. Coming out at the end of the month so that it could do most of its business in October was a smart move, and having a unique premises of Dracula opening a hotel for monsters was another point in its favor. Despite the reviews being mixed, the film would be a major hit for families and finished with over $148 million which was a huge success and gave Sony a new potential franchise, and because of that there is no question that this film is more than deserving of being the overachiever of the month.
Underachiever of September 2012: Finding Nemo 3D Re-Release
We look back to one year ago in 2011 when the Lion King was re-released in 3D and ended up being a tremendous success as it would finish at the top of the month, and as a result Disney decided to make this a regular thing which started back in January of this year when Beauty and the Beast was re-released. However, that film did not have the same success as Lion King though Disney decided to keep going as they re-release Finding Nemo this month in 3D which seemed like a weird choice. It had only been 9 years since Nemo came out in theaters and is not as universally loved as Lion King, and it didn’t even debut in its opening weekend at number one as it would slowly lose momentum which would then be all but gone when Hotel Transylvania came out. It was now starting to look like the success of Lion King last year was now looking more and more like a product of it benefitting from a bad month, and we will see Disney try this one more time later in the year before deciding if it was better to just nix the idea all together. While Finding Nemo is still one of Pixar’s biggest films and will always be remembered as such, the 3D re-release ends up being the underachiever of the month though it is not the biggest underachiever of the year.
September 2012 Awards Watch: Hotel Transylvania, Resident Evil: Retribution, and the Master
As we come out of the summer and head into the fall, we now start seeing the award contenders come out in full force as they look to stake their claim by making money and building momentum. September is usually a hit-or-miss month when it comes to having a strong number of award contenders, and this September ends up having a few films make it into this category though it wasn’t a lot. The first film from this month that makes it into this category is Hotel Transylvania which was nominated for one Golden Globe award (Best Animated Film) which it wouldn’t win, but it was still a great win for the film given the animated films that came out this year. The next film from this month that makes it into this category is Resident Evil: Retribution which was nominated for one Golden Raspberry Award (Worst Actress) though it wouldn’t win due to other worse performances. The third and last film that makes it into this category is the drama film the Master, a film about a WWII veteran who becomes part of a religious movement and spreads its teachings. The film would receive positive reviews from critics who considered it one of the best of the year, and it would be nominated for 3 Academy Awards (Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Supporting Actress) though it wouldn’t win any. It would also be nominated for 3 Golden Globe Awards (Best Actor – Drama, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Supporting Actress) though it wouldn’t win any due to their being some slightly better performances in other films. While none of the films from this month that made it into this category didn’t win any awards, the fact that they got the nominations they did put them on a higher level than the films from this month that didn’t get any nods.
Overall Thoughts of September 2012:
Overall, the month of September 2012 ended up being a pretty decent month as it wound up being right down the middle, with nothing standout to take it to the next level or nothing outright terrible to drag the month down. September is usually a hit-or-miss month especially depending on how the summer does and with the summer of 2012 being particularly great, the fact that this month ended on an even level was good enough to not completely kill that momentum. One thing this month did have going for it that a lot of previous Septembers didn’t was that there was a film that made over $100 million, and the other films that did come out this month either did well enough or didn’t completely tank badly to keep the month afloat. 2012 has been a great year for the most part as it started on a bit of a shaky note, but really picked up in the summer and now we will see how the year ends as we head into October and the holiday season. As for the month of September 2012, it is about as even of a month as you can get and is the definition of an average month.
Final Grade: C