The Winners and Losers of Summer 2010!
Stop me if you've heard this one before but wow, what a weird summer season. Movies that we loved, didn't do so well (SCOTT PILGRIM). Movies that we didn't love, did very well (GROWN UPS). But then there were the films that everyone seemed to enjoy (TOY STORY 3, INCEPTION). Now that the summer season has all but wrapped itself up, we decided to take a look back at the past few months to see who came out on top and who sank to the bottom...
DESPICABLE ME - Sure TOY STORY 3 made it rain dolla dolla bills (see below) but everyone mostly expected that. What fewer people expected was the success of DESPICABLE ME, an animated film by an unproven outlet (Universal-based Illumination Entertainment) based on an original concept. The movie wound up just $5 million shy of DreamWorks' vaunted SHREK franchise and looks set to spawn its own franchise (while SHREK peters out).
Will Smith's Family - Few remakes have seen as much derision as THE KARATE KID. Almost immediately after it was announced, fans of the original (and/or fans of just good movies) were somewhat disgusted with the idea of Will Smith's son starring in a remake. But then the film, which Smith also produced, turned out to not suck and top $175 million.
Pixar - It shouldn't come as much of a surprise that Pixar, they of constant success, would wind up on a list of "winners" but even the harshest observer of the animation studio would admit that Summer 2010 was a landmark for Pixar. TOY STORY 3 became the highest grossing animated movie of all-time, the second highest grossing Disney film of all-time (after only PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN'S CHEST) and one of the 10 highest grossing movies of all-time. It's got a 99% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and will very likely be nominated for Best Picture at this year's Academy Awards. So...yeah, even by their own lofty standards, Pixar filled up with win this summer.
Manly Men - We were all looking forward to THE EXPENDALBES but I think few people realized how well the film would actually do. In a summer that saw Adrien Brody, Michael Cera and Jake Gyllenhaal all play the role of action hero, Sylvester Stallone brought out his crew of old school action heroes and audiences responded in a big way. At the rate THE EXPENDABLES is going, it will likely be Stallone's first starring role in a $100MM+ movie since 1985's ROCKY IV. That, plus MACHETE and an EXPENDABLES sequels proves the manly men are making a comeback.
PIRANHA 3D / SCOTT PILGRIM - It may seem odd to include these films in the list of winners when both of them underperformed at the box-office. But when did we start loving movies because of how much money giant corporations are making? Last I checked Viacom, Time Warner, News Corp, NBC Universal and Disney aren't sending me any checks in the mail. I love movies and started writing about movies because of the movies themselves. Both PIRANHA and PILGRIM won over audiences almost immediately with their charm (albeit drastically different charm) and will surely be pleasing cult audiences for years and years to come.
INCEPTION - It's rare that a summer action film that grosses over $250 million could also be one of the best reviewed films of the year and a frontrunner for the Oscars, but that's exactly what happened with Christopher Nolan's follow-up. A unique critical and commercial smash, INCEPTION wowed audiences and reminded Hollywood that original ideas can still attract audiences.
Jerry Bruckheimer - it's not many times in his career that Jerry Bruckheimer has been listed in the loser column but this summer has been the rare exception. His two summer films, PRINCE OF PERSIA and THE SORCERER'S APPRENTICE, were two high-profile duds, despite the amount of cash Disney spent making and marketing them. Bruckheimer has overcome worse flops (see: KANGAROO JACK) so don't count him out for long. After all, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN 4 is on the way...
3D - For the best two years we've been led to believe that the future was arriving and the future was 3D cinema. The hype reached its nadir with AVATAR, arguably 3D at its peak. A whopping 73% of its total box-office came from 3D revenues. But after subpar conversions on CLASH OF THE TITANS and ALICE IN WONDERLAND there was a clear backlash amongst audiences and 3D revenue decreased steadily as the year went on with DESPICABLE ME bringing in only 45% of its revenue from 3D and CATS AND DOGS 2 being the lowest grossing 3D movie to date in the modern RealD/IMAX era.
MACGRUBER - Plenty of movies underperformed this summer. JONAH HEX, SCOTT PILGRIM, PIRANHA 3D... but when you're one of the first movies of the summer to really underperform, it sticks out like a sore thumb. Notice I didn't say the film bombed. I'd only say that if a movie was both a critical and commercial disaster. But while audiences never really found MACGRUBER, a very large chunk of the people who did, wound up loving it. Sadly the stigma of the "SNL movie" kept some people away from a movie they may have otherwise enjoyed. While it fizzled out fairly quickly in theaters, it may very well find new life on DVD.
Tom Cruise - I would never count out Tom Cruise. But that's not stopping people from trying to count out Tom Cruise. KNIGHT & DAY, his summer action film with Cameron Diaz, was Fox's big summer tentpole movie. Except it didn't perform like a Tom Cruise summer action film should. Immediately the nay sayers began crowing that Cruise was finished and Paramount wanted to hedge their bets on the upcoming fourth MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE film. So he might be a loser in the court of public opinion but I wouldn't be surprised at all to have him listed next year among the winners.
M. Night Shyamalan - Sadly it feels like you've could've put M. Night Shyamalan on this list for his past few movies. LADY IN THE WATER, THE HAPPENING and now THE LAST AIRBENDER were all critical disappointments with critics and audiences perhaps agreeing that the latter was the final straw. When the trailer for the upcoming Universal horror film DEVIL, which Shyamalan produced, began screening this summer audiences began howling with laughter and cat-calling when Night's name appeared on screen.
Megan Fox - One of the biggest flops of the summer was the Warner Bros. adaptation of DC Comics' JONAH HEX. It was the first foray into the superhero genre for Josh Brolin but while the Oscar nominee may escape unscathed, his co-star Megan Fox is already suffering the fallout. With JENNIFER'S BODY also disappointing, Fox's last two films have hurt her clout as audience surveys have revealed women don't like her and men aren't interested in her acting. To add insult to injury, Michael Bay wrote her character out of TRANSFORMERS 3 and replaced her with a Victoria's Secret model.