Some alarmists might consider the seemingly mandatory media coverage of weekend box office to be the true death of vital film culture, more money meaning nothing other than, well, more money. (See: Cosmopolis). Even for the sites that do it well, the figures are only good for so much. Generally speaking the most gargantuan hits of any year cost a lot to make so even when they're as big as everyone involves hopes they'll be (like Bond or the superhero epics they generally only return $4 bucks or so for every $1 they cost -- at least in their original window of money-making opportunity. Merchandising and sequels are obviously a reason for the gamble and will make you much much more later on). So I read through all the charts on Thompson in Hollywood's blockbuster box office wrap specifically with profit in mind. So here's what I've gleaned as the most profitable pictures of the year based on total global gross versus their budgets... Just for kicks I substracted $25 million of profits for promotional costs though as the article states that is on the low end of the typical scale.
But this approximate interpreted list by me still gives us a smudgy window view into which films really returned on investment for those who backed them.
Ten Most Profitable?
01 The Devil Inside grossed 76 times its budget
02 Paranormal 4 grossed 23 times its budget
03 Magic Mike grossed 20 times its budget
04 The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel grossed 11 times its budget
05 Ted grossed 9 times its budget
06 Ice Age Continental Drift grossed 9 times its budget
07 Hunger Games grossed 8 times its budget
08 Taken 2 grossed 8 times its budget
09 Chronicle grossed 8 times its budget
10 Sinister grossed 8 times its budget
Best Lesson Learned: keep your costs low and your stars well cast (Magic Mike & Ted & Marigold Hotel & Taken 2)
No-Duh Lesson: low budget genre movies are, historically, a strong financial bet (Devil, Paranormal, Chronicle) which is why so many actors and directs get their start in them
Soul-Crushing Lesson We Learned Again: Keep delivering what people already like (Ice Age, Taken 2, Paranormal 4, Devil Inside... not part of an official franchise but there are a bajillion possession movies and people always pay money to see them)
10 Biggest Global Hits of 2012
01 The Avengers ($1.51 billion)
02 The Dark Knight Rises ($1.08 billion)
03 Skyfall ($1.02 billion)
04 The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey ($.8 billion) -- this is why we will get a lot more padding so movies can be divvied up for even more profit. Soon 2 hours of story will make 4 or 5 films (pt 1)
05 Ice Age Continental Drift ($.8 billion)
06 Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 ($.8 billion) -- this is why we will get a lot more padding so movies can be divvied up for even more profit. Soon 2 hours of story will make 4 or 5 films (pt 2)
07 Spider-Man ($.7 billion) -- this is why we will get a lot more instant reboots of big hits. *sigh*
08 Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted ($.7 billion)
09 Hunger Games ($.6 billion)
10 Men in Black 3 ($.6 billion)
runner up: Brave ($.535 billion)
* I think it's worth noting that Prometheus, which earned $402 million globally, and is therefore not too far outside this list is a much bigger hit than people have assumed based on media coverage of it as a "disappointment" and "flop". When something underperforms in the US, people assume it was a flop. It wasn't.
Did you support all of these economies? Which of these movies would you have invested in if someone had asked you? Don't all say Magic Mike at once.
Previously on 'Year in Review'
Water-Logged - major flooding at theaters
Michael's 10 - Moonrise, Django, etc
Beau's 10 -Cabin in the Woods, Bachelorette, etc
Interviewlapalooza -from Kidman to Cumming
LGBT Characters - from "Mitch" to "Silva"
James Bond Mania -Bond Girl Reader Rank
Snow White the apple muching fairest of all
Overrated Amy Adams, superheroes, film critics
Nathaniel's Worst Cloud Atlas, Spider-Man
Summer Crushes Pt. 1 and Pt. 2
Best of the Blog from...
January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October and November