YEAR IN REVIEW FESTIVITIES BEGIN NOW!
Cue: confetti, trumpets, fainting women, ornery cinephiles, and orgasmic actressexuals™. This is Part One of Millions! Hundred$ of Million$
We'll start with the commerce and work our way to the art. So herewith the tops in various money categories for your mental ledgers.
Top Per-Screen Arthouse Opening
BLUE JASMINE $102,011 (6 Theaters)
Runner Up: INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS $101,353 (4 Theaters)
Disclaimer: both AMERICAN HUSTLE & FROZEN beat these numbers but those were fake-outs clearly on their immediate way to wide mainstream moviehouses, rather than intended as platform specialty films.
Woody Allen's 'Streetcar meets Madoff Scandal' hit started even stronger than his biggest modern hit Midnight in Paris. It didn't end up making as much but then Blue Jasmine was a fair bit more depressing and riches to less riches is elemental to its DNA. Meanwhile the Coen Bros, like Woody Allen but with more regular crossover potential, can always bank on a hardcore fanbase to sell out those initial shows.
Katniss, McConaughey & McCarthy, Iron Men and Naked French Lesbians after the jump
Biggest Subtitled Hits
01 INSTRUCTIONS NOT INCLUDED (Mexico) $44,467,206
02 THE GRANDMASTER (Hong Kong) $6,594,959
03 CHENNAI EXPRESS (India) $5,307,960
04 YEH JAWAANI HAI DEEWANI (India) $3,827,466
05 RAM-LEELA (India) $2,738,863
06 NO (Chile) $2,343,664
07 RENOIR (France) $2,293,798
08 KRRISH 3 (India) $2,191,534
09 BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR (France) $1,988,163
10 FILL THE VOID (Israel) $1,775,316
As per usual, Bollywood films account for much of the US subtitled market without any of the critical fanfare that greets Asian and French films. As per usual, subtitled films continue to struggle in the shrinking world of theatrical. Two of last year's Oscar submissions, Chile's No (nominated) and Israel's Fill the Void (not nominated) were arthouse hits. In some ways its strange that Blue is the Warmest Color initially sparked and quickly faded but gone are the days when arthouses would play the same features for months on end (well, apart from Woody Allen films which still play in Manhattan's Lincoln Plaza for seemingly ever). It probably doesn't help that critics didn't rally really with Best Actress wins. A tie at LAFCA arguably doesn't help since ties inevitably kill headlines for the underdog, there being no true surprise win to boast about.
Top Wide Release Opening Weekend
IRON MAN 3 $174,144,585
Runner Up: HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE $158,074,286
To put it another way they both made more in their opening weekends domestically than all but a dozen films each year do in their entire runs.
Longest Legs - Wide Release
WE'RE THE MILLERS opening weekend only 17.5 % of gross
Runner Up: THIS IS THE END opening weekend only 20% of gross
As the theatrical business gets more and more frontloaded it's typical for the mega blockbusters to do 33% to 50% of their eventual business in the first weekend. Insane, right? But holds under 25% suggest really good word of mouth, interest from moviegoers who aren't first weekend types, or repeat business. Of the true blockbusters, Gravity wins this with only 22% of its gross in the first weekend and possibly less since it's still in release. Remember when Titanic's opening weekend ended up being only 4% of its behemoth gross and Avatar's only 10%? James Cameron is all legs.
Longest Legged Indie Crossover - Never Over 1000 Screens
MUD opening weekend only 10% of its gross
Runners Up: INSTRUCTIONS NOT INCLUDED opening weekend only 17.6% gross
I only looked at movies with sizable opening weekends in terms of number of screens and Mud was by far the strongest. It played and played from April all through the summer movie season. Remarkably no superpowers were in sight unless you count the magical properties of Matthew McConaughey's shirt.
The Top Hits of The Year - (Projected Titles in Italices)
Barring $200 million plus grosses for Wolf of Wall Street or Walter Mitty or Anchorman 2 these 13 films will go down in history as the bakers dozen mega-hits of 2013.
01 IRON MAN 3 $409,013,994
02 HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE $405???
To beat Iron Man 3 (which coincidentally grossed nearly the exact same dollar figure as the first Hunger Games) it would have to beat itself in battle. Possible? Yes. Likely? No
03 DESPICABLE ME 2 $367,741,000 (about to close)
04 MAN OF STEEL $291,045,518
05 FROZEN $290???
This is rising fast and holding well. Tangled still had a lot of life left in it at this point in its run and closed with $200. Can it crack $300 million?
06 THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG $269???
A weak opening in relation to the other Lord of the Rings films with $74 in its cume but each of its predecessors hit $300 million domestic eventually but I think this one will fall short
07 MONSTERS UNIVERSITY $268,478,097
08 GRAVITY $254,592,000
This will soon close but what a solid run for a non-franchise event with only two characters!
09 FAST AND FURIOUS 6 $238,679,850
10 OZ: THE GREAT AND POWERFUL $234,911,825
11 STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS $228,778,661
12 THOR: THE DARK WORLD $204???
It will start losing theaters very rapidly now but the Norse god will still have enough strength to knock World War Z down a peg for 12th position -- battle of the long haired blondes!
13 WORLD WAR Z $202,359,711
Remember when everyone thought this would be a disastrous flop?
Lovable Losing Winner: THE HEAT will likely rest at #15 or so for the year below THE CROODS when the last 2013 release eventually leaves theaters in spring 2014. It was yet another big hit for Sandra Bullock. But isn't it odd that it wasn't an even bigger deal? Given the Sandy-Mania of the past four years how did The Proposal (a significantly worse movie with a less awesome co-star) outgross it?
The "Bankable" Club?
INDUCTEE: Melissa McCarthy was an untested headliner before the year began with only that breakout supporting role in Bridesmaids to recommend her on the big screen. By year's end she had headlined not one but two $100+ million hits with Identity Thief (terrible but it sold) and The Heat (underrated fun).
THE FRANCHISE IS THE DRAW: Chris Hemsworth is a hit as Thor but couldn't bring crowds to Rush
STAYING POWER: Leonardo DiCaprio can sell anything (except maybe gloomy Clint Eastwood directed FBI biopics). He began the year as part of that big controversial Django hit, and then took The Great Gatsby to a $50 million opening weekend in a season usually reserved for superheroes. Can he win Christmas weekend with a 3 hour raunch-fest about con-men stockbrokers? We'll find out soon.
Which of the big hits did you miss this year?
And which film held the biggest surprise for you in terms of how well or how poorly they performed?