It seems with every movie year, it tells a lot of its overall successes and failures. However its overall total would be the big determiner if it was a success of a year or not. 2011’s movie year not only showed one year’s lack of success but Hollywood’s continually declining success.
2011 started carrying the burden of the not-so-good news of 2010. 2010’s total box office finished at $10.565 billion: $30 million less than 2009’s record-breaking year. At first $30 million doesn’t seem that that big of a loss but there was one additional sobering fact. 2010 sold almost 1.34 billion tickets: the lowest since 1996. Even Entertainment Weekly made note of that during January of 2011 and offered some tips in increasing movie turnout.
2011 had even more sobering statistics to tell. The year’s total gross was almost $400 million less than 2010’s: a dip of 3.8%. These two years in a row failing to outgross each other was the first such pair of years since 1990 and 1991. Ticket sales were also lower: 1.276 billion to be exact and the lowest since 1993. Not pleasant at all.
2011 was not completely bad news. The year still grossed over $10 million and became only the third year ever to do so. The months of January to March failed to outgross 2010. Mind you it was hard to do considered January and March 2010 had mammoth hits like Avatar and Alice in Wonderland. That downtime ended in April as it managed to become the highest-grossing April ever at $948 million. Successes like the action movie Fast Five and animated family movies like Rio and Hop had a lot to do with it. May also managed to be bigger than 2010’s thanks to Thor and Pirates of the Carribean 4 but June was a setback of a quarter-billion. Movies with big buzz like X-Men: First Class, Super 8 and Cars 2 didn’t pan out as big as they hoped. July and August offered bigger grosses than 2010 thanks to Transformers 3, the last Harry Potter movie, Captain America, the Rise Of the Planets of the Apes and the sleeper hit The Help. Thanks to July and August’s success, the whole summer’s total just managed to squeak over the previous year’s total. September became the highest-grossing September ever, thanks in part to a 3D release of the Lion King but the last three months had lackluster box office results. Not even the latest Twilight movie, the second Sherlock Holmes movie or the latest Mission Impossible could help the last three months of 2011 outgross the previous year, nor lead 2011 to a higher box office total.
So who or what’s to blame for this? You could blame the theatres for giving such irritating increases in ticket prices. You could blame the lack of box office star power of today’s A-list stars. You have to admit the star power of Julia Roberts, Tom Cruise, Tom Hanks and Will Smith isn’t as big as it used to be and there haven’t been any new ones to achieve the star power they once had. You could blame it on the lack of attractions at the theatres itself. That explains why a few theatres, including the Coquitlam SilverCity, have included an adults-only VIP lounge that includes alcoholic drinks. You could blame the lack of new winning ideas coming from Hollywood.
You could also blame it on a lot of external factors as well. First the economy. You have to admit that tough times don’t make for being able to afford a night out at the movies that often. You could also blame it on a lot of the new media functions and new ways to see movies. In the last five years, Youtube and Netflix have come about and it has changed a lot with people seeing movies. Even cellphone companies have movies in which one can download and watch on their cellphone, much to the displeasure of the likes of David Lynch. In fact that has led to a lot of changes in businesses such as video chains like Blockbuster and Rogers either going bankrupt or reducing its stores. Even local stores like Vancouver’s Videomatica–which specializes in hard-to-find DVDs like cult movies, indie flicks and a multitute of classic movies–had to close their main shop and relocate to a record store to keep business happening, especially for their most loyal patrons. It also explains why it’s next-to-impossible to have a single-screen theatre as I stated in my article about the closure of the Hollywood Theatre. In fact in my city of New Westminster, there will be a cinemaplex opening up with ten screens and a total seating of 1800: an average of 180 per screen. That’s the realities of running a movie theatre nowadays. Also we should remember that we’re now at a time when video games make higher annual grosses than movies. So people are finding other alternative ways to entertain themselves.
Despite all that’s happened last year and even happening now, 2012 has a lot of movies to show. Hollywood knows its demands and film festivals have their line ups planned. So hopefully 2012 should give you plenty of reasons to go see a movie this year.
Okay. Now I’m done the one and only ‘2011 in Review’ article I feel I need to right. Now I can go back to what I do best, which is review movies and the awards season. Golden Globes predictions tomorrow.
“Yearly Box Office Chart” BoxOfficeMojo.com. 2011. Box Office Mojo. Owned by IMDB.com. <http://www.boxofficemojo.com/yearly/>