NOTE: This blog was meant for the beginning of October but was put on hold because of my writings for the Vancouver International Film Festival. And just right after the VIFF concluded, my RAM dies on me. Now that things are back to normal, I can post this.
Another three months have passes. Two months of summer heat featuring a September that usually slumps but they still want to give people reasons to go. Meanwhile people eyeballing the box office stats are hoping 2012 will be a record-setting year. Already I talked about 2011’s grief as well as the upswings of January and February, March and April, and May and June. Even if the months didn’t set records it still added to 2012’s consistency. The big question is how did July to September stack up?
July had the big struggle of trying to cope with the shootings that happened in the midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado. Despite the tragedy, it did not deter moviegoers. The month started off strong with Ted being the sleeper hit of the summer and one of the biggest hits of the month. Strong showings by Brave and Magic Mike and a strong Top 10 ending by The Avengers also started the month off well. The following week saw a healthy opening for The Amazing Spider-Man followed by a good opening with Ice Age: Continental Drift. The tragic shooting in Aurora didn’t prevent The Dark Knight Rises from achieving the third-highest grossing opening weekend ever. The monster success continued into the following weekend. Overall this year’s July ended up being only the sixth-highest grossing July ever and almost $200 million less than last July. It’s unknown whether the shooting in Aurora had much to do with the drop but I’m sure most people knew this was a one-in-a-billion incident.
August showed some slight improvement. Action or adventure movies ruled the month as it began with The Dark Knight Rises continuing with its reign on top and the remake of Total Recall debuting at #2 in the first weekend of August. The following weekend saw The Bourne Legacy on top with some comic relief at #2 in the form of political goofballs in The Campaign. The following weekend had The Expendables 2 open on top but not without family movies like ParaNorman and The Odd Life Of Timothy Green opening strongly that weekend. The following week was weak in debuts as Premium Rush was the strongest debuter that weekend and it was only #8. The Expendables continued to be on top. Overall 2012 grossed more than $40 million more than August 2011. It stands as the second-highest grossing August ever with only 2009 being the highest.
In September, there’s always the mark of the slowdown of the movie season with the summer wrapping up and the remaining weekends having lukewarm results. The Possession opened the month on top that Labor Day weekend and continued to be on top the following week. The third weekend in September featured more excitement with strong debuts from Resident Evil: Retribution on top and the 3D re-release of Finding Nemo opening strongly in second. The fourth weekend saw three debuting movies on top–End Of Watch, House At The End Of The Street and Trouble With The Curve–but their opening weekend grosses were between $12.2 million and $13.1 million. It was the fifth and final weekend of September that added more excitement with the animated Hotel Transylvania opening with $42.5 million–the biggest opening weekend ever for a September release–and Looper in second with an opening of $20.8 million. September ended with a total of $532.4 million, almost $75 million less than last year’s September.
So with nine of the twelve months of 2011 completed, it appears that 2012 is poised to be a record-braking year: $240 million more than last year and $363 million ahead of 2009’s record-setting pace. However don’t get excited too soon. We should not forget that these last three months were what helped propel 2009 to the record and the milestone of being the first $10 billion movie year. That quarter’s total gross of over $3.5 billion is still the highest total gross for that quarter. 2010 failed to overtake it and just missed the record. And 2011 was on record-breaking pace by $120 million but a weak fourth quarter even with a Twilight movie failed to break the record. A fourth quarter of over $3.15 billion will finally do it. So let’s hang tight.
Also you notice I left October out. As I said at the beginning, this article was meant to be published weeks ago so that’s why it’s not there. Plus with Box Office Mojo not complete in totaling up October, I think waiting is a good thing.
“Monthly Box Office Chart” BoxOfficeMojo.com. 2012. Box Office Mojo. Owned by IMDB.com. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/monthly/
“Quarterly Box Office Chart” BoxOfficeMojo.com. 2012. Box Office Mojo. Owned by IMDB.com. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/quarterly/