2012 has come and gone and over the course of 366 days we’ve had no less than 655 movies released in US theaters (a new record). Those flicks sold over 1.3 billion tickets for an average price of $7.94. With a total box office gross of over $10.8 billion, as it was reported already, 2012 stands now as the highest grossing year at the box office ever. Although attendance is only the 7th highest in the last 10 years, the increase in ticket prices helped 2012 beat the previous record holder, 2009 ($10.59 billion).
So with the big stats behind, it’s time to look at the top 10 highest grossing films of 2012 in North America. It should be known that these account for about a third of the total box office gross of the year.
10. Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted $216.3 million – It’s not every day you see the 3rd part in a series outclass its predecessors in every way possible. Madagascar 3‘s blend of snappy dialog with jokes and jabs at just about everything from French and Canadian work laws to Cirque du Soleil’s human-only acts, its brisk pacing and amazingly colorful scenes made it one of the most popular animations of the year both with adults and kids alike.
9. Ted $218.8 million – Turns out if you take Seth MacFarlane’s brand of humor and then add a talking-walking teddy bear to the mix, you get one of the most successful R-rated comedies of all time. Now Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis might be billed as the leads here but the true star of the movie is undoubtedly Ted, the foul-mouthed and pot-smoking teddy bear voiced by the same Seth MacFarlane. There’s only one problem here, while your 6 year old daughter might like the idea of a talking teddy bear, trust me when I say that this is definitely not a movie for her.
8. Brave $237.2 million – Here’s a movie you can show to that daughter and just about anyone else for that matter. Sure, it might not live up to the high standards set by past Pixar films but that doesn’t make Brave a bad animation. Look, I know it’s clichéd and all but there’s a lot more than meets the eyes here. There’s actual depth behind this animation that feels more like something Disney would have made in their glory hand-drawn days (at least to me).
7. The Amazing Spider-Man $262 million – While not as amazing as the title would suggest, this superhero reboot did what it set out to achieve. It created a darker, more serious take on the wall-crawler while keeping the humor associated with the character of Spider-Man, all without going into camp territory. Many might not agree here, but in order to achieve that we needed another origin story. Considering the constraints, I think they did a good job making The Amazing Spider-Man different enough to stand on its own. There’s a world of potential out there for the sequel and with the foundation already set, they can start building something truly great to make us Spidey fans proud.
6. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey $263.8 million (still running) – Following one of the most successful trilogies of all time, both commercially and critically, is no small task. It helps having this based on an actual book, written before The Lord of the Rings. What does not help is turning said single book (and a short one to boot) into a full blown trilogy. For a fan like me that’s bliss, getting a chance to see Middle Earth again in a new trilogy is nothing short of amazing. Unfortunately the individual parts suffer in the process and while I loved An Unexpected Journey, I can’t blame those that didn’t find it as appealing. At the end of the day this first part is only a third of The Hobbit movie. Regarding box office, An Unexpected Journey is still making a lot of money so expect the film to finish as high as 5th or 4th place, somewhere around $300 million.
5. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 $289.2 million (still running) – The final chapter of this ridiculously popular saga ranks only 3rd among its siblings. Yes, the film is still making money but nowhere near what it needs to pass New Moon ($296.6 million) in order to move up to 2nd. But a disappointment this is not since maintaining such a big audience across yearly installments is not exactly easy, not to mention Breaking Dawn Part 2 is making a killing around the world. But that’s another story entirely.
4. Skyfall $296.9 million (still running) – I had my doubts about Sam Mendes taking the reins for this one just as I had my doubts regarding Daniel Craig in the role of James Bond before Casino Royale. I’ve been proven wrong on both accounts and now I can proudly say I’m a believer. Now Skyfall is maybe not the best Bond film but it sure is among the finest. 50 years have passed since Sean Connery played the part in Dr. No but it feels like 007 hasn’t aged a day since. But don’t take my word of it, take a look here.
3. The Hunger Games $408 million – I still can’t believe this is the most successful book adaptation of all time, bigger the any Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter or Twilight. Probably goes to show that when you have a great book made into a good movie that caters both to females and males alike, the sky is the limit. Arguably the biggest box office surprise of the year, The Hunger Games made on its opening weekend about as much as I was expecting in total from it ($152.5 million). For this very reason The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is one of my most anticipated films of 2013. With the release date change, it should be very interesting to see how it will compare at the box office.
2. The Dark Knight Rises $448.1 million – Maybe this hasn’t been to obvious so far but it will from this point on, superheroes own this top 10. Christopher Nolan’s epic finale of The Dark Knight trilogy is a long film with a running time of 165 minutes, but damn if it didn’t feel a lot shorter. Now there might be a few inconsistencies (and some might even call them plot holes) here that could detract from the overall big picture, and it might not be “the best ever”, as many fans expected or proclaimed even before seeing the finished product. But go into The Dark Knight Rises with an open mind and if you stop nitpicking on everything for once in your life, then you might see that this was a fitting end to a great trilogy, tying up every loose end possible (something very uncharacteristic of Christopher Nolan).
1. The Avengers $623.3 million – What’s better than one superhero in a movie? Well according to The Avengers it’s a team of six superheroes. Now what can possibly be so menacing as to warrant unleashing a band of six superheroes to save the day? Well a good-old alien invasion, obviously. Ok, maybe six superheroes is a tiny bit overkill to save the world from a bunch of aliens since we all know it only takes a Will Smith and a Jeff Goldblum to do that. But the share spectacle of seeing those superheroes teaming up and fighting the alien menace is arguably a lot more entertaining. Look, it’s a simple story to which Joss “Boss” Whedon brings his own flavor of antics to create one of the most entertaining movies in years.
So, which one was your favorite among these films in 2012?