Now that the summer is over (ok, maybe we still have a week to go, a week of pointless releases) we can finally look back at what has happened (and did not happen, like Prince of Persia turning into the next Pirates of the Caribbean) at the Box Office, both in North America and across the world.
I will get right to the facts, after a very solid start to 2010, May-August (the summer season for Hollywood) did not disappoint (ok, maybe it did a little). It started with Iron Man 2, a good sequel to a great movie, a sequel that in the end didn’t manage to live up to the hype created by way to high expectations. For lack of space I won’t go into every movie that came out this summer, but I will give you a top 5 of the most noteworthy ones. Now remember, this is not a list based only on box office performance, this is a list based on performance versus expectations and that is why, well, see for yourself:
5. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse ($653.1 million worldwide)
For lack of better words, this was a hit and considering New Moon had such an awful reception and dropped like a rock, very few (if any) expected Eclipse to match the $296.4 million the last one made in North America, but it did, hitting $296.6 million just 2 day ago. The average budget helped also put this film ahead of Iron Man 2 (but remember, box office success does not equal a good movie, just saying).
4. The Karate Kid ($282.3 million worldwide)
Who would have thought that a $40 million remake to an 80’s classic could turn into such a success story. Produced by Will Smith (father) to serve as a star vehicle for Jaden Smith (son) and shot in China starring Jackie Chan as the master (a role that made famous the late Pat Morita, nominated for an Oscar for the first Karate Kid, RIP).
3. Despicable Me ($281.3 million worldwide)
The first full length feature for animation studio Illumination Entertainment turned into one of the biggest surprise hits of the year. With an impressive $225.5 million in North America so far, this is a great start for a new franchise, one that will help Universal (the distributor) a lot.
2. Inception ($568.3 million worldwide)
Any other year this would have been number 1 on this list. Inception showed once again why Chris Nolan is so well regarded by fans, fanboys and critics alike, creating another great spectacle worthy of your hard earned money spent on a ticket (or more). Inception was without a doubt the wild card of the summer, Warner invested a lot in a movie that could have very well turned into a flop.
1. Toy Story 3 ($941.2 million worldwide)
This kind of success you just can’t overlook and while this is the sequel to a very popular franchise, 11 years have passed since we had Toy Story 2 and there was fear that people might not be so much into talking toys as they were a decade ago. Ultimately Toy Story 3 managed to live up to the hype and pass $400 million in North America and will soon reach $1 billion worldwide, becoming only the 7th movie to do that.
Honorable mentions would have to be Iron Man 2, Shrek Forever After, Grown Ups, Salt, The Other Guys or The Expendables.
Not so honorable are Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, Robin Hood, The Last Airbender, Sex and the City 2 or The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.
The rest of the year looks to have just as many surprises (or not) and I personally can’t wait to see how Potter 7 or Tron 2 will do at the box office.