The Studio Report: 2011

New feature here at the B+ Movie Blog. Born out of my feeling that I don’t know studios very well. That is, I can name movies (titles, years, people in them, trivia, awards stuff), but when it comes to naming what studio put them out, it’s hit or miss at best. Especially now.

Older movies are easier. Films made during the studio system — you can guess which studio made what, since studios had a certain style, or genres they specialized in (the MGM musical, the Warners gangster film). They also had actors under contract. If you see a Clark Gable film, chances are it’s an MGM. Nowadays, it’s more difficult. Often, you’ll see a film produced and/or distributed by two major studios. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was produced by both Paramount and Warner Bros. (I know this because the specialized button logos appear for both studios at the start of the film.) And not every film has those logos to help you remember. So how do you know who put out what?

The main goal of this article is to get a sense of what studios put out stuff I like. I remember, back in 2009, saying Warner Bros. was the best studio, because they fostered a creative environment for filmmakers and didn’t meddle, and that 20th Century Fox just put out mainstream garbage like Alvin and the Chipmunks and Meet Dave and were only looking at the bottom line and not at quality. I always feel bad about making statements like that, since I was basing it on three films at best. I didn’t know everything they put out. If I’m making a statement like that, I want to have at least done my homework to where I know for sure that it’s what I believe (and can back it up with reason).

So what I’m doing is — I’m gonna go through 2011 by studio: list what films they released, and how much they made (as well as what won the weekends, to put sort of a box office spin on things), to get an idea of which studios are making the most money, with what films (it is nice to see if a studio is making huge profits on modestly budgeted films, whether they’re “good” or not), and, most importantly for my purposes, if I’m a fan of those studios based on what they put out. Should be interesting.

I’m really curious to see how this goes, because I’m not doing any pre-screening or anything. I’m literally gonna write down the information and then react to it. And just so we’re clear, all information utilized in this article will be based on Box Office Mojo’s Studio Market Share article, which totals up the annual gross for all the studios, and shows which ones took on what percentage of the total box office for 2011.

I’m going to use that article as a basis, then go by each studio and list the films (2011 films) they released this year, talk about how much they made and what their (reported) budgets were, and essentially write my observations about each one, and then sum up by writing my thoughts on that studio’s output for the year. Hopefully this will help me (and others) in the future. When I see a film coming out, maybe it’ll be easier to guess what studio put it out. Or at least look a bit closer at it, since it’s possible I might hate a studio’s films and not even know it.

Okay, before we get to the specific studios, I want to list what films won the box office on what weekends. I forget the specific reason for this, but it feels important. If only so we can — well it’s a useful tool for a lot of reasons. No need to list them all now. We’ll just address them as they come up. You can learn a lot from this list:

January 7-9 – True Grit, $14.6 million (in its 3rd weekend)

January 14-16 – The Green Hornet, $33.5 million

January 21-23 – No Strings Attached, $19.7 million

January 28-30 – The Rite, $14.8 million

February 4-6 – The Roommate, $15 million

February 11-13 – Just Go With It, $30.5 milion

February 18-20 – Unknown, $21.9 million

February 25-27 – Hall Pass, $13.5 million

March 4-6 – Rango, $38.1 million

March 11-13 – Battle: Los Angeles, $35.6 million

March 18-20 – Limitless, $19 million

March 25-27 – Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules, $23.8 million

April 1-3 – Hop, $37.5 million

April 8-10 – Hop, $21.3 million

April 15-17 – Rio, $39.2 million

April 22-24 – Rio, $26.3 million

April 29-May 1 – Fast Five, $86.2 million

May 6-8 – Thor, $65.7 million

May 13-15 – Thor, $34.7 million

May 20-22 – Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, $90.2 million

May 27-29 – The Hangover Part II, $86 million

June 3-5 – X-Men: First Class, $55.1 million

June 10-12 – Super 8, $24.1 million

June 17-19 – Green Lantern, $53.2 million

June 24-26 – Cars 2, $66.1 million

July 1-3 – Transformers: Dark of the Moon, $97.9 million

July 8-10 – Transformers: Dark of the Moon, $47.1 million

July 15-17 – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II, $169.2 million

July 22-24 – Captain America: The First Avenger, $65.1 million

July 29-31 – Cowboys & Aliens, $36.4 million

August 5-7 – Rise of the Planet of the Apes, $54.8 million

August 12-14 –Rise of the Planet of the Apes, $27.8 million

August 19-21 – The Help, $20 million (in its 2nd weekend)

August 26-28 – The Help, $14.5 million

September 2-4 – The Help, $14.6 million

September 9-11 – Contagion, $22.4 million

September 16-18 – The Lion King (in 3-D), $30.2 million

September 23-25 – The Lion King (in 3-D), 21.9 million

September 30-October 2 – Dolphin Tale, $13.9 million (in its 2nd weekend)

October 7-9 – Real Steel, $27.3 million

October 14-16 – Real Steel, $16.3 million

October 21-23 – Paranormal Activity 3, $53.6 million

October 28-30 – Puss in Boots, $34.1 million

November 4-6 – Puss in Boots, $33.1 million

November 11-13 – Immortals, $32.2 million

November 18-20 – The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1, $138.1 million

November 25-27 – The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1, $41.7 million

December 2-4 – The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1, $16.5 million

December 9-11 – New Year’s Eve, $13 million

December 16-18 – Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, $39.6 million

December 23-25 – Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol, $29.6 million

December 30-January 1 – Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol, $29.4 million

See? There, you can tell where the slow weekends are, and — some other stuff. I’m trying really hard not to go off on tangents, because this article is gonna get long.

Let’s start in with the studios…

(Note: These numbers are as they stood on Monday, January 2nd.)

The American Box Office (this is not counting any worldwide grosses, even though I’ll be reporting them for the specific films) made a total of $10.165 billion between January 1, 2011 and December 31, 2011.

That is the total from which all the studios are sharing the revenue. There were about 150 studios that shared from that revenue, but only like 15 made any significant money (over $50 million). Those are the ones I’ll be talking about. I’ll be going down in order of how much they made from the total number.

And we’re starting with:

Of that $10.165 billion, the studio that made the most money from it was Paramount.

1. Paramount

With a 19.2% market share, Paramount took in $1.956 billion.

That $1.956 billion was taken in from a combination of 2011 films and some leftover 2010 films from the end of the year. True Grit, The Fighter — these films were still out in January, so they did add to that total. I tell you that to point out that 2010 films, if they pop well (like True Grit and it’s $170 million (100 of which came in January and February)), can really bump up a total.

I won’t be talking about them, though, since I already have enough to talk about. I’ll just mention how many 2010 movies are included from each studio. For Paramount, they had 6 2010 movies still in theaters: True Grit, The Fighter, Megamind, Morning Glory, Jackass 3-D, and Paranormal Activity 2. The two Oscar films are the only ones that made any impact on the grand total for the studio.

Anyway, Paramount released 15 movies in 2011. Here they are:

(Also, know: Worldwide totals include domestic totals, and all budgets are as reported by the studio. They may or may not be totally accurate. Also, the totals I give are as of December 31st. Only what counted for 2011.)

  • No Strings Attached (R)

$70.7 million domestic gross ($147.8 million worldwide gross)

$19.7 million opening weekend (#1)

Budget: $25 million

— Clearly a major success for them. The general rule of thumb is that studios generally take back about half of the box office take, domestically. The international numbers are murky. So, considering that, the studio made almost a $50 million profit on this, domestically, minus advertising. So you have to figure maybe they made about $20-30 million domestically on this, plus whatever they got back from foreign sales. Nice success for them.

  • Justin Bieber: Never Say Never (G)

$73 million domestic gross ($98.4 million worldwide gross)

$29.5 million opening weekend

Budget: $13 million

— Clearly a huge success for them. They probably spent $30 million total to make and market this. They made a nice buck on this, especially considering the studio takes in as much as 90% of the opening weekend grosses, they probably made all their money back after the first weekend.

  • Rango (PG)

$123.3 million domestic gross ($245.2 million worldwide gross)

$38.1 million opening weekend (#1)

Budget: $135 million

— Not a very big success for them, but also not a total abject failure. I can’t really see how they’d figure they’d make all that money back with a budget like that. It was a critical success, though.

  • Thor (PG-13)

$181 million domestic gross ($449.3 million worldwide gross)

$65.7 million opening (#1, 2 weekends)

Budget: $150 million

— This was successful because of the international grosses. Even if they took in a quarter of the international grosses, that still almost pays the budget of the film (plus opening weekend domestically, it does pay for it). You also need to keep in mind, there are a lot of other figures that go into it, so we’re speaking as generally as possible. There’s the DVD sales, rentals and cable rights, which net huge figures. VOD rights. Merchandising. Films also get a tax break. All of that is part of a film’s profitability. But marketing comes out of that as well. So just glancing at these numbers, I’d say this is moderately profitable, and accomplished what it needed to, which is lead into The Avengers and get people to (probably) show up for a sequel. (Also, in case you didn’t notice, I’m talking purely of business here, and not quality. We did that end already.)

  • Kung Fu Panda 2 (PG)

$165.2 million domestic gross ($665.7 million worldwide gross)

$47.7 million opening weekend

Budget: $150 million

— Huge success for them. Look at those international numbers. Those are what kept a lot of these films afloat this year. Plus — imagine the merchandise sales on something like this.

  • Super 8 (PG-13)

$127 million domestic gross ($259.9 million worldwide gross)

$35.5 million opening weekend (#1)

Budget: $50 million

— Just look at the gross to budget ratio. Speaks for itself. This is perhaps my favorite entry on this list so far. Because they didn’t spend much (if they spent $60 million to market it, then that’s their stupidity), and got a hefty profit. That’s moviemaking. (Again, ignoring quality.)

  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon (PG-13)

$352.4 million domestic gross ($1.1 billion worldwide gross)

$97.9 million opening weekend (#1, 2 weekends)

Budget: $195 million.

— Even if you believe the budget (which I don’t), this was still a major success. The numbers speak for themselves. (The real question is: How much did Bay make?)

  • Captain America: The First Avenger (PG-13)

$176.7 million domestic gross ($368.6 million worldwide gross)

$65.1 million opening weekend (#1)

Budget: $140 million

— Also a success. They treaded water domestically, which is what most of these first entries do. And considering this was after people started tiring of the superhero thing — it’s pretty impressive. Plus, those international numbers — this did fine.

  • Footloose (PG-13)

$51.6 million domestic gross ($62.3 million worldwide gross)

$15.6 million opening weekend

Budget: $24 million

— Huge success, this one. Double the budget? Oh, they’re very happy here. (Notice how there’s only been one “failure” so far, and even that made over $100 million?)

  • Paranormal Activity 3 (R)

$104 million domestic gross ($203 million worldwide gross)

$52.6 million opening weekend (#1)

Budget: $5 million

— There’s where your money comes from. Spend $30 million total (because you know they still spent to market the hell out of this), make almost $100 million. This is how you finish #1 for a year.

  • Puss in Boots (PG)

$145.3 million domestic gross ($425.5 million worldwide gross)

$34.1 million opening weekend (#1, 2 weekends)

Budget: $130 million

— Originally considered relatively soft, but this rallied to be a moderate success. Expect a sequel to make much more in two to three years.

  • Hugo (PG)

$48.6 million domestic total($58 million worldwide gross)

$11.4 million opening weekend

Budget: Estimated between $150-170 million

— Definitely a failure financially, but it might win a bunch of Oscars. I think they’re okay with this. I think they’d rather a Best Picture nominee (and quite probably the film that’ll be nominated for the most Oscars. It’ll be this or The Artist. I’m thinking between 8-11 for each) not do that great business than a summer film. (Plus, all Oscar films get the boost come January.)

  • Young Adult (R)

$11.3 million domestic gross

Budget: $12 million

— This is insignificant to them. $12 million was nothing, and I bet they’re pleased to have gotten most of it back already.

  • Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol (PG-13)

$122.3 million domestic gross ($377.95 million worldwide gross)

$12.8 million (limited) opening weekend (#1 in second and third weekends)

Budget: 145 million

— Huge success. I think we can all see that based on the crazy holds this has had over the weeks it’s been out. This franchise ain’t going anywhere. Isn’t it weird that all the franchises that were set up before the franchise era all have a certain standard of quality they continue to meet, most of the time?

  • The Adventures of Tintin (PG)

$43.9 million domestic gross ($311.9 million worldwide gross)

$9.7 million opening weekend

Budget: $135 million

— Success. Not domestically, naturally. But worldwide, this did the kind of business they were expecting.

Notes on Paramount: Since this is really about the studios as they relate to me, let’s focus on that.

Here are the films Paramount put out this year (again): No Strings Attached, Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, Rango, Thor, Kung Fu Panda 2, Super 8, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Captain America: The First Avenger, Footloose, Paranormal Activity, Puss in Boots, Hugo, Young Adult, Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol, Adventures of Tintin

Of those — don’t care about Bieber. Hated No Strings Attached. Not sure who’s to blame there, but they fucked up that script something awful.

Thor and Captain America are Marvel movies. They’re just distributing them. Marvel has complete control over them. So I don’t count those. Also ignoring Paranormal, since I can’t really fault them for turning $5 million into $100 million. By all means, keep doing that.

Kung Fu Panda 2 was fine, as was Super 8. Tintin too. Wasn’t crazy about them, but I do respect them, so those are a plus. Like Transformers, but most of that is because of Bay. The next entry (assuming no more Bay), unless they go totally robots and no humans, like the show, there’s really no director they can get that will salvage that franchise.

Puss in Boots — you know, I understand it, but I don’t really like it that much. But, it’s not made for my demographic, so I ultimately don’t care. I still think all the studios that aren’t Pixar really need to step their game up on telling stories that people give a shit about, rather than these mass market animated movies.

Mission: Impossible, to me, was better than #3. The villain wasn’t as good, but the film was very entertaining. So I think they did right by that franchise.

That leaves Hugo and Young Adult. Both of which I loved, and I loved that they had the balls to green light Young Adult. That really impressed me.

So overall — I really like what Paramount did this year. I didn’t love all the films, but I respect most of them as business decisions and think that overall, the attempt at quality was there. The only real issues I had were with films from January and February, which — not everything can work. (And even then, it’s really only one film I had the problem with. And there’s always gonna be duds, so I think they did a good job.)

Also, just because I feel I should do this — what you’re looking at from them are 2 superhero movies (though not actually them per se), four (though technically five) sequels (most of which are very okay. Transformers they always did right — the second one I can actually blame on the writer’s strike, considering what was delivered in 1 and 3 — Kung Fu Panda is one of the better (though that’s not saying much) animated franchises that isn’t Disney/Pixar, Paranormal — hey, 5 into 100, that’s always acceptable — Mission Impossible, which was a solid entry into the series — and Puss in Boots, which fits right in with the “quality” of the other Shrek films. So really they did quite well there), Tintin (which is the start of a franchise. But a correct start. That is probably the best version of a Tintin movie we could have gotten for a first one) only one remake (and a classy one at that — Foootloose), one musical doc that was an easy money grab, one classy adaptation (Hugo), and three original concepts! Three! (Super 8, No Strings Attached and Young Adult.) Granted, they fucked one of them up and the other isn’t really original — but you know what? Can’t blame them for trying. I bet that’s three more than other studios have.

No Strings Attached, Rango, Super 8, Hugo, Young Adult

Okay. That’s #1.

Finishing second, with an 17.9% market share, grossing a total of $1.824 billion, was:

2. Warner Bros.

Of all the Warner Bros. films tracked, 12 films were holdovers from 2010. they were: Yogi Bear, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, Hubble 3D, Under the Sea 3D (which is actually a 2009 film), Due Date, Life as We Know It, Deep Sea 3D (2006 film), Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole, Hereafter, The Town, Inception, The Polar Express (IMAX reissue). Of those, only Yogi Bear, really, made any kind of significant money in 2011 ($42 million). Everything else was under $10 million (Potter was at 15).

The studio released 26 films in 2011:

  • The Rite (PG-13)

$33 million domestic gross ($96 million worldwide gross)

$14.8 million opening weekend (#1)

Budget: $37 million

— Not really a success, but jesus, with the international numbers. What’s that about? That must be why we’re still subjected to these movies. They must pull in well overseas.

  • Unknown (PG-13)

$63.7 million domestic gross ($130.8 million worldwide gross)

$21.9 million opening weekend (#1)

Budget: $30 million

— Huge success here. Welcome to the “Liam Neeson beating the shit out of people” era.

  • Hall Pass (R)

$45.1 million domestic gross ($83.2 million worldwide gross)

$13.5 million opening weekend (#1)

Budget: $36 million

— Not a very big success, but possibly a moderate one. Which annoys me, because the film sucked.

  • Red Riding Hood (PG-13)

$37.7 million domestic gross ($89.2 million worldwide gross)

$14 million opening weekend

Budget: $42 million

— Also possibly a moderate success, but I’m not sure. Also a piece of shit. Way to not get on my good side so far, Warners.

  • Sucker Punch (PG-13)

$36.4 million domestic gross ($89.8 million worldwide gross)

$19.1 million opening weekend

Budget: $82 million

— Oh christ. You mean to tell me there hasn’t been a good film on here yet? Also — this was a huge failure. And I love it.

  • Arthur (PG-13)

$33 million domestic gross ($45.7 million worldwide gross)

$12.2 million opening weekend

Budget: $40 million

— Another one! What the fuck?! See, I’m glad I wrote this article. Because Warner Bros. reputation just took a huge hit in my book.

  • Born to Be Wild (G)

$14.8 million domestic gross

— Don’t care about this.

  • Something Borrowed (PG-13)

$39 million domestic gross ($60.2 million worldwide gross)

$13.9 million opening weekend

Budget: $35 million

— Oh, you’ve got to be fucking kidding me! What is this, half of my Unforgivables list already? (Also, this is pretty much a wash, financially.)

  • The Hangover: Part II (R)

$254.5 million domestic gross ($581.5 million worldwide gross)

$85.9 million opening weekend (#1)

Budget: $80 million

— Oh fucking no. I don’t even care about the numbers anymore. Are you fucking serious, right now? This is like half the Unforgivables list! (This made so much money it’s sickening.)

  • Green Lantern (PG-13)

$116.6 million domestic gross ($219.9 million worldwide gross)

$53.2 million opening weekend (#1)

Budget: $200 million

— And more! What the fuck? (Ha ha. This atom bombed.)

  • Horrible Bosses (R)

$117.5 million domestic gross ($209.6 million worldwide gross)

$28.3 million opening weekend

Budget: $35 million

— Another one! What the fuck? This made money, but it wasn’t that good! Oh Warners. Me and you got problems right now.

  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II (PG-13)

$381 million domestic gross ($1.3 billion worldwide gross)

$169.2 million opening weekend (#1)

Budget: They shot Part I and Part II back to back, and reported the first film’s budget at $250 million and didn’t report this one. I have to assume the $250 million was for both films combined.

— Clearly huge success. And the first good film I’ve seen on this list so far. But this is by default. So far I’ve seen nothing good that they’ve put out on their own that’s not part of a preexisting successful franchise. Wow.

  • Crazy, Stupid, Love (PG-13)

$84.4 million domestic gross ($142.9 million worldwide gross)

$19.1 million opening weekend

Budget: $50 million

— This is a joke, right? This is a sick joke. Is this 6 or 7 Unforgivables on one list? I’ll tally at the bottom. But this is ridiculous. (Also, this was a huge success, which is even more sickening.)

  • Final Destination 5 (R)

$42.6 million domestic gross ($157.9 million worldwide gross)

$18 million opening weekend

Budget: $40 million

— I don’t mind this at all, but on a list with those other films…it’s not helping. This was successful overseas, though. I think this is the last one of this franchise (but who knows with them), so it’s a nice note to go out on.

  • Contagion (PG-13)

$75.7 million domestic gross ($135.5 million worldwide gross)

$22.4 million opening weekend (#1)

Budget: $60 million

— Holy shit, a good movie! All it took was Steven Soderbergh. (Also a moderate success, too.) Jesus, though, what’s with Warners this year?

  • Dolphin Tale (PG)

$71.9 million domestic total ($89.4 million worldwide total)

$19.2 million opening weekend (#1, in its second weekend)

Budget: $37 million

— …and we’re back to not so good movies. I at least understand this one though, and I’m totally happy for it making money. I really blame audiences for flocking to it. Good for them, though.

  • A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas (R)

$34.9 million domestic gross ($35.1 million worldwide gross)

$12.95 million opening weekend

Budget: $19 million

— You know…don’t mind this. I don’t. Small budget, moderate success. Good for them.

  • J. Edgar (R)

$36.5 million domestic gross

$11.2 million opening weekend

Budget: $35 million

— Clint is Clint. It seems like the only quality films have come by the people they have longstanding relationships with (Soderbergh did all the Ocean’s movies for them). I like that this was a moderate success. (And if you don’t think this movie making its budget back in theaters isn’t a good thing, take a look at most of Clint’s previous directorial efforts at the box office.)

  • Happy Feet Two (PG)

$60.7 million domestic gross ($122.5 million worldwide gross)

$21.2 million opening weekend

Budget: $135 million

— Oh, man, they took a bath here. What happened? Does this register to anyone that a sequel could fail this badly? I saw it — it wasn’t that bad! It was better than Shrek 2. That made a fuck-gillion amount of money (* official amount). Were they drunk all year? It seems like they were freaking out about Potter leaving and made a lot of bad decisions.

  • New Year’s Eve (PG-13)

$44.2 million domestic gross ($114.5 million worldwide gross)

$13 million opening weekend (#1)

Budget: $56 million

— This I don’t blame them for. I bet they didn’t expect Valentine’s Day to pop as much as it did, so once that happened, they threw this together. Understandable. It still sucked, though, and if I see a third entry into this “series”… guns are out. You’ve been warned.

  • Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (PG-13)

$124.1 million domestic gross ($242.9 million worldwide gross)

$39.6 million opening weekend (#1)

Budget: $125 million

— Gonna be successful, when all is said and done. Only question is — is it enough to save the rest of the stuff? (No. The answer is no.)

  • Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (PG-13)

$267,923 domestic gross

Budget: None reported, but we have to figure around $50-60 million, right?

— This won’t make any money. They’ll take a bath on this one too. And they won’t even have Oscar nominations to show for it. Ouch.

(They also made $2.9 million on rereleases of all three Lord of the Rings films plus a rerelease of The Polar Express. Didn’t even know that happened. Apparently it happened in 500 theaters in June (and obviously December for the latter film). Had no idea about that one. All right.)

Notes on Warner Bros.

— Wow. That… was an eye-opener.

The Rite, Unknown, Hall Pass, Red Riding Hood, Sucker Punch, Arthur, Born to Be Wild, Something Borrowed, The Hangover Part II, Green Lantern, Horrible Bosses, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II, Crazy Stupid Love, Final Destination 5, Contagion, Dolphin Tale, A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas, J. Edgar, Happy Feet Two, New Year’s Eve, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Of all the films they released, we have: Six Unforgivables, three films in my 11-20 worst films of the year, one just outside that, two that were awful, one that I was okay with in terms of quality but hate because everyone else liked it (I can’t stand when people overrate mediocre shit), four blanks, two I’m okay with, and four I like. That’s awful. Seriously, Warners — what the hell was this? Six Unforgivables? Six? Seems like you can’t just base a studio on Dark Knight.

And again, just to go over the output — 1 superhero movie (Green Lantern), 7 sequels (Hangover, Potter, Final Destination, Harold and Kumar (technically), Happy Feet, New Year’s Eve (also technically), Sherlock Holmes), 5 adaptations (The Rite, Unknown, Something Borrowed, Dolphin Tale, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close), 1 remake (Arthur), 1 nature documentary, 1 pseudo adaptation (Red Riding Hood), though I don’t know what the fuck that actually was supposed to be, and 6 original concepts. (Keep in mind, the term original concept has to be based on the basic definition of that phrase, in an era such as this one.) Those were Hall Pass, Sucker Punch, Horrible Bosses, Crazy Stupid Love, Contagion, J. Edgar. Hall Pass I blame on the Farrellys, Sucker Punch I blame on Snyder. Horrible Bosses I am happy for, as long as they don’t make a sequel (which they’re talking about). Crazy Stupid Love I hated, but I’m happy for. Original screenplay making money — I’m on board for that. Contagion — Soderbergh. J. Edgar — Eastwood.

So basically, it comes down to the thing I’ve always heard about Warners — they let the filmmaker do what they do. So it’s not totally their fault when the filmmaker turns in a piece of garbage. True. But that doesn’t really absolve them for Green Lantern (even though they did admit they fucked up. So I’ll give Robinov that. He did say “I fucked up”), or Arthur. The rest — actually, I think I can understand the rest from this standpoint. So maybe it’s not totally them. Okay, Warners. You know what? You’ve convinced me. I’ll only put you in probation. I won’t let this affect my opinion of you past, “Man, what happened last year?” Though don’t think Dark Knight Rises will allow you to skate by. I expect to see some effort next year.

Oh we’re not even close to being done.

Finishing third, with a 12.5% market share, which equates to $1.272 billion, is

3. Sony/Columbia

They only had 5 2010 movies included on that total. Those were: Country Strong, The Tourist, How Do You Know, The Social Network and Burlesque. They only totaled about $50 million combined.

The studio released 23 films in 2011.

  • The Green Hornet (PG-13)

$98.8 million domestic total ($227.8 million worldwide total)

$35.5 million opening weekend (#1)

Budget: $120 million

— Yeesh. Let’s just forget this one ever happened. I know they are. (Not successful at all.)

  • The Roommate (PG-13)

$37.3 million domestic gross ($40.5 million worldwide gross)

$15 million opening weekend (#1)

Budget: $16 million

— Moderate success. Probably a wash. The money will be in ancillary, I’m guessing.

  • Just Go with It (PG-13)

$103 million domestic gross ($214.9 million worldwide gross)

$30.5 million opening weekend (#1)

Budget: $80 million

— Not as big a success as I thought. Still, made too much for my comfort. Seriously, America, do you want more of these?

  • Battle: Los Angeles (PG-13)

$83.6 million domestic gross ($211.8 million worldwide gross)

$35.6 million opening weekend (#1)

Budget: $70 million

— More of a hit overseas than here. I can live with that. Still made too much in that opening weekend, though.

  • Soul Surfer (PG)

$43.9 million domestic gross ($44.3 million worldwide gross)

$10.6 million opening weekend

Budget: $18 million

— I’m happy for this. Small movie, big heart, made money. Good job.

  • Jumping the Broom (PG-13)

$37.3 million domestic gross ($37.7 million worldwide gross)

$15.2 million opening weekend

Budget: $6.6 million

— Great for them. I like to see movies succeed when there’s nothing really wrong with them.

  • Priest (PG-13)

$29.1 million domestic gross ($78.3 million worldwide gross)

$15 million opening weekend

Budget: $60 million

— This makes me happy. Because this didn’t need to happen. And there was nothing of value here.

  • Bad Teacher (R)

$100.3 million domestic gross ($216.2 million worldwide gross)

$31.6 million opening weekend

Budget: $20 million

— I’m happy for this movie. It’s kind of a double-edged sword, though. Since (based on the track record), Cameron Diaz is both this movie’s weakest aspect and also the probably reason it did so well. I’m glad it did well, but let’s not call it a great movie, shall we? Seeing Cameron Diaz try to be raunchy is like seeing Lea Michele be “happy” for someone at an awards show.

  • Zookeeper (PG)

$80.4 million domestic gross ($169.9 million worldwide gross)

$20.1 million opening weekend

Budget: $80 million

— Yeah, moderate success, but come on, now. Really, Sony? Scraping that barrel, aren’t you? Just scraping away.

  • Friends with Benefits (R)

$55.8 million domestic gross ($149.5 million worldwide gross)

$18.6 million opening weekend

Budget: $35 million

— I’m glad this made money. This was one of the best comedies I saw this year (if not the best. I can’t remember off the top of my head. But the fact that I even liked a comedy should tell you something).

  • Attack the Block (R)

$1 million domestic gross ($5.8 million worldwide gross)

Budget: $13 million

— Didn’t make their money back, but they got a cult audience. That’s something.

  • The Smurfs (PG)

$142.6 million domestic gross ($562.5 million worldwide gross)

$35.6 million opening weekend

Budget: $110 million

— There will be a sequel. I think that about covers it.

  • 30 Minutes or Less (R)

$37.1 million domestic gross ($40.5 million worldwide gross)

$13.3 million opening weekend

Budget: $28 million.

— I guess we can call this a success, right? Since you know their money is in the DVDs and not in theatrical.

  • Colombiana (R)

$36.7 million domestic gross ($61 million worldwide gross)

$10.4 million opening weekend

Budget: $40 million

— Standard line for a movie like this.

  • Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star (R)

$2.5 million domestic gross

$1.4 million opening wekend

Budget: $10 million

— Ha ha.

  • Straw Dogs (R)

$10.3 million domestic gross

$5.1 million opening weekend

Budget: $25 million

— Not surprised. Curious to see where this idea seemed like a good one.

  • Moneyball (PG-13)

$74.9 million domestic gross ($104.3 million worldwide gross)

$19.5 million opening weekend

Budget: $50 million

— Very happy for it. Moderate success in theaters, but it’s an awards film, therefore automatically a success, since it’ll make lots of money in ancillary.

  • Courageous (PG-13)

$33.98 million domestic gross

$9.1 million opening weekend

Budget: $2 million

— Catholics, man.

  • The Ides of March (R)

$40.8 million domestic gross ($57 million worldwide gross)

$10.5 million opening weekend

Budget: $12.5 million

Very happy about this. This movie deserves every penny.

  • Anonymous (PG-13)

$4.5 million domestic gross ($14.8 million worldwide gross)

$1 million opening weekend

Budget: $30 million

— Their fault. They yanked it from theaters to cut their losses. Probably a good thing, overall, but still… they did it.

  • Jack and Jill (PG)

$ 71.6 million domestic gross ($88.6 million worldwide gross)

$25 million opening weekend

Budget: $79 million

— I can’t say I’m unhappy. Still not low enough to where it’ll stop. You have a big test next year, America. He’s got a summer movie coming out. That means you need to not automatically give him a $25+ million opening. Do you really want more of these? Do you?

  • Arthur Christmas (PG)

$45.7 million domestic gross ($142.97 million worldwide gross)

$12.1 million opening weekend

Budget: $100 million

— Shame. This was so good, too. Not an abject failure, but not a success by any means.

  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (R)

$50.3 million domestic gross ($72.2 million worldwide gross)

$12.8 million opening weekend

Budget: $90 million

— This will be a success when all is said and done, and they know it. Which is why they’re working on the sequel.

Notes on Sony/Columbia:

— They put out: The Green Hornet, The Roommate, Just Go With It, Battle: Los Angeles, Soul Surfer, Jumping the Broom, Priest, Bad Teacher, Zookeeper, Friends with Benefits, Attack the Block, The Smurfs, 30 Minutes or Less, Columbiana, Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star, Straw Dogs, Moneyball, Courageous, The Ides of March, Anonymous, Jack and Jill, Arthur Christmas, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

Of those — I don’t really have a problem with many of them. The Sandler ones, obviously, which includes Zookeeper and Bucky Larson. The rest — they’re only not okay because the finished product sucked. Green Hornet was just a series of mistakes all around. The Roommate is a low budget shitty thriller, and that’s fine. Battle: Los Angeles I really only hate because it made money. I knew it was gonna suck. Soul Surfer, small, modest hit. Good. Same for Jumping the Broom. Priest — well, failure is failure. You live and you learn. Bad Teacher — good for them. Original concept. Acceptable. Nice try. Maybe let it have some more personality next time (that isn’t artificial). Friends with Benefits — major props for that one. You did good there. Smurfs — yeah… but also yeah… I’m okay with it. Because while it is soulless and not that great — it’s for kids. Kids’ll watch anything. So I don’t really care. It’s The Smurfs. If I blame them for anything it’s for going the pop culture route with it. 30 Minutes or Less — interesting concept that didn’t pan out. No problem there. Columbiana — no problem. And all the Oscar stuff — all great films. So thumbs up for them. They’re doing good work. I’ll be on the look out for their stuff next year. (Them and Paramount so far. And be wary of Warner Bros. See? I’m learning.)

I’m actually liking this thing I’m doing (all of this is after having written all the stuff above it for each studio, but the way. These big ass articles are like the Frankenstein’s monster of articles. I piece them together from different times and mindsets). It’s helping me understand things better from their end.

So — Sony (slash Columbia) — One superhero movie (Green Hornet), four shitty Adam Sandler films (Just Go With It, Zookeeper, Bucky Larson, Jack & Jill), four classy adaptations (Soul SurferMoneyball, The Ides of March, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), one classy animated movie (Arthur Christmas), 1 remake (Straw Dogs), 2 big budget adaptations (Priest, The Smurfs), and (technically), ten original concepts. Wow. That’s a lot. Granted, The Roommate is basically a retread of a particular genre, but really it’s just a programmer for February, so that’s not so bad. Battle: Los Angeles I only really have a problem with because of how people responded to it. I don’t really care so much that they made money from it. Jumping the Broom — no problem there. Friends with Benefits — great job there. See what happens when you adapt good scripts and don’t meddle too much into them? Bad Teacher — another one. Good job. My only problem is with the final product (and even then, not that much). Very happy for them with this. Attack the Block — not really them, but good job anyway, bringing this to audiences. 30 Minutes or Less — mostly issues with the final product. Still, they were in the right here, so no issues. Columbiana — programmer. September. No issues. Courageous — they made money in a specific market. This is no different from Jumping the Broom. And Anonymous — no problems. So, overall — they did a great job. The only problems I can find with Sony are the Sandler movies, and since I know they just have a deal with his company, they’re only seeing the money and really the issue with quality comes from his side. So I really like Sony. They didn’t really fuck up all that much this year. And they have by far the most original concepts coming out of there. So yeah — them and Paramount are thumbs up for me so far. (Warners is a “wait and see.”)

We’re on to number four…

Finishing fourth, with a 12.2% market share, equating to $1.24 billion is

4. Buena Vista (aka Disney)

The thing about Disney is — they’re always a studio who releases a relatively small number of films. However, they make shit tons of money on those films. Watch:

Disney only has 3 2010 movies involved in their gross: Tron: Legacy, Tangled and Secretariat. The first two total about $90 million. A nice little sum.

Disney’s 2011 movies (14 of them) are:

  • Gnomeo and Juliet (G)

$99.97 million domestic gross ($193.97 million worldwide gross)

$25.4 million opening weekend

Budget: $36 million

— Major success. Good for them. It was cute.

  • I Am Number Four (PG-13)

$55.1 million domestic gross ($144.5 million worldwide gross)

$19.4 million opening weekend

Budget: $60 million

— Piece of shit, did well overseas. There won’t be a sequel. One and done is fine. It becomes a problem when you think a sequel will deliver. For now, bad movie, you cut it loose. (Like The Golden Compass.)

  • Mars Needs Moms (PG)

$21.4 million domestic gross ($39 million worldwide gross)

$6.9 million opening weekend

Budget: $150 million

— Ha ha. This failed. Not sure why, but it did. I laugh because I like when $150 million movies barely pull in 1/10th of that. (That’s a huge loss, too. I wonder if that’s them or if it’s another company and they just distributed. Probably that. I doubt they’re totally responsible for this.)

  • African Cats (G)

$15.4 million domestic gross

$6 million opening weekend

No budget was reported. I think it’s minimal, since it was all reused footage.

— Nature doc. Quick cash.

  • Prom (PG)

$10.1 million domestic gross

$4.7 million opening weekend

Budget: $8 million

— Quick cash.

  • Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (PG-13)

$241.1 million domestic gross ($1 billion worldwide gross)

$90.2 million opening weekend (#1)

Budget: $250 million

— Golden goose. Fucking bananas.

  • Cars 2 (G)

$191.5 million domestic gross ($559.9 million worldwide gross)

$66.1 million opening weekend (#1)

Budget: $200 million

— Look at the overseas gross, and think of how well the merchandise is selling. That’s why this is a huge success.

  • Winnie the Pooh (G)

$26.7 million domestic gross ($33.2 million worldwide gross)

$7.9 million opening weekend

Budget: $30 million

— Major success creatively, decent financially.

  • The Help (PG-13)

$168.3 million domestic gross ($196.7 million worldwide gross) (DOUBLE CHECK)

$26 million opening weekend (#1 in weekends 2, 3 & 4)

Budget: $25 million

— Clearly the biggest hit of the year. I don’t think anyone thought it would ever make anything near this much. (My dislike of it is purely for Academy Awards reasons. That’s all.)

  • Fright Night (R)

$18.3 million domestic gross ($37.1 million worldwide gross)

$7.7 million opening weekend

Budget: $30 million

— Failure, but not one that really matters that much.

  • The Lion King 3D (G)

$94.2 million domestic gross

$30.2 million opening weekend (#1, 2 weekends)

NO BUDGET. Or if there was, it was less than $30 million. (Cost to convert, plus prints and stuff.)

— They made $94 million by putting out something that’s almost 20 years old. And all they spent was like $30 million to convert it. Free money.

  • Real Steel (PG-13)

$84.6 million domestic gross ($277.3 million worldwide gross)

$27.3 million opening weekend (#1)

Budget: $100 million

— Moderate success. I think they’re working on a sequel. That’s where all the money is supposed to come.

  • The Muppets (PG)

$81.8 million domestic gross ($90.6 million worldwide gross)

$29.2 million opening weekend

Budget: $45 million

— Success. I’m happy for it. Hopeful for a sequel. Though I think they need a stronger story for a sequel (if there’s going to be one), since they won’t be able to get by on nostalgia there.

  • War Horse (PG-13)

$36.4 million domestic gross ($40.4 million worldwide gross)

$7.5 million (limited) opening weekend

Budget: $66 million

— Will be a success, trust me. It’ll have its budget back by the time it gets nominated for Best Picture, and after that (by the time it possibly wins), it’ll do $100 million. Don’t worry about this one at all.

Notes on Buena Vista:

— It’s Disney. We already know what they do. Remember? All they want is tentpoles and franchises. So that’s what they’re doing. Overall, though, there’s really only one movie here I have an out and out problem with (I Am Number Four). Everything else is fine. They at least try to put out decent product for the demographic they’re trying to hit. (I don’t really think anyone could hate Disney or Pixar for quality reasons.)

Disney is tough. I love Disney because of their history. But the first six months for them were brutal. Pirates is the only thing resembling a decent product (Gnomeo and Juliet notwithstanding), and even that is a huge dropoff in quality from the first three. They have the animated section down — no issues there. They’re the benchmark, them and Pixar. Otherwise — The Help, that’s fine too. And then Real Steel, The Muppets and War Horse — those are their real triumphs. And even then, two of those are DreamWorks. The Muppets is really the only one that could sort of go to them, but even then, that’s mostly Jason Segal. Disney is all about the other stuff — the tentpoles and shit. So I’m not really pleased with their mindset, but I have to respect at least the animation side of Disney for what they do.

Four down, lots to go.

Finishing fifth, with a 10.2% market share, equating to $1.04 billion, is:

5. Universal

Universal only had 2 2010 movies making money in 2011. They were: Little Fockers and Despicable Me. Fockers made almost $64 million, and Despicable Me made less than $1 million.

In 2011, Universal released 15 films:

  • The Dilemma (PG-13)

$48.5 million domestic gross ($69.7 million worldwide gross)

$17.8 million opening weekend

Budget: $70 million

— Not a good start. Financially or in terms of what I think about them.

  • Sanctum (R)

$23.2 million domestic gross ($108.6 million worldwide gross)

$9.4 million opening weekend

Budget: $30 million

— Good financially (overseas only. That’s interesting), and I don’t give a fuck about the movie, so that’s a wash.

  • The Adjustment Bureau (PG-13)

$62.5 million domestic gross ($127.9 million worldwide gross)

$21.2 million opening weekend

Budget: $50.2 million

— I’d say this was a moderate success. And I loved it a lot. So that’s a major plus for them.

  • Paul (R)

$37.4 million domestic gross ($98 million worldwide gross)

$13 million opening weekend

Budget: $40 million

— Meh. It was okay. And it made a nice chunk overseas. I’d say this was a moderate success. It’ll do better on DVD.

  • Hop (PG)

$108.1 million domestic gross ($190 million worldwide gross)

$37.5 million opening weekend (#1, 2 weekends)

Budget: $63 million

— Nice success, a sequel should be imminent (probably without the leads, too. That’s usually how these things work). The film was a god-awful piece of shit, though. I can usually forgive bad kids movies. This was worse.

  • Your Highness (R)

$21.6 million domestic gross ($24.9 million worldwide gross)

$9.4 million opening weekend

Budget: $49.9 million

— Huge failure. Huge.

  • Fast Five (PG-13)

$209.8 million domestic gross ($626.1 million worldwide gross)

$86.2 million opening weekend (#1)

Budget: $125 million

— Gigantic success. They seem to be playing a nice balancing act so far. This film saved everything else before it. Look at those international grosses.

  • Bridesmaids (R)

$169.1 million domestic gross ($288.4 million worldwide gross)

$26.2 million opening weekend

Budget $32.5 million

— Biggest success of the year, next to The Help. (That’s how these things work, didn’t you know? When a film hits bigger than they expected it to, they automatically assume it should be nominated for Best Picture.) I’m happy for the financial success. The Oscars thing is laughable to me.

  • Larry Crowne (PG-13)

$35.6 million domestic gross ($52.4 million worldwide gross)

$13.1 million opening weekend

Budget: $30 million

— Pretty much a wash. And it was garbage.

  • Cowboys & Aliens (PG-13)
$100.2 million domestic gross ($174.8 million worldwide gross)

$36.4 million opening weekend (#1)

Budget: $163 million

— This was a big failure. Big turd. Really big turd, said Mr. Sullivan.

(Oh, yes, I’m perfectly willing to do completely hackneyed and way out of date references. I don’t give a fuck.)

  • The Change-Up (R)

$37.1 million domestic gross ($73.6 million worldwide gross)

$13.5 million opening weekend

Budget: $52 million

— Also a nice little failure. Can’t say it isn’t deserved.

  • Dream House (PG-13)

$21.3 million domestic gross ($38.5 million worldwide gross)

$8.1 million opening weekend

Budget: $50 million

— Huge failure. Mostly because of all the money you don’t see on this page. That budget — they reshot this thing a couple times. They spent much more than that budget on it. This is one of those Pontius Pilate films.

  • The Thing (R)

$16.9 million domestic gross ($27.4 million worldwide gross)

$8.5 million opening weekend

Budget: $38 million

— That budget surprised the hell out of me. I actually don’t feel so bad about that gross now. Still a failure.

  • Johnny English Reborn (PG)

$8.3 million domestic gross ($158.6 million worldwide gross)

$3.8 million opening weekend

Budget: $45 million

— Success. But overseas. They only gave it a courtesy release over here. I guess for the Brits on vacation.

  • Tower Heist (PG-13)

$76.7 million domestic gross ($134.3 million worldwide gross)

$24 million opening weekend

Budget: $75 million

— Another failure. And also a deserved one. Hmm…

Notes on Universal:

— Honestly, I can’t really get too mad at them. Because when they made shitty films (which admittedly was most of them), they didn’t really reap the financial benefits for them. Though, the only movie they released that I really liked this year was Adjustment Bureau. Fast Five was also good.

So, of those — honestly, original or not original, most of the stuff just seems so manufactured. You know? Larry Crowne. Designed to make money. No quality there at all. Tower Heist. About as real as Bruce Jenner’s face. (I can’t believe I just made that joke. Should have went with Cher. Or that dude from Die Another Day. Those references would have been much classier.) Cowboys & Aliens also is manufactured. There was nothing good there. It was designed to make money. And it didn’t, because quality wasn’t there. Hop is about as manufactured as it gets. Even The Thing. There’s a movie designed to sell, when all they really did was write about 30 minutes of film, and then plug in the Carpenter version with these same characters.

So what does that leave? Adjustment Bureau, Fast Five, Bridesmaids, Paul. I’m okay with those. I’m okay with Sanctum. I’m also okay with Your Highness, from a creative standpoint. The only problem was with how it turned out. Sometimes shit just doesn’t work out. I can’t fault them for that. Johnny English Reborn — honestly, how much of that was them? This is a British franchise and Rowan Atkinson is the guy. I feel they can’t be blamed for anything there. So that’s fine. This leaves three films —

I guess I have to be okay with The Change-Up. I hesitated putting it in the manufactured section, but I really don’t even know what to call this one. It just seems mismanaged all the way through. Same for The Dilemma. I don’t really know what anyone was thinking for either of these films at all.

Dream House, to me, is the most telling. Because here you have Jim Sheridan (In America, My Left Foot, In the Name of the Father, The Boxer, and yes, most recently, Brothers and Get Rich or Die Tryin’. I know. Still, he knows what he’s doing for the most part), Daniel Craig, Naomi Watts and Rachel Weisz. To assemble that cast of people, there must have been something there to work with (unless it was money). Plus — Sheridan quits because of disagreements with the studio, they go back in for multiple rounds of reshoots. And then, when all is said and done, all the stars refuse to do any press for the film. So what does that tell you? It tells me, Sheridan wanted to do it one way, the studio wanted to do it another. They get rid of him, and do it their way. And the finished product is the result of that.

I think that says a lot about Universal.

So, Universal is on my ‘wary’ list for next year. I won’t write them off until I see a trend. (I could go back and look at their old stuff, but let’s just look forward and go by what we see. I’ll be open-minded about this.) Though if they continue this shit next year…

Finishing sixth, with a 9.6% market share, equating to $977.8 million, was:

6. 20th Century Fox

This is the last of the “big time” studios. Nothing else was even close to $500 million.

20th Century Fox had 4 movies included in that figure, and they were: The Chronicles of Narnia: Teh Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Gulliver’s Travels, Unstoppable and Love and Other Drugs. They all totaled about $50 million.

20th Century Fox released 15 films in 2011:

  • Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son (PG-13)

$37.9 million domestic gross ($82.7 million worldwide gross)

$16.3 million opening weekend

Budget: $32 million

— Moderate success. Very low-key, though, which is why I’m surprisingly okay with it. It sucked, but I’m okay with them making money for it, since it was entirely overseas.

  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules (PG)

$52.7 million domestic gross ($72.4 million worldwide gross)

$23.8 million opening weekend (#1)

Budget: $21 million

— I’m very happy for them about this, simply because it’s actually (allegedly. I’ve never actually seen it) a smart movie for kids. So good for them.

  • Rio (G)

$143.6 million domestic gross ($484.6 million worldwide gross)

$39.2 million opening weekend (#1)

Budget: $90 million

— Huge success. A bit too huge for the actual quality of the film. The sad part is that they’re gonna give you more of it next time, which is not what this needed. (This was a successful film with its core story, but not with its supporting cast of characters.) But — I’m cool with this.

  • Water for Elephants (PG-13)

$58.7 million domestic gross ($117.1 million worldwide gross)

$16.8 million opening weekend

Budget: $38 million

— Nice hit for them. (Check out that fucking overseas number.)

  • X-Men: First Class (PG-13)

$146.4 million domestic gross ($353.6 million worldwide gross)

$55.1 million opening weekend (#1)

Budget: $160 million

— The international number makes this a hit. this one was about validation for a sequel, which they got in spades. Overall — huge success.

  • Mr. Popper’s Penguins (PG)

$68.2 million domestic gross ($187.4 million worldwide gross)

$18.4 million opening weekend

Budget: $55 million

— Big success. Again — internationally. Fox is doing better internationally than they’re doing domestically.

  • Monte Carlo (PG)

$23.2 million domestic gross ($39.7 million worldwide gross)

$7.5 million opening weekend

Budget: $20 million

— Pretty much a wash.

  • Rise of the Planet of the Apes (PG-13)

$176.7 million domestic gross ($481.2 million worldwide gross)

$54.8 million opening weekend (#1, 2 weekends)

Budget: $93 million

— Huge success, considering how much bad press this had going in. That international number is insane, and the film was great too. Major success, this one.

  • Glee: The 3D Concert Movie (PG)

$11.9 million domestic gross ($18.7 million worldwide gross)

$5.96 million opening weekend

Budget: $9 million

— Money grab. Pretty much a wash.

  • What’s Your Number? (R)

$14 million domestic gross ($30.4 million worldwide gross)

$5.4 million opening weekend

Budget: $20 million

— Also a wash. Sucked.

  • The Big Year (PG)

$7.2 million domestic gross ($7.4 million worldwide gross)

$3.3 million opening weekend

Budget: $41 million

— Huge bomb. How did they think spending $40 million about bird-watching would be a success?

  • In Time (PG-13)

$37 million domestic gross ($133.5 million worldwide gross)

$12.1 million opening weekend

Budget: $40 million

— Not a huge success stateside, but overseas — damn. Good for them. I liked this.

  • The Sitter (R)

$25.6 million domestic gross

$9.9 million opening weekend

Budget: $25 million

— They broke even, so that’s a success. All the money’s from ancillary here.

  • Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked (G)

$88.2 million domestic gross ($177.8 million worldwide gross)

$23.2 million opening weekend

Budget: $75 million

— Damn it. This means we’re getting another one.

  • We Bought a Zoo (PG)

$36.8 million domestic gross ($44.5 million worldwide gross)

$9.4 million opening weekend

Budget: $50 million

— This will be a hit eventually. Weird how under-the-radar of a hit this is gonna be.

Notes for 20th Century Fox: So, this year, they released —

Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules, Rio, Water for Elephants, X-Men: First Class, Mr. Popper’s Penguins, Monte Carlo, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Glee: The 3D Concert Movie, What’s Your Number?, The Big Year, In Time, The Sitter, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, We Bought a Zoo

Tough to call. Big Mommas is an abortion, but at least they didn’t splash money at it. They quietly released it (much like Harold and Kumar), let it make its money, then got it out of there. So I don’t really have that much against it. Wimpy Kid — not something that makes me like them more, but a nice success. Rio — kinda liked it, but way too much will.i.am and pop culture. I’m gonna turn sour on this franchise when the sequel comes out. Water for Elephants — not great, but not terrible. Meh. Indifference. X-Men — I’m still not sure how I feel about this. I like it, because I love the franchise (even though I really haven’t loved one of the movies since the first two), but I’m not really sure how much I love the actual film. Maybe I’ll watch it again. Yeah… that’s what I’ll do. Anyway… Popper… meh. Carlo sucked, but it was for tweens. Rise was great, so I’ll give them that. Glee — money grab. It’s their show. No problem there. What’s Your Number? sucked. Big Year — haven’t seen it. In Time — liked it. Didn’t love it. Liked it. The Sitter — surprised how much I liked it. Alvin — fuck them. We Bought a Zoo — still need to see.

Overall — pretty bland. I always thought Fox was a bland studio. This didn’t change that opinion. I don’t really hate a lot of it, but I also don’t like it. It just feels bland and generic. So, that’s what I think of Fox for this next year. (This is good. I like having this. So when I watch a Fox film in 2012, and it’s bland, I can be like, “Wow, this pretty much fits with what they do.” This is why I’m writing this! I’m so excited to find a purpose in what I do. I often forget why I do things and just do them because I know I wanted to do them and now they’ve become something I have to do.)

– – – – –

Okay. We’ve taken care of the big guns. Now we have a few mid-size ones that are just as important.

With a 4.1% market share, which equates to $411.7 million, we have:

7. Summit Entertainment

Summit had 2 2010 films included on this list: Red and Fair Game. They totaled less than $2 million.

They released 8 films in 2011:

  • Drive Angry (R)

$10.7 million domestic gross ($28.9 million worldwide gross)

$5.2 million opening weekend

Budget: ~$45-50 million

— Nice little failure for them. They lost a bit of money on this.

  • Source Code (PG-13)

$54.7 million domestic gross ($123.3 million worldwide gross)

$14.8 million opening weekend

Budget: $32 million

— Success. Nice success.

  • The Beaver (PG-13)

$970,816 domestic gross ($6.4 million worldwide gross)

Budget: $21 million

— Failure, but I think one they understand. It was a tough sell from the start. Hopefully they made this for the artistic reasons.

  • A Better Life (PG-13)

$1.8 million domestic gross

Budget: $10 million

— Failure, but a critical success. There’s always a silver lining.

  • 50/50 (R)

$35 million domestic gross ($39.2 million worldwide gross)

$8.6 million opening weekend

Budget: $8 million

— Huge success, relative to its budget. Very happy about this.

  • The Three Musketeers (PG-13)

$20.4 million domestic gross ($132.3 million worldwide gross)

$8.7 million opening weekend

Budget: $75 million

— Big failure stateside, moderate success elsewhere. Can’t help but think they fucked up on this one, though. (Apparently Milla Jovovich felt so as well. She ripped the studio about the marketing.)

  • The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part I (PG-13)

$274.8 million domestic gross ($657.1 million worldwide gross)

$138.1 million opening weekend (#1, 3 weekends)

Budget: $110 million

— They make money and they don’t (usually) spend that much. Can’t fault that. They got something that hit and are riding the train all the way through. Why try harder when what you have to work with doesn’t give you anything of quality? No problem here.

  • The Darkest Hour (PG-13)

$11.7 million domestic gross ($20 million worldwide gross)

$3 million opening weekend

Budget: $30 million

— Moderate failure, but it’s so small it probably doesn’t matter. Plus there’s still time for them to come out even theatrically. I figure it’ll make money ancillary.

Notes on Summit Entertainment:

Twilight has always been their bread and butter. They produce the films for a nominal budget (which, admittedly, has gone up with each film, but that might be them having to pay the actors more each time, but even so), and they made boatloads of money from the franchise. It’s a golden goose.

Based on their stuff — I see them choosing stuff that’s very solid, overall. Source Code — good script, smart film. The Beaver — good script, smart film. 50/50 — great script, smart film. A Better Life — I hear nothing but great things. Twilight is them running the course, and just pocketing shitloads of money. Everything else is moderately budgeted. Darkest hour — interesting twist on the monster movie. Not great, but I see what they were going for. Drive Angry — I loved it. I think that film is grossly misunderstood. And Musketeers — I liked it. I thought it was a lot of fun. I think the failure was in the marketing and not in anything they did. (Though, admittedly, it wasn’t that great a movie. But it was fun. That’s all I care about.) So, I’m cool with Summit. As a midsize studio, I think they’re doing things right. Good for them.

7. Weinstein Company

The Weinstein Company finished eighth, with a 2.9% market share, equating to $296.1 million.

They had 2 2010 films included on the list, and one is a biggie. The first was Blue Valentine, which was a solid $9.6 million for them. The other is The King’s Speech, which made $117.8 million in 2011, which is a nice chunk of their total box office gross for the year.

The Weinstein Company released 15 2011 films:

  • The Company Men (R, made in 2010, released in 2011)

$4.4 million domestic gross ($4.9 million worldwide gross)

Budget: $15 million

— Not a success financially, but a great film. The Weinstein’s are great with this — great films, no money. It’s a shame, but at least someone is putting out good films.

  • Miral (PG-13)

$373,420 domestic gross ($900,647) worldwide gross

No budget reported.

— Nice failure. But I can’t imagine they spent that much on this. $5 million? Pretty much a wash, I’d say.

  • The King’s Speech (PG-13)

$3.3 million domestic gross

Only budget required was to cut the film and make the prints. Trifles, considering what this film made.

— They made a shit ton of money on this film, and it pretty much helped cover them for a lot of what they put out this year.

  • Scream 4 (R)

$38.2 million domestic gross ($97.1 million worldwide gross)

$18.7 million opening weekend

Budget: $40 million

— Moderate success. Not great, but enough. Ancillary helps this.

  • Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil (PG)

$10.1 million domestic gross ($16.96 million worldwide gross)

$4.1 million opening weekend

Budget: $30 million

— Failure. But I can’t see where they thought this would ever make money in the first place. (They do have a history of these. Films they make, but realize won’t do well, so they go through the motions of a release and take the losses.)

  • Submarine (R)

$467,602 domestic gross ($864,659 worldwide gross)

No budget reported.

— Probably a film that cost less than $2 million. Kind of a wash. Critical success, though.

  • Sarah’s Key (PG-13)

$7.7 million domestic gross ($21.1 million worldwide gross)

No budget reported.

— No idea what this even is.

  • Spy Kids: All the Time in the World (PG)

$38.5 million domestic gross ($74.1 million worldwide gross)

$11.6 million opening weekend

Budget: $27 million

— Small budget, made money. Good job.

  • Our Idiot Brother (R)

$24.8 million domestic gross

$7 million opening weekend

$5 million budget

— Nice success. Good job. Small ball, baby. Singles still bring the runs in.

  • Apollo 18 (PG-13)

$17.7 million domestic gross ($25.6 million worldwide gross)

$8.7 million opening weekend

Budget: $5 million

— Small success, I’d imagine. (Though who knows, with marketing.)

  • I Don’t Know How She Does It (PG-13)

$9.7 million domestic gross ($30.6 million worldwide gross)

$4.4 million opening weekend

Budget: $24 million

— Not really a success. What were they thinking here?

  • Dirty Girl (R)

$55,125 domestic gross

No budget reported.

— I’d imagine a failure.

  • My Week with Marilyn (R)

$8.6 million domestic gross ($12.4 million worldwide gross)

$1.8 million opening weekend

Budget: $10 million

— Going to be a success. But they don’t care so much with these Oscar movies.

  • The Artist (PG-13)

$4.6 million domestic gross ($20.1 million worldwide gross)

Budget: $15 million

— I’m pretty sure Best Picture nomination and possible win is enough to make this a huge success.

  • The Iron Lady (PG-13)

$142,752 domestic gross

Budget: $13 million

— Too early to tell.

Notes on the Weinstein Company:

— I always liked them, and I think they put out good stuff. The real issues here are when they do something out of their skill set (I Don’t Know How She Does It, Hoodwinked) or when they try too hard with the Oscar stuff (there’s lots of Oscar bait they put out that really crashed and burned).

Finishing ninth, with a 2.2% market share, which equates to $227.7 million, was:

9. Relativity

Relativity had 7 films in 2011, with one from 2010 (The Warrior’s Way, which only did about $100,000 for this year)

  • Season of the Witch (PG-13)

$24.8 million domestic gross ($91.6 million worldwide gross)

$10.6 million opening weekend

Budget: $40 million

— Moderate success (given the reshoots I know they shot), but barely.

  • Take Me Home Tonight (R)

$6.9 million domestic gross

$3.5 million opening weekend

No budget. (I’m guessing about $20 million.)

— Not a very big success. But it was shelved for like two years, so at least they got it out.

  • Limitless (PG-13)

$79.2 million domestic gross ($161.8 million worldwide gross)

$18.9 million opening weekend (#1)

Budget: $27 million

— Huge success for them. Which I’m surprisingly okay with.

  • Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer (PG)

$15 million domestic gross

$6.1 million opening weekend

Budget: $20 million

— Wash, I’d say. Moderate failure, but not really.

  • Shark Night 3D (PG-13)

$18.9 million domestic gross ($39.1 million worldwide gross)

$8.4 million opening weekend

Budget: $25 million

— Wash.

  • Machine Gun Preacher (R)

$532,690 domestic gross ($1.1 million worldwide gross)

Budget: $30 million

— Failure.

  • Immortals (R)

$82.6 million domestic budget ($196.7 million worldwide gross)

$32.2 million opening weekend

Budget: $75 million

— Great success. (To the point where I’d expect them to talk sequel in some form.)

Notes on Relativity:

— Nothing really major here. Haven’t really seen anything I liked. So I guess it’ll be a film by film basis for them.

Rounding out the top ten, with a 1.8% market share, totaling about $184 million, we have:

10. Lionsgate

Lionsgate had 3 2010 films included in their total, For Colored Girls, The Next Three Days and Rabbit Hole, but they only added about $2 million (and most of it was from the one you wouldn’t expect it to be).

In 2011, Lionsgate released 12 films:

  • From Prada to Nada (PG-13)

$3 million domestic total ($3.2 million worldwide total)

$1.1 million opening weekend

No budget reported. (Couldn’t have been more than $10-15 million, right?)

— Failure?

  • The Lincoln Lawyer (R)

$58 million domestic gross ($75 million worldwide gross)

$13.2 million opening weekend

Budget: $40 million

— Moderate success. Proud of this one.

  • No Eres Tu, Soy Yo (PG-13)

$1.3 million domestic gross

— Spanish film. Released in Spanish markets. Pretty sure they only picked it up for distribution, so it’s just added money for them.

  • Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Big Happy Family (PG-13)

$53.3 million domestic gross

$25.1 million opening weekend

Budget: $25 million

— You know what it is. Every time.

  • Go For It (PG-13)

$180,237 domestic gross

— No idea what this is. Let’s just assume it’s another Spanish film.

  • The Devil’s Double (R)

$1.4 million domestic gross

Budget: $19.1 million

— Financial failure.

  • Conan the Barbarian (R)

$21.3 million domestic gross ($48.8 million worldwide gross)

$10 million opening weekend

Budget: $90 million

Huge failure. (Deservedly so, too.)

  • Saving Private Perez (PG-13)

$1.4 million domestic gross ($9.3 million worldwide gross)

No budget reported.

— Spanish film. More money.

  • Warrior (PG-13)

$13.7 million domestic gross ($23.1 million worldwide gross)

$5.2 million opening weekend

Budget: $25 million

— Critical success. Financial failure, moderately.

  • Abduction (PG-13)

$28.1 million domestic gross ($82.1 million worldwide gross)

$10.9 million opening weekend

Budget: $35 million

— Wash. It’ll make money in ancillary.

  • Labios Rojos

$161,194 domestic gross

— Spanish film.

Notes on Lionsgate:

— They only had one Tyler Perry movie this year. That explains why they weren’t higher.

Only one big film for them, and it sucked. Otherwise — no idea what their goal is, film-wise. Niche market? Either way — nothing here I really like. But I guess at this point we need to take it film at a time.

Okay, now we’re at the down and dirty ones. Mostly independent films. These aren’t so much about how much they make as much as they are about what they make.

In 11th, with a 1.5% market share, which equates to $152.4 million, is:

11. Fox Searchlight

Fox Searchlight put out 11 films in 2011, and two 2010 films were tacked onto their total, which were Black Swan and 127 Hours. Those brought in $74 million (most of it coming from Black Swan).

  • Cedar Rapids (R)

$6.9 million domestic gross

No budget reported. Let’s just assume $5-10 million. Anything above that is just stupid.

— I’m assuming financial wash.

  • Win Win (R)

$10.2 million domestic gross ($10.8 million worldwide gross)

No budget reported. It must have been minimal.

— Probably minor success.

  • Dum Maaro Dum (R)

$564,489 domestic gross

No budget reported.

— Hindi crime thriller. They put these in areas with a large Indian population. In the big malls in New Jersey, you’ll see this playing in the theaters there. At least, I have seen it there. Same as the Spanish films. Easy coin in niche markets.

  • The Tree of Life (PG-13)

$13.3 million domestic gross ($54.3 million worldwide gross)

$32 million budget.

— Success. Trust me. They don’t expect Terrence Malick films to make any money.

  • The Art of Getting By (PG-13)

$1.4 million domestic gross

No budget reported.

— Failure? No idea.

  • Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (PG-13)

$1.3 million domestic gross ($11.3 million worldwide gross)

Budget: $6 million

— Uhh, wash?

  • Another Earth (PG-13)

$1.3 million domestic gross ($1.8 million worldwide gross)

No budget reported. It was small, most definitely under $1 million.

— Probably minor hit. It’ll do well in home video.

  • Margaret (R)

$46,495 domestic gross

Budget: $14 million

— This film was shelved for a long time. I remember seeing Matt Damon was gonna be in this back from when Bourne Ultimatum was out. Not sure what happened here, but it was on the shelf for a long time. I’m guessing it’s a hefty failure.

  • Martha Marcy May Marlene (R)

$2.9 million domestic gross

Budget: Not reported. But I guarantee you it was under $5 million, and was probably under $1 million.

— Nice success, comparatively.

  • The Descendants (R)

$38.4 million domestic gross

$1.2 million opening weekend

Budget: I’d have to guess $20-30 million, right?

— Success.

Notes on Fox Searchlight:

The reason you don’t see budgets on a lot of these is because Fox Searchlight picks the films up for distribution. It finds them, buys them, and puts them out. Like Slumdog. They don’t spend much, and if it busts out (like Black Swan), they make a hefty profit. So — good for them. They mostly make good choices. At this point, we’re just riding it out til the end. I was mostly interested in the majors. But I went all the way down here. So we’ll keep going.

Finishing 12th, with a 1.2% market share, totaling $127 million:

12. Focus Features

They had 8 films in 2011, with Somewhere adding $1.5 million as a 2010 film.

  • The Eagle (PG-13)

$19.5 million domestic gross ($27.1 million worldwide gross)

$8.7 million opening weekend

Budget: $25 million

— Wash, probably.

  • Jane Eyre (PG-13)

$11.2 million domestic gross ($31.5 million worldwide gross)

No budget reported.

— Probably moderate success.

  • Hanna (PG-13)

$40.3 million domestic gross ($63.8 million worldwide gross)

$12.4 million opening weekend

Budget: $30 million

— Moderate hit. Nice.

  • Beginners (R)

$5.8 million domestic gross ($14.3 million worldwide gross)

Budget: $3.2 million

— Moderate hit.

  • One Day (PG-13)

$13.8 million domestic gross ($50.1 million worldwide gross)

$5.1 million opening weekend

Budget: $15 million

— Moderate hit.

  • The Debt (R)

$13.8 million domestic gross ($56.1 million worldwide gross)

$9.9 million opening weekend

Budget: $20 million

— Moderate hit, internationally.

  • Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (R)

$3.6 million domestic gross ($27.8 million worldwide gross)

Budget: $21 million

– – Probably will be a moderate hit when all is said and done.

  • Pariah (Not Yet Rated)

$66,222 domestic gross

— Wash, I’m guessing.

Notes on Focus Features:

— Slow and steady, huh? Nice choice of films. Always respected Focus.

Finishing 13th, with a 1.2% market share, totaling $126 million:

13. FilmDistrict

FilmDistrict released 5 films in 2011.

  • Insidious (PG-13)

$54 million domestic gross ($97 million worldwide gross)

$13.3 million opening weekend

Budget: $1.5 million

— Huge hit. Good for them.

  • Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark (R)

$24 million domestic gross ($31.5 million worldwide gross)

$8.5 million opening weekend

Budget: $25 million

— Wash, moderate failure. Oh well. Win some, lose some.

  • Drive (R)

$34.8 million domestic gross ($67.8 million worldwide gross)

$11.3 million opening weekend

Budget: $15 million

— Big hit. Love that they had the balls to make this.

  • The Rum Diary (R)

$13.1 million domestic gross ($21.6 million worldwide gross)

$5.1 million opening weekend

Budget: $45 million

— Failure. Nice size failure.

  • In the Land of Blood and Honey (R)

$44,770 domestic gross

Budget: $13 million

— Failure. But that was to be expected, right?

Notes on FilmDistrict:

— So so. Small time stuff, mostly. Liked Drive. That makes me okay with them.

Now, 14th…we’re almost done, hang in there…

With a 0.9% market share, totaling $89.2 million, is:

14. Sony Pictures Classics

Sony Classics had a shit ton of films this year (17) and last year (8 more), and only one grossed anything over $5 million (domestically). (Well, technically 2, but $5.3 million is barely over $5 million.)

So what I’m gonna do is just list the 2010 films that brought in money — Get Low, Animal Kingdom, You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, Inside Job, Tamara Drewe, Made in Dagenham, The Illusionist and Another Year. And of those, only the last two brought in more than a million — then just list all the ones they put out this year:

Barney’s Version, Of Gods and Men, Winter in Wartime, In a Better World, Incendies, POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, Beats Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest, Life Above All, The Guard, Higher Ground, Resless, Take Shelter, The Skin I Live in, A Dangerous Method, Carnage, A Separation. (The Guard was the one with $5.3 million.)

And the big film, that brought in $56.3 million domestically, and $145.2 million worldwide — Midnight in Paris.

Notes on Sony Classics:

— Lot of respect for them. This is where the classy smaller stuff comes from. Big fan of this studio.

And finally, in 15th (simply to make it a round figure), with a 0.6% market share, totaling $57.4 million:

15. CBS Films

They put out 2 films this year, with Faster from 2010 contributing $450,000:

The Mechanic and Beastly, both of which net them almost $30 million apiece.

Notes on CBS Films:

— I honestly only put them on here because I wanted to get to 15. There’s really nothing to say at this point.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Okay, that’s a lot to take in. Let’s have a short commercial break before we return with out final thoughts.

There was no other product that deserved that space more than that one.

So, let’s see what I’ve learned from this:

I’ve learned that The Weinstein Company, Sony Pictures Classics and Fox Searchlight, as I always thought, were the place for classy smaller films.

As for the big studios — Paramount is okay, and Sony/Columbia is okay. (That’s two for Sony. They might be my favorite studio right now, overall.)

Warners I have to watch. I need more time on them. I thought I liked them, but they had a bad year.

Universal seems to be manufactured, for the most part, and Fox seems bland and generic, for the most part.

And Disney is Disney.

This is nice to know. Now I know what to look out for this year. See if things change, stay the same. Maybe I’ll see trends, like there were 70 years ago. (Also, damn shame about MGM. And United Artists. I miss them.)

I toyed with the idea of adding the studios to the Release Calendar, but I decided against it. I’d rather not know what studio is putting out what and pay attention on my own. I should be getting better at identifying studios, so I won’t make it easier for myself. But I’m glad I did this. I’m really curious to see how 2012 works out.

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