My name is Anthony, and I’ve been writing for filmmatic.com for half a year, officially. It’s been grand, and I’d like to personally extend thanks to anyone who has actually taken interest in what I’ve been writing. This top-ten list is a compilation of the most successful films to spearhead the box office since I first joined, qualified by reigning on top of the box office for at least two weekends in a row.
So, let’s take a look back, and re-examine what summer blockbusters people wanted most from 2012!
1.) The Hunger Games: 3/25/12, 4/1/12, 4/8/12 and 4/15/12
This live-action adaptation (see pic. above) of the popular best-selling novel is written well, but with the exception of a few good cast members, it is adequate at best. It’s true strength lies with Jennifer Lawrence, who has evolved into a genuinely superb yet subtle actress. With another director, and without such forced performances from her love interests, this could have been on par with classic summer blockbusters—even The Dark Knight.
2.) The Avengers: 5/6/12, 5/13/12, and 5/20/12
All silly flashy lights, with Robert Downey Jr.’s most forced jokes yet, the film still functions the way it’s supposed to. To its credit, in accordance with its small references to Superman II, it does however remind us that superhero movies can have fun with themselves as opposed to embracing the task of solving how to make these comical things fit into reality.
Excessively long, mostly boring, quite sad, and featuring the most useless characters yet, the film’s sheer scale and admirable technical feats are all that make this anything worth seeing. In time, people will realize just how unimpressive the film they saw actually was, but in the meantime, fans who will obliviously quote Nolan as bible keep the rating high.
4.) The Expendables 2: 8/19/12 and 8/26/12
The Twilight for men, just as shameless, and just as impressive. It’s a miracle it took two consecutive weekends, and it’s always frustrating to write about. Another burst of testosterone as useless as another Fast and Furious film, which started out bad and sunk steadily deeper into wretchedness, this film is a monument to an age of film that can never be successfully reclaimed.
Truth is, if you want a film like this—only good—feel free to go watch the films that actually released in the decade they belonged to, e.g. Predator, Rambo, and Die Hard.
5.) The Possession: 9/2/12 and 9/9/12
Yep, you better believe it! This film stole two weekends at #1. Jeffrey Dean Morgan is an interesting actor, who frequently bounces back and forth between decent and heavily dull characters. His most volatile performance remains The Comedian, from Zack Snyder’s Watchmen. Still, I must admit surprise at the success of this exorcism story.
With all the films about exorcism out there, there isn’t any material left, so it seems, to explore. I think audiences went in thinking they’d see something else, and being misled, were quickly disappointed. However, it is clear that ghost stories remain a successful genre to exploit.
I’ve already said so much about this film, but allow me to recap the unsubscribed. Liam Neeson’s charisma and the strength of the original release are the core of Taken 2’s success. It’s also a flexible film in terms of target audience. So, despite poor ratings, it’s a disappointingly familiar action story and sequel. What a lost opportunity for pushing protagonist Bryan Mills back into greater things.
The films above were the only releases which financially performed best, here noted chronologically. Below, are four more films I’d have liked to see succeed just the same, thus completing our list of Ten…
7.) MIB 3: 5/27/12
Here’s a film out of time (at least by half a decade, delayed), which should have succeeded better than it did. The following weekend’s opponent was Snow White and the Huntsman, which was mostly hated even before hitting the big screen. It’s truly irritating, the power tweens have.
This film gave a return-to-form, about everything that made the original a smash-hit, and even gave Josh Brolin an opportunity to shine as a literally jaw-dropping impression of Tommy Lee Jones. You’d swear they were the same person. Not to mention that Will Smith returns to his comedic roots as snugly as if he’d never made Pursuit of Happyness.
8.) Prometheus: Opened 6/10/12
This film lost first place in the box office to Madagascar 3 two weekends in a row, never once reaching the top. That’s about as disappointing as it gets. True, the film was immensely flawed, but it absolutely founded its own mythology—and raised questions that any filmmaker should never answer, lest he be labeled arrogant.
Now, I’m the first person to deny Scott’s flawlessness. He’s hit-and-miss at best, when it comes to film. He ruined Hannibal and made Kingdom of Heaven. But with Alien, he reinvented science fiction horror. He made it fit into the hall of fame films that are celebrated as timeless.
Unfortunately, this also raised expectations unnaturally high for Prometheus. The film isn’t as awful as people have called it, and still maintains an IMDb rating above 7, generally considered the number between bad and good. I’d have loved to see this perform a little better. Then again, I’d have liked the movie itself to be a little better.
9.) The Amazing Spider-Man: 7/8/12
So, this is the first superhero film to polarize audiences so significantly since Superman Returns. The opinions of people who like the film range anywhere between decent and great, while those who dislike the film firmly swear it’s absolutely horrible and blasphemous.
There doesn’t seem to be any room for ‘it wasn’t that great’, or ‘it was just shy of good’. This troubles me. The primary argument is that it bears too many similarities to Raimi’s—which is impossible, because Spiderman’s origin is always the same, so long as you follow the comics—or that it’s too “hipster”.
Listen. Spiderman’s biggest issue has always been girls, rent. Real-life priorities. Taking all of the cheese from Raimi’s trilogy away and replacing it with a top-notch romance director was a clever decision. What went wrong with this film is not what it gave—it’s what was taken.
Blame Sony for cutting it all to hell, and wait for a director’s cut. This was 500 Days of Summer with superheroes and villains, and it works. For me.
Judge Dredd was an awful film. Sly had his share of shamefully accepted paychecks—but if any film was a sleeper hit, it’s Dredd 3D. Most people expected Looper to be on this list, since it performed miserably, but the sad truth is that I didn’t really expect anything else.
I’m not entirely sure what all the critics and users were talking about, since the film came and went without making any kind of cinematic impact. Certainly not the way Inception did, which was even more derivative.
In this case, we have a reboot successfully accomplish what every reboot should do: improve the original by removing everything that was horrid about it, and replace it with everything that was strong about it. In this case, the only strong thing about the original was its source material. And that’s exactly what we got. It’s really too bad this film never even saw the light of the top five in the box office.
Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed this trip down memory lane. Remember: Hollywood will give you what you pay for! Have a great week, dear readers of filmmatic.com! See you this weekend, and watch on.