For a year that ended with Kim Kardashian and Kanye West announcing they are having a child together, to declare 2012 the Year of the Letdown would be nothing short of an understatement. (Especially for the Royal Fetus and Jessica Simpson's latest long-gestating pregnancy, who had their thunder completely stolen by Baby Kimye.)
With every bit of entertainment greatness that surpassed our wildest expectations in 2012, like the crowd-and-critic-pleasing hit The Avengers or the water cooler-friendly second season of Emmy darling Homeland, there was a bevy of disappointing and ultimately needless remakes and reboots like Dark Shadows (why do we keep letting once-great teaming of Johnny Depp and Tim Burton do this to us?) and Total Recall. Then there was hyped-up television events like the "return" of Britney Spears on The X Factor or the Desperate Housewives for a new era that never was, GCB. And don't even get us started on the ever-revolving and eye-rolling love life of Taylor Swift.
It's with a heavy heart we admit that movies like Prometheus or stars like Taylor Kitsch let us down, because we were rooting for them so in 2012. There's still a few hours for the famous folks behind these missteps to make it right in 2013, but for now we must cue the sad trombone and reflect on....
The 15 Biggest Letdowns of 2012
[Photo credit: Warner Bros.]
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There was a giant Christmas present waiting for Hollywood under the box office tree as Universal’s acclaimed musical Les Miserables posted the second biggest single-day Christmas debut ever with $18.1 million! This is second only to the $24.6 million 2009 Christmas day opening of the first installment of the Sherlock Holmes franchise (and that was on a Friday!). The opening puts Les Mis in the books, now holding the record for the biggest non-weekend Christmas Day opening in history and also the highest ever opening day for a musical.
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If that was not enough to bring good cheer, Weinstein Co.’s latest Tarantino blood-fest Django Unchained, posted the third biggest X-mas day debut with $15.01 million and Warner Bros.’ The Hobbit which in its twelve day of release grabbed up another $11.3 million bringing its total to $168.3 million.
In fourth place with $6.3 million was the debut of Fox’s PG-rated family comedy Parental Guidance starring Billy Crystal and Bette Midler. Revving in to spot number five was the Tom Cruise action vehicle Jack Reacher with $5.3 million in its fifth day of release bringing its total to $23.25 million.
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This was an incredibly solid mid-week Christmas day performance with the overall day generating over $73 million and the wide diversity of film genres (from musicals to action to comedy) creating a movie-going Christmas cookie sugar high that saw the nation’s multiplexes as the main post-gift giving destination. This further solidifies our projection of a record-breaking overall box office year as we expect $10.8 billion in revenues through New Year’s Eve.
Take a look at the top Christmas Day openings of all time:
1. Sherlock Holmes
2. Les Miserables
3. Django Unchained
4. Marley and Me
5. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
6. Bedtime Stories
8. Catch Me If You Can
9. Alien vs. Predator - Requiem
11. Cheaper By the Dozen
12. Patch Adams
13. War Horse
14. It's Complicated
15. Parental Guidance
[Photo Credit: Universal Pictures]
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While The Hobbit will certainly top the box office for the second straight weekend with a gross in the $50 million range, a host of newcomers are going to fight over the leftovers this Christmas weekend.
Tom Cruise in the R-rated action drama Jack Reacher should wind up with a fairly soft (for Cruise) $15 to $17 million over the weekend with a second place finish while Seth Rogen and Barbra Streisand in the maternal buddy road movie The Guilt trip (which opened with a less than stellar $1,029,734 on Wednesday) will likely finish the weekend with a gross in the low teens. This will put it in a dead heat with the "sort of sequel to Knocked Up," This is 40 starring Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann which will also grab a gross in the $10 to $12 million range.
Nipping at their heels or perhaps winding up in between these two live action films will be the Disney/Pixar re-release of the wildly popular animated family film Monsters Inc in 3D. As a great option for families who have had only Rise of the Guardians and Wreck-It Ralph to satisfy their movie-going needs, this decade old hit will find a place in the top 5. This means that Rise of the Guardians, Lincoln and Skyfall will have to struggle to grab that fifth spot and make their mark this weekend.
Notably, Sony's acclaimed Zero Dark Thirty debuted in just 5 theaters on Wednesday with a very strong $124,848 for a per-theater average of $24,970. The strategy of platform releasing the film is a good one enabling the film to not only qualify for Oscar, but also to build buzz through awards season and then go wide on Jan. 11, 2013. The film is powerful, riveting and boasts an Oscar worthy performance by Jessica Chastain who is the heart and soul of the movie as she goes toe to toe with a male dominated cast.
Opening Friday is Cirque Du Soleil: Worlds Away in 3D in around 800 theaters which should post a modest weekend gross in the $2 million range (with limited showtimes) and Lionsgate's powerful action-drama The Impossible starring Ewan MacGregor and Naomi Watts in a story of the aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami.
This, the second to last weekend of the year will kick off what is typically one of the strongest weeks of the year in movie theaters (in 2009 when Sherlock Holmes & Avatar dominated, the final week generated a record $500 million!). This year offers a crowded and comparatively slow marketplace dominated by The Hobbit yet offering a plethora of choices for the moviegoer. No matter since the box office year of 2012 will finish on Dec. 31 with record revenues of around $10.82 billion!
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