Feb 14, 2012

Highlights: 2011’s Most Depressing Truth... the year’s Box Office!

Taylor Lautner in Twilight: genuine mediocrity earning gazillions in theatres
30 years ago, On Golden Pond - a drama that won three Oscars and was nominated for another seven, and more importantly, was adapted from a play entirely revolving around an old couple – came second on the year’s list of best selling films. Further down the top twenty, films like Chariots of Fire and Reds appeared.

20 years ago, Silence of the Lambs, the film that won best picture at the Oscars, came fourth on the list. Immediately above it was Beauty and the Beast, Disney’s original take on an old tale (and an all-time favourite of mine) and the only animated film to ever be nominated for best picture in a field of five. Also among the top twenty were films like Cape Fear and JFK.

10 Years ago, Monsters, Inc., Shrek (the original), Ocean’s Eleven (the first one), A Beautiful Mind (best picture winner at the Oscars) and Black Hawk Down made enough money to make the top twenty.

The glorious Monsters, Inc. Even Pixar produced a cash-grab this year in the shape of Cars 2.
If those years seem like a long while ago, let’s look at 2009, when Avatar, Up, The Hangover and The Blind Side – all originals – made the top TEN list. Heck, even one year ago, just one freakin’ year ago, Inception, Despicable Me, How to Train Your Dragon and The King’s Speech (best picture winner at the Oscars) were all in the top twenty.

In 2011, the top 9 films are all sequels. In fact, among the top twenty films at the box office, only two are not based on some sort of previously existing commodity: Bridesmaids and a mediocre animated film called Rio. The Help, a film that a lot of people have deemed a box office success story, is based on a book of equal popularity. This is the state of cinema today. When are the days when people used to watch foreign films? Where did they days go when originality was a virtue? What are the chances that next year’s list isn’t occupied by The Dark Knight Rises, Spiderman, Avengers, and another disposable Twilight sequel?

I’m not expecting the public to rush to the theatres for A Separation or Senna (though I wish they would) but couldn’t we at least get a star vehicle like Drive up there? A quality comedy like Win Win? A star-driven sports film like Moneyball? Even a teen-targeted effects-driven piece like Attack the Block?

Is it time to give up all hope?

*This concludes my 11 highlights of '11 series. Next week, we'll get the ball rolling with traditional awards categories and final Oscar predictions!

Previously on 11 Highlights of '11
Sex Scene of the Year
Most Underracted Actor of the Year
Dog of the Year
Best Andy Serkis of the Year
Most Overrated Film of the Year
Alpha Male of the Year
City of the Year
Sexiest Actress of the Year
Best Scene of the Year
Best Physical Work of the Year


  1. Beautiful post.
    I have been thinking about their choice of nominating Bridesmades over Win Win, which I find very disappointing.
    The Academy have lost their credibility, unfortunately.

  2. I still marvel, though, that films like ON GOLDEN POND were such great box office successes.

  3. I just read a blurb on Esquire on how Breaking Dawn is the greatest advocate against pregnancy coming from a good old Mormon girl and how it makes Rosemary's Baby look like a cake walk. We will watch this movie together. I will bring marijuana. I'm drunk. It'll be awesome.