2012 was a strong year for film, delivering numerous high quality event movies and also a ton of very excellent serious fare as well. But perhaps it's the overall high quality that made us take note of the moments in which we were wrenched out of our suspended disbelief, or maybe it's just that the gods of moviedom knew something had to be done to prevent people from taking themselves too seriously. Either way, the year was blessed with some rather amazeballs moments of unintentional awkwardness that really forced us to step back and gasp, "Did that really happen?!" [SPOILERS!] more »
Good news, everyone! 2012 has been a pretty great year for the film industry. Ticket sales were up worldwide by 5% over 2011, and a record box office haul of $10 billion means plenty of celebrating at studio holiday parties. Of course, Biggie wasn't lying when he preached the harsh truth that with mo' money comes mo' problems, and so it is that while bootleg film watching didn't quite rival ticket sales, with hundreds of millions of illegal downloads piracy is nothing to sneeze at.
Year on year, Hollywood's box office receipts rise. And while the 2012 numbers came in higher than 2011, the year marked a specifically good turn for the movie industry: the number of actual tickets sold went up for the first time in three years.
The year's big numbers come despite a generally slow summer blockbuster season.
The number of admissions have had a general decline for a decade, with the number of tickets sold flat lining in 2011 with 1.29 billion, which was the lowest number since 1995, according to A.P. Dollar amounts typically rise despite the decline of audiences numbers due to the rise in ticket prices. But for 2012, ticket sales rose 5.6 percent to 1.36 billion by December 31.
The number is still significantly below the peak of 1.6 billion sold in 2002. On the overall revenue side, the domestic box office should top out 6 percent ahead of the $10.2 billion figure last year and also top Hollywood's previous $10.6 billion record set in 2009.
Leading the list of box office hits was Disney's The Avengers with $623 million domestically ($1.5 billion worldwide) and Warner Bros.' third Batman installment The Dark Knight Rises with $448 million domestically ($1.1 billion worldwide). Lionsgate's The Hunger Games grossed over $408 million ($686.5 million) while Sony's James Bond pic Skyfall reached nearly $280 million as of Sunday (and will likely surpass $1 billion this week); The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 has a domestic total so far of nearly $282 million ($759.1 million worldwide); The Amazing Spider-Man topped out at just over $262 million in the U.S. ($752 million worldwide). Other big 2012 titles included Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted ($216 million) and Ice Age: Continental Drift ($161 million).
And Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey has totaled $157 million domestically since opening December 14th in the U.S.
While it's good news for Hollywood, the future of the box office dollar continues to like overseas. International audiences used to amount to less than half of a typical release, but that figure has swelled to two or even three times dollars spent domestically. Even pics such as Battleship and John Carter which tanked in the U.S. came out decently overseas ($209.7 million abroad for John Carter and $237.6 million for Battleship).
The domestic market has also been hampered with the advent of ever-sophisticated home entertainment systems, portable devices and video games. Still, most agree the big screen experience with an audience is the best way to see a movie.
"Every home has a kitchen, but you can't get into a good restaurant on Saturday night," Dan Fellman, head of distribution for Warner Bros told A.P. "People want to escape. That's the nature of society. The adult population just is not going to sit home seven days a week, even though they have technology in their home that's certainly an improvement over what it was 10 years ago. People want to get out of the house, and no matter what they throw in the face of theatrical exhibition, it continues to perform at a strong level."
The Batman finale was the most watched movie trailer on YouTube, though it actually placed only third overall. Also in Thursday's round-up of news, the Palm Springs International Film Festival sets its lineup including opening and closing titles; Sundance unveiled its competition juries; and release dates are set for Arnold Schwarzenegger's Ten and Paramount's Anchorman sequel.
The Hunger Games, The Dark Knight Rises, The Muppets, Midnight In Paris and even last year's Oscar winner for Best Picture, The Artist are up for awards this year, but this time it's for the 55th annual Grammy Awards.
Theatrical titles dominated this year's Grammy categories dedicated to visual media with The Hunger Games receiving two nominations for Best Song ("Abraham's Daughter") and Taylor Swift's "Safe & Sound." The Muppets also scored two nominations, including Best Song for "Man Or Muppet" in addition to a nomination for Best Compilation Soundtrack. Others in the category include this year's Marley documentary and 2011's The Descendants and Midnight in Paris.
Trent Reznor received a Best Score nom for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo along with Hans Zimmer for The Dark Knight Rises and John Williams for The Adventures of Tintin - The Secret of the Unicorn.
The Black Keys' "Lonely Boy," Kelly Clarkson's "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)," Fun's "We Are Young" Gotye's "Somebody That I Used to Know," Frank Ocean's "Thinkin Bout Your" and Taylor Swift's "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" are the Grammys' nominees for Record of the Year.
The Grammy Awards ceremony will be broadcast February 10th on CBS.
55th Grammy Awards' Visual Media-related nominees follow with information provided by the Recording Academy (for other categories, visit the Grammy's website).
Best Compilation Soundtrack For Visual Media:
[Sony Classical/Fox Music]
(Bob Marley & The Wailers)
Midnight In Paris
[Madison Gate Records, Inc.]
[Walt Disney Records]
Rock Of Ages
Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media:
The Adventures Of Tintin - The Secret Of The Unicorn
John Williams, composer
Ludovic Bource, composer
The Dark Knight Rises
Hans Zimmer, composer
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross, composers
Howard Shore, composer
Austin Wintory, composer
[Sony Computer Entertainment America]
Best Song Written For Visual Media:
Abraham's Daughter (From The Hunger Games)
T Bone Burnett, Win Butler & Régine Chassagne, songwriters (Arcade Fire)
[Universal Republic; Publishers: Régine Chassagne, Absurd Music, Win Butler, Henry Burnett Music, Baffle Music]
Learn Me Right (From Brave)
Mumford & Sons, songwriters (Birdy & Mumford & Sons)
[Walt Disney Records/Pixar; Publisher: Pixar Talking Pictures]
Let Me Be Your Star (From Smash)
Marc Shaiman & Scott Wittman, songwriters (Katharine McPhee & Megan Hilty)
[Columbia; Publishers: Winding Brook Way Music, Walli Woo Entertainment]
Man Or Muppet (From The Muppets)
Bret McKenzie, songwriter (Jason Segel & Walter)
[Walt Disney; Publisher: Fuzzy Muppet Songs]
Safe & Sound (From The Hunger Games)
T Bone Burnett, Taylor Swift, John Paul White & Joy Williams, songwriters
(Taylor Swift Featuring The Civil Wars)
[Big Machine Records/Universal Republic; Publishers: Sony ATV Tree Publishing, Taylor Swift Music, Sensibility Songs, Absurd Music, Shiny Happy Music, Baffle Music, Henry Burnett Music]
"Why do we fall, Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves up."
Was The Dark Knight Rises the finale that Batman deserved and needed? On the new TDKR DVD/Blu-ray release (on shelves today), Christopher Nolan and his collaborators wax poetic about their Batman saga and shed light on what made Bruce Wayne's rise, fall, and redemption such compelling material.
Photo by Belem Destefani
Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy has amassed nearly $2.4 billion theatrically worldwide to date, but Wednesday night, the Oscar-nominated filmmaker (Memento, Inception) sat down at the Film Society of Lincoln Center giving insight on the nuts and bolts of the series, which ended this summer with The Dark Knight Rises, its classic Bond-esque treatment of terrorism, the late Heath Ledger, and the upcoming Man of Steel.
Christopher Nolan may have left the door wide open for speculation at the end of The Dark Knight Rises where Joseph Gordon-Levitt's Gotham cop John Blake is concerned, and he is producer/co-writer on Zack Snyder's Man of Steel, which the rumor mill suggests could see a Very Special Gordon-Levitt cameo. But in a chat with Film Comment about his entire Batman trilogy, Nolan was asked if he was completely done with his Dark Knight universe. So what are the implications for those JG-L rumors?
They were two of the biggest movies in terms of box office this summer - and likely for all of 2012, yet the battle between The Dark Knight Rises and Marvel's The Avengers opened a new front in the artistic sphere. TDKR made just over $1.07 billion worldwide (with a $250 million production budget), while Marvel's The Avengers roared on with a $1.511 billion worldwide gross (and a production budget reportedly at $220 million). One cinematographer offered up his own impressions about the rival's merits, calling it "appalling."
Fire up the Bat-signal: Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises has a home video street date of December 3, which means Christmas is coming early for the kids, the action fans, the Bat-fans, pretty much all grown adults, Christian Baleheads, Tom Hardyites, Nolanazis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt's transmedia empire, Furries who count Anne Hathaway's Catwoman getup, freeclimbing enthusiasts, and those Warner Home Video suits awaiting their piles of cash. Mark your calendars!
Thanks to absolutist firebrands such as Rand and Ron Paul, laissez-faire economic sentiment has been gaining momentum in the GOP for some time. But with the nomination of deficit hawk wunderkind — and notable Ayn Rand devotee — Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney's running mate, movement libertarianism has officially been added to the Republican presidential platform.
Regardless of whether Romney is elected and Ryan’s controversial budget proposals are made law, the rebranding has already created two decisive effects: first, it has excited the fiscal-conservative base enough to warrant representation at the penultimate level; and second, it has convinced swaths of more marginal voters, who vaguely recall skimming through Atlas Shrugged as undergrads, that they were ardent “objectivists” all along.
In honor of the libertarian strain of Republicanism getting its RNC coronation this week, here are the top nine films that evoke a reverie for free markets and, in some cases, the dystopian nightmare that's sure to follow if we ignore Rand's literary prophecy. more »
Batman And Spider-Man Battle At Chinese Box Office With Simultaneous Launches; Michael Fassbender Eyes Jane Got A Gun: Biz Break
Also in Tuesday afternoon's round-up of news briefs, anti-Obama documentary 2016 continues its box office surge after the weekend as Republicans gather for their convention. Scott Pictures teams with Exclusive Media for new sales label. Venice Film Festival opener gets a sale. And Tony Scott's family sets up a scholarship.
Also in Monday morning's round-up of news briefs, accused Dark Knight Rises killer James Holmes told a classmate he'd intended to kill people ahead of the theater shooting that left 12 dead. Sleepwalk with Me soared atop the new specialty box office releases becoming one of the biggest this year. And Adrien Brody will play a villain in a new role.
Robert Redford's The Company You Keep Heads To Theaters; Sesame Street's Jerry Nelson Dead At 78: Biz Break
Also in Friday afternoon's round-up of news briefs, the New York Film Festival has unveiled plans for an inaugural Midnight sidebar and Transmedia program. Peter Strickland's latest thriller is headed for U.S. theaters after screenings in Toronto and New York tests. Kodak announces departure from key photo biz areas and The Dark Knight Rises passes an international box office milestone.
The Bourne Legacy and The Campaign opened over the weekend with enough gusto to topple The Dark Knight Rises from its box office throne, though the final installment in the Christopher Nolan-directed Batman trilogy still held solid in the third spot in the overall box office rankings. Hope Springs gained momentum after its mid-week bow, while Total Recall lands soft in its second frame.