Wide releases: One for the books
|Good (Metascore ≥ 61)||41 films|
|Mixed (40-60)||64 films|
|Bad (≤ 39)||37 films|
Just three films among the year's 10 highest-scoring wide releases are original stories: Woody Allen's romantic comedy Midnight in Paris 81, the hit R-rated comedy Bridesmaids 75, and the animated Rango 75. Six of the others were based on books, while The Muppets 75 was based on an existing film/TV franchise.
Five of 2011's wide releases qualified as having "universal acclaim" from critics (with a Metascore of 81 or higher), a slight improvement over 2010's total of four such films. In all, just under 29% of all wide releases last year earned positive reviews (with a 61 or higher) from critics. While that may seem like a low percentage, it's actually an improvement over both 2010 (26%) and 2009 (25%). Unsurprisingly, nearly half (19 of 41, or 46%) of the year's positively reviewed wide releases were released after Labor Day, so if it seemed like there were suddenly a lot of good movies to choose from this fall, you weren't imagining things.
Below, we rank the highest-scoring wide release films of the past year. Note that as of press time, the spy thriller Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is still a limited release. But if it opens wide later this month as currently planned, and maintains its 85 score, you can place it in the number 3 position.
|1||Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2||Fantasy||+ Queue||87||7.9|
|3||The Descendants||Drama||+ Queue||84||7.6|
|5||Midnight in Paris||Comedy||+ Queue||81||7.8|
|9||The Muppets||Family/Comedy/Musical||+ Queue||75||7.9|
|10||Winnie the Pooh||Animation/Family||+ Queue||74||7.4|
|11||Source Code||Sci-Fi/Thriller||+ Queue||74||7.5|
|12||Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol||Action||+ Queue||73||7.7|
|14||Super 8||Sci-Fi||+ Queue||72||7.3|
|15||War Horse||Drama||+ Queue||72||6.1|
|16||The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo||Thriller||+ Queue||71||7.8|
|17||Young Adult||Comedy/Drama||+ Queue||71||6.6|
|20||Arthur Christmas||Animation/Family||+ Queue||69||8.0|
|21||Crazy, Stupid, Love.||Romantic Comedy||+ Queue||68||7.3|
|22||The Adventures of Tintin||Animation/Family||+ Queue||68||7.9|
|23||Rise of the Planet of the Apes||Sci-Fi/Action||+ Queue||68||7.9|
|24||Kung Fu Panda 2||Animation/Family||+ Queue||67||7.8|
|25||The Ides of March||Drama||+ Queue||67||7.3|
Adam Sandler is only responsible for two of the year's worst movies, though one of them—the Sandler-produced and co-written Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star 9, starring Nick Swardson—is the lowest-scoring movie since 2009's Miss March 7. Two other Sandler-related releases (Zookeeper 30 and Just Go With It 33) somehow managed to avoid our bottom 10 list, so there's that.
|1||Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star||Comedy||9||1.7|
|2||The Darkest Hour||Action/Sci-Fi||16||4.4|
|3||Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil||Animation/Family||20||3.9|
|4||Shark Night 3D||Horror/Thriller||22||4.5|
|5||New Year's Eve||Romantic Comedy||22||4.7|
|6||Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son||Comedy||22||4.1|
|8||Jack and Jill||Comedy||23||2.6|
|9||Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked||Animation/Family||24||4.5|
On the next page, we examine the best and worst limited release films of the past year.