Wide releases: Major filmmakers, major results
|Good (Metascore ≥ 61)||35 films|
|Mixed (40-60)||63 films|
|Bad (≤ 40)||37 films|
Just four wide releases from the past year qualified as having "universal acclaim" from critics (with a Metascore of 81 or higher), and like the rest of the top 10 films, they represent a diverse array of genres, from animation (Toy Story 3) to historical drama (The King's Speech) to dramedy (The Kids Are All Right). The rest of 2010's 10 best wide releases include includes a western, a documentary, a horror film, and more -- with only conventional comedy failing to make an appearance among the major film genres.
What is common among many of the year's best wide releases is that they come from major directors with a history of intriguing, provocative, and acclaimed films. David O. Russell, David Fincher, the Coen brothers, Darren Aronofsky, and Roman Polanski have all impressed critics in the past, and thus it isn't all too surprising to see their latest releases landing among the year's best-reviewed films.
Unfortunately, while those and other filmmakers were able to convince reviewers that their films had merit, too many others could not do so: 74% of the year's wide releases received mediocre or negative reviews. That figure actually shows a slight improvement compared to 2009, when 75% of the year's mainstream releases failed to earn positive reviews.
Here is the full distribution of Metascores by month, followed by a list of the year's best-reviewed wide releases.
Wide Releases by Month, 2010
|1||The Social Network||Drama||+ Queue||95||8.4|
|2||Toy Story 3||Animation/Family||+ Queue||92||9.4|
|3||The King's Speech||Drama||+ Queue||88||8.8|
|4||The Kids Are All Right||Comedy/Drama||+ Queue||86||7.3|
|5||True Grit||Western||+ Queue||80||7.9|
|6||Let Me In||Horror||+ Queue||79||8.5|
|7||The Fighter||Drama||+ Queue||79||8.3|
|8||Black Swan||Drama/Thriller||+ Queue||79||8.3|
|9||The Ghost Writer||Drama/Thriller||+ Queue||77||7.2|
|12||The Town||Drama/Thriller||+ Queue||74||8.0|
|13||How to Train Your Dragon||Animation/Family||+ Queue||74||9.0|
|14||Easy A||Comedy||+ Queue||72||7.3|
|15||Despicable Me||Animation/Family||+ Queue||72||7.6|
|18||Scott Pilgrim vs. the World||Action/Comedy||+ Queue||69||8.4|
|22||Get Him to the Greek||Comedy||+ Queue||65||7.2|
|23||Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I||Fantasy/Family||+ Queue||65||7.6|
|24||The Other Guys||Action/Comedy||+ Queue||64||6.5|
|25||The Last Exorcism||Horror||+ Queue||63||5.1|
On the flip side, the list of the year's worst-reviewed wide releases is associated with some major names as well, the most infamous being M. Night Shyamalan, whose big-budget fantasy The Last Airbender actually managed to gross more than $300 million worldwide despite horrendous reviews from critics and moviegoers alike. The Ashton Kutcher action-comedy Killers, however, was a major box office flop in addition to being a lousy movie, as was the Brendan Fraser "comedy" Furry Vengeance and the Kristen Bell rom-com When in Rome.
|2||The Last Airbender||Action/Fantasy||20||3.0|
|4||The Bounty Hunter||Action/Comedy||22||3.1|
|7||My Soul to Take||Horror||25||5.1|
|8||When in Rome||Comedy/Romance||25||4.4|
On the next page, we examine the best and worst limited release films of the past year.