Spring Movie Scorecard: The Best and Worst of 2010 So Far

  • Publish Date: May 7, 2010
  • Comments: ↓ 25 user comments

Spring's winners and losers

Breakdown of 2010 Spring Releases (Min. 7 Reviews)
Good (Metascore ≥ 61) 33 films
Mixed (40-60) 32 films
Bad (≤ 40) 15 films

The appearance of Iron Man 2 in theaters this weekend also signals the start to the official summer movie season, for those of you keeping score at home. That also means, of course, that the spring season has ended, which provides us another opportunity to recap the year so far.

Spring was certainly a success in terms of box office performance; as we shall see later in the article, the past few months have seen a number of major hits, which have combined to make 2010 a record-setting year through its first four months.

We start, however, by looking for signs of quality movies among they year's releases so far. First up: how spring's crop of new films compared to titles released during the winter season.

Seasonal Metascore Comparison, 2010
  Median Low / High Scores Score Distribution
Spring Wide Releases (3/5 - 5/6) 43 22 / 75 22,34.5,43,56,75
Winter Wide Releases (1/1 - 3/4) 43 25 / 63 25,33,43,54.5,63
Spring Limited Releases (3/5 - 5/6) 59 30 / 85 30,49,59,73,85
Winter Limited Releases (1/1 - 3/4) 64 19 / 89 19,48,64,72,89

In the score distribution charts, half of all scores (from the 25th percentile to the 75th percentile) fall within the shaded box, with the vertical line in the middle of the box representing the median. Re-releases and movies with fewer than seven reviews are excluded. A wide release film is one that screens at more than 600 theaters. The Metascore is a weighted average of scores from top professional critics, on a scale from 0 (bad) to 100 (good).

The last time we checked in with you, at the end of the winter season, there were just two wide releases with generally positive reviews (and green Metascores). The good news now that several additional months have passed: we're up to eight good major releases. The bad news? There are only eight good major releases.

The Best Wide Releases of 2010 So Far
  Title Genre(s) Metascore Users
1 The Ghost Writer Thriller777.1
3How to Train Your Dragon Animation, Family/Kids 749.2
5Hot Tub Time MachineComedy637.3
6Shutter IslandThriller637.1
7Youth in RevoltComedy637.1
8Green ZoneThriller617.0
10Diary of a Wimpy KidComedy566.6

Although scores have been rounded to the nearest whole number, movies are ranked prior to rounding. User scores represent an average of scores assigned by Metacritic.com site visitors on a scale from 0 (bad) to 10 (good). All scores are from May 6, 2010.

The French gangster film A Prophet is still the highest-scoring release of the year, just as it was at the end of the winter season. But there are plenty of new additions to the limited release high score list, including fellow import Vincere and Banksy's street art documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop.

The Best Limited Releases of 2010 So Far
  Title Genre(s) Metascore Users
1 A ProphetForeign, Crime Drama908.8
2VincereForeign, Drama856.1
3Exit Through the Gift ShopDocumentary 84 7.7
4Neil Young Trunk ShowDocumentary83n/a
5AjamiForeign, Drama839.0
6 The Secret of Kells Animation, Family/Kids827.1
7Fish TankDrama818.2
8 The Secret in Their Eyes Foreign, Drama819.6
9IMAX: Hubble 3DDocumentary79n/a
10MotherForeign, Drama799.1

At the other end of the quality spectrum, our list of 10 worst films hasn't actually changed that much since we published a similar list at the conclusion of the winter season, at least at the very top -- er -- make that the very bottom. New additions to the list include Furry Vengeance and The Bounty Hunter.

The Worst Films of 2010 So Far
  Title Genre(s) Metascore Users
1To Save a LifeDrama196.5
2Crazy on the OutsideComedy216.0
3Bounty Hunter, TheAction, Comedy222.6
4When in RomeComedy, Romance256.5
5Furry VengeanceComedy, Family/Kids253.0
6Spy Next Door, TheAction, Comedy, Family/Kids276.5
7Cop OutComedy314.0
8Black Waters of Echo's Pond, TheHorror313.0
9Letters to GodDrama315.6
10Repo Men Sci-Fi, Action 325.1

Money matters: Spring's biggest successes and flops

The year's biggest success story so far -- by a wide margin -- is Tim Burton's 3-D take on Alice in Wonderland, which is the spring season's (and 2010's) highest grossing film at $330 million domestically and over $936 million worldwide. In fact, the year's top three earners so far were all released during the spring, and all were 3-D titles: Alice, the animated children's fantasy How to Train Your Dragon, and the Clash of the Titans remake. Alice also has the year's biggest opening weekend (at least for a few more days) at $116 million.

Spring had its share of misfires as well. Despite decent reviews, the $100 million thriller Green Zone has earned under $79 million worldwide, with less than half that coming domestically. That film looks like a hit, however, compared to the sci-fi action flick Repo Men, which eked out just $15 million during its theatrical run. Also among the box office losers, appropriately enough, was The Losers, which has grossed a meager $19.6 million in its first two weeks of release.

It's still a bit too soon to tell if Furry Vengeance is officially in the "flop" column, but the comedy's $6.6 million opening weekend certainly points in that direction. And though the inexpensive Kick-Ass will surely be profitable -- it has earned $73 million worldwide so far -- it is unlikely to achieve the major hit status that its pre-release buzz seemed to predict. Another movie that failed to live up to its buzz was the R-rated comedy Hot Tub Time Machine, which has earned only $48 million to date.

Here are the year's highest grossing new films to date:

Top 2010 Box Office Performers, Through May 6
  Title Release Metascore Users Domestic Gross
1 Alice in Wonderland [2010] Mar 5 53 5.3 $330,035,358
2 How to Train Your Dragon Mar 26 74 9.2 $193,856,228
3 Clash of the Titans [2010] Apr 2 39 4.9 $155,145,720
4 Shutter Island Feb 19 63 7.1 $126,589,829
5 Valentine's Day Feb 12 34 5.1 $110,483,474
6 The Book of Eli Jan 15 53 7.5 $94,793,571
7 Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief Feb 12 47 5.4 $88,039,123
8 Dear John Feb 5 43 6.1 $80,014,842
9 Date Night Apr 9 56 4.9 $75,059,709
10 The Bounty Hunter Mar 19 22 2.6 $64,235,282

The above table includes movies released in 2010 only. Note that some of the above films are still in theaters. Source of box office grosses in this and the next table: Box Office Mojo.

While revenues from all 2010 releases are slightly behind the pace of last year's films released through the same date, total domestic revenue collected this year is up by over 5%, thanks to December release Avatar, which continued to do big business in early 2010. Without that bump from James Cameron's blockbuster -- which has earned over $463 million during 2010 -- this year's total figures would be well behind the 2009 amount.

The good news for studios and cineplexes, however, is that the industry has rebounded from a sluggish winter, thanks mainly to hits both expected (Alice in Wonderland) and surprising (How to Train Your Dragon), as well as a boost in average ticket prices. In fact, last month was the highest-grossing April of all time, and 2010's spring season was the highest-grossing spring of all time. The news should get even better during the summer months, when expected blockbusters like Iron Man 2, Toy Story 3, and Shrek Forever After should continue 2010's record-setting pace.

YTD Box Office Comparison by Year (U.S. Grosses Only)
Year New Films (2010 releases only) All Films (including 2010 grosses of '09 releases)
2010 $2,399.4 $3,482.7
2009 $2,457.4 $3,312.9
2008 $2,137.5 $2,906.9

All amounts in millions. Figures are from January 1st - May 6th of each year.

What are your favorites?

Have you seen any good movies yet this year -- or any terrible ones? Let us know in the comments section below.

We're sorry, but comments are closed for this article.

Comments (25)

  • irin  

    I agree The Spy Next Door sucked I can't believe I agreed to watch it.

    I TOTALLY agree that The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is the best movie that was released in USA this year. It was released in Sweden last year, though. The 2nd and 3rd movie in the trilogy released this year aren't that good sadly.

    Kick Ass was decent but it was still pretty cheesy. There are a lot of very good independent movies that're released this year in US, like Soul Kitchen (German) and The Kids Are All Right.

    Alice in Wonderland SUCKS. Mia can't act and the plot's just stupid. It's only good because of Depp and Bonham Carter, anyway.

    The Other Guys is surprisingly very good. Love that movie.

  • Unknown  

    I think this is a lame site srsly i know Cop out is a film about nothing but if u just smoked a Joint and u watch the movie its the best movie ever


  • srujan  

    I loved Resident evil Afterlife 3d. I didnt watch it in 3d yet but overall i give it 9 and a half out of 10.

  • John Jorgen  

    Have you seen the compiled list at FilmCrave? http://www.filmcrave.com/list_top_movie.php?yr=2010&page=1 shows some good stuff for 2010 movies.

  • Patrick  

    Kick-Ass and HTTYD were amazing, but Alice In Wonderland was boring, dull, disappointing, horrible!

  • Nobody  

    Kick-Ass sucked. Hard.

  • sage  

    HOT TUB TIME MACHINE is the worst movie ever !!!!!!!!
    it was sooooooo bad

  • Neil  

    I partly agree with Dallas Troy, Richard and Korne. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is one of my two stand-out favourites this year and I have seen 17 movies since Christmas. The other favourite is The Hurt Locker. How to Train your Dragon was pretty good too.

  • ray briggs  

    For pure entertainment, City Lights is hard to beat.

  • Korne  

    Kickass, Shutter Island, and HTTYD were all very good. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was also excellent.

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