That was it?
|Good (Metascore ≥ 61)||20 films|
|Mixed (40-60)||19 films|
|Bad (≤ 40)||11 films|
While your calendar -- and your thermometer -- may still say winter, in Hollywood the first weekend in March means the arrival of spring, at least as far as recordkeeping goes.
Now that the winter movie season has officially concluded, let's take the opportunity to examine the bests and worsts of the season. Unfortunately, "bests" are in short supply -- especially when it comes to wide releases.
We start by looking at how 2010 is shaping up so far compared to last year.
Quality measures: It's bad, even for winter
|Median||Low / High Scores||Score Distribution|
|2010 Wide Releases (through Mar. 4)||43||25 / 63||25,33,43,54.5,63|
|2009 Wide Releases (through Mar. 5)||43||17 / 80||17,35,43,50,80|
|2010 Limited Releases (through Mar. 4)||64||19 / 89||19,48,64,72,89|
|2009 Limited Releases (through Mar. 5)||63.5||17 / 87||17,44.25,63.5,75.75,87|
While the medians are about the same for this year's winter films when compared to last year's releases, you'll notice that 2010's wide releases are bunched together -- the Metascores for this year's movies have fallen into a very narrow range of mediocrity. In fact, as we look at the highest-scoring (best-reviewed) films from the first few months of the year, we see that only two wide releases have actually earned generally positive reviews from critics so far:
|1||Youth in Revolt||Comedy||63||7.1|
|4||Edge of Darkness||Suspense/Thriller||55||7.1|
|6||The Book of Eli||Action||53||7.6|
|7||Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief||Fantasy, Adventure||47||6.6|
|10||Dear John||Drama, Romance||43||6.2|
The story improves when we look at limited release films. The winter season's two highest-scoring movies are a pair of Oscar nominees (for best foreign language film).
|1||A Prophet||Foreign, Crime Drama||89||9.5|
|4||The Ghost Writer||Suspense/Thriller||77||7.1|
|5||The Red Riding Trilogy||Suspense/Thriller||75||7.3|
|6||The Art of the Steal||Documentary||75||8.0|
|8||Easier with Practice||Drama||72||2.0|
|9||Terribly Happy||Foreign, Crime Drama||72||8.3|
Of course, if past winters have taught us anything, it's that bad movies are plentiful. Here are the worst-reviewed films from the first months of 2010.
|1||To Save a Life||Drama||19||6.6|
|2||Crazy on the Outside||Comedy||21||5.3|
|3||When in Rome||Comedy, Romance||25||6.5|
|4||The Spy Next Door||Action, Comedy, Family/Kids||27||8.3|
|5||Cop Out||Action, Comedy||31||4.1|
|6||Saint John of Las Vegas||Comedy||32||9.5|
|8||Leap Year||Comedy, Romance||33||5.2|
|9||Valentine's Day||Comedy, Romance||34||5.1|
Money matters: Winter's biggest successes and flops
Successes? There weren't many, for films released in 2010's winter season. The holiday-themed romantic comedy Valentine's Day tops 2010's box office chart so far as the only film to break the $100 million mark, despite miserable reviews. In fact, it was so successful that a New Year's Eve-related follow-up is in the works. (We wish we were kidding.)
Other winter success stories include the Martin Scorsese thriller Shutter Island -- which brought the director his best opening weekend ever -- and Lasse Hallstrom's small-budget romance Dear John. The Denzel Washington actioner The Book of Eli edged past $100 million globally, but with a production budget alone of around $80 million, any profits the film generates will be small. While the Percy Jackson film underperformed at home, it has brought in close to $100 million worldwide in addition to its domestic total of over $70 million to date.
Flops are easier to come by. For example, there's always The Wolfman. Benicio Del Toro's passion project received lukewarm reviews from critics and moviegoers, and with a production budget estimated at $150 million, it's certainly not a moneymaker. (Even factoring in foreign grosses, the film has grossed only $125 million, and is fading fast.)
Other notable winter failures include Mel Gibson's aborted comeback attempt Edge of Darkness ($80 million production budget, $55 million in worldwide grosses to date), the John Travolta action film From Paris with Love ($52 million budget, $28 million worldwide gross), and CBS Films' Harrison Ford melodrama Extraordinary Measures ($31 million budget, $12 million gross).
For what it's worth, here are the year's highest grossing new films to date, though you'll notice a few of the "flops" on this list.
|1||Valentine's Day||Feb 12||34||5.1||$102,149,760|
|2||The Book of Eli||Jan 15||53||7.6||$92,879,734|
|3||Shutter Island||Feb 19||62||6.9||$82,524,894|
|4||Dear John||Feb 5||43||6.1||$73,844,007|
|5||Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief||Feb 12||47||6.6||$72,933,126|
|6||The Wolfman||Feb 12||43||4.6||$58,809,485|
|7||Tooth Fairy||Jan 22||36||3.7||$54,555,647|
|8||Edge of Darkness||Jan 29||55||7.1||$42,552,257|
|10||When in Rome||Jan 29||25||6.5||$31,145,051|
If we look at the industry as a whole, the winter months of 2010 failed to match the box office heights established in 2009, when that winter's new films combined to gross over $1.2 billion domestically. This year's winter releases grossed about a third less than last year's, and are also behind 2008's pace.
Thanks to a healthy bump from Avatar, if we look at all box office grosses to date (including those of films released in 2009 that have stretched into 2010), this year isn't too far behind last year's total, and is actually ahead of 2008 -- although if you take inflation into account, 2008 actually has a slight lead over the current year.
But it is a poor reflection of the caliber of films released in 2010 that almost half of the total box office receipts so far this year were generated by last year's leftovers. Without James Cameron's film -- which has generated over $360 million of its domestic total this year -- 2010 would be a disaster, with the lowest-grossing winter in a decade.
|Year||Total Domestic Gross - New Films||Total Domestic Gross - All Films|
|2010 (thru 3/4)||$843,390,814||$1,627,515,850|
|2009 (thru 3/5)||$1,211,926,389||$1,780,113,493|
|2008 (thru 3/6)||$1,052,739,901||$1,582,539,350|
Of course, 2010 has a chance to improve considerably in the spring, with this past weekend's astounding performance of Alice in Wonderland (which falls into the spring stats, not the winter numbers) a positive indicator, at the very least.
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.