Glancing back at 2010, it’s apparent that A-list talent does not guarantee box office success. With ticket prices starting at $14 (at least here in Los Angeles), moviegoers have become more selective. So it should come to no surprise that “Black Swan,” “True Grit” and “The King’s Speech” are fairing well … since all are excellent films.
Save for “Iron Man 2,” comic-book films such as “The Losers” and “Red” struggled at the box office; “The Losers” more so. Harry Potter, of course, has been a success since its start. “Deathly Hallows: Part I” crossed the $800 million mark and could probably pull in $870 million worldwide before its run is over.
As for future franchises, studio execs are attempting to figure out what the next big one will be. “Narnia” is struggling to stay above water and although “Percy Jackson & the Olympian” did pretty well at the box office, Fox expected it to gross $300 million.
Here are the 10 most disappointing films of 2010:
“The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”
Budget: $150 million
Domestic total: $63 million
Foreign total: $152 million
A sorcerer’s apprentice film without Mickey Mouse was bound to fail. When news began to circulate about a live-action version of the classic animated short, I assumed the iconic character would star. Instead, Nicolas Cage was chosen. In no way is he cute or cuddly. Audiences felt the same apparently and skipped this film. With DVD sales at $17 million, the film has yet to break even.
Budget: $47 million (reported)
Domestic total: $10 million
Foreign total: $356,000
With charisma similar to that of a sloth, Megan Fox’s sultry look couldn’t save this film. Geeks were not that impressed with last year’s Comic-Con’s footage. Reshoots were done a few months before the movie’s release, hiking the production budget up an additional $33 million. The director, Jimmy Hayward, wasn’t involved in the process; Francis Lawrence (“I Am Legend”) was hired to oversee them. “Jonah Hex” could have been an okay film, but honestly, the comics are fairly unknown.
Budget: $150 million
Domestic total: $61 million
Foreign total: $77 million
As a fan of the original “Wolfmanm” I wasn’t too excited about the remake. But once creature creator Rick Baker, of “American Werewolf of London” fame, signed on, my interest was piqued. Baker and Benicio Del Toro showed up at Comic-Con to preview the trailer. It was very good. With Anthony Hopkins and Hugo Weaving co-starring, nothing could go wrong, right? The 2010 “Wolfman” turned out to be pretty cheesy and negative word of mouth traveled like wildfire and the film failed.
“Let Me In”
Budget: $20 million
Domestic total: $12 million
Foreign total: $9 million
Before I talk about the remake, let me preface this by saying the original was far from being a blockbuster. But it did turn a small profit. “Let The Right One In’s” production budget was around $4 million, but made $11 million worldwide. The remake, helmed by “Cloverfield” director Matt Fields, was loved by critics, but didn’t make the grade with worldwide audiences. It wasn’t a bad flick by any means, but I prefer the original. Given the box office take, it appears as if I wasn’t the only one with this opinion. Why redo something so recent? Fields added nothing to his version to truly make it his own.
Budget: $200 million
Domestic total: $105 million
Foreign total: $212 million
Oy! Where to begin with this mess. Can someone explain to me why it cost $200 million to film a bunch of men riding horses through a forest? And why would a studio okay such a ginormous budget when Russell Crowe’s last two films failed to impress at the box office? “State of Play’s” production budget was $60 million. The movie took in $87 million worldwide. “Body of Lies” did a little better, taking in $115 million with a $70 million dollar production budget. But if you add the marketing costs, which was probably around $20 million+ given the talent involved, the movie is a loss. It seems, however, movie studios have learned that Crowe isn’t the box office draw he once was. “The Next Three Days” — a film I totally forgot about — had a much smaller budget of $30 million.
“Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore”
Budget: $85 million
Domestic total: $43 million
Foreign total: $68 million
No one could pay me to see this. The trailer and TV spots were absolutely dreadful, the hairless cat was frightening. To be fair, I haven’t liked a talking animal film since “Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey” and “Babe.” There’s something about today’s CGI that makes these types of films creepy and unsettling. I dunno, maybe it’s the moving mouths.
Budget: $100 million
Domestic total: $35 million
Foreign total: $59 million
Because of the successful “Bourne” series, “Green Zone” should have performed better. Unfortunately, ”Zone” had a couple strikes against it: the Iraq war and a weak story. Now, I know you’re probably thinking, “Well, ‘The Hurt Locker’ did well.” Of course it did. That movie was solid. Critics loved “Locker” but slammed “Green Zone” for being too liberal and anti-military.
Budget: $50 million
Domestic total: $33 million
Foreign total: $49 million
I bet you forgot about this one. I almost did. The film came and went with a flash and like “Cats & Dogs 2,” I wasn’t impressed with the trailer. In fact, I groaned in the theater while watching it. As a kid, I laughed at the comic strip. There’s no laughter to be found in the film version. It wasn’t humorous at all. Instead, it was pretty painful. Kids under five would probably like “Marmaduke,” but I couldn’t imagine any parent sitting through it. It was that bad.
“How Do You Know”
Budget: $120 million
Domestic total so far: $25.5 million
Foreign total: NA
The box office total for “How Do You Know” has been terrible. The production cost baffles me. I’m used to special effects films starting at 120 million, but a comedy? I guess Reese Witherspoon is still making $15 million a picture. Owen Wilson gets $10 million, Paul Rudd $3 million and Jack Nicholson got $12 million. As for the rest of the money, who knows where it was spent. The wardrobe certainly wasn’t “Sex & The City.” In general, I think moviegoers are tired of formula flicks like this. “How Do You Know” felt like other films of its genre … minus Jennifer Aniston … with a different title.
Budget: $100 million
Domestic total so far: $55 million
Foreign total: $64 million
“The Tourist” opened at a weak $17 million. That’s down-right embarrassing for Hollywood elite Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp. Both earned $20 million to work on the Florian Donnersmarck film; however, opening weekend earnings didn’t cover their salaries. The ultimate pairing failed to deliver any spice. Perhaps the hotness from both actors canceled each other out. That could explain the barely-there chemistry. But the lack of fire wasn’t the feature’s only problem. The movie was just plain disappointing. Sony marketed the heck out of Depp and Jolie, thinking their faces alone would sell the film. Today’s audience is smarter than that.
Well, 2011 should be a better year for film. The summer releases are pretty solid. For the fall and winter months, we have Terrance Malick’s “Tree of Life” starring Brad Pitt and Sean Penn. “Hugo Caberet” from Martin Scoresese stars Chloe Mertz and Jude Law. Antonio Banderas returns to the big screen in Pedro Almodovar’s “The Skin I Inhabit” and Viggo Mortensen plays Sigmund Freud in David Cronenberg’s “A Dangerous Method.” These are just but a few films that will stimulate the mind in the New Year. After watching “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” and the mindless “Pirates” sequel, I’ll need to recover the lost brain cells somehow.
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Follow Sherice Antoinette on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ShericesPieces.