Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Box Office Bingo

Checking through the Box Office Boomtown List of 2006 is a little scary, as it's a listing that quite accurately reflects a disheartening lack of Hollywood creative imagination, demonstrating that the money-makers were largely animated, sequels of some sort, or lifted from the colorful pages of comic books,... not that there's anything wrong with any of that. But, still. (1) Pirates of the Carribean:Dead Man's Chest---Second-helping of a Hollywood Family Serial. (2)Cars---Pixar animation, a fill length cartoon. (3)X-Men:The Last Stand--3rd installment of a hollywood serial and a Comic Book Movie. (4)The DaVinci Code---Hollywood Big League Potboiler, Best Seller-Into-Movie,Ron Howard Prestige Film. (5) Superman Returns--Prequel to a Hollywood serial and a Comic Book Movie. (6)Ice Age:The Meltdown---Part 2 of a Hollywood Cartoon Serial. (7)Happy Feet---Full length cartoon. (8)Over the Hedge--Full length cartoon. (9)Talladega Nights:The Ballad of Ricky Bobby---Contempo Comedy, Will Ferrel Pic. (10)Casino Royale---upteenth helping of a Hollywood Serial, with upteenth new Bond in place. Not much there that highlights the writerly or directorial aspects of Hollywood filmmaking, is there? Let's go back a decade and quickly peruse the same list. 1996:(1) Independence Day--Big-budget Hollywood Disaster Movie. (2)Twister---Big-budgetHollywood Disaster/Action Flic.(3) Mission Impossible---Tom Cruise Pic, TV-Into-Movie Pic, Big-budget Action Flic.(4)Jerry Maquire---Tom Cruise Pic, Romantic Comedy, Critical Fave with truly Original Screenplay. (5) Ransom----Mel Gibson Pic, Ron Howard Prestige Film, Big-budget Hollywood Pyschological Action Flic.(6)101 Dalmations---Live action remake of Disney full length cartoon. (7) The Rock---Big budget Hollywood Action Flic,Nic Cage Pic. (8)The Nutty Professor---Eddie Murphy Pic, Family Comedy, Remake of Classic Hollywood Comedy.(9)The Birdcage---Family Comedy remade from stage musical that was remade from a Frenchy Movie Comedy. (10)A Time To Kill---Hollywood Potboiler, Best Seller-Into-Movie, John Grisham Pic. Surprisingly ther ain't that much happening there either, other than a whambam collection of actioneers, although it is a year largely devoid of sequels and big timey cartoons. Back it up another ten years. 1986: (1)Top Gun---Tom Cruise Pic, Big-budget Hollywood Action Flic. (2)Crocodile Dundee---Aussie Paul Hogan achieves his 15 minutes. (3) Platoon---Truly Original Screenplay, Critical Fave-Rave,Oliver Stone's Hollywood flag-setting effort. (4) The Karate Kid Part II---Hollywood Serial Movie, part II. (5)Star Trek IV:The Voyage Home---Big-budget Sci-Fi, Hollywood Serial Movie. (6) Back to School---Contempo Comedy, Rodney Dangerfield Pic(hard to believe that actually once meant something at the box office). (7) Aliens---Second time around Sci-Fi Serial, James Cameron plunges his own flag into Hollywood ground. (8) The Golden Child---Eddie Murphy Pic, Family Comedy. (9) Ruthless People--Contempo Comedy with truly Original Comic Screenplay. (10)Ferris Bueller's Day Off---Teen Comedy, John Hughes Pic (remember when that meant something at the box office?)A year dominated by comedies, most of which were at least original, one all time corn-fest (Top Gun) and two actual keepers--Aliens and Platoon. Neither 1996 or 1986 makes much of a case for smarter, better movie years, and somehow I was not able to get the results for 1976 so the brief study must end there. It goes without saying the box office bingo isn't Oscar bling-bling, yet it undeniably illustrates what real people actually go out to see in any given year. Can any of you free-thinking movie mavens put yer shakey finger on that three-decade movie board?


john k said...

Here is some 76' Oscar nominees-Quality was so much higher in the 70's...


You can check other years.
While we are traveling down memory lane, here's a slew of 45's..


And some Beatles clips...


Anonymous said...

I believe that 1976 was a year or two after the original blockbuster Jaws. As I recall, the great era of fab late 60's and 70's films started to screw up when Hollyweird decided the big bucks were better than a cultural rennaisanse. However, even in periods where these "classics" were released, I'm sure the box office was filled with top ten garbage as far as receipts were concerned.

Scotty D said...

I really don't think there was as much garbage in the glory daze of American cinema.I would bet the boxofficeboffo to oscarmania ration was much closer. Can't any of you internet private dics get the box office resluts before the '80's?

Anonymous said...

Here is the results for 1970:
Airport (1970), 137 minutes, D: George Seaton

Five Easy Pieces (1970), 96 minutes, D: Bob Rafelson

The Honeymoon Killers (1970), 115 minutes, D: Leonard Kastle

Little Big Man (1970), 147 minutes, D: Arthur Penn

Love Story (1970), 99 minutes, D: Arthur Hiller

Lovers and Other Strangers (1970), 104 minutes, D: Cy Howard

M*A*S*H (1970), 116 minutes, D: Robert Altman

Patton (1970), 170 minutes, D: Franklin J. Schaffner

The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970), 125 minutes, D: Billy Wilder

Women in Love (1970), 130 minutes, D: Ken Russell

Woodstock (1970), 184 minutes, D: Michael Wadleigh

Scotty D said...

No way. Where did you get that list? Sherlock Holmes was a bomb and The Honeymoon Killers is a pure cult film. I demand sources my friend, sources!

john k said...

Can't find by year but these are the top 10 Box office films of the 70's
1 Star Wars
2 Jaws
3 Grease (Dear God!)
4 Close Encounters
5 The Exorcist
6 Superman
7 Saturday Nite Fever (Bigger Dear God)
8 Jaws2
9 Moonraker
10 The Spy who loved me

No Godfather,Annie Hall, Chinatown,The Candidate, French Connection, Network, Appocalyse Now, Taxi driver,Julia, One flew over the cookoo's nest, etc;
My personal sleeper fave, The Last Picture Show, probably lost money. You know there were people who wouldn't go see a black and white movie.

Anonymous said...

Hi Scott:
I didn't find the one from my original search that I published on the board, but I found this source, and it seems more credible, some similarities though. If this doesn't come out as a link, just copy and paste it on your browsers address window.

Anonymous said...

Couldn't resist...here is 1971 from that site...Billy Jack! Wow how you can forget...
001 Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
002 Billy Jack (1971)
003 Fiddler on the Roof (1971)
004 Carnal Knowledge (1971)
005 A Clockwork Orange (1971)
006 Willard (1971)
007 Sweet Sweetback's Baad Asssss Song (1971)
008Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971)
009 The Big Doll House (1971)
010 Big Jake (1971)

Scotty D said...

Good job, Bob, the new site is the real deal, that first list you had too wierd to even digest. Just look at the Top Ten from 1970-75, just the films with some actual substance: 1970 had MASH, Patton, Woodstock, Little Big Man, and Joe,1971 had Carnal Knowledge, Clockwork Orange, and sweet Sweetback's Baad Assss Song, 1972 had The Godfather, Cabaret, Last Tango in Paris, The Getaway, and Fritz the Cat,1973 had the Exorcist, America Graffiti, Papillion, and Serpico 1974 had Blazing Saddles,Godfather II, The Longest Yard, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, and Young Frankenstein,and 1975 had, well, Jaws, One Flew Over the Cukoo's Nest, Dog day Afternoon, and The Great Waldo Pepper. Note that Johnny Boy Wayne and the western still mattered--Big Jake (71) The Cowboys (72), Rooster Cogburn (75) and so did (hardy-har-har) Beneath the Planet of the Apes and Conquest of the Planet of the Apes(72). David Denby has a big industry piece in the 1-8-07 New Yorker, mostly dire. In it he sez that today's studio's are so obsessed with the opening weekend numbers, made up of "mostly families and people aged twelve to twenty-five" and therein lies the reason for so much of the godawful content-"fantasy,animation, inspirational sports stories, dumb-guy comedies", making far too much Hollywood product seem "infantile and repetitive through much of the year".

camerashy said...

Look at the domestic numbers for those 70's films. 1970-74, only 8 films with domestic gross over $100 mil. From 1975-79, there were 14. That's 22, count 'em, for the ENTIRE DECADE that did a domestic gross of over $100 milion. In 1971, you had the tenth highest-grossing film bringing in 7.5 mil. That's less than the cost of catering for some films today. And in 1975 The Rocky Horror Picture Show hit $139 mil. I have to think that was due to the fact that it played for the entire year in some small art houses.

Now look at 2000. There are 21 films that went over $100 mil domestically. In 2001 there were 18; 21 in '02; 19 in '03; and 19 in '04. wow. 98 films in the first five years of this decade have hit the $100 million mark domestically. I think The Lord of the Rings Trilogy may have out-grossed the entire years of 1970-72.

And yes, Scott, the opening week syndrome is so perverse now that most films have a short shelf life unless they do exceptionally well. Take the top critic's choices of recent months: Babel, Flags of Our Fathers, Marie Antoinette, The Good German, The Queen, Little Children, Notes on a Scandal, Borat. did anyone see these as they flew past? in the big megaplexes for two weeks, then gone. if it weren't for specialty venues like the Avon and Cable Car, Little Miss Sunshine and a few others would never have made it to the big dance at all. word of mouth was strong enough to keep them afloat and get serious recognition, but the others?? can anyone say Patriot Cinemas??? (At least I caught Borat ... niiiice!)

skylolo99 said...

1976 Top 10 Box Office:
1 Rocky (UA) Nov 76 $56.525 m
2 A Star is Born (WB) Dec 76 $37.100 m
3 King Kong (Para.) Dec 76 $36.915 m
4 Silver Streak (Fox) Dec 76 $30.018 m
5 All the President's Men (WB) Apr 76 $30.000 m
6 The Omen (Fox) Jun 76 $28.544 m
7 The Bad News Bears (Para.) Apr 76 $24.888 m
8 The Enforcer (WB) Dec 76 $24.000 m
9 In Search of Noah's Ark (Sunn) Jul 76 $23.770 m
10 Midway (Univ.) Jun 76 $21.610 m