Not One of My Top Ten is Among the Top 20 Films at the Domestic Box-Office for 2011


top 20 domestic box-office 2011
Ralph Fiennes in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
Photo: Warner Bros.

This is sort of amazing to me. Box-Office Guru just posted the top 20 earners at the domestic box-office for 2011 and not a single one of them is on my top ten for 2011.

It got me to thinking, has this happened before?

I started looking back through my top tens and last year five of my top ten films were in the box-office top 20 — Toy Story 3, Inception, Tangled, True Grit and The King’s Speech — the year before that three and before that three as well. Since starting this website in 2003, this is the first time in nine years where not a single one of my top ten made the box-office top twenty.

The closest it came was 2007 when The Bourne Ultimatum was the only film in the top twenty that made my year end top ten. This year, bupkis, nada, zilch.

So I hopped over to Box-Office Mojo to see where the films in my top ten ended up for the year… Looking… Looking… Looking… Ah ha! There’s the first one and it’s Moneyball at #42 with $75 million. Then I began looking for the rest of my list and it quickly became one big joke. The PG-13 version of The King’s Speech made more money than half of my top ten, edging out Martha Marcy May Marlene by $443,681.

As it turns out, four of the films on my top ten haven’t cracked the $1 million mark, though Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is sure to turn in much larger numbers once it expands later this month. However, for now, the combined total of all ten of the films in my top ten ($272,487,829) made less than the top three films of 2011.

Here, again, is my top ten with box-office totals and theater counts:

  1. Drive – $34,840,191 (2,904 theaters)
  2. Hanna – $40,259,119 (2,545 theaters)
  3. Midnight in Paris – $56,384,627 (1,038 theaters)
  4. We Need to Talk about Kevin – $39,297 (1 theater)
  5. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close – $367,943 (6 theaters)
  6. Tyrannosaur – $16,097 (5 theaters)
  7. Moneyball – $75,016,059 (3,018 theaters)
  8. Martha Marcy May Marlene – $2,900,625 (183 theaters)
  9. The Adjustment Bureau – $62,495,645 (2,847 theaters)
  10. Bellflower – $168,226 (13 theaters)

I’ve never known my taste to vary so wildly from the general audience. Then again, look at the theater counts. Audiences were hardly given a chance to even see most of these movies. For all the talk of Midnight in Paris being Woody Allen’s highest grossing film ever it still was only released in 1,038 theaters. Hard to compete when you’re not even in a quarter of the theaters as the box-office champ for the year. Not as if Midnight in Paris was going to compete with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 in the first place, but I think you get my point.

As for the year’s top twenty, I’ve included it directly below and you can explore my top ten further if you haven’t already right here.

How many of your top ten films for the year made the list?

  1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (Warner Bros.) – $381.0 million
  2. Transformers: Dark of the Moon (Paramount) – $352.4 million
  3. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 (Summit) – $276.4 million
  4. The Hangover Part II (Warner Bros.) – $254.5 million
  5. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (Disney) – $241.1 million
  6. Fast Five (Universal) – $209.8 million
  7. Cars 2 (Disney) – $191.5 million
  8. Thor (Paramount) – $181.0 million
  9. Rise of the Planet of the Apes (Fox) – $176.7 million
  10. Captain America: The First Avenger (Paramount) – $176.7 million
  11. The Help (Disney) – $169.5 million
  12. Bridesmaids (Universal) – $169.1 million
  13. Kung Fu Panda 2 (Paramount) – $165.2 million
  14. X-Men: First Class (Fox) – $146.4 million
  15. Puss in Boots (Paramount) – $145.8 million
  16. Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (Paramount) – $144.6 million
  17. Rio (Fox) – $143.6 million
  18. The Smurfs (Sony) – $142.6 million
  19. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (Warner Bros.) – $139.4 million
  20. Super 8 (Paramount) – $127.0 million

You tell me, was 2011 that divisive of a year or were people simply not given a chance to see some of the year’s best films?