Generally speaking, 2012 offered enough diversity and quality in films (some of which will make its way to Northeast Ohio in the next two weeks) to qualify as a good year.
When electrifying comic book movies – Marvel’s The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises – can compete critically with some of the year-end stuff such as Argo, Les Miserables and Django Unchained, then you know it’s been a good one.
Collectively all films released in North America grossed a record $10.8 billion at the box office, a good sign for the movie theater business given that many predicted that its fate is sealed going forward because of advances in assorted digital technologies. Well the movie gods know I just looooovvve watching a flick on a 5-inch, 7-inch or 55-inch screen over the behemoth, delish displays that the offer in movie houses.
Yes, I have the ability to access a fair number of movies that I own via assorted streaming technologies along with blu ray disc (which is still the best medium to watch a movie at home) on all of those devices, but it wouldn’t be the same.
That brings movie fans to the other side of the coin. Revenues will set a record and attendance is up 5.7 percent over last year, but not all the butts have come back, according to data provided by Paul Dergarabedian box office analyst for Hollywood.com. Studios and their studio partners have to go back a decade to 2002 when Hollywood enjoyed an official attendance record.
That’s when the first Spider-Man led 24 films with box office grosses of $100 million or better, but ticket prices were more than two dollars lower and more than 1.6 billion people filled theaters. This year that figure will come in around 1.4 billion.
That means theaters still have challenges to face. Among them: dealing with ways to keep their money demographic doling out cash for the popcorn stuff all while keeping happy those who have the most cash but are reluctant to part with it in movie houses despite them providing the best way to view movies.
It’s easy to know when you’re easing into middle age. If you’re a big football fan, there’s little interest in waking up at 5 a.m. to tailgate and watch a bunch of amateur boozers get sloppy drunk before a game. For movie fans it’s not wanting to deal with the rings, bleeps and buzzes of cell phones going off along with people who don’t know how to read a movie schedule despite having apps like Fandango.com to provide them information.
And please, let’s not get into those inconsiderate idiots that love to talk back to the screen, comment on every scene with their friends and the parents who bring children under the age of 10 to R-rated movies. That’s for another time.
The Hollywood collective can enjoy 2012 for now, but they must remember: it’s a cyclical thing. And their business it’s all about the movies, stupid.
In the meantime film fans can bask it what was actually a decent year with respect to quality. Here are my Top 10 movies of the year:
The Dark Knight Rises
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty