Dylan’s Box Office Round-Up Special: Best of 2012

Dylan wraps up the box office numbers from 2012 and gives us his top 10. 

2012 was a record-breaking year for the box office. It was the highest grossing year ever in the US, with over $10.6 billion in ticket sales. This is matched by huge numbers the world over. A lot of this success comes from the triumph of movies with established fan bases,  many of which achieved both narrative excellence and CGI supremacy.

The huge hit was Avengers Assemble, with over $1.5 billion dollars worldwide off a $220 budget. This makes it the third biggest move in history, which is an incredible amount for something that seems so culty. With supposedly seven other movies to watch first, audiences could easily have become alienated, but the strength of the script made this a movie for everyone. It will be very interesting to see if anything can follow it next year.

However, other similar movies had huge numbers. The Dark Knight Rises, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Hunger Games and Skyfall all performed well. The latest Bond movie has now crossed a billion worldwide, with a landmark gross of around £200 million in the UK alone. That’s truly astonishing.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is close to joining them, currently $562 worldwide and growing. This will surely be remembered as the year of the franchise, and the year studios got a hold on how to harness fan bases and make money. Also, any paranoia about the death of the cinema seems hysterical; if you can create the right spectacle, audiences will come.

By the way, this video is amazing. What a year.

My Top Ten of the Year

  1. Life of Pi - Ang Lee has created a beautiful piece of art, with the best 3-D and some of the best effects eve put to the screen. I honestly don’t know how they achieved some of the scenes in the movie, and the CGI tiger is as close to real as computer graphics can get. However, this is also a great character study and discusses some pretty heavy subjects without getting preachy or stodgy. A testament to what a mainstream movie can achieve, and a spot-on adaptation of the book.
  2. Sightseers - Kill List was one of my favourite movies of 2011, so I was very excited about Ben Wheatley’s follow up. It didn’t disappoint. A fantastic black comedy script was combined with his brutal, beautiful direction, to make something that is both hilarious and horrific. Incredibly violent, incredibly funny, incredibly British cinema. I wish I had written this movie.
  3. The Cabin in the Woods – It helped that I hadn’t heard much about this movie before watching, so I won’t reveal much here. All I can say is you won’t believe the madness that appears on-screen by the end. For horror and Joss Whedon fans this is essential viewing, and worth a look as the curiosity piece of the year.
  4. The Master – Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest is an oblique, confusing and difficult piece of cinema. And this is why it is so brilliant. You can’t get a handle on the true nature of the Scientology-esque cult, and it is all the more terrifying for it. And that’s regardless of the stunning 70mm cinematography and great performances from Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams and Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Wonderful, mature cinema.
  5. The Grey – Ignore the trailer for this one, which suggests a Liam Neeson headed action movie.  In reality, this is a dark and depressing psychological drama, which pits man against the elements. Whilst the allegory of the plot doesn’t quite make this a classic, there’s a lot more going on here than “Wolf Puncher.” Neeson brings his best performance for years.
  6. Dredd – The 1995 original is now an irrelevance to the mythology of Dredd. This year’s effort, penned by Alex Garland, was grittier, bleaker and more faithful than the original ever got. Combined with some fantastic 3-D effects, this is the action film of the year and hopefully the start of a great new trilogy. If only the box office hadn’t been so lacklustre…
  7. The Amazing Spider-Man – It was hard to see what the latest retelling of Peter Parker’s story had to offer. Surely we had seen this all before? Putting Marc Webb at the helm and Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone in the main roles, gave the whole movie an indie sensibility that made it very watchable. After the emo disaster of Spider-Man 3, this looked like it would be going the same way. In reality, this was a funny, engaging, exciting comic adaptation, and the best interpretation of Spider-Man on-screen.
  8. The Avengers – The year’s biggest financial hit was a deserved winner in the blockbuster stakes.  Marvel’s epic five-year gamble came together beautifully. Although the special effects were fantastic and the plot suitably grand, it was the chemistry between the characters that really made it special. Thoroughly memorable and highly enjoyable, this ticks all the boxes for an entertaining film.
  9. Skyfall – After the disappointment of Quantum of Solace and huge production delays thanks to MGM’s troubles, this instalment of James Bond had a lot to prove. What emerged was a movie that felt very 2012; British, elegant and exhilarating. Cerebral without losing the pace of the action, it combined wonderful direction and cinematography with some innovative new features to an old character to make this is an instant series classic.
  10. The Dark Knight Rises – Christopher Nolan’s trilogy comes to an end in this sprawling slice of blockbuster action. Not everything works and at least one character should’ve been cut, but there are still some incredible action sequences here. It contained the best start to a movie this year, and most of all wrapped up the trilogy in a very satisfying way. At well over two hours it never gets boring, and it was great to visit Nolan’s Gotham one last time.

Dylan Spicer

Dylan graduated from Brighton Film School and and went on to complete an MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University. He has worked on award-winning short and feature films. He is currently experimenting with Narradu Memories, and his online audio drama giantcannibals.co.uk.

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