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A look back at the first half of 2011 at the box office

Posted Friday, July 8, 2011 at 4:55 PM Central
Last updated Friday, July 8, 2011 at 5:03 PM Central

by John Couture

Every year, Tim and I play prognosticator and try to predict the highest grossing movies for the coming year. Given that we just made the halfway turn on 2011, we thought now would be as good of a time as any to reflect back on our work.

I think it's safe to say that we bombed miserably. Across the board, Tim is kicking my butt, but I think his prediction of Cars 2 being the top grossing movie the year will ultimately be his undoing.

In case you're too lazy to click on the link above and compare, we'll simply reprint our picks below.

1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 $333
2 Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides $322
3 Transformers: Dark of the Moon $319
4 Cars 2 $317
5 Cowboys & Aliens $292
6 The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 $282
7 The Hangover 2 $272
8 Captain America: The First Avenger $247
9 Kung Fu Panda 2 $230
10 Sherlock Holmes 2 $203
11 Green Lantern $189
12 X-Men: First Class $187
13 Happy Feet 2 $165
14 Super 8 $159
15 Thor $151

Tim's PredictionsJohn's Predictions
1 Cars 2 $385 1 Cowboys & Aliens $421
2 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 $340 2 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 $346
3 Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides $319 3 Transformers: Dark of the Moon $331
4 Transformers: Dark of the Moon $312 4 Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides $319
5 The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 $263 5 The Hangover 2 $302
6 Thor $246 6 The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 $298
7 The Hangover 2 $244 7 Super 8 $281
8 Captain America: The First Avenger $219 8 Captain America: The First Avenger $277
9 Kung Fu Panda 2 $211 9 Rango $267
10 Fast Five $190 10 The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo $261
11 Cowboys & Aliens $184 11 Kung Fu Panda 2 $259
12 Green Lantern $178 12 Cars 2 $257
13 X-Men: First Class $173 13 Rio $248
14 Happy Feet 2 $168 14 Sherlock Holmes 2 $241
15 Sherlock Holmes 2 $159 15 Green Lantern $222

For those scoring at home, here are the actual top 10 at the box office for 2011 (through June):

1 The Hangover 2 $250
2 Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides $235
3 Transformers: Dark of the Moon $214
4 Fast Five $208
5 Thor $178
6 Kung Fu Panda 2 $158
7 Bridesmaids $156
8 Rio $141
9 X-Men: First Class $140
10 Cars 2 $134

While I can't say that I'm too surprised about the actual receipts this year so far, I will say our love affair with animated movies might be waning. There were many animated films that seemed to underperform during the first half of 2011. On the flip side, adult-skewing comedies seem to be back in a big way with twin hits The Hangover 2 and Bridesmaids.

Friend of the site Steve Valeri shared with us some research he did over on his site Stevebiscuit that also took a look back at the first half of 2011 in the form of two really cool graphs.

The first graph above plots out the 2011 releases by genre and Steve's personal ratings. You can get a larger, higher resolution image by clicking on the chart.

That graph shows that there have been almost twice as many drama/action movies released so far in 2011 than comedies. Given the performance of the laughers so far this year, I bet we'll see those numbers change in 2012.

The second graph below is really interesting in my opinion. It tracks the 2011 releases by Rotten Tomatoes Ratings against box office performance.

Right away, the first thing to jump out at you is just how hard it is for movies to reach "blockbuster" status. There are only 19 movies that have surpassed $75 million in box office earnings. There's about double that many that he has graphed and many other limited releases that don't register.

According to Box Office Mojo, there's at least 121 (probably more) movies released in 2011 that haven't surpassed $75 million in box office.

Another interesting observation seems to disprove the theory that critics hate successful movies. Of the 9 movies that surpassed $140 million at the box office, six of them scored not only as fresh, but surpassed 70% fresh.

Of course, critical acclaim still doesn't guarantee box office prominence. The three highest rated movies all earned less than $55 million. Although I will say that these numbers might be skewed and I would love to compare this graph with one from the end of 2011 as most of year's critically acclaimed movies with the highest potential for earning power are released to coincide with the awards season.

We'll have to check back with Steve then, in the meantime though be sure to check out his site and for new and interesting graphs and content.

Source: Stevebiscuit