By Sarah Sluis
Plenty of audiences should turn out for the final box-office weekend of the year, but that will still leave numbers for 2010 down as a whole. Blockbusters like Toy Story 3, Alice in Wonderland and Iron Man 3 attracted audiences to the tune of $300-400 million, but the number one film of 2010 was a 2009 release: Avatar. James Cameron's blue-tinged alien film earned $476 million in the 2010 half of its release, putting it $50 million above Toy Story 3.
Yesterday, two specialty films bowed in order to qualify for consideration at this year's awards season. The English director Mike Leigh (Happy-Go-Lucky) turns out the thoughtful Another Year (six theatres), which shows him in a "mellow, seasonal mood," according to critic David Noh. This is the kind of film that requires a bit of effort to get through, but Leigh creates incredibly true-to-life characters with spot-on dialogue with psychological complexity.
One of my top ten films of 2010, Blue Valentine released yesterday in four theatres with an R rating, the result of a successful appeal of the MPAA's original decision to brand the movie with an NC-17. Critic Erica Abeel called the story of a couple falling out of love "remarkable for its honesty and power." Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling star opposite each other, and both were nominated for acting Golden Globes, a sign that they may also turn up in contention for Oscar statuettes.
With many out for winter holidays, the weekday box office has been strong. On Monday, many films dropped under 10%, compared to the 70-80% seen during non-holiday weeks. In fact, many kid-driven titles saw gains over Monday and Tuesday. The adult comedy Little Fockers is still in first place but has also dropped the most. There's a chance Tron: Legacy may take the lead over the weekend. True Grit has staked out third place, and specialty films like Black Swan, The Fighter, and The King's Speech have moved into the top ten.
Screener will be dark tomorrow, and resume for a box-office recap on Monday. See you in 2011!