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Summer: The Biggest Winners and the Biggest Losers
by Christopher Stone

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Biggest Winner!  B.O. adds 3 $1Billion Flicks!

Biggest Winner! B.O. adds 3 $1Billion Flicks!
Box-office Summer 2011 is history; in the rear-view mirror - gone.

You'd have to be on a certain broadcast network television series to cheer about being the biggest loser. At the box-office, the biggest loser is strictly Walk of Shame stuff. Thank you, Anne Robinson.

Let's take a look at summer's biggest box-office winners and losers.

Winner: Sequels

Those of us who love creativity, innovation and originality, and assumed that Match-Flickers were weary of sequels, three-peats, and all things re-packaged and re-wrapped, were wrong, dead wrong. This summer, three box-office blockbusters joined The Billion Dollar Box-Office Club: PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES, HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PART TWO, and TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON. And then there was THE HANGOVER PART II. That little pastiche has already earned more than half of a billion dollars worldwide and counting. FAST FIVE sped past the $200 million mark. And CARS 2 may have fell short of Pixar's expectations, but $190 million ain't hay on anyone's farm. Guess what, folks? They were
One Ryan Soars, as do his CGI abs!

One Ryan Soars, as do his CGI abs!
all sequels. Once again, assuming has made an ass of you and me. Sequels reigned supreme, last summer.

Winner: R-rated Comedy

I've always loved raunchy, saucy and sexy R-rated comedy, and this Summer, so did Match-Flickers. BRIDESMAIDS, THE HANGOVER PART II and BAD TEACHER pushed R-rated laffers over the $1 Billion mark at the box-office. As Summer progressed FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS, CRAZY, STUPID LOVE, HORRIBLE BOSSES, and several other titles, insured that everything was coming up roses and big box-office bucks for R-rated raunch.

Winner: Ryan Gosling

He's been impressing us for years. This summer, thanks to CRAZY, STUPID LOVE, Ryan Gosling's rising star really went into orbit. Reviewers compared the handsome youth favorably to De Niro and Brando. Audiences loved Gosling and the amazing abs that co-star Emma Stone dubbed "Photo-shopped." As noted last column, Gosling's star will again DRIVE this Fall's box-office in two highly-anticipated dramas: DRIVE and the George Clooney-directed political morality drama THE IDES OF MARCH. Match-Flickers, it's time to forget Tom
Another Ryan crashes and burns - awaits resurrection.

Another Ryan crashes and burns - awaits resurrection.
Cruise, (if you haven't already), and even Brad Pitt. It's all about Ryan.

Loser: B Grade Comic Book Heroes

With THOR, GREEN LANTERN and CAPTAIN AMERICA, the Box-office hoped that IRONMAN-like success would follow. It didn't. While none of the aforementioned was an out-and-out box-office bomb, none of the three achieved blockbuster status. Were Match-Flickers unwilling to promote another B-grade comic book icon to superstardom, or did they just reject the second string scripts that accompanied these less than SUPERMAN super men? I'm thinking it's a little bit of both. What say you?

Loser: The Bluenoses

Going back to Hollywood's beginning, "bluenoses," or, as they are more commonly known, conservatives have tried to control (mostly, unsuccessfully) what motion pictures show us. This summer, the conservatives lost again - and big-time. There was enough raunchy language, sexual situations and gratuitous nudity on screen to make the heads of "bluenoses" explode faster than Michele Bachmann's chances of grabbing the GOP nomination.

Loser: Ryan Reynolds

As summer
Blue-nosed censors lose as R-rated reigns supremely funny.

Blue-nosed censors lose as R-rated reigns supremely funny.
began, it looked as though this would be when Ryan Reynolds steadily rising career finally went into super-star orbit. After all, he was both GREEN LANTERN and the co-star of THE CHANGE-UP, one of the season's most highly anticipated and touted motion picture comedies. But Match-Flickers never really embraced GREEN LANTERN, and they out-and-out rejected THE CHANGE-UP, making it the season's only major R-rated comedy to fail.

And so Ryan Reynolds' star crashed, burned and requires resurrection.

Winner: THE HELP

As the sun set on summer, THE HELP opened in the Number Two position, then ascended to Number 1 for three consecutive weeks. You could say that THE HELP was the Boss.

The Biggest Winner: The Box-Office

Spending billions of dollars at the movies, Match-Flickers told the world that they may not have a job, their houses may have been foreclosed, and they don't yet have the money to make the next car payment, but no one, and no Economy, is going to take away their Escape to the Movies.

Yes, when all is said and done, the Box-Office is the Biggest Winner of the Summer of 2011.

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Mike Thomas
Sep 16, 2011 2:20 AM
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Interesting analysis, Chris.

I agree with most of your conclusions EXCEPT for the comic book movies. They are a very specific genre, like kung fu movies and porn, with a very specific demographic. They grossed about a billion dollars combined, and GREEN LANTERN didn't quite meet their budget, but they'll make it up in Blu-ray sales. That movie was MADE for Blu-Ray!

Anywho, I always look forward to your columns, though I don't always comment on them.

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The Business of Show
Every other Friday

Does advertising, public taste, or overindulged stars determine a movie's box office fate? Christoper Stone explores what's going on behind the box office.

Other Columns
Other columns by Christopher Stone:

The Cautionary Box-Office

Box-Office Holiday Season Heads Up. Part Two

Box-Office Holiday Season Heads Up, Part 1

Quality Is Independent

Oh, the Horror!

All Columns

Christopher Stone
Christopher Stone is the author of the international best seller Re-Creating Your Self. With Mary Sheldon, he co-authored three highly successful hardcover books of guided meditations.

He is a member of the Writers Guild of America, West.

If you have a comment, question, or suggestion, you can send a message to Christopher Stone by clicking here.

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