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Cannes 2012 Recap: How Did Last Year's Edition Hold Up in the Shadow of One of the Festival's Most Successful?

Photo of Peter Knegt By Peter Knegt | Indiewire May 14, 2013 at 10:54AM

Going into last year's Cannes, we knew the crop of films had some mighty shows to fill. The 2011 edition of the festival resulted in one of the most successful Cannes slates ever, both in terms of the films' commercial success in America and how they played in awards season.
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"Moonrise Kingdom"

Going into last year's Cannes, we knew the crop of films had some mighty shows to fill. The 2011 edition of the festival resulted in one of the most successful Cannes slates ever, both in terms of the films' commercial success in America and how they played in awards season. (Don't get us wrong, in many ways these two things should not matter for the films that play at Cannes, but to some folks -- distributors, financiers -- they surely do.)

Three films in official competition in 2011 -- "Midnight in Paris," "The Artist" and "Drive" -- ended up grossing north of $35 million in North America, while the festival saw its world premieres win a whopping six Oscars from 19 nominations, including the best picture winner "The Artist." Cannes all of a sudden seemed as commercial and Oscar-friendly as Toronto.

So a year later, how does the follow-up edition to Cannes' mighty 2011 look? In terms of those comparable statistics: Two films -- "Moonrise Kingdom" and "Lawless" -- grossed over $35 million, and collectively the films from the festival scored a singular Oscar and seven nominations. All in all, it was definitely no 2011. But as we anticipate the kick-off of the 65th edition of the festival tomorrow, let's take a closer look back at what was a much more hit-or-miss lineup than the year that preceded it.

Continue to the next page for the top 10 grossing films to be theatrically released from the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, with notes on how each film played out at the box office and over awards season.

1. Moonrise Kingdom
U.S. Distributor: Focus Features
North American Gross: $45.5 million
Worldwide Gross: $68.3 million
Awards: Nominated for an Oscar for best original screenplay, and a Golden Globe Award nod for best picture (musical or comedy).
Verdict: Big success story on all fronts. Wes Anderson's highest grossing film since 2001's "The Royal Tenenbaums," and the second highest grossing indie of last summer (just slightly behind "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel"

2. Lawless
U.S. Distributor: The Weinstein Company
North American Gross: $37.4 million
Worldwide Gross: $53.7 million
Awards: Nada.
Verdict: With a reported budget of $45 million, the film wasn't a financial triumph, but for a historical crime drama release at the dead end of August with somewhat mixed reviews, it's respectable.

3. Killing Them Softly
U.S. Distributor: The Weinstein Company
North American Gross: $15.0 million
Reported Budget: $15 million
Awards: None.
Verdict: The second Weinstein offering from Cannes to underperform (notably also directed by an Australian), "Killing Them Softly" got shifted around the schedule before landing with a thud at the of November. Relative to its budget of $15 million, it fared better than "Lawless," but considering the marketable presence of star Brad Pitt, it's still a disappointment.

"Mud"

4. Mud
U.S. Distributor: Roadside Attractions
North American Gross: $8.6 million (and counting)
Worldwide Gross: N/A
Awards: It's eligible for the next awards season, and given its strong reviews and box office, could factor in.
Verdict: Only in its fourth week of release, the $10 million budgeted "Mud" is already a success story. It should easily finish up north of $15 million (if not $20 million), giving Matthew McConaughey a one for two score when it comes to his Cannes 2012 films (see a few films below).

5. Amour
U.S. Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics
North American Gross: $6.7 million
Worldwide Gross: $19.9 million
Awards: The MVP of Cannes when it came to the Oscars, "Amour" became the second consecutive Palme d'Or winner to get a best picture nomination, in addition to actress, director, original screenplay and foreign language film.
Verdict: A huge success. The highest grossing film Stateside by Michael Haneke, and a rarity in terms of a foreign language film (not to mention a dark one) scoring five major Oscar nominations.

6. No
U.S. Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics
North American Gross: $2.3 million
Worldwide Gross: N/A
Awards: An Oscar nod for best foreign language film.
Verdict: Sony Classics played it smart and waited for the Oscar nominations to come out to release this Chilean film starring Gael Garcia Bernal. It paid off, helping it gross over $2 million at the box office -- a nice feat for a foreign language film.

7. Rust and Bone
U.S. Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics
North American Gross: $2.1 million
Worldwide Gross: $19.5 million
Awards: Lead actress Marion Cotillard was nominated for pretty much every award except the Oscar.
Verdict: Managed a very decent $2.1 million at the North American box office, in addition to strong grosses in Europe, though its $20 million budget was not quite recouped.

8. The Sapphires
U.S. Distributor: The Weinstein Company
North American Gross: $1.8 million (and counting)
Worldwide Gross: $18.7 million
Awards: Eligible for next year's Oscars, though it's doubtful it would be a player outside perhaps best original song.
Verdict: Still in release, "The Sapphires" is slowly turning into a minor specialty hit for The Weinstein Company.

9. Cosmopolis
U.S. Distributor: EOne
North American Gross: $764K
Worldwide Gross: $6.1 million
Awards: None.
Verdict: Considering the fanbases of both David Cronenberg and Robert Pattinson (albeit very different fanbases), this is a pretty significant disappointment.

10. The Paperboy
U.S. Distributor: Millennium Fims
North American Gross: $693K
Worldwide Gross: $1.4 million
Awards: Seemingly out of nowhere, Nicole Kidman seemed like a real possibility for a best supporting actress Oscar nomination after snagging Globe and SAG nods, but it didn't happen.
Verdict: Another star-studded (Kidman, Zac Efron, Matthew McConaughey and John Cusack) dud from Cannes' competition, "The Paperboy" couldn't even gross $1 million.

This article is related to: Box Office, Cannes Film Festival, Moonrise Kingdom, Amour