Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Celebrating 17 Years of Film.Biz.Fans.
by Peter Knegt
January 4, 2013 10:55 AM
  • |

The 5 Biggest Disappointments at the 2012 Specialty Box Office

"Lola Versus" Fox Searchlight

3. Fox Searchlight's romantic comedies about young people.
Sure, Fox Searchlight had the biggest specialty hit of the year in "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel," arguably a romantic comedy inarguably about old people. But the distributors two attempts at romantic comedies about young people didn't go over so well. First there was Greta Gerwig vehicle "Lola Versus," which grossed just $252,603 to become Searchlight's lowest grossing film of the year. Then there was "Ruby Sparks," Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris's follow-up to "Little Miss Sunshine" (a huge Searchlight hit). "Ruby" faired much better than "Lola," but considering expectations were far higher it was just as disappointing. It ended up with a $2,540,106 total - less that what "Sunshine" made in its ninth weekend alone.

4. Indies about vampires and werewolves.
The final "Twilight" film may have managed nearly $300 million at the box office, but vampires and werewolves certainly weren't turkey-proof plotlines, especially in the specialty market. And we're talking serious turkies. The total grosses of "Vamps" ($3,361) "The Moth Diaries" ($3,838), "I Kissed a Vampire" ($1,794) and "Jack and Diane" ($1,142) don't even add up to $10,000. And they make the grosses for Korean import "A Werewolf Boy" ($328,231 since opening at the end of November) look downright "Twilight"-esque.  Note that "Vamps," "Diaries" and "Diane" all received considerable VOD releases as well... Here's hoping the revenue from that (which is not made public) had a bit more bite.

"The Master."

5. "The Master"
On the one hand, a $15 million gross for a divisive, challenging, 2 1/2 hour indie is no disaster. It's perhaps quite admirable, and makes "The Master" one of the 10 highest grossing specialty films of 2012. On the other hand, it cost $35 million to make, was directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, whose following led "There Will Be Blood" to a $40 million gross. It also failed to live up to its remarkable limited average of $147,262 per its 5 theaters -- the all-time record for a live action film. But then the Weinstein Company decided to push it to 788 screens in its second weekend, and it burned out very quickly, with a total now standing at $15,956,662. The only other live action film to open to an average of over $80,000 and fail to at least gross $40 million was last year's "The Tree of Life." But at least The Weinstein Company was also very well represented on the "winners" article that ran yesterday.


  • rsd | January 6, 2013 12:22 AMReply

    It is interesting that all these films grossing 40 million are mentioned in this article as great results, and the one grossing 15 million too, even when it cost 35 million to make. When Remember Me grossed 19 million (on at 16 million budget) in the US and 55 million nationwide (officially, because Rob stated in an interview it was actually close to 70 million), most articles I read portrayed it as a flop (???) I guess it is because its lead was "that guy from Twilight..."

  • Freda Magritt | January 5, 2013 9:41 AMReply

    What about Bale's "The Flowers of war", released in 2012 as well? Its total gross was $311,000 - much less than Cosmopolis or The Paperboy.

  • Kanerwa | January 6, 2013 6:57 AM

    Exactly,Freda,but The Flowers of War was released in 2011,but I'm sure it didn't make the list of The 5 Biggest Dissapoitments at the 2011.What about Rust and Bone ($600,000,with Oscar winner Cotillard),Amour($200,000 Palme d'Or winner),Holy Motors(500,000)?But of course it's easier to pointed ''serious box office issues'' of actors that became famous starring in fangirls flicks than to write honest article.The worst thing is that Indiwire journalist instead of praising actors for courage and taking challenging roles in R-rated dramas,he puts them down and writting how disappointing their movies were at the box office,especially if there are even more disappoitment films.

  • caro | January 5, 2013 10:00 AM

    the movie released on 30 movie theaters the first week then on 13 theaters the second then on 5 theaters without publicity
    for a chinese movie about a chinese event with bad reviews,it's not so bad

  • jspattzfan | January 4, 2013 5:47 PMReply

    One fact about Bel Ami. In the states it had a very limited run in few theaters, which didn't help the gross, but it was released OnDemand the same day it came out and a lot of people saw it that way. I never saw any figures on total hits for that. It suffered from a flawed screenplay, but looked great with sets and costumes. Mr Pattinson wasn't all that bad and has gotten a lot better. The movie had been made two years before it was released and had virtually no promotion.

  • Marie | January 5, 2013 3:32 AM

    "he wasn't all that bad" glad to see a rpatzz fan with a bit of lucidity.

  • Marie | January 4, 2013 12:54 PMReply

    only $ 9.888 from 4 screens for On The Road? even with their 6954874523 screenings, KStew naked and giving countless interviews spewing the same pretencious bullshit ? what a pity!

  • tam | January 6, 2013 5:10 PM

    Third weekend in theaters and it only has an average of $3,600.

  • McMuffin | January 4, 2013 11:44 AMReply

    Lol. Prepare for the Twihards-oops I mean Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart's "serious movie" fans-to attack this article. Oh the Twihard drama.

  • Kanerwa | January 5, 2013 6:39 AM

    People want to see the hero in condome costiume and plastic ears,plus many explosions and gun shots,any actor between age 25-35 could have playedBatman in 250mln $ budget movie.The Twilight actors made the blockbuster from almost indie budget movie(Twilight 37mln $ budget,almost 400mln$ worldwide)- this is success.I'm sure nobody downloads pics of Bale's dreamy eyes and sleeps in his E.Cullen bedspread,because he's not playing romantic vampire hero only comic hero,so I'm sure bunch of little nerds and grown-up men getting exited watching their collection of plastic Batman/Bane/Joker toys.Don't worry about Twi actors careers they're good actors and they gained a lot,they had movies at Cannes Festival at age of 26 and 22.This is enough success for a such young people,even if those movies weren't successful at the box office.

  • McMuffin | January 4, 2013 4:13 PM

    Christian Bale is how you spell his name. I'm pretty sure any movie Christian Bale makes is capable of at least making $1 Million. Something your Twilight heros couldn't do. $1 Million, how hard can that be for two of the most famous people in their age group. Of course Christian Bale is a GOOD actor, people want to go see him act not just download pictures of his dreamy eyes and sleep with his Edward Cullen bedspread. That's the difference.

  • Kanerwa | January 4, 2013 1:30 PM

    I'm waiting for amazing box-office of Cristian Bale's movie with Malick.I'm expecting Batman numbers .Batman fanboys drama:D

  • june | January 4, 2013 11:41 AMReply

    You got it wrong Peter. Cosmopolis is the best reviewed with 65% from RT, The Paperboy 39% and On the road at 46%. Cosmopolis also had lots more top/best of lists for 2012 compared to the other 2 films.

  • alice | January 4, 2013 11:07 AMReply

    The best reviewed of the three films is Cosmopolis w 65% fresh on RT.