Let’s try something new: a poll! Thursdays are the day of the week when I usually do a box office analysis article, and this week I’m answering a request from Rohan (sidenote: I’m reading The Two Towers right now, and I have a whole new appreciation for the word “Rohan”) to go take a look at the biggest box office surprises of 2009. I’ve narrowed the choices down to seven, and believe it or not, Avatar is not included! I wanted to showcase those films that exceeded expectations in a big way, so movies that everyone knew would be blockbusters aren’t really on the list. Check below to read my seven cases as to why each movie deserves your vote, and then go ahead and vote in the poll! If your ideal choice isn’t listed, then let me know what you think in the comments. Can’t wait to see the results!
Why it deserves your vote: Because the little $29 million feature opened very well against that behemoth known as New Moon, earning $34 million in its opening weekend. After that, the feel-good movie showed some incredible legs over the holidays, earning a stunning $220 million, over 6.5 times as much as its opening weekend! The crazy thing is, it’s still not done, either!
Star Trek ($257.7 million)
Why it deserves your vote: Sure, this flick had a big $150 million budget, but the Star Trek franchise was dead in the water when J.J. Abrams rebooted it. The critical darling introduced this intergalactic adventure to a brand new generation, and earned a whole lot of money on the way!
Paranormal Activity ($107.9 million)
Why it deserves your vote: This independent horror movie was made for $15,000. Yes, just $15,000. After sitting on the shelf for years, Paramount decided to release the film in a few theaters. Then they started an online marketing campaign. Then the campaign went viral. Then Paramount added it to a few more theaters. Then it made a shocking amount of money. Then everyone started talking about it. Then Paramount put it into wide release. Then it killed Saw VI. Then it broke $100 million. Then it was declared an all-out phenomenon.
Taken ($145 million)
Why it deserves your vote: Because it was a simple, $25 million action film starring Liam Neeson, who was hardly an A-list box office draw. I’m sure Fox expected it to do some solid enough business, and then make a little bit extra on DVD, but they got way more than they bargained for. The film opened to a solid $24 million, and it connected with audiences in a huge way. The thriller surprised everyone over the course of the next two months, dropping by tiny amounts on its way to $145 million.
The Hangover ($277.3 million)
Why it deserves your vote: Warner Brothers launched one of the biggest comedies of all time out of nothing. No A-list stars, no huge budget, no family-friendly premise, no super-anticipatory buzz. The R-rated comedy opened to a fantastic $44 million over the first weekend in June, and then chugged along all Summer on its way to $277 million.
Inglorious Basterds ($120.5 million)
Why it deserves your vote: Because it made a rather unsavory WWII story accessible to audiences, and actually gave The Weinstein Company a hit!
Paul Blart: Mall Cop ($146.3 million)
Why it deserves your vote: Because, against all odds, the wretchedly reviewed comedy somehow caught on with audiences, launching the Era Of Easy Entertainment in the process. Who’d of thunk that this $26 million January release would become a box office star?
Go ahead and place your vote in the poll below: