2009 Holiday Movie Pool Final Report | Avatar | The Twilight Saga: New Moon | The Blind Side

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2009 Holiday Movie Pool Final Report

Avatar
The Twilight Saga: New Moon
The Blind Side
Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel
Sherlock Holmes
2012
Disney's A Christmas Carol
It's Complicated
The Princess and the Frog
Old Dogs
Planet 51
Ninja Assassin
Invictus
The Men Who Stare at Goats
Let me begin by apologizing again for flaking on the last several weeks of the pool. There were several incidents that helped to create this environment like seeing Tiger Woods name come across my wife's cell phone and NBC contacting me hourly about taking over The Tonight Show if their last desperation choices of Emo Phillips and Carrot Top said no, but I think a lot of it had to do with sleep sounding really good.

Now we are here though. Two and a half months after the adventure began, we finally know our Top Five Movies of the season!

There were a lot of pretenders along the way and many poolers were suckered by the Fool's Gold.

- The Box never even got open.

- The Men Who Stare At Goats was only slightly more interesting than watching The Men Who Sip Goat's Head Soup.

- Planet 51 did their best to kept the curious away just like the real Area 51.

- Maybe if Disney said they'd rescued the Old Dogs they used in their movie from a shelter it would've been met with more sympathy and less apathy.

- The only thing Warner Bros. got right with their lame-brain action flick was renaming Covert Agent Of Feudal Japan Killer to Ninja Assassin.

- When even art-house film-loving liberals boycott a critically acclaimed film like The Fantastic Mr. Fox, you can only assume they didn't want to go near anything that had the name Fox attached.

- Everything Fine's showed that if no one looks at dailies and you intently try to make a movie absolutely no one would want to see, you can achieve anything!

- Speaking of which, a dark, haunting story of war veteran Brothers sharing a wife just wasn't the chestnuts people wanted roasting under their fire this year.

- Lastly, Invictus was evicted before Yanks could understand what a scrum was or why Matt Damon was wearing John Stockton's basketball shorts.

Next came the crop of movies that didn't completely flop, but certainly didn't live up to expectations.

- In some ways, Disney should be happy that A Christmas Carol made $20 million more than last year's Bolt, but director Robert Zmeckis should be ashamed of himself for having the same "can't do a human face thing without looking creepy" for three films in a row when James Cameron got it right the first time.

- Likewise, if Disney's idea of bringing back 2D animation with The Princess and The Frog was so it could make just a little more money than Brother Bear, mission accomplished.

- It's Complicated wasn't so complicated after all as much as an excuse for older moms to do something other than tea one afternoon.

- Finally, 2012 wasn't the end of the world but it was the last film to fall off the Top Five and be in that completely useless sixth place spot.

Still, forget the lame-ohs and the Island of Lost Dreams pretenders. Here were the true top five films of the Holiday Season because Monday was Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Weekend Observance:

(As a side note, all of these films should eventually cross the $200 million mark and that'll be the first time we've ever had that many $200 million makers in one Holiday Season)

#5. Sherlock Holmes - $182.2 million
For the second film in the season, a famous fictional British character was played by a Colonial. Patrick Dempsey is sure to be the next James Bond now, look out! Director Guy Ritchie found a way to make an enjoyable movie for more than just people who are like him and the results were fantastic. Though its achievements have been buried by the out-of-this-world results of other films, this was a huge, franchise-starting smash by Warner Bros. that they didn't even break the bank to make. Well done.

#4. Alvin and the Chipmucks: The Squeakuel - $196.4 million
While parents like myself might have been sitting there going, "Hmm, this movie has some pacing issues," that didn't stop the kiddies jumping in their seats and air-guitaring to the songs. When Disney couldn't even convince my 5 year-old son that The Princess and the Frog wasn't a "girl" movie (his dad sure would've rather seen Princess than the Chipettes singing Hot & Cold), families turned to this one where the youngsters of both genders could agree. It was almost embarrassing the lack of craft that went into this sloppy sequel (original star Jason Lee even only showed up for three minutes of it), but with buckets of cash and counting you can count on Alvin 3D in two years guaranteed.

#3. The Blind Side - $228.2 million
If Warner Bros. had the surprise smash in the summer with The Hangover, they did it all over again with The Blind Side. I can already see every movie their releasing in 2010 having a "The" added to their titles… even if there already is one. WB had two films that cost about $50 million total scoring over $500 million in grosses. I'm sure my current WBOL peeps got something special to commemorate the occasion like an Invictus teeth guard swag. Though it's be hard for Sandra Bullock to top this the year she's had, it'll be interesting to see if in the next phase of her career she can finally move out of Julia Roberts shadow who hasn't been "the star" of her own hit since American Sweethearts in 2001.

#2. The Twilight Saga: New Moon - $292.4 million
A big "Oops" to anyone who thought this sequel wasn't going to do any better than the last film (*cough cough*). Instead it almost broke the first film's total in the first weekend! While critics and soothsayers can only prognosticate now how this series will fare in a crowded summer season, it never really played a factor for the Harry Potter series. Besides, I hear book three is when it gets good where Van Helsing shows up to chase Frankenstein through the Pacific Northwest. Also, just think what that opening weekend could've been if they'd actually had a decent theme song to go with it? Drop the Death Cab bore fest for some Owl City stat!

#1. Avatar - $504.9 million
While I am still at a loss to explain it (I thought the film might do how the first Lord of the Rings movie did where it opened not huge, but steady and then just kept holding well), James Cameron's epic tale about Pandora caught people's attention, imagination, and pocketbooks with the hefty surcharges for the 3D Glasses and IMAX theaters. By the second weekend it was clear this was less of a movie and more of a phenomena. Audiences didn't mind paying more to see something that was more than they same old mindless CGI action-fest. While you can argue whether audience really got that or not, they bought the tickets regardless and now the record no one would break (Titanic's $600 million domestic), seems inevitable. Sure, the higher ticket prices have a lot to do with that, but a hit's a hit and Avatar was something else altogether.

by Matt Neuenburg on 12/31/2009

Movies Mentioned in this Post: 2012, Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, Avatar, Disney's A Christmas Carol, Invictus, It's Complicated, Ninja Assassin, Old Dogs, Planet 51, Sherlock Holmes, The Blind Side, The Men Who Stare at Goats, The Princess and the Frog, The Twilight Saga: New Moon
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