2013 Holiday Movie Pool - Final Report | The Hunger Games: Catching Fire | Frozen | The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

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2013 Holiday Movie Pool - Final Report

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Thor: The Dark World
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues
The Wolf of Wall Street
Saving Mr. Banks
The Best Man Holiday
Last Vegas
Ender's Game
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Free Birds
Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas
47 Ronin
Walking With Dinosaurs
Delivery Man
Grudge Match
About Time
Black Nativity
Out of the Furnace
I'm not going to lie. I can't remember anything that's happened in the past 2 1/2 months. I know I've seen Daily Shows, news feeds, and special reports, yet I don't recall anything outside of a "Santa Claus is just white" snafu. Maybe it's from being the father of two boys who refuse to wake up any later than 6am every morning. Maybe it's the onslaught of so much information swirling around my brain can't retain any of it. Maybe it's from partying with Dennis Rodman whose antics seem to be stripped straight from a 30 Rock episode and would be so much funnier if, you know, it wasn't for all that prison camps, oppressive government, human rights issues and stuff. Hey, I guess there are two things I remember!

What hopefully none of us forgot is that we've reached the time when call our actual Top Five of the 2013 Holiday Movie Pool! We've had kid flicks, action movies, dramas, indy films, comedies, alleged comedies, and comedies only the Golden Globes call comedies. Some did great, some did well, and some you wouldn't even touch in the $5 Walmart bargain bin. Let's take a look back at what came out this season and sort out where each film fell. Like Bruce Springsteen once sang, "It's a town full of losers and five pulled it out to win," or something like that.

Jack Frost Nipping At Your Pubic Hairs

These movies brought more than just a chill to your heart. They represented everything no one wanted to see over the Holiday Season, and by virtue of their failure, we're almost guaranteed to see these exact same types of films next year. It's like no matter how many never bought Paris Hilton's music, she just keeps releasing it!

- Oldboy showed that even with the growing public acceptance of marijuana, people just say no to Spike Lee Joints.

- Believe justified (or is that Justinfied) our belief that there's a time when it's a Spice World and time when it's not. All he needed was a beauty and a beat and more than three people to see this movie. This is the ot-nay ime-tay.

- Black Nativity was more like black naivety as it was the only predominantly African-American cast movie that out-and-out tanked this season. Homeboys In Outer Space lasted for 21 weeks and this couldn't even last 21 days.

- Out of the Furnace flamed out in the fire. Releasing joyless films during the "most wonderful time of the year" has never made sense to me and apparently no one else either.

- About Time was expired by the time it was released. Fans may hate by-the-numbers Rom-Coms, but they hate confusing, time-travelling Rom-Coms even more. Rachel McAdams, you were in The Time Traveler's Wife. You should know this better than anyone!

- Homefront was buried in the backyard. We've accepted sax solos, blue tuxedos, and mullets as relics of the 80's, but Hollywood still seems to think "action stars" still exist today. We will not watch Jason Statham in a box; we will not watch him with a fox. We do not like Jason Statham, Sam-I-Am.

- Grudge Match begrudgingly served as a reminder that unless Sylvester Stallone is making an Expendables movie no one cares. Wait, does that mean he actually is "expendable" now?

- Delivery Man delivered empty seats to theaters across the country. Vince Vaughn had more kids than tickets sold to this lost parcel. Apparently, this flick was delivered by a turkey.

- Walking With Dinosaurs didn't have the "boom boom acka lacka boom boom" necessary for families to truly walk the dinosaur this holiday season. They weren't the Was... they were the (not was).

- 47 Ronin were not enough to make this magical, mystical, completely over-blown budget-al movie into anything more than a cinematic curiosity. I never thought we'd find a less believable samurai than Tom Cruise, but Keanu never ceases to amaze!

Figgy Pudding

Pudding always sounds like a good thing and yet figs never do. That leads us to this next collection of films that didn't embarrass themselves even though no one is asking for second helpings. Think of Khloé Kardashian as the one-year co-host on The X Factor as an example. Stop, no, uh, don't think about that at all.

- Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas was a gift that failed to keep giving. While it won't be the last nail in the coffin, we can only hope A Madea Funeral isn't far behind.

- Free Birds apparently didn't have anyone in the audience shouting "Play Freebird" during the movie. However, I haven't met a parent yet who wouldn't have preferred a 80 minute version of the song over what was actually on the screen.

- The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is still a secret to most filmgoers. Is it a whimsical tale? Is it pandering sap? Will we eventually find the answer on DVD or will we leave it with the Fockers.

- Ender's Game ended this movie franchise before it began. At least it performed better than Beautiful Creatures, The Host, and The Mortal Instruments. I guess that's like praising Prince of Persia for out-earning Super Mario Bros.

- Last Vegas didn't fold and raised the chance of there being a sequel, Laster Vegas: Electric Pacemakeroo. Anything that keeps Michael Douglas away from making Basic Instinct 3 is all good in my book.

- The Best Man Holiday was a jolly holiday with marry... That is until P.L. Travers showed up and yanked all the Sherman Brothers music from their movie.

- Saving Mr. Banks didn't save Oscar nominations for Emma Thompson or Tom Hanks. The movie wasn't for families and wasn't "hip" enough to compete with the other critical darlings of the awards season, leaving this film more Chim-Chim-A-Roo than Chim-Chim-A-Ree.

It's An Honor Just To Be Nominated

- The Wolf of Wall Street will howl its way past the $100 million mark eventually, much like the other Martin Scorsese/Leonardo DiCarprio films, yet they never threaten cracking the Top Five. Since Leo was in the #1 movie of our first Holiday Movie Pool in 1997, we've been waiting a long time for him to go back to Titanic.

- American Hustle would have been in our Top Five if there was just one more weekend to go, but we have cut-off dates for a reason and as of the January 21, 2014 deadline, our dance card was already full. So close and yet so far out.

The Top Five Because Monday Was Martin Luther King Jr. Observance:

#5. Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues - $122.5 million
Ron Burgundy may have been restrained to basic cable standards for outlandishness in his new 24 hour news position, yet that was good enough for Will Ferrell's biggest hit since 2006's Talladega Nights. Maybe one day we can even get Ron to interview Ricky Bobby. Until then, Anchorman 2 will be remembered as exactly what it was: something that was bigger than all the questionable muck being released and nothing that ever had a chance to threaten the true Final Four of the season. It truly was the anchor of our 2013 Holiday Movie Pool.

#4. Thor: The Dark World - $204.3 million
What a difference a year makes for Chris Hemsworth who landed in the "dud" section last year with his Red Dawn remake. Give the guy a hammer and he'll make you a fortune. Though the Thor franchise still isn't anywhere near Iron Man levels, The Dark World improved on the original film's total which bodes well for Marvel's upcoming Captain America: The Winter Soldier and, of course, 2015's The Avengers: Age of Ultron. Sure, Xenia: Warrior Princess may have been more faithful to Greek mythology than Thor is to his Norse roots (seriously, Dark Elves with Star Trek like lasers were in those medieval tomes?), yet they've provided a hero we can cheer for and a villain in Loki we can love.

#3. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - $249.4 million
It should've caught my eye earlier that in the collage poster for this film that Bilbo isn't even front and center. You know, Bilbo... the only actual hobbit in The Hobbit! Peter Jackson keeps throwing more and more stuff into this artificially drawn-out trilogy and ironically what we're left with is less and less hobbit. Hopefully, this can all be redeemed by getting fellow New Zealander Lorde to sing the end-credits song in The Hobbit: There and Back Again with the lyrics: "And we'll never be bloated (bloated), we can tell a simple story. And tell it in just one, just one, just one, just one... in just one movie."

#2. Frozen - $336.7 million
Look, I'm not going to lie. Going from Mandy Moore in Tangled to Kristen Bell in Frozen seemed like a step down. Going from the guy who starred in Chuck to the guy who guest-starred in Glee was not a plus. Idina Menzel sang great in the Rent movie and that didn't make people go see it. There was no, no, no reason to predict that Frozen wouldn't only best Tangled but almost double its gross. Most importantly, this has nothing to do with the fact that if Frozen had only stayed in fourth place I would've completely nailed the Top Five in this pool. Nope, has nothing to do with that. And if you've caught wind that I now use a certain snowman's name as a curse word in my house, well then you must know what it's like to be Olafed.

#1. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire - $418 million
The Hunger Games was the 3rd biggest movie of 2012. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire was the biggest movie of 2013. See what happens when there's not an Avengers and Dark Knight Rises in your way? Will Mockingjay Part 1 be the biggest movie of 2014? Can Mockingjay Part 2 best Avengers 2 and Star Wars 7 in 2015?! Are you catching the drift that this series isn't a fluke and is as much a part of the franchise equation as higher profile fanbases? It doesn't matter than every party scene from the capital city Panem looks like deleted scenes from a Ke$ha video. Fans got to Tik Tok through the Quarter Quell arena and are ready for the revolution, I suppose. While pool prognosticators can't blame themselves for stupid films like Frozen Olafing everything up, if you called Iron Man 3 as the top film of the summer and Catching Fire as the top catch of the holiday season, pat yourself on the back for at least knowing something in 2013... even if it wasn't knowing enough.

by Matt Neuenburg on 01/22/2014

Movies Mentioned in this Post: 47 Ronin, About Time, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, Black Nativity, Delivery Man, Ender's Game, Free Birds, Frozen, Grudge Match, Homefront, Last Vegas, Oldboy, Out of the Furnace, Saving Mr. Banks, The Best Man Holiday, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, The Wolf of Wall Street, Thor: The Dark World, Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas, Walking With Dinosaurs
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