Okay, so the month of June wasn’t packed with as many Blockbusters as the previous month, but that’s not to say it didn’t have its share of success stories. After all, May saw the phenomenon of Marvel’s The Avengers get unleashed upon the global market, becoming one of the top-grossing films of all time. You can’t expect that to happen two months in a row. Here in Washington, D.C. all eyes were on the Silverdocs Film Festival, which has become one of the most important documentary festivals in the world. Also, with summer heating up the daytime, many have chosen to take in a movie under the stars as outdoor film festivals have started screening films all across the nation.
This was an average if not quite notable month for summer movies. It was really children who had the greatest luck, getting two brand new animated features from Disney and Pixar delivered to them. Their parents weren’t put out in the cold either, having male strippers or a raucous, foul-mouthed teddy bear to choose from. Here is what you need to remember about the movies in June 2012:
Biggest Hit: Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted (PG) Paramount Pictures’ Marvel’s The Avengers finished out the month of May with an astonishing $1.313B worldwide, and that number has only continued to grow. However, along with June came a batch of new movies for people to get excited about, especially kids, who hadn’t had an animated film to go to since Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax. The third installment of Madagascar was the most widely praised film in the franchise, and it eventually pulled in $424M by month’s end. Snow White and the Huntsman, which was released on the first of the month, also had an impressive take of $313M throughout June.
Biggest Flop: Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (PG-13) Sure, Steve Carell and Keira Knightley might make a cute, mix-matched couple, but audiences just weren’t into seeing a comedy set around the apocalypse. Think of the film as Melancholia crossed with a rom-com. Reviews for this film were tepid to say the least, and when it finally swung open its theater doors, not many decided to take the plunge. Not even all the great supporting comedians that were featured in the cast could save this film from failing. The film closed out the month with only $6.6M worldwide.
Biggest Surprise: Magic Mike (R) Admit it, when you first heard about this, you thought it was ridiculous too. And if you happened to catch a glimpse of one of the trailers, they did noting but help confirm your suspicion that this film about male strippers had been carefully crafted to bring in droves of ladies hoping to salivate over hunky, naked dudes. It was kind of a shock that this film was coming from director Steven Soderbergh. But then, when glowing reviews began to pour in, it all made sense. Those who bought their ticket for a strip show must have been a little freaked out at the dark places this film went to.
Biggest Animated Film: [Tie] Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted (PG) & Brave (PG) Although Madagascar 3 is this month’s winner in ticket sales, it has had two extra weeks to shore up those numbers over the recent release of Pixar’s Brave. If you compare opening box office numbers, Brave actually earned about six million dollars more than Madagascar did when it opened. Who knows? Maybe Pixar’s red-headed princess will eventually topple Madagascar to become June’s big earner. Only time will tell, but for now, it’s too close to call.
Surprise Indie: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (PG-13) [Still] Breaking over $100M worldwide by the end of May, this little sleeper has slowly spread by word of mouth throughout the month. The film still sits within the top 15 box office draws domestically. Some other notable indies for June have been: Your Sister’s Sister, Last Ride, Safety Not Guaranteed and Dark Horse. In a sharp divergence, the month’s most anticipated indie releases such as Woody Allen’s To Rome with Love and Bel Ami starring Robert Pattinson, proved rather disappointing upon release.
Foreign Cinema: Patang (The Kite) (NR) This beautiful film set around the world’s largest kite festival is beginning to catch the eye of the public with its exemplary reviews and warm-hearted nature. The newly released Australian feature Last Ride is another movie that has garnered notable response from critics. Also, last year’s Oscar nominee for Best Animated Feature A Cat in Paris (Une vie de chat) finally saw its release here in the states last month.
Teasers & Trailers: Epic (Not Yet Rated) I’m personally nominating this one. Not many people seem too hyped over this trailer…perhaps they just haven’t seen it. But this pint-sized trailer about a tiny, hidden civilization in the forest packs a huge wallop. Just like the recent Monsters University teaser, this film also won’t see a release until 2013. Other notable trailer releases include: The Sessions, The Man with the Iron Fists, The Awakening, Red Hook Summer, Here Comes the Boom, Arbitrage, Alex Cross, Easy Money, Django Unchained, Robot & Frank, V/H/S, Dredd, Klown, Celeste & Jesse Forever, The Babymakers, Anna Karenina, Monsters University, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2, Pitch Perfect, Resident Evil: Retribution, 2 Days in New York, Sinister, For a Good Time, Call…, Flight, 360, Wreck-It Ralph, The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Premium Rush.
Documenting Real Life: The Invisible War (NR) Maybe not the most pleasant of documentaries, it was certainly one of the most widely regarded. It was an eye-opening experience to learn that rape of women serving in the U.S. military was so widespread. Director Kirby Dick has made another thought-provoking and insightful film here. Hopefully, more people will find out about it. Other new interesting docs include: Kumaré, Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present, Something From Nothing: The Art of Rap, Pink Ribbons, Inc. and Paul Williams Still Alive.
Biggest Story: Tom Cruise & Katie Holmes divorce. Not much shocking news happened during June 2012, but near the end, the gossip columns finally got their big break when it was announced that one of Hollywood’s golden couples would be calling it quits. It’s a rather recent story, but speculation about Scientology and all sorts of other reasons for the couple’s split have already run rampant. This one looks like it isn’t going to die anytime soon.
R.I.P.: Nora Ephron (May 19, 1941-June 26, 2012) Celebrated screenwriter Ephron may not have been adored by critics, but audiences across the globe fell in love with her crowd-pleaser scripts When Harry Met Sally… (1989) and Sleepless in Seattle (1993). She began her career penning the celebrated whistleblower drama Silkwood (1983) before moving into rom-com territory. Her career began and ended with Meryl Streep, who also starred in her last film Julie & Julia (2009), which Ephron also directed. She passed away of pneumonia brought on by leukemia. She will be missed.
Next Year’s Razzie Contender: That’s My Boy (R) The Razzie Awards, celebrating the worst films of the year, are always keeping an eye out for potential nominees for next year’s bash. The last ceremony saw all 10 awards go to Adam Sandler’s trash heap Jack and Jill. Not two months after it swept the awards, Sandler is back in theaters with his latest debacle, That’s My Boy. Not even Tyler Perry’s awful Medea’s Witness Protection (a close second in this category) was able to beat out Sandler’s nauseating movie about a man attempting to reunite with his son in hopes of getting at his money. Unfunny, annoying and genuinely unpleasant is the only way to describe it.
Comedies: Ted (R) When it was first revealed that Seth McFarlane had a new movie about a talking teddy bear, people approached it with a kind of uncertain hopefulness. McFarlane has made millions with his formula of making humorous characters out of objects that shouldn’t really talk. So, would this Ted be as hysterical as “Family Guy’s” Stewie, or as cloying and lackluster as the toddler and alien from those other two animated shows McFarlane tried to make. Luckily for audiences, Ted was a riot, and far less annoying than That’s My Boy or Grassroots, June’s other comedies. One final recommendation, for those who are into a creepier kind of humor, make sure to check out Todd Solondz’s Dark Horse.
That’s Still Playing?!: There’s nothing like watching a film on the big screen, and even though the following movies are out on home video or On Demand, you can still catch these titles playing in some cinemas: Born to Be Wild, Wrath of the Titans, Mirror Mirror, 21 Jump Street, John Carter, Safe, The Artist, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, Keyhole, The Perfect Family, Hubble 3D, Under the Sea 3D, Henning Mankell’s Wallander and God Bless America (out July 3).