I can't believe it's New Years Eve, where did this year go? Oh yeah... down the shitter. Well, I'm assuming that most of you are sleeping in, so you can get some rest prior to getting your drink on tonight to try and forget about all the bad shit that's happened this past year. However, I'm up because I have to go to work for a while. In any case, I thought it would be a good time to look back at the 2008 Box Office and see how horror did...
Let's warm up with a few obvious things. Such as, it's fairly safe to say that "The Dark Knight" was the film of the year. However, "Iron Man" was a close second in the Box Office and, some say, a better film. Personally, I'm torn, I thought they were both pretty good. Third place goes to "Indiana Jones", which sucked... Then "Hancock" and "WALL-E", to round out the top 5 at the Box Office. Of useless note, "Kung Fu Panda" was right behind "WALL-E" and is considered to be the animated movie of the year, but whatever. Let's talk about horror.
The first horror film comes in at number 8, and that's "Twilight". Even though I don't really consider it a horror, per se... it is about vampires. After that, it's a big, big step down. Unless, of course, you count number 20, which is "The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor". Which is, once again, barely horror, but it is about a mummy.
The first film that I would actually consider to be horror related comes in at number 32... and that's "Cloverfield". Here's how the rest of them fared. I've ranked them by their overall standing in Box Office numbers.
Number 34... "Hellboy II: Golden Army"
Number 41... "The Happening"
Number 47... "Saw V"
Number 49... "The Strangers"
Number 59... "Prom Night"
Number 84... "Quarantine"
Number 90... "Mirrors"
Number 94... "Untraceable"
Number 96... "One Missed Call"
Number 99... "Shutter"
Number 113... "The Ruins"
Number 121... "The Haunting of Molly Hartley"
Number 133... "Doomsday"
Number 144... "Punisher: War Zone"
I may have left a few out, some by accident and some because they didn't make the list. I'm just going down the list of top 150 grossing films of 2008 on BoxOfficeMojo.com, so blame them if you think I've made a glaring mistake. For interests sake, number 150 grossed a mere $7.5Million, while "The Dark Knight" grossed over $530Million.
So, what can we take from all this? First off, this was clearly not a banner year for theatrical horror films. "Twilight" was a PG-13 rated film, based off a novel that's clearly geared towards a younger demographic. The third "Mummy" film, also PG-13, was another film that was clearly more family oriented, which brings us to "Cloverfield", coming in at 32nd overall and, yet again, also PG-13. "Cloverfield" came out to mixed reviews and probably doesn't have the 'stickiness' to garner a sequel or even get cult status, which a lot of people thought it would. I was hyped about it, then had all but forgotten about it before I saw it on this list. Really, the first horror film comes in at number 47 overall, with "Saw V", followed by a string of films that are unmistakably horror. There are a few good films in there, including "The Strangers" and "The Ruins", but all and all, nothing to write home about.
At the end of the day, the theatrical trend towards big-budget family fare is continuing and I don't see it stopping. Further, the straight-to-DVD and VOD markets are growing, but we haven't seen what is referred to as 'the tipping point', yet. I don't think it'll tip in 2009, either. There's a few big, edgier films to come out in '09, such as "The Wolf Man", "X-Men Origins: Wolverine", "Star Trek XI", "Terminator Salvation" and "Transformers 2". All of which will be PG-13, I'm sure... but could appeal to the R-rated audience and curb them from hunting for films elsewhere. What could be interesting is if the new "Friday the 13th" does really well. If it does, you could see a new rise in the theatrical slasher films, which would be nice...
As for the straight-to-DVD, VOD and streaming market, I think you'll see it grow, but not gain critical mass. I expect the 'tip' to occur in or around 2010. VOD is really in its infancy and most homes don't have the hardware to support it. Watch for big moves in the gaming console markets, as Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo push to own the living room. All of them go online now and the PS3 and XBox 360 currently download and stream content. They're currently only delivering mainstream fare, but I think they'll figure out how to tap into the 'long tail' and deliver niche content... once they do that, watch for them to 'tip' and become media centers, as opposed to video game consoles.
So, for various reasons, 2008 is a year that a lot of people want to forget. Further, a lot of people are being pessimistic about 2009, already. I'm not one of those people. After a slow start, I think 2009 is going to be a great year and I'm looking forward to it. In fact, tonight, I'm going to be celebrating what's about to come, as opposed to what we just went through. Because of that, I may be just a bit too hungover to post anything tomorrow, but I'll be back on Friday. Then, come Monday, we'll be back in full force and ready to kick some ass in 2009.
Until then... good drinking, my friends and I'll see you in 2009!