The year in film always feels a little delayed compared to the rest of the world, as the Academy Awards didn’t officially close the book on 2011 until the final weekend of February. But believe it or not, this Sunday we cross the half way mark on 2012 as we cross into July, and as such lets take a look back at the past six months and then a brief look into what lies ahead for us in the second half.
January and February were months primarily dominated by the French, as “The Artist” used it’s charm and classical spirit to capture the love of many filmgoers all the way to five Oscars, including Picture, Directing, and Actor.
But perhaps the biggest news was the resurgence of the box-office that this year has brought. At this point the total gross for the yearly box-office is already eight percent better than it was at this point last year. This is in large thanks to the birth of two potential super franchises that begun this year.
First, “The Hunger Games” had the third best opening in history, and the best for a non-sequel film. It didn’t take long, however, for it’s box-office prowess to be over-shadowed by “The Avengers”.
“The Avengers” not only achieved the best opening of any film, ever, they are quickly shooting up the all-time gross list and has remained in the top ten for box-office since it’s release the first week of May.
But even before those films came out the box-office was over performing compared to recent years as already eleven films have crossed the one hundred million dollar mark, including “The Vow”, “The Lorax”, “21 Jump Street”, and “Men in Black 3”.
Los Angeles has had its fair share of individual news stories as well though. The Kodak Company created controversy early in the year when they withdrew their name from the theatre on Hollywood and Highland that has been the host for the Academy Awards since 2001, and it wasn’t until recently that the theater was officially renamed to The Dolby Theatre.
Hollywood has also been a major center for politics in this important election year. Much has been made of President’s Obama’s many visits to Hollywood for fundraisers among some of film’s biggest names, i.e. George Clooney, as well as a meeting with many influential members of young Hollywood.
And just this past month the Los Angeles Film Festival was held. Screenings of big name films like Woody Allen’s “To Rome With Love”, “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World” with Steve Carell and Keria Knightley, and Steven Soderbergh’s “Magic Mike”. The big winners of the fest proved to be Narrative Award winner from Portugal, “All is Well” and Documentary winner “Drought”, and Sundance hit “Beasts of the Southern Wild” continues to be this years indie darling, taking the audience award for the fest, well deserved as it is a lovely little film with a magnetic performance by six-year old Quvenzhané Wallis.
Now lets focus on the films that have been released so far this year. We’ve had time travel (“Safety Not Guaranteed”), man vs. wild (“The Grey”), teens vs. teens in a dystopian America (“The Hunger Games”), the world’s greatest superheroes (‘The Avengers”), the end of the world (“Seeking a Friend”), and childhood love (“Moonrise Kingdom”), just to name a few. “Moonrise Kingdom” sits at the top for me currently, but there have been a number of good films already released that will be on my need to see list.
Six months down in 2012, six to go, and those six months will be jammed pack with hotly anticipated titles. A new “Spider-man”, Chris Nolan’s conclusions to his “Batman Trilogy”, “Les Miserables”, Spielberg’s “Lincoln”, Paul Thomas Anderson’s “The Master”, and all those hidden gems that will come out of nowhere to become pop culture sensations.
Enjoy your day off on the fourth movie fans, have some cook-out and enjoy the fireworks, but the grand finale for this year in film won’t be here till December (or February if you want to use the Academy’s timetable). Happy Fourth of July.