Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Year Behind and Ahead in Movies

The past few days, all newspapers and media organizations have been rolling out decade retrospective pieces since, well, it's the end of a decade. Frankly, it's made me reflect on what a strange decade it has been for me. I started out 2000 as an eighth grader and ended up in 2010 as a reporter/writer/newsaide/bitch for the Washington Post.

During that time, I've gone from an avid moviegoer who would see almost every new release that appeared remotely interesting in the theater (I once famously, according to my friends, convinced them to pay money to see Lost and Found starring David Spade. Horrible decision) to someone who rarely has the time or wants to spend the ridiculous amount of money to hit up a theater. Apparantly, I'm alone in this mutation, because in 2009 the movie industry made more than $10 billion, a record, though I'm a little skeptical how legitimate that record is considering it costs close to $20 to see a movie in some markets these days.

In the past couple of days, though, the New York Times has rolled out two movie-related stories that caught my eye. I figured I would share them with you, since most here go to the movies on a fairly regular basis. First, about the the year in movies 2009:

Perhaps the biggest lesson of the year, however, was a positive one. Moviegoers decided that relatable, nonthinking comedies — a little raunch but not too much, please (“BrĂ¼no” seemed to push it too far) — are the perfect balm for the recession.

“The Hangover,” which cost about $35 million to produce and sold $459.4 million at the global box office, is exhibit No. 1. But audiences also responded to “Paul Blart: Mall Cop,” “The Proposal” and “Couples Retreat,” which Universal Pictures smartly opened its wallet to film in Bora Bora.

The comedies that worked, noted Todd Phillips, director of “The Hangover,” were ones that audiences could see happening to them.

But it's the year ahead in Hollywood that is perhaps most interesting. Remember that writer's strike way back in 2007-08? Well, it's gonna have a kind of weird effect on the the crop of movies that will appear in theaters in the beginning of 2010:

At least 16 of the 28 films set for release by Hollywood’s major studios and larger independent studios in the first quarter, according to a recent schedule from Exhibitor Relations, finished shooting in 2008 or earlier. About 70 percent of those companies’ releases in January and February date to 2008 or earlier.

They reference "Green Zone," a movie starring Matt Damon that was actually filmed a year before his latest flick "Invictus" began shooting, as well as the newest Michael Cera flick, "Youth in Revolt," in which he portrays a troubled teenager, which he was when the movie was filmed. Now he's 22 and doing kind of weird promos in which I'm not sure if he's for real flipping out or just faking a breakdown for the sake of a movie:

I recommend reading both articles, each have some interesting little tidbits for the average moviegoer who doesn't ordinarily study trends.

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