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2011: Threequels are for Wusses
Hey, Iron Man 3 is out!  Who knows when I will see it, but we all know that means the summer movie season has started.  And I have that summer movie retrospective itch to scratch.  So, here we go.  I haven't done 2011 and 2012 yet.  And thanks to moving all of my photos over at photobucket, the previous entries no longer have viable pictures.  But oh well.  The text is there, so I guess I'll just have to live with it.  So, without further adieu, 2011, a mere two years ago...


April 29: Fast Five

Fast Five

Okay, so it was technically still April, but look, the poster even said that summer started April 29.  So, this successful sequel kicked things off.  I have to admit, when Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift came out, I thought this franchise was heading to straight-to-DVD territory.  Now, this summer has the sixth movie coming out.  Talk about series that came back from the dead.

Also this weekend: teen flick Prom, which seemed like ever other film in that genre, and Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil, another unexpected sequel.  Unlike Five up there, it has not spawned a viable franchise.

Adaptations, Sequel, and Remake count: Five and Too already puts us at 2.

May 6: Thor


My favorite Marvel movie until The Avengers came out.  Predictably, it did really well.

Also this weekend:Jumping the Broom, which I'd never heard of before doing this (but hey, it's an original movie!) and Something Borrowed, a typical, critically panned rom com.  It had Kate Hudson in it, so I guess that was fairly likely.

ARS Count:Thor, based on the comic book and Something Borrowed, based on a book, make 4.

May 13: Bridesmaids


It didn't debut #1, but Bridesmaids did end up being one of the well-deserved, surprise hits of the summer.  If you ever need evidence that a female-starring comedy can be a hit, look no further.  The film also helped Melissa McCarthy's star rise rapidly.  Even earned her an Oscar nomination, something I think we all wish would happen more often for comedies.

Also this weekend...



Oh, Paul Bettany.  What are these choices you are making?  Karl Urban, too, though I'm more used to it with him.  Even Urban's good movies (like Dredd) don't get much attention.  This one justifiably flopped.  Perhaps the vampire trend is on the decline.

ARS Count: Priest, based on a comic book raises us up to 5.

May 20: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

On Stranger Tides

Captain Jack returned to the big screen for the first time in four years and Barbossa came with him.  Along the ride was an Oscar winner and an Emmy winner and a sprawling, but not quite as over the top epic as the middle two films tried to be.  I appreciated that and actually liked the film.  The critics, not so much.  Didn't hurt the box office, though.

Also this weekend, Woody Allen's latest, Midnight in Paris, came out.  It would later be nominated for an Oscar.

ARS Count: Pirates sails us to 6.

May 27: The Hangover, Part II

hangover part II

It was slammed by critics for basically being the same film as the first time around, but audiences were more than happy to see the Wolfpack's second go around.  I can't comment, as I've still yet to see it.  And now, we have the third, and allegedly final, entry coming out this summer.  We'll see.

Kung Fu Panda 2


Now here was a sequel that did get acclaim, did well at the box office, and deserved it.  It lost in the US to Hangover by about $100 mil, but outperformed by nearly as much worldwide.  The world has good taste.

Also this weekend, we got Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life, which earned an Oscar nomination but bored the hell out of me.

ARS Count: The Hangover and Panda made me want to forget that we're now at 8.

Overall, it was a pretty successful May.  Some good ones and some bad ones that still made a boatload of cash.  Strong start for summer 2011.


June 3: X-Men: First Class
first class

Marvel's second entry of the summer and a prequel to the previous X-Men films.  After the shaky efforts that the franchise had seen previously in the underwhelming X-Men 3: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, it needed a solid entry. First Class delivered, breathing new life into a series that was showing its cracks.  Now we'll have to find out if this summers The Wolverine can keep up the momentum.

ARS Count: Another comic book movie moves us to 9.

June 10: Super 8

super 8
Abrams and Spielberg teamed up to bring us this solid sci-fi horror, mixing Spielberg's 70s nostalgia and wonder with Abrams' modern twists.  More proof that originality can still have a place in the summer time.

ARS Count: The weekend's other release, Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer ended up being a bummer at the box office.  Poor Heather Graham.  Dumped by The Hangover crew for this.  Well, Judy takes us to double digits with 10.

June 17: Green Lantern

Green Lantern

DC tried to cash in on one of its non-Batman superheroes and things didn't quite work out.  I didn't necessarily dislike it, but even I will admit that it pales in comparison with Marvel's better efforts.  Outside of Batman, DC keeps tripping over its attempts to replicate Marvel's onscreen successes.  At least on the big screen.

Mr. Popper's Penguins


Look!  It's Jim Carrey!  In a family film based on a 1938 children's book!  He is still acting.  It wasn't a smash hit, but it did well enough.  Not sure how many of us remembered it, though.  And it seems like one of those reasons young people may put off having children.

ARS Count: Green Lantern and Popper's, based on two very different kinds of books, takes us to 12.

June 24: Cars 2

cars 2

Pixar's hot streak couldn't last forever.  Personally, it became almost a sadistic expectation, waiting each release to see if this would be the one that disappointed.  Finally, Pixar made a panned film.  Didn't really flop, though.  And now, we'll be getting Planes.

Bad Teacher

bad teacher

Cameron Diaz headlined the other, less acclaimed, less popular, actress-led comedy of the summer.  It made $100 mil in the US because... we're starved for comedy?  Actually, considering the popularity of the typical Sandler film, I'm not surprised.

ARS Count: Pixar's first flop and third attempt at a sequel brought us to 13, halfway through 2011's summer.

June started well, but lost some momentum as time went on.  Some decently performing films, but no mega hits.  Would July change that?


July 1: Transformers: Dark of the Moon

transformers 3

The third Transformers film wasn't as bad as Revenge of the Fallen, so it had that going for it.  Not that that would ever hurt its box office.

Also this weekend, Julia Roberts and Tom Hanks teamed up in Larry Crowne and Selena Gomez starred in Monte Carlo.  Many of us did not care.

ARS Count: The return of the giant robots put us at 14.

July 8: Horrible Bosses

Horrible Bosses

Sometimes, a good cast and fun performances elevate average material.  I think that's much of what we got with Horrible Bosses.  Not the best comedy, but entertaining enough, and helped that the cast clearly had a great time with their crazy roles.

On the other hand...



Compared to Zookeeper, Horrible Bosses seems like a masterpiece.

We did get that rare summer beast, an original movie weekend!

July 15: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2

deathly hallows

One of the summer's most anticipated films, the saga of Harry Potter finally came to an end on the big screen.  As one might expect, it was a smash hit and fairly well received.  A good payoff to one of the biggest movie and book series of all time.

Winnie the Pooh

winnie the pooh

Winnie the Pooh returned to the big screen with... Winnie the Pooh.  Bring the kids.

ARS Count: Potter and Pooh, letting us drive at 16.

July 22: Captain America: The First Avenger

captain america

Marvel's last major release of the summer and before they all came together in 2012's The Avengers.  Like Iron Man and Thor before it (and to a lesser extent, Iron Man 2) Captain America was well received and a monster success.  The stage was set for the following May.

Friends With Benefits

friends with benefits

When this movie came out, it struck me as basically a rom com clone of another film that had come out earlier that year, No Strings Attached, starring Kunis' Black Swan costar Natalie Portman and Kunis' That 70s Show costar Ashton Kutcher.  Even the names mean a similar concept.  This one was better reviewed, though, and did decently at the box office.  Not my cup of tea, though.

ARS Count: Marvel's last entry brings us to 17

July 29: Cowboys & Aliens

cowboys aliens

I had such high hopes for this film.  Indiana Jones and James Bond teaming up (again)?!  Olivia Wilde? Aliens in the Old West?!?!?t It could have been spectacular.  Why did it underwhelm?  Maybe it took itself too seriously.  Maybe it never really settled down.  In any case, one of the summer's biggest disappointments.

The Smurfs

the smurfs

It seems we learned nothing from the Garfield movies.  And the sequel's coming out this summer.  Oh joy.

Crazy, Stupid, Love.


Steve Carell continues to show he can walk that comedy/drama line and Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone team up in a pairing that could extend to multiple films in the future (we're at what, two now?)  I hear this one is pretty good.  So, of course, it made less money than the other two.

ARS Count: Cowboys and Smurfs bring us to the brink of 20 before we even hit August: 19.

July, like many years, brought some of the heavy hitters.  It had its low moments, too, but still a pretty impressive month.  How about the summer's landfill?


August 5: Rise of the Planet of the Apes


Was this a prequel we needed or wanted?  Is the answer to that question ever truly "yes"?  Still, it was well made and made money.  The sequel is coming.

The Change-Up

Change up

Jason Bateman, Ryan Reynolds, and Olivia Wilde all made their second major release of the summer, and it didn't much help.  The raunchy comedy was panned and not all that popular.  Next.

ARS Count: Apes take us over the 20 threshold.

August 12: The Help


It didn't unseat Rise of the Planet of the Apes, but The Help brought some critical clout to the usually afterthought that is August.  It would later be nominated for an Oscar and landed Octavia Spencer a Best Supporting Actress trophy.

Finale Destination 5


Another unlikely franchise, the Final Destination train just keeps on chugging, filling our need to witness more beautiful teens and 20 somethings meet their gruesome ends.  It may finally be running out of steam, though, as the  it made less money than any of its predecessors.  Who knows if this franchise will quietly keep on?

30 Minutes or Less

30 minutes

You would think Jesse Eisenberg, Aziz Ansari, Danny McBride, and Nick Swardson could combine to do something better than this.  Apparently not.

Glee the 3D Concert Movie


Glee tried to bring its TV popularity to the silver screen.  Not many noticed.

ARS Count: Help take you to our Final Destination with Glee: 23

August 19: Spy Kids: All the Time in the World

spy kids 4

Rodriguez made a fourth Spy Kids movie. Who would have seen that coming?

Conan the Barbarian


I wanted this movie because I like Jason Momoa and want him to succeed.  Alas, it was not and for once the audience stayed away.  That's all right Jason, you'll have your moments.

Fright Night

fright night

The 80s just keep on keeping on, though reviews called Fright Night a decent film.  By this point, though, it seems like America was done with the movies for the summer.

ARS Count: Another unlikely sequel with the Kids, and a couple of 80s remakes with Conan and Fright Night bring us up to 26.

August 26: Colombiana


When The Help debuted in August's second weekend, it started at #2.  For the next three weekends, it would show that it had some legs with three #1 weekends in a row, including this weekend when it made $14 million and still beat the top new debut, Colombiana's $10 million.

Also this weekend was a reteam of Elizabeth Banks and Paul Rudd and Rashida Jones and Paul Rudd (as well as Emily Mortimer and Zooey Deschanel) in Our Idiot Brother.

ARS Count: The Guillermo del Toro-written Don't Be Afraid of the Dark is a remake, leaving us at 27

So, August, true to form, really petered out at the end there.

Sequels, Remakes, and Adaptations
Fast Five
Hoodwinked 2
Something Borrowed
Pirates of the Caribbean 4
The Hangover, Part II
Kung Fu Panda 2
X-Men: First Class
Green Lantern
Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer
Mr. Popper's Penguins
Cars 2
Transformers 3
Harry Potter, The Last
Winnie the Pooh
Captain America
Cowboys & Aliens
The Smurfs
Planet of the Apes: The Prequel
The Help
Final Destination 5
Spy Kids 4
Conan the Barbarian
Fright Night
Don't Be Afraid of the Dark

1999: 22
2000: 12
2001: 16
2002: 22
2003: 26
2004: 24
2005: 17
2006: 18
2007: 26
2008: 20
2009: 19
2010: 29
2011: 27

Yeah, it seems that the unoriginality has actually jumped up in this new decade.
So, what was the summer movie of 2011?  In honor of the end of its sprawling story and decade of films, I have to give this one to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2.  Good luck in your post-Potter careers kids.

deathly hallows