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2012: Our Last Summer Ever?
Spoiler Alert: It wasn't.


May 4: The Avengers


Do I even need to talk about this?  Outside of Star Wars, it's rare that the Movie of the Summer is so obvious.  The pinnacle of comic book movies, the destination we had been building toward since Samuel L. Jackson made a surprise appearance in Iron Man, this flick ended up being everything fans wanted and more.  And now more is what they want.

ARS Count: One movie in, 1 based on a comic book down.

May 11: Dark Shadows

dark shadows

Oh, Depp and Burton.  Why did you even try?  Also, maybe those two should stop collaborating.  Outside of Sweeney Todd, when was the last time they had a truly great collaboration?  I suppose Corpse Bride or Sleepy Hollow  might have been close.  Anyway, Avengers predictably crushed this one.

ARS Count: A TV remake makes 2.

May 18: Battleship


Who would have guessed that a movie based on a board game that looked like a Transformers ripoff would flop?

The Dictator


Sacha Baron Cohen was back being wacky!  I seriously think he got more pub with his wacky stunts in character than the movie itself ever got.

What to Expect When You're Expecting

what to expect

I believe this was an attempt at counterprogramming, but seriously, did anyone pay attention to anything in Avengers' first few weeks?

ARS Count: One based on a board game, one based on a book.  We hit 4.

May 25: Men in Black 3


It took a few weeks, but The Avengers was finally unseated by this 10 year later sequel.  Maybe not a great return, but nice enough.

The Chernobyl Diaries


I wrote in the last post that the horror genre of attractive 20-somethings being brutally killed seemed to have slacked off recently.  Maybe I just haven't been attention.  Not that all that many paid attention to this film.

May and the summer started as I think many expected it to start, pretty much dominated by The Avengers. Men in Black III's arrival made a nice bookend to the month.

ARS Count: The long expected sequel takes us to 5


June 1: Snow White and the Huntsman


Our second Snow White film of the year, this more serious take didn't do much better than Mirror Mirror did, both critically and financially.

ARS Count: Another solo movie adds to the count, 6.

June 8: Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted

madagascar 3

Dreamworks' biggest post-Shrek family franchise returned, making a surprisingly well done film and making enough money to no doubt inspire a followup.



Ridley Scott returned to the science fiction genre and the result was controversial to say the least.  Some loved it, some hated it; personally, I thought it was hard to overlook its major plot holes.  Spectacular visuals, though.

ARS Count: Family sequel, and what turned out to be a prequel lead us to 8.

June 15: Rock of Ages

Rock of ages

It wasn't a great weekend for the new releases.  Rock of Ages, based on the Broadway show, debuted at #4.

That's My Boy

my boy

That's My Boy was Adam Sandler's latest awful comedy.  And for once, the audience stayed away.  Good job, audience!

ARS Count: Movie based on a Broadway musical leads to 9.

June 22: Brave


Pixar got back on track after its first stinker in Cars 2 with this more acclaimed film, giving the company its first movie with a female protagonist.  That's more like it, Pixar!

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter


The first of 2012's Abe Lincoln movies, it could have been so bad it's good or just wonderfully cheesy.  Apparently, it wasn't.

ARS Count: Mr. Lincoln's unknown story brings us to 10.

June 29: Ted


Seth MacFarlane brought his brand of humor, previously confined to the small screen, to this foul mouthed teddy bear and his man child friend.  It did well, though opinions on its quality tend to vary.

Magic Mike

magic mike

One of 2012's surprise hits, Magic Mike showed Tom Cruise how you really strut with your shirt off.

Tyler Perry's Madea's Witness Protection

madea's witness protection

Somehow, these keep getting made.

ARS Count: Madea makes 11

June was more uneven than I remembered, but it has its bright spots.


July 6: The Amazing Spider-Man

Amazing spidey

Five years after the last Spidey film and ten after the first, Marvel's most famous character was rebooted.  Did we need it?  Probably not, but it was well done and well received, so get ready for a new Spidey continuity, this time with after credits scenes!



Guess what?  Oliver Stone had a new film!  And no one cared.

Katy Perry: Part of Me

katy perry

Hey, Katy Perry had a movie.  Okay then.

ARS Count: Spidey is obvious and Savages is based on a novel, putting us at 13.

July 13: Ice Age Continental Drift

Ice Age 4

I admit, this movie took me by surprise when it came out.  It had seemed like Ice Age 3 had just come out, but turns out that was 2009.  So, yeah, three years seems about right.  In any case, it made nearly $900 mil worldwide, so I would imagine Ray Romano's film career as a cartoon mammoth will continue.

ARS Count: Another high numbered sequel brings us to 14

July 20: The Dark Knight Rises


It took four years for the followup to the rather acclaimed second entry in Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy, but we got it and it was good.  Not The Dark Knight good, not The Avengers good, but a very good film nonetheless.  It certainly avoided many of the pitfalls other trilogies had fallen to (see: Spider-Man, X-Men) and made enough to be second only to The Avengers for top grosser in 2012.  As far as Batman, DC, and just superhero trilogies in general go, this will be the series to which they will all be compared in the future.

ARS Count: Obviously, Batman counts, bringing us to 15.

July 27: The Watch


It seems like it would work on paper.  Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill, Richard Ayoade, all fighting aliens.  But apparently it did  not.  Not at all.

Step Up Revolution

step up 4

This is the fourth Step Up film.  Who saw that one coming?  Also, check out that poster.  Dude is totally feeling up his costar.

ARS Count: The fourth Step Up movie brings us to 16.

As usual, the heavy hitters pop up in July.  Spidey, Ice Age, Batman.  Uh.. Step Up.  July is the month to wait for, it seems.  July and May.  And certainly not...


August 3: Total Recall

Total Recall

I've read that when it comes to the the list of unnecessary remakes, this one ranks fairly high. Fun to think that the original came out 22 years ago when this one was finally released.  22 years.  Yeesh.

Also this weekend was Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days which brought our ARS count to 18.

August 10: The Bourne Legacy


The series outlasted Matt Damon.  Not sure it needed to.

The Campaign


A couple heavy hitters returned to summertime with one of their usual wacky comedies.  It wasn't their best, but it did well enough.

ARS Count: Bourne's return puts us at 19.

August 17: The Expendables 2

Expendables 2

Slightly better than its predecessor, not quite as popular. There'll probably always be an audience for something like this, though.

Also this weekend: The underrated ParaNorman, the musical remake Sparkle, and the strange but original The Odd Life of Timothy Green.

ARS Count: Stallone and music take us to 21.

August 24: Uh... Premium Rush, I suppose.  Really, no one even wants to touch August anymore.
August 31: The Possession, Lawless

Fall really came early this year.  Basically, Stallone ended 2012's summer season.  August hardly seems to count.  Maybe because movie studios figure all the kids will be focusing on school by then.

Adaptations, Remakes, and Sequels
The Avengers
Dark Shadows
What To Expect When You're Expecting
Snow White and the Huntsman
Madagascar 3
Rock of Ages
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Madea's Witness Protection
The Amazing Spider-Man
Ice Age 4
The Dark Knight Rises
Step Up 4
Total Recall
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days
The Bourne Legacy
The Expendables 2

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
2012: 21

Hey, the ARS count was down.  Still above 20, but not record breaking like the last two.  And only nine were sequels, so that's something.

Anyway, I think we all know what the Movie of the Summer was, don't we?  We don't even need to debate.  It's The Avengers.