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2012 The Year In Box Office: Hits, Flops And Secret Successes

The Playlist By Gabe Toro | The Playlist December 27, 2012 at 2:15PM

So we’re completing a year of record domestic box office returns, but it’s impossible to ignore that the international market is a hefty player, taking a bigger overall chunk of the pie. It’s not good enough for a picture to perform in America – if it doesn’t grab more than half its share from international crowds, it’s not a complete success. The proliferation of franchises and 3D have turned most American films into our most in-demand export, and it’s changed the box office landscape immensely.
American Reunion Jason Biggs Thomas Ian Nichols

You Wouldn’t Think… Here Are Five “Flops” That Actually Performed Respectably

"American Reunion" (Universal) - $234 million
Despite the weakest reception domestically of all the “American Pie” films thus far, the latest entry in the bawdy sex franchise was devoured by international crowds. While a direct follow-up is unlikely, the straight-to-DVD knockoffs will probably continue.

 Sacha Baron Cohen in "The Dictator"
"The Dictator" (Paramount) – $177 million
The buzz was weak for the latest from Sacha Baron Cohen, and most considered him to be continuing a downward trend that traveled from “Borat!” to “Bruno.” Not so, said enthusiastic international crowds, who helped nearly double the $59 million domestic gross.

"Mirror Mirror" (Relativity) - $166 million
Overshadowed by its significantly gaudier opposition, “Snow White And The Huntsman,” this goofy kiddie-centric concoction was still a strong performer domestically and abroad in relation to its $85 million budget. No one’s lining up for a sequel, but this was far from the debacle it seemed to be when it debuted to modest U.S. numbers in the spring.

"Step Up: Revolution" (Summit/Lionsgate) - $140 million
Left for dead by original distributor Disney, the “Step Up” franchise had seen each entry gross less than the others. But overseas, the films had nonetheless become major attractions, especially when 3D was added to the formula. Both trends continued with the latest film, a definite weak sister stateside which nonetheless packed auditoriums in other countries. Perhaps that has something to do with the series using the name “Sexy Dance” in foreign territories.

"The Intouchables" (The Weinstein Company) - $420 million
While it wouldn’t be considered a flop exactly, no one was bowled over by the $10 million domestic take of this French import, one of The Weinstein Company’s Best Foreign Film Oscar hopefuls. But few would likely realize that the American tally is just a mere blip on the film’s worldwide take, with “The Intouchables” collecting that massive worldwide number from a host of generous countries. Everybody knows that those involved in “Battleship” took a massive bath financially, but does anyone know that this tiny French comedy-drama outgrossed it by more than $100 million?

This article is related to: Box Office, 2012: The Year In Review, John Carter Of Mars, Intouchables, Battleship, The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, Skyfall, Magic Mike, American Reunion, Pitch Perfect, Best Of 2012

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