2012 was a banner year at the box office. 2012 set an all time record, grossing $10.83 billion and selling an estimated 1.364 billion tickets, which is the most since 2009 and a 6.4% increase over 2011, which showcased the lowest sales since 1995. 655 movies were released, which is the most ever by 22.
The #1 movie was Marvel's The Avengers which grossed $623 million, #3 all time unadjusted. The Avengers took everyone by surprise, being the first movie to make $200 million in one weekend and $100 million in its second weekend. Another reason Avengers was such a surprise is because the biggest movie in that franchise was Iron Man with $318 million. $400 million was the prediction of most, but Avengers blew that to Asgard .
The movie that was forecast to sweep the year was The Dark Knight Rises, which capped at $448 million. For some this may seem like a disappointment, but its still #7 all time. All time. Even Bill Gates wouldn't be dissapointed with a $448 million return.
The shocker of the year was The Hunger Games. Predictions went from $80 million to $200 million. You could probably count on one hand the number of people who predicted a $408 million finish, which is the most for an original movie since 2009. It is also Lionsgate's biggest movie by $289 million and their biggest since 2004. No wonder Mockingjay will be split in two. Catching Fire, the sequel, is being released in November and is a serious contender for #1 of 2013. Will it happen? We'll know in a year.
Possibly the second biggest shocker is #4 Skyfall, which so far has amassed $293 million. If Skyfall keeps it's legs and finishes above $300 million, it'll be the only 2012 movie to finish in that range. Probably the biggest accomplishment of Skyfall is that it is the most attended Bond movie since 1964 and 3rd Bond all time domestic- selling in the range of 37 million tickets. Skyfall is a $125 million improvement over Quantam of Solace, the previous unadjusted #1 Bond film. Bond has also scored $1 billion worldwide. See Hollywood, you don't really need 3D do you?
Currently Breaking Dawn Part 2 rounds out the top 5 with $287 million so far, but The Hobbit may eclipse that soon- right now lying at #7.
The Amazing Spider Man, the reboot from Sony, grossed $262 million, which is steep drop off from the Raimi Spider Man movies. That's how reboots work, but Amazing 2, coming out in May 2014 may bring Spider Man back to prominence.
Brave is #8 with $237 million, the highest animated gross of the year. Ted is #9 with $218, the highest for a 2012 comedy. Predictions for Ted went from $70 million to over $100 million. Ted now ranks #7 for R-rated movies, #3 for a movie with a CGI star, and #1 for movies set in Boston. Madagascar 3 holds #10 with $216 million and the Spring surprise The Lorax finish #11 with $214 million. Men In Black 3, Wreck It Ralph, Ice Age 4, and Snow White round it out. Lincoln currently stands #19 with $137 million, but awards could push that way higher.
26 movies had crossed the coveted $100 million mark, but 4 more movies could possibly finish above it, which would equal 2011.
The dud of the year was John Carter. The $200 million Disney "epic" epically grossed $73 million, which robbed Disney of millions in losses. Luckily, Disney is a billion dollar empire, so one John Carter isn't really causing executives to go homeless. Dark Shadows, Battleship, Wrath of the Titans, Rock of Ages, That's My Boy, The Watch, Ghost Rider 2, and Paranormal Activity 4 can also be considered 2012 disappointments. All, except maybe Ghost Rider, had potential to crack $100 million, but all fell short for various reasons.
2012 was a great year at the box office, especially the first half. 3 movies over $400 million, 3- possibly 4 movies over $1 billion worldwide, and 3 months set gross records. Hail to the mighty 2012.
For a list of 2012 grosses, refer to Box Office Mojo 2012.