The Jan 8-14 print edition of Variety lists the 250 films at the domestic box office in 2006, arranging the numbers in a different way from those of us who compile a top ten of a given year. For one thing, there's a considerable amount of overlap from 2005. For another thing, the prestige films of 2006 hadn't benefited yet from their predicted Oscar boost or a wide release, and dawdle at the end of the list. Anyway, here are the numbers we're sure you cannot live without:
Of the 250 top films of 2006, 23 were sequels (including prequels); 20 were remakes or spinoffs from TV shows (Miami Vice and so forth). Add that number and you have 43. 43 out of 250 means nearly a one out of six chance that you were watching a story you'd seen already in some other form. There were 16 animated films in release, with Cars, of course, as the biggest hit at more than $244 million; the least-earning on the list was Chicken Little, at just over $3 million.
The most successful horror film of the year was Scary Movie 4 (wow, scary) with the $80 million-grossing Saw III in second place; bringing up the rear was the assortment of controversial indie horror flicks, 8 Films to Die For. 18 movies broke the $100 million mark; Borat, at $125 million, is probably the most lucrative subtitled film ever made; no other foreign-language film made more than $10 million.
The Queen, bringing in $28 million, is in my estimation the biggest hit foreign film of the year, but the other two are harder to spot: the Canadian action-comedy Bon Cop Bad Cop ($12.6 million) beat out even Water (5.5 million) Volver ($4.9 mil.) and Cache ($3.4 mil). Though not talked about much in the States, BCBC's success was observed by Cinematical's Monica Bartyzel. 5 Hindi films grossed more than $2 million dollars apiece. The least-earning of them, Fanaa ($2.1 mill), at #233, out grossed my favorite film of '06, Brick ($2,075,743). Yours, Mine and Ours made more than The Squid and the Whale, while the proceeds of Half Nelson, Quinceanera, Little Children and The New World fail to equal the money spent on tickets for My Super Ex-Girlfriend. The above is a reminder of why economics is called "the gloomy science."