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The 25 Highest Grossing Movies of 2011 Are Dominated by the Same Highest Grossing Movies of 2009, and 2008, and 2007 ...

By Dustin Rowles | Box Office Round-Ups | January 1, 2012 |

By Dustin Rowles | Box Office Round-Ups | January 1, 2012 |

Greetings, folks. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and a fantastic New Year filled with Anderson Cooper giggles, Lady Gaga oil slicks, and uncomfortably funny jokes at (poor) Dick Clark’s expense. I also hope you magically obtained the ability to drink yourself silly without a New Year’s Day hangover.

Welcome to 2012, the year of the never-ending end-of-the-world joke. If you ever run into a Mayan, punch him in the throat and piss on him. However, before we can fully let go of 2011, we must first spend the first week of the year reminding you of all the good and bad of the year that was in movies. We begin with the 25 highest grossing movies of the year, a year that had the fewest number of moviegoers since 1995, and a year in which gross receipts were $500 million less than last year.

Why? Much of it can certainly be attributed to the lack of original projects, the 3D gimmickry, as well as sequel and remake fatigue. Nevertheless, the top 25 films of the year are largely comprised of those very things.

1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2: $381 million
2. Transformers Dark of the Moon: $352 million
3. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1: $275 million
4. The Hangover Part II: $254, million
5. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides $241 million
6. Fast Five: $209 million
7. Cars 2 $191 million
8. Thor: $181 million
9. Rise of the Planet of the Apes : $176 million
10. Captain America: The First Avenger: $176 million
11. The Help $169 million
12. Bridesmaids: $169 million
13. Kung Fu Panda 2: $165 million
14. X-Men: First Class: $146 million
15. Puss in Boots: $145 million
16. Rio: $143 million
17. The Smurfs: $142 million
18. Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol: $134 million
19. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows: $132 million
20. Super 8: $127,004,179
21. Rango: $123 million
22. Horrible Bosses: $117 million
23. Green Lantern: $116 million
24. Hop: $108 million
25. Paranormal Activity 3: $103 million

So, as you can see, 14 of the top 25 movies of the year were sequels, prequels, or spin-offs (including the top 7), and another five were based on existing properties. That means that only six of the top 25 were original movies: Bridesmaids, Super 8, Rango, Horrible Bosses, Rio and Hop. But then again, Bridesmaids was a female version of an Apatow film, Super 8 was an attempt to recreate the tone of one of Spielberg’s Amblin films, and Hop was about an Easter Bunny who shat jelly beans.

We could trot out the same refrain, that Hollywood has run out of new ideas, but the truth is: Audiences don’t demand anything new. Box office grosses were down, but the hits were still the sequels. Where does that leave us? 2012, which already has 25 remakes, reboots, or sequels on the release schedule plus two twists: Dark re-imaginings of fairy tales (Jack the Giant Killer, Snow White and the Huntsmen and Mirror Mirror) and 3D re-releases of Titanic, Beauty and the Beast and Star Wars.

What will save the box office? A sequel, of course: The Dark Knight Rises.

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.