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DID YOU READ

The most-rented movies of 2011 probably aren’t what you’d expect

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With 2011 now firmly under wraps, kiosk superstars Redbox have announced their most-rented movies for 2011, broken down by genre. The quality of the films isn’t exactly surprising, given that insanely popular movies like “Transformers” don’t generally make the Academy lists. No, what’s notable is the films didn’t exactly do gangbusters at the box office; at least one of them would almost universally be considered a domestic flop.

The films are:

  • Most Rented Action Movie: “Green Hornet”
  • Most Rented Horror Movie: “Insidious”
  • Most Rented Comedy Movie: “Just Go With It”
  • Most Rented Drama Movie: “The Tourist”
  • Most Rented Family Movie: “Rango”
  • Most Rented total for all of 2011: “Just Go With It”

Let’s break those down by the numbers.


“Green Hornet”

The Michel Gondry-directed, Seth Rogen-starred superhero adaptation rolled out with $120 million budget, plus whatever additional monies Sony spent on Print & Advertising (P&A). The big-budget film debuted to weak results at the box office, garnering a little over $98 million domestic. Where the film cleaned up was overseas, where it nabbed another $130 million. Did it take a while for American audiences to catch up with their foreign brethren? Maybe, but it only earned $15 million in domestic DVD sales, so who knows? Apparently most folks were more happy to drop $1 to see it, than a theater ticket or home video sale. But for “Green Hornet” to surpass titles like “Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2,” “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,” and “Captain America”? Color me surprised, even if “Green Hornet” had more time on store shelves.


“Insidious”

Now this one makes more sense. Filmed on a shoestring budget of only $800,000 plus P&A, the James Wan-directed horror film managed a whopping $54 million at the domestic box office and another $43 million overseas, making it the most profitable film of 2011. With another $7.2 million in domestic DVD sales, it’s not surprising that Americans went out in droves to rent this low-budget gem.


“Just Go With It”

With an $80 million budget plus P&A, there was really no question whether this Adam Sandler comedy, co-starring Jennifer Aniston, would find a home at the box office. Sandler comedies usually do. But it’s somewhat surprising that it’s the most rented comedy of the entire year given that it generated only $103 million domestic with $14 million on home video. “The Hangover Part II,” for example, earned a whopping $254 million domestic , $322 million overseas and $26 million in US DVD sales. Could word-of-mouth have been a factor? Well, maybe. “Hangover 2” was rated 58% by audiences on Rotten Tomatoes, whereas “Just Go With It” reached 63% (the critics’ ratings were the other way around, by far). Even so, though, in a year filmed with huge-budget blockbuster films, for “Just Go With It” to take not only “Most Rented Comedy” but the all-encompassing “Most Rented of all of 2011” cake is fairly amazing.


“The Tourist”

With $100 million budget plus P&A, Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie’s “The Tourist” bombed at the domestic box office, earning only $67 million. Where it succeeded however was overseas, where it racked up another $211 million. Another indicator that this would be a strong rental offering is in home video sales, where “The Tourist” managed to generate almost $17 million in sales. That’s around 25% of its entire American gross…pretty impressive. And while its two marketable stars may have not been enough to pull in a theater crowd, they’re big enough where they stand out at a DVD rental kiosk.


“Rango”

The second Johnny Depp release to make an appearance on the “Most Rented” list, “Rango” is another title that makes sense, but becomes more surprising when you compare it to other 2011 DVD releases. The film earned $123 domestic on a $135 budget plus P&A, and nearly almost as much internationally. It also racked up an impressive $22 million in domestic DVD sales. But as a 2011 release, it had incredibly strong competition from films like “Kung Fu Panda 2” ($165M domestic, $500M overseas) and “The Smurfs” ($142M domestic, $417M overseas). Perhaps word-of-mouth really did help on this one, as “Rango” is generally considered among the year’s best films, with a 88% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes (although only 69% audience rating, so go figure). But the easier answer is that “Rango” was released mid-year, giving it considerably more time on shelves than other noteworthy family films.


Most Rented lists are always a little wacky given that films released earlier in the year have a better shot at making the list than those released later, but when movies like “Deathly Hallows Part 2” earn $22 million in DVD sales yet fail to make the list, it’s interesting to consider why (in that case, it’s probably because Potter fans want to purchase their beloved wizard rather than keep him as a one-night stand). Nonetheless, we hope you’ve enjoyed looking at the numbers with us. Bring on 2012!

Which of these surprised you the most? Let us know in the comments below, or on Facebook or Twitter.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…

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IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.

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IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).

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IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.

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IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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Reality? Check.

Baroness For Life

Baroness von Sketch Show is available for immediate consumption.

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Baroness von Sketch Show is snowballing as people have taken note of its subtle and not-so-subtle skewering of everyday life. The New York Times, W Magazine, and Vogue have heaped on the praise, but IFC had a few more probing questions…

IFC: To varying degrees, your sketches are simply scripted examples of things that actually happen. What makes real life so messed up?

Aurora: Hubris, Ego and Selfish Desires and lack of empathy.

Carolyn: That we’re trapped together in the 3rd Dimension.

Jenn: 1. Other people 2. Other people’s problems 3. Probably something I did.

IFC: A lot of people I know have watched this show and realized, “Dear god, that’s me.” or “Dear god, that’s true.” Why do people have their blinders on?

Aurora: Because most people when you’re in the middle of a situation, you don’t have the perspective to step back and see yourself because you’re caught up in the moment. That’s the job of comedians is to step back and have a self-awareness about these things, not only saying “You’re doing this,” but also, “You’re not the only one doing this.” It’s a delicate balance of making people feel uncomfortable and comforting them at the same time.

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IFC: Unlike a lot of popular sketch comedy, your sketches often focus more on group dynamics vs iconic individual characters. Why do you think that is and why is it important?

Meredith: We consider the show to be more based around human dynamics, not so much characters. If anything we’re more attracted to the energy created by people interacting.

Jenn: So much of life is spent trying to work it out with other people, whether it’s at work, at home, trying to commute to work, or even on Facebook it’s pretty hard to escape the group.

IFC: Are there any comedians out there that you feel are just nailing it?

Aurora: I love Key and Peele. I know that their show is done and I’m in denial about it, but they are amazing because there were many times that I would imagine that Keegan Michael Key was in the scene while writing. If I could picture him saying it, I knew it would work. I also kind of have a crush on Jordan Peele and his performance in Big Mouth. Maya Rudolph also just makes everything amazing. Her puberty demon on Big Mouth is flawless. She did an ad for 7th generation tampons that my son, my husband and myself were singing around the house for weeks. If I could even get anything close to her career, I would be happy. I’m also back in love with Rick and Morty. I don’t know if I have a crush on Justin Roiland, I just really love Rick (maybe even more than Morty). I don’t have a crush on Jerry, the dad, but I have a crush on Chris Parnell because he’s so good at being Jerry.

Jenn: I LOVE ISSA RAE!

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IFC: If you could go back in time and cast yourselves in any sitcom, which would it be and how would it change?

Carolyn: I’d go back in time and cast us in The Partridge Family.  We’d make an excellent family band. We’d have a laugh, break into song and wear ruffled blouses with velvet jackets.  And of course travel to all our gigs on a Mondrian bus. I feel really confident about this choice.

Meredith: Electric Mayhem from The Muppet Show. It wouldn’t change, they were simply perfect, except… maybe a few more vaginas in the band.

Binge the entire first and second seasons of Baroness von Sketch Show now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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G.I. Jeez

Stomach Bugs and Prom Dates

E.Coli High is in your gut and on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Brothers-in-law Kevin Barker and Ben Miller have just made the mother of all Comedy Crib series, in the sense that their Comedy Crib series is a big deal and features a hot mom. Animated, funny, and full of horrible bacteria, the series juxtaposes timeless teen dilemmas and gut-busting GI infections to create a bite-sized narrative that’s both sketchy and captivating. The two sat down, possibly in the same house, to answer some questions for us about the series. Let’s dig in….

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IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

BEN: Hi ummm uhh hi ok well its like umm (gets really nervous and blows it)…

KB: It’s like the Super Bowl meets the Oscars.

IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

BEN: Oh wow, she’s really cute isn’t she? I’d definitely blow that too.

KB: It’s a cartoon that is happening inside your stomach RIGHT NOW, that’s why you feel like you need to throw up.

IFC: What was the genesis of E.Coli High?

KB: I had the idea for years, and when Ben (my brother-in-law, who is a special needs teacher in Philly) began drawing hilarious comics, I recruited him to design characters, animate the series, and do some writing. I’m glad I did, because Ben rules!

BEN: Kevin told me about it in a park and I was like yeah that’s a pretty good idea, but I was just being nice. I thought it was dumb at the time.

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IFC: What makes going to proms and dating moms such timeless and oddly-relatable subject matter?

BEN: Since the dawn of time everyone has had at least one friend with a hot mom. It is physically impossible to not at least make a comment about that hot mom.

KB: Who among us hasn’t dated their friend’s mom and levitated tables at a prom?

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

BEN: There’s a lot of content now. I don’t think anyone will even notice, but it’d be cool if they did.

KB: A show about talking food poisoning bacteria is basically the same as just watching the news these days TBH.

Watch E.Coli High below and discover more NYTVF selections from years past on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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