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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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SO EXCITED!!!

Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”

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IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?


Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!


Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.


Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 

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IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

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

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.

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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon.

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number!

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time.

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by.

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo.

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim.

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t?

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?”

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud.

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.