Timeline of Greatest Film
Milestones and Turning Points
in Film History


The Year 2011

Timeline of Greatest Film History Milestones and Turning Points
(by decade and year)
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2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

The Year 2011
Year
Event and Significance
2011
Rango (2011), an animated western starring a tongue-flicking chameleon/lizard (voice of Johnny Depp), was the first full-scale animated feature film generated by George Lucas' special-effects house, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM).
2011
Four Hollywood studios - Sony Pictures Entertainment, 20th Century Fox, Universal Pictures, and Warner Brothers - made an arrangement with DirecTV to release films only two months after their theatrical release. The first premium on-demand film to be released in this short time frame was Sony's Just Go With It (2011), starring Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler, at the cost of $30. [The film was bankable star Sandler's sole major hit of the year, a $103 million hit.] Some filmmakers viewed the experiment as a threat to theaters, especially movie chains (such as Cinemark, AMC and Regal) that had just conducted expensive upgrades to accommodate digital and 3-D projection.
2011
Adam Sandler received a record 11 nominations for the Razzies Awards as star, producer or writer on three 2011 movies - Jack and Jill (2011), Just Go With It (2011), and Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star (2011). [The previous record was five Razzie nominations held by Eddie Murphy for Norbit (2007).] Sandler’s nominations included Worst Actor for both Jack and Jill and Just Go with It - and Worst Actress for Jack and Jill. Sandler also had two nominations as Worst Screen Couple opposite Jennifer Aniston or Brooklyn Decker in Just Go with It and opposite Katie Holmes, Al Pacino or himself in Jack and Jill. As a producer, Sandler was credited with Worst Picture and Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-off or Sequel nominations for both Bucky Larson and Jack and Jill. He also shared in Worst Screenplay nominations as a writer on both movies, and a Worst Ensemble nomination for Jack and Jill.
2011
The prequel to the Planet of the Apes series, Fox's apes-on-the-rampage Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011), was a surprise hit, earning $481.2 million (worldwide) and $176.7 million (domestic). Its domestic earnings placed it second in the franchise, behind Tim Burton's remake/reboot Planet of the Apes (2001) at $180 million (domestic).
2011
The sequel to WB's surprise hit comedy, The Hangover, Part II (2011), became the second highest top-grossing (domestic) R-rated youth comedy at $254.5 million, just behind the original film of 2009 at $277.3 million. However, it surpassed its predecessor in worldwide box-office ($581.4 million vs $467.5 million).
2011
The most successful feature-film spin-off was Hasbro's toy line, developed from the three live-action Transformers films (2007-2011). Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011) was the most successful film (worldwide) at $1,124 million, while Transformers: Revenge of the Fall (2009) was the most successful (domestic) at $402.1 million. According to director Michael Bay of the 2011 film, 532 cars were destroyed in the film (a record?).
2011
Three other R-rated, low-budget comedies with strong sexual content and crude language performed very well during the summer of 2011, in addition to The Hangover, Part II (2011). They were Universal's female-driven matrimonial comedy Bridesmaids (2011) at $169 million, WB's (New Line) Horrible Bosses (2011) at $117.5 million, and Sony/Columbia's Bad Teacher (2011) at $100.2 million.
2011
Bridesmaids (2011) became the highest grossing R-rated female comedy of all time in the domestic box office at $169 million, edging out Sex and the City (2008) at $152.6 million.
2011
Bad Teacher (2011) starred Cameron Diaz, who opted for $1 million up front in exchange for percentage points of the final gross. She netted an astronomical $42 million for the hit film.
2011
75 year-old writer/director Woody Allen's romantic comedy Midnight in Paris (2011) became the biggest box-office hit of the director's 46-year career. [His next most successful film was decades earlier, Hannah and Her Sisters (1986).] It was his 41st feature film as a director.
2011
Meryl Streep received her 17th career nomination, a Best Actress nomination (and win) for her performance in the biopic The Iron Lady (2011). Streep's nomination solidified her as the most-nominated or honored performer in Oscar history, five more than both second-place Katharine Hepburn and Jack Nicholson.
2011
As expected, the final (eighth) installment of the Harry Potter films, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 (2011), broke major box-office records: the most tickets sold during midnight debut screenings ($43.5 million), global debut opening weekend (worldwide) earnings ($483.2 million), highest-grossing fantasy live action film ($381 million), the highest three-day opening weekend (domestic) earnings ($169.2 million), biggest opening weekend 3-day 3-D film ($169.2 million) and the widest 3-D launch at 4,375+ locations, the biggest opening weekend 3-day IMAX film ($169.2 million) (surpassed the next year by The Avengers (2012)), and the highest opening (single) day's gross (domestic) earnings ($91 million, which included the midnight grosses).

It surpassed Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001) as the single # 1 highest (domestic) grossing film of the franchise at $381 million. It also took third place in the race for the all-time top grossing (worldwide) film of all-time (at $1.33 million), and was the highest grossing (domestic) film of 2011 at $381 million. It was also tied with Avatar (2009) for taking only 19 days to reach $1 billion (worldwide).
2011
The big-budgeted $163 million sci-fi action film Cowboys & Aliens (2011) from director Jon Favreau, starring heavyweights Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford, performed poorly, drawing in only $100.2 million (domestic) and $174.8 million (worldwide).
2011
Elizabeth Taylor, one of the greatest screen actresses of Hollywood's Golden Age, died at the age of 79 of congestive heart failure. Taylor's first major film role was in Lassie Come Home (1943), followed by a star-making role as a 12 year-old in National Velvet (1944). She also appeared as a beautiful young woman in Father of the Bride (1950), and A Place in the Sun (1951). Other starring roles included Giant (1956), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958), and Suddenly, Last Summer (1959). She won two Best Actress Oscars, for BUtterfield 8 (1960), and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966). One of her more scandalous and turbulent screen roles was opposite future husband Richard Burton in the big-budget flop Cleopatra (1963). She totaled eight marriages during her lifetime. Her work on behalf of AIDS and HIV research was one of her lasting legacies.
2011
Pixar's animated sequel Cars 2 (2011), at $191.4 million (domestic), became the lowest-grossing Pixar film in more than a decade. [Note: It surpassed last place's A Bug's Life (1998) at $162.7 million (domestic).] Cars 2 was the first Pixar film not nominated for an Oscar since the Best Animated Feature category was introduced in 2001. It broke Pixar's winning-streak track record - 6 out of 8 Pixar films nominated in the past 11 years won the Oscar.
2011
Jennifer Yu Nelson's Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011), her directorial debut film, became the highest-grossing film (worldwide) ever directed by a woman. Its worldwide gross stood at $665.7 million (yet only $165.2 million domestically), beating Phyllida Lloyd's Mamma Mia! (2008), which earned $609.8 million globally in 2008.
2011
Two superhero films performed well domestically - Marvel's Thor (2011) (at $181 million) about a hammer-wielding Norse hunk, and Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) (at $176.6 million) (with two characters destined for the studio's Avengers film planned for the next year), although Green Lantern (2011) (at $116.6 million) was not as successful.
2011
In a controversial move that angered its customer base, DVD-by-mail rental company Netflix increased the price for its combined services (Internet online-streaming and DVDs). It also announced it would split the two services (but after an exodus of customers, it failed to launch the alternate Qwikster). Netflix was betting on trends showing a strong consumer shift to streaming content on computers, tablets, and Internet-connected televisions.
2011
According to the LA Times in late September 2011, Hollywood's business model was poised to make a revolutionary shift. Due to a rapid 40% decline in home entertainment revenue (from the once-profitable sale of DVDs, the previous revenue model), the newest switch would be to on-demand services and the acceleration of the delivery of movies over the Internet. Many options would be developed to accommodate consumers' Internet-connected digital devices (smartphones, tablets, and TVs), in order to facilitate digital movie consumption (and collection) via downloads. The article predicted: "It may be the biggest shift in Hollywood's business model since the explosion of the DVD in the late 1990s." However, the complexity of downloading a film on one device for viewing it on another device wasn't yet clearly delineated.
2011
Hollywood studios were now selling distribution rights for their films and TV programs to Internet companies, as opposed to traditional TV channels, in a move to make more revenue. Major Hollywood studio DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc, a large supplier of media content (films and TV specials), ended its long-running pay-TV deal with cable station HBO. It signed a new deal to pump its content through Netflix. This was the first time a major Hollywood supplier chose Web streaming over pay television. Netflix planned to begin exclusively streaming DreamWorks films starting with movies released in 2013 and running through 2016. At the same time, Amazon was competing by bulking up its streaming video service (dubbed Amazon Prime) with movies and TV shows from 20th Century Fox (including 2,000 older films and TV shows).
2011
The R-rated horror prequel Paranormal Activity 3 (2011) earned an estimated $52.6 million in its opening weekend, making it the best horror movie opening ever. The revenue figures topped the previous year's Paranormal Activity 2 (2010) debuting at $40.7 million. How one defines 'horror' could make a difference, since the sci-fi-horror hybrid I Am Legend (2007) debuted at $77.2 million.
2011
According to the Guinness Book of Records, 2011 set the record for the most sequels (27) released in a calendar year. It beat the previous record in 2003 of 24.
2011
It was noted by many industry observers that there was a decline in younger moviegoers at the multiplexes, a trend that began in late 2010 and continued afterwards. The trend had a serious impact on Hollywood film revenues, especially for its horror films, which suffered with low revenues. Examples included the prequel The Thing (2011) at $16.9 million (domestic), the Guillermo del Toro-produced Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (2011) which only grossed $24 million (domestic), Shark Night 3D (2011) grossing only $18.8 million (domestic), the mystery/thriller Dream House (2011) at $21.3 million (domestic), Fright Night (2011) at $18.3 million (domestic) and the horror sci-fi thriller Apollo 18 (2011) at $17.7 million (domestic).
2011
Many factors accounted for shrinking crowds attending movies - down this year to a 16 year low. Most often, factors mentioned included the difficult economy, rising ticket prices (especially premium rates for 3-D), consumer fatigue and overfamiliarity with sequels and remakes, overcrowded weekends, and the glut of other diversionary technological gadgets.
2011
One of the major trends at the box-office, according to some industry analysts, was a decade-long drop in movie theater attendance. A measure of the box-office figure known as a "multiple" (the final box-office tally as compared to the opening weekend's sales) has dropped about 25% in the last 10 years. Many films started with a promising opening weekend, but then quickly faded and fizzled, especially when there was bad "word-of-mouth" for a film. The more casual movie-attenders were much more difficult to lure to theaters, and were more likely to wait to see the film in a few months through video-on-demand or on DVD.
2011
The total number of tickets sold in the US and Canada declined over 4% in 2011 to 1.28 billion. This was down 4.4% from 2010 (when it was 1.339 billion), and the lowest number since 1995 (when it was 1.211 billion), 16 years earlier. It marked the 7th annual drop in the last 10 years, according to Hollywood.com. Compared with the high of domestic movie attendance that was reached in 2002 (1.57 billion), theater attendance fell a total of 20%. The total box office per movie dropped 13% on average in 2011. However, because of rising ticket prices, estimated total box-office receipts dropped only 3.5% to $10.2 billion (from last year's $10.58 billion).
2011
The best news of the year was that foreign box-office revenues were at an all-time high. Six major Hollywood studios reported $13.53 billion in overseas ticket sales this year -- an all-time record, and up 6% to 8% over last year. This helped to off-set shrinking domestic revenues and declining DVD sales.
2011
The year was noted as having the most releases of film sequels ever in a single year - 28 in total.
2011
The Artist (2011) was the first near-silent film in 83 years to be nominated (and win) an Oscar. The last time a silent film won was the first Best Picture winner Wings (1927/1928). Ernst Lubitsch's The Patriot (1928/1929) was the only silent film among the five nominees of its year, and the last silent film to receive a Best Picture nomination, over 80 years ago.
2011
The Weinstein Company began another streak of Best Picture nominees (with some wins), beginning in 2008: The Reader (2008), Inglourious Basterds (2009), The King's Speech (2010), and The Artist (2011).
2011
The MPAA had given The King's Speech (2010) a restrictive 'R' rating for its abundant profanity - basically, for its repeated use of the F-word, although the British Ratings Board had given the film a much milder '12A' rating, on appeal. As a result of the MPAA's firm decision to not alter the original R rating, an alternate, sanitized or muted version of the film (without the F-word profanity, replaced with the S-word) was released by the Weinstein Company on 1,000 screens after the Best Picture win, to expand its potential audience. The studio received a waiver to immediately release the new version, and did not have to wait 90 days from the time the R-rated version was pulled. The short-lived PG-13 version grossed only $3.3 million, while the R-rated version grossed $135.4 million.
2011
The winner in the Best Supporting Actor Oscar category was the favorite - 82 year-old Canadian-born Christopher Plummer (with his second Best Supporting Actor nomination and his first Oscar win), for Beginners (2011), (the film's sole nomination and win). In the romantic comedy-drama by director/writer Mike Mills, Plummer portrayed 75 year-old Hal Fields, a dying, terminally-ill widower who came out of the closet to his adult son. With his win, Plummer became the oldest actor to win an Oscar.
2011
Director Chris Miller's (and DreamWorks') spin-off sequel to the Shrek film franchise, Puss in Boots (2011), was the first spin-off nominee in the Best Animated Feature Film category. Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011) was the third sequel to be nominated in the Best Animated Feature Film category.
2011
The end of the year tally found these in the top 10 box-office (domestic) - the top seven were franchise film sequels: (1) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 (2011), (2) Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011), (3) The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 (2011), (4) The Hangover, Part II (2011), (5) Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011), (6) Fast Five (2011), (7) Cars 2 (2011), (8) Thor (2011), (9) Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011), and (10) Captain America: The First Avenger (2011). The 20 highest-grossing films of the year included 10 sequels and three prequels. As recently as 1996 and 1998, the year's top 10 films didn't include a single sequel.
2011
2011 was the first year that three films grossed more than $1 billion worldwide: (1) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 (2011), (2) Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011), and (3) Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011).
2011
The reported death of Tarzan's chimp Cheetah at the age of 80 (due to kidney failure) on December 24, 2011 in a Florida animal sanctuary (the Suncoast Primate Sanctuary in Palm Harbor) prompted obituaries around the world. The animal star was remembered for being a major film figure and providing comic relief in the early 1930s films. Although caretakers insisted the chimp was Cheetah, other reporters and primatologists were very skeptical since chimpanzees rarely live that long. According to the sanctuary's outreach director, Cheetah had come to the locale from Johnny Weissmuller's estate sometime around 1960.
2011
There remains the long-standing idea that the Golden Globes Awards (set up by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association) are predictive of Oscar wins, but that is mostly a myth. In the previous decade (2001-2010), A Beautiful Mind (2001), The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003), and Slumdog Millionaire (2008) were the only three Best Picture dramas to win both major prizes. Before then back to the 50s (from 1951-2000), just over 50% of the Golden Globes' winning Best Picture dramas were repeated on Oscars night. During those 50 years, they had agreed on 27 out of 50 Best Pictures (32 out of 50 if you also include the Globes' Best Musical or Comedy category).
2011
The number of 3-D releases jumped from 20 in 2009 to 45 in 2011, usually with an average of $3.50 more per ticket. After the success of Avator (2009) and Alice in Wonderland (2009) in 3-D, studios embraced the ground-breaking technology. Four major studios (Fox, Paramount, Disney, and Universal) spent $700 million to equip theaters with new projectors, and started to release more 3-D pictures.
2011
Research in the US supported the notion that women were under-represented on the screen and that little had changed in the past 60 years. Of the top 100 US films in 2011, women accounted for 33% of all characters and only 11% of the protagonists, according to a study by the San Diego-based Centre for the Study of Women in Television and Film. Another study, by the Annenberg Public Policy Centre at the University of Pennsylvania, showed that the ratio of male to female characters in movies has remained at about two to one for at least six decades. That study, which examined 855 top box-office films from 1950-2006, showed female characters were twice as likely to be seen in explicit sexual scenes as males, while male characters were more likely to be seen as violent.


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