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Mid-Week Poll: Favorite 2011 Blockbusters

The beginning of a new year is always a good time for reflection. For our first poll of 2012, let’s look back and pick our favorite of 2011′s biggest blockbusters.

The criteria for this poll was very simple. I looked at the box office results and picked the top 15 highest-grossing movies of the year. Keep in mind that these are based on worldwide totals, which would explain how movies like ‘Rio’ and ‘The Smurfs’ could make the cut, even though they were only modest hits in North America.

From the list, I’ve only seen the ‘Cars’, ‘Harry Potter’, ‘Transformers’, and ‘X-Men’ sequels. Of those, the final ‘Harry Potter’ was certainly the best. I’m not saying that it was my favorite movie of the year, but it was my favorite of these blockbusters.

Take a good look at the 15 choices below. Which movie do you think most deserved its status as one of the biggest hits of 2011?

What Was Your Favorite Blockbuster of 2011?

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24 comments

  1. T.J. Kats

    Saw 9 of them which I didn’t expect but my favorites were Panda 2, Thor, and X-Men. Panda 2 was a real surprise and probably my favorite.

  2. Alex

    I had a really hard time picking between Harry Potter and Bridesmaids. Both wonderfully movies and deeply entertaining in radically different ways.

    I actually just watched Thor on Blu-ray and like it an awful lot more the second time around.

    • CK

      I liked Thor better the second time as well, maybe with more realistic expectations.

      Captain America I really enjoyed, and Rise of the… Apes I liked too, but X-Men was my favorite by far.

  3. EM

    I voted for Harry Potter. As with all the Potter adaptations, it’s not one of my all-time favorite movies, but I found it enjoyable. The only other movie on the list which I’ve seen was Cars 2, which I thought was a spectacular technical effort but a criminally undercooked story. I was on the fence about seeing Rise, didn’t end up seeing it, but probably will rent it. Had they been on the list, I would have voted for Super 8 or The Adventures of Tintin—those were my blockbusters of 2011 (though I didn’t actually see the latter until 2012). Super 8 is the only 2011 movie I’ve bothered to see more than once (3½ times in theaters, additional viewings since getting it on Blu)—though, depending on how my day unfolds, I may see Tintin a second time today.

      • EM

        I went to see Super 8 four times. The second time, there was a power outage about halfway through the movie. (One of the audience members quipped, “It’s the monster!”) Ordinarily such a disruption would be frustrating, but this one was especially so: upon seeing the movie the first time, I thought it had a strong first half, but I was ambivalent about the second half and really wanted to use a second showing to evaluate the latter half further. So, now I was going to have to go a third time! And it was a busy movie summer for me, but I did manage to use my voucher within a few days. Actually, at that next visit, I showed up a little early and caught an earlier showing’s run of the end credits (including the entirety of “The Case”)—so, I guess that’s more like seeing the movie 3.51 times…

        I seem to be having bad luck with second showings. Today’s attempt to see Tintin a second time was riddled with problems. I surprised a friend by inviting him—but because of the surprise, he wasn’t ready as early as I had expected, and we had to race to get to theater in time—not even for the publicized time, but for the real showtime after 20 minutes of preshow advertising. But when we got to the theater, we learned our haste was in vain, for the movie had been bumped back 45 minutes—which would cause other logistical problems in meeting people afterwards. But after several phone calls, we finally got those problems straightened out in time for us to get into the delayed showing just as the Paramount logo was appearing. Finally, I thought, we could just relax and enjoy the movie. Alas, no. Roughly a third of the way in, something bizarre happened to the 3D, and the sound lost synchronization. I alerted the management, and after a few minutes the picture and sound got fixed, and part of the marred footage got replayed correctly—which meant the movie would let out a few minutes later still, risking more upset to our already bruised logistics. Then, in the final few minutes before the end credits, we had a new technical problem. A 4×3 (or so) transparent frame appeared on screen, overlaying the center part of the movie frame. This intruder frame was obviously screen output from a Windows computer; apparently the different screen images were from a program that had something to do with Dish Network and simulcast performances from the Met Opera. I went to alert the management and learned they were already working on it. However, the problem did not end until the last couple of seconds immediately preceding the end credits. Once again I have a voucher…

          • EM

            Well, I’ve been going to this same cineplex for over 22 years, and these are the only two egregious situations like this that I’ve experienced there. I lay the problems of the Tintin rescheduling and the technical snags at their feet, but it would be absurd for me to hold them blameworthy for the Super 8 incident—they’re not in charge of the power grid!

            It occurs to me that Most Irritating Theater Disruptions might make good Roundtable fodder. I wouldn’t be surprised if the readership has good stories about popcorn fights, thin multiplex walls, missing or misordered reels, amorous audience members, earthquakes, gunshots, piercing ringtones, and so forth.

  4. As a huge Harry Potter fan I really wish I could have voted for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 but I just don’t think it’s that great of a film. Compared to Part 1 it was a bit of a let down for me. While I still think it’s a “good” film it’s ultimately one of the year’s biggest disappointments.

      • Deathly Hallows Part 2 felt extremely rushed. It just jumped from action piece to action piece and lacked almost any significant character moments. My theory is that Warner Brothers agreed with some fans/critics and thought that Part 1 was a little too long and more importantly thought they could make more money off a shorter Potter film. If you shave 30 minutes off a runtime you can squeeze in a lot more showtimes per theater. I know the story is obviously focused on Harry but in the 8th and final film of a long running series I think you can spare a few extra minutes for the some of the other characters outside of the main three, Dumbledore, Neville, and Voldemort. For example, fans were questioning why a particular character wasn’t killed in Part 1; David Yates said he wanted the character to die in Part 2… that never happened, the character in question never even appeared in Part 2. I wonder how much footage was left on the cutting room floor that we’ll see in the “Epic Mega Super Collector’s Edition” of Part 2 in a few years.

        My other major gripe is with the 3D. I thought the 3D was extremely gimmicky and even if you weren’t watching it in 3D you could tell a lot of the effects were intended to be “enjoyed” in 3D. Through the seven previous film not one person exploded or was disintegrated by a spell but in this film multiple characters met their demise in this fashion simply for the 3D effect. Overall I thought the inclusion of 3D in the Harry Potter series felt out of place and disrupted the continuity of the series as a whole even when viewed in regular old 2D.

        Just to be clear I don’t hate Part 2, I just feel that it’s an underwhelming ending to one of the best film series in recent memory.

        • Josh Zyber
          Author

          I’ll agree with you about the 3D. I saw the movie in 2D, and found a lot of the gimmicky shots where a dragon would poke its head toward the camera and so forth to be pretty annoying.

  5. Shayne Blakeley

    Potter all the way. A very satisfying end to such a massive franchise.

    Side note: The banner image got my hopes up that we were starting another death match, is that in the works? I’d hate to see it go the way of bad movie night.

    • Josh Zyber
      Author

      We’ve been planning a “TV Madness” tournament for this year. Just waiting for the right timing to start. Like last year, it probably makes sense to have it coincide with March Madness.

      Bad Movie Night got sidelined due to our issues with the live-blog software. We’re going to have to figure something out about that soon, because I plan to do a Golden Globes live-blog later this month.

      • Alex

        That sounds awesome. I loved the Movie Madness last year. Are you guys taking suggestions for who should be included in the brackets?

        • That is actually the first post Alex. I have a few characters in mind, but the land of TV has a lot more lesser known characters that fans may think up. The first post of the tournament specifically asks for suggestions. So get them ready.

  6. lordbowler

    I saw and liked most (in order):
    Captain America: The First Avenger
    Thor
    X-Men: First Class
    Rise of the Planet of the Apes
    Transformers: Dark of the Moon
    Fast Five
    Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
    The Smurfs

    The Marvel movies were extremely well done.

  7. I am just shocked Super 8 didn’t make the top 15. From what was listed, I was very tempted to choose Potter, but ended up choosing Captain America. If I had a third choice, it would have been X-Men

    • Josh Zyber
      Author

      The only criteria for the poll was the worldwide box office gross of each movie. Super 8 was 18th for the year with $259.2 million, behind Real Steel at #17.

      Since I wrote up this post, it appears that Puss in Boots has actually overtaken Bridesmaids for the #15 position, but I’m not going to change the poll at this point since a few people have already voted for Bridesmaids.

  8. Of these 15, I saw “Captain America: The First Avenger”, “Cars 2″, “X-Men: First Class” & “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides”.
    “Cars 2″ wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be (but it’s definitely Pixar’s worst), “Captain America” was solid fun (I didn’t know the character/had never read the comics), “X-Men: First Class” was a bit underwhelming after reading all the praise (I still prefer “X-Men” and “X2″, to be honest) and “Pirates IV” was just mediocre.

    I consider “Super 8″ to be 2011′s best movie, followed by “The Adventures of Tintin”.

  9. I’m really surprised by how many vote Potter’s been getting for best film (admittedly, the competition wasn’t strong). I thought it was the weakest of the Potter films. Felt rushed (And I haven’t even read the books, to complain about what was left out or anything). Not to mention, it was literally so desaturated and dark, it felt like watching a black and white movie with the projector bulb on half power.

    I thought Apes was the best. It wasn’t perfect by a long shot, but it was pretty good.