Family films suffer during the holidays

Movie theaters have hosted many record-breaking blockbusters this holiday season – the most notable being Breaking Dawn II and Skyfall.

The Twilight finale was number one its premiere weekend and grossed $43.6 million. Skyfall, thanks to a $50.5 million five-day gross and a $221.1 million total, is not only the highest grossing of the franchise, but the most attended Bond movie in the series’ 45-year history.

With all of the successes of action-packed and drama-filled movies, the family film has lost its footing. The most recent being  Dreamworks Animation’s Rise of the Guardians, which made one of the weakest openings for the company with $32.3 million.

The holiday-themed characters and persistent advertisements for the movie should have been a recipe for success, but its opening narrowly beat Flushed Away, a film that did so poorly that Dreamworks dropped their contract with the movie’s producer.

Family films have fallen into the trend of reaping disappointing box office numbers during the holiday season. Last Thanksgiving, there were three family films that averaged higher than 90 percent on Rotten Tomatoes: Arthur Christmas, The Muppets and the Oscar-nominated Hugo. Yet, none of those films made more than $100 million. Also that season, Happy Feet 2 bombed and the third Chipmunks movie only grossed half as much as the second film of the franchise.

While some might say the peculiar animation style of Guardians was the culprit, the reason for its failure and others in its family-oriented genre might be more fundamental. The economy is still in a state where most families aren’t willing to pay over $60 to see a movie with the premium prices of 3D and IMAX tickets. Even if the movie is critically-acclaimed, it’s still too high a price to pay when a family is trying to save money for Christmas presents.