'Black Swan' Passes 'Narnia' as News Corp.'s Top 2010 Release

by Ray Subers
Black Swan

March 2, 2011

After earning $145,699 on Tuesday, Fox Searchlight's Black Swan has officially passed 20th Century Fox's The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader to become parent company News Corp.'s highest-grossing movie from 2010. The last time a specialty division release topped anything from its bigger brother was in 2000, when Sony Classics' Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon surpassed Sony/Columbia's Charlie's Angels, while Miramax's Scary Movie bested Disney's Dinosaurs.

With a $103.9 million haul, Black Swan ranks as the third highest-grossing Fox Searchlight movie ever behind Juno ($143.5 million) and Slumdog Millionaire ($141.3 million). After opening strongly in limited release at the beginning of December, Black Swan became one of the most buzzed about movies of the year, driven by director Darren Aronofsky's visually-striking psychological thrills and Natalie Portman's acclaimed lead performance. As 2010 came to a close and 2011 began, a dearth of other original fare along with an aggressive release strategy and a heaping of awards recognition helped the movie maintain its momentum.

As successful as it was, Black Swan mainly became News Corp.'s top 2010 release because of 20th Century Fox's miserable slate. Coming off the massive success of Avatar, the studio went on a nearly unprecedented cold streak that persists to this day. While Dawn Treader has grossed $103.8 million, it fell way short of predecessor Prince Caspian ($141.6 million) and even further behind The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe ($291.7 million). Other 2010 movies like Date Night ($98.7 million), Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief ($88.8 million) and Unstoppable ($81.5 million) were solid by genre standards, though none reached blockbuster levels. The most devastating blows came from underperforming tentpoles The A-Team ($77.2 million), Knight & Day ($76.4 million) and Gulliver's Travels ($42.5 million).

Black Swan
has now made $228.1 million worldwide (domestic plus foreign), which places it behind Dawn Treader ($387.9 million) and Knight & Day ($261.9 million). With some more openings to look forward to, it should have no problem finishing ahead of Knight & Day, though Dawn Treader appears out of reach.

20th Century Fox's 2011 slate includes the Blue Sky animated movie Rio, X-Men: First Class, Rise of the Apes and Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, which means that big Fox will more than likely reassert its corporate lead over Fox Searchlight.

Related Stories:
Arthouse Audit: 'Black Swan' Soars
Arthouse Audit: 'Black Swan' Flies Higher
'Narnia' Fails to Tread Water, 'Tourist' Trips
'Fockers' Fester, 'Grit' Has Gumption (Gulliver's Opening)
'Megamind' Stay on Track, 'Unstoppable' Holds the Denzel Washington Line
'Toy Story 3' Charms Again, Sandler Doesn't Grow, Cruise Capsizes
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'Karate Kid' Kick-Starts the Summer, 'A-Team' B-Listed
'Titans' Fall But Still Tall
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