Horror: The highest-grossing horror movie in 2012 was February's The Woman in Black with just $54.3 million. Paranormal Activity 4 was just behind with $53.9 million, or around half of what its predecessor grossed a year earlier. Of course, there were a few low-budget entries that earned between $45 and $55 million (The Devil Inside, The Possession, Sinister) and probably turned a slight profit for their studios; for the horror genre to thrive, though, it's going to need to occasionally return higher margins than this.
Romantic Comedy: Romantic comedy used to be a thriving genre, but in recent years it has fallen off significantly. Excluding Ted (which is, first-and-foremost, a buddy comedy), the highest-grossing rom-com of 2012 was Think Like a Man with $91.5 million. Otherwise, though, it was a terrible year: What to Expect When You're Expecting ($41.2 million), The Five-Year Engagement ($28.7 million), and Playing for Keeps ($12.7 million) were all major disappointments. Even Silver Linings Playbook, with all kinds of awards buzz, was only able to earn $28.7 million, though its roll-out was slower than expected and The Weinstein Company seems to have some tricks up its sleeve for early 2013 on this title.
Taylor Kitsch: More so than probably any other actor, Taylor Kitsch had a lot riding on 2012. Unfortunately, all of his movies were varying degrees of disappointing. John Carter was actually the best performer at the domestic box office with $73.1 million, though that's a paltry amount in relation to the massive marketing campaign that backed it up. Battleship was even worse at $65.4 million; both titles saved some face overseas ($210 million and $238 million, respectively), but they still were huge money losers for their studios given the over-$200-million price tag on each one. His final movie, Savages, was less ambitious, but still didn't really impress with just $47.3 million.
3D Animated Re-Releases: Some studios (Sony, mostly) stopped reporting 3D share in 2012, so it's tough to gauge the overall health of the 3D business (at best, its stable). One area that can be judged, though, is that of animated 3D re-releases, which had a tough year in 2012.
After The Lion King (in 3D) grossed $94.2 million last Fall, Disney leapt on the opportunity to make some quick cash by re-releasing more of their library titles in the third dimension. Unfortunately, their three attempts in 2012 didn't come anywhere close to matching The Lion King, and in fact each saw diminishing returns: Beauty and the Beast wound up with just $47.6 million, Finding Nemo grossed $41.1 million, and Monsters, Inc. only tallied $20 million through its first 13 days.
It was a noticeably better year for the live-action re-releases. Titanic 3D was tops among all 2012 3D re-releases with $57.9 million domestically, though more importantly it was a huge hit overseas with around $286 million ($145 million in China alone). Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace also made more money overseas ($59 million) than domestic ($43.5 million), and it performed well-enough overall to get Episode II and Episode III re-released in late 2013.
Stop-Motion Animation: While computer animation did great in 2012, stop-motion animation had such a bad year that it's going to be tough for any future projects to get green-lit.
After three years without a single release, the sub-genre had three high-profile entries in 2012, and all of them underperformed against modest comparable titles. ParaNorman, the best of the bunch, grossed just $56 million, or noticeably less than Coraline's $75.3 million. Frankenweenie was even worse with $34.7 million, or just 65 percent of what director Tim Burton's Corpse Bride earned in 2005 ($53.4 million). Finally, The Pirates! Band of Misfits set a new low for Aardman Animation with a paltry $31.1 million.
The genre performed so poorly this year that Disney decided put the kibosh on a Henry Selick stop-motion animated movie that they had already sunk tons of cash in to (around $50 million, according to some reports). Looking ahead, there is only one stop-motion project currently on the calendar (a new entry from LAIKA, the company behind Coraline/ParaNorman), and it won't reach theaters until September 2014.
Discuss this story with fellow Box Office Mojo fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @boxofficemojo, and follow author Ray Subers at @raysubers.
• 2013 Preview
• Domestic Box Office Sets New Yearly Record in 2012
• Blockbuster Franchises Help November 2012 Destroy Record
• October Starts Strong, Ends on Down Note
• 'Hotel Transylvania' Tops Solid September
• Awful August Ends Summer 2012
• Five $50 Million Debuts Propel June Business
• 'Avengers' Accounts for Over Half of May 2012 Grosses
• 'Hunger Games' Tops Average April
• March 2012 Easily Sets Record
• 'The Vow,' 'Safe House' Lead Record-Breaking February
• January 2012 Improves on Atrocious Start to 2011
• 2012 Preview
• Franchises to Rule Again in 2012
• Sequels, 3D Can't Save 2011
• 2012 Grosses (2012-only releases)