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The EW Popularity Index: Which 2012 movies had legs at the box office?

There’s no arguing who won the 2012 box-office: The Avengers smashed the competition, making $623.4 million. The Dark Knight Rises, The Hunger Games, Skyfall, and Breaking Dawn Part 2 also recorded blockbuster grosses, and the executives responsible for these hits can pat themselves on the backs for delivering the goods, which in these cases did not come cheap. The top 10 movies on last year’s box-office list cost, on average, more than $175 million each to produce — and that’s before a dime was spent on the marketing of a film and all the other fine-print considerations that eat into the profits.

But there’s more than one way to judge a film’s success, and while every producer might prefer to be in The Avengers‘ position, other, more modest films can claim victory as well. Back in 2005, EW devised a Popularity Index, which measured a film’s staying power in theaters; we’ve tweaked it only slightly this year to recognize the increasing number of platform releases. To get the index, we simply divided a movie’s total domestic gross by its biggest weekend tally — normally its opening frame, but not always.

The result is 10 movies that didn’t have record-breaking opening weekends, but they had legs. Many of them started slowly and gained steam as awards season heated up. Others were initially seen as disappointments, but then they just refused to go away, playing week after week to decent crowds. Most all of them had that rumored-to-be-extinct Hollywood creature: The Movie Star. Beancounters might prefer to be on that other box-office list, but the Popularity Index captures elements of quality that studios shouldn’t overlook.

Click below for the 2012 Popularity Index Top 10. READ FULL STORY

Best of 2012 (Behind the Scenes): 'The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel' director John Madden on filming in India

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, directed by John Madden, dunks seven veteran British actors — Judi Dench, Tom Wilkinson, Bill Nighy, Penelope Wilton, Maggie Smith, Ronald Pickup, and Celia Imrie — into the hot, steamy inner sanctum of India, playing retirees who take up residence at an old hotel more dilapidated than originally advertised. Madden tells EW about the experience filming in and outside the Indian cities of Jaipur and Udaipur, from the heat on set to the difficulty of getting sound and the right shots as crowds flocked around the cast and crew.

For more stories behind this year’s top TV and movie moments, click here for’s Best of 2012 (Behind the Scenes) coverageREAD FULL STORY

The 15 most impressive* box office performances of 2012 so far

We’re officially halfway through 2012, and if you’re an obsessive box-office junkie like me, that means it’s time to reflect back on the past six months at the movies and give credit to some of the best box-office performances. (Theoretically, it’s also time to think back to box-office disasters like Battleship, John Carter, and That’s My Boy, but we’ll save that for another time…)

There have been loads of strong performers with sensible budgets, so it was difficult to whittle down the slate (sorry, Safe House and Contraband, you were thisclose to making the cut!), but whittle I did. Thus, here is my totally-up-for-debate list of the 15 Most Impressive* Box Office Performances of 2012… so far. READ FULL STORY

'The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel' passes $100 million at the worldwide box office


Talk about a sleeper hit!

British comedy The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, which stars Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Tom Wilkinson, and Bill Nighy, has passed $100 million at the worldwide box office according to distributor Fox Searchlight.

After three weeks of release in America — and a successful expansion into 1,233 theaters over Memorial Day weekend — the lighthearted travel tale has grossed $20.1 million domestically. That’s slightly more than Marigold has earned in Australia ($19.9 million), but a bit less than it’s earned in its homeland, the U.K. ($31.1 million).

In a box-office world dominated by superheroes and special effects, it’s nice to know that a few classy dames can still draw in crowds.

Have you seen The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel? Do you think it’s on its way to becoming this year’s Midnight in Paris?

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