The Box Office may seem rather innocuous to the casual viewer, and most of Hollywood’s target audience probably couldn’t care less where the films end up every week. Little do these customers know, the Box Office is what Hollywood is all about. This is a business, it’s Show business, and the numbers make all the difference. It can determine a sequel, it can stain careers and roll heads, and it can trump reviews.

The following is an honorable congratulation and a ranking of all the films which earned consecutive Box Office gold weekends, even in a year of economic crisis, staying number one at least two weeks in a row. These films stood out above the rest since my joining this accomplished site, and in the spirit of the Oscars, deserve recognition for their outstanding performance in the Box Office.

From Worst to Best, noting Sundays secured at number one:

9.) Twilight: Breaking Dawn, Part 1 – November 20, 27 and December 4, 2011

It can be frustrating that some films become trends. That they can tap into pop culture and what its target audience most needs. But to be angry with this is to hate Hollywood, and to hate the way things are. Griping about the success of a series does not make it any less successful, so here’s a big tip of the hat to Twilight for exploiting the needs of the pre-teen girl in every female on the planet. The source material found its target, it fired true, and Hollywood took advantage. This is the game. And this fourth installment managed three full consecutive weekends, however much we recognize its shamelessness.

8.) Real Steel – October 9 to 16, 2011

This boxing match received remarkably warm reviews from viewers, while being completely rejected by critics. It was formulaic, it was silly, but it was well-performed and managed to bring the Twilight Zone episode “Steel” into the modern era of cinema. That is no easy task. For taking a unique angle on the exhausted sports genre of being in the ring, this film owned half of October 2011. Escapist films are, most of the time, reprimanded by critics. They rarely gain any form of credit at all – but they sure do give the audiences a good time, if executed correctly. Real Steel accomplished just that. Critics tend to forget that’s exactly what audiences need sometimes, rather than a depressing story with Oscar-worthy presentation (eyes on you, The Descendants).

7.)  Rio – April 17 to 24, 2011

Animated films have come to evolve into completely new standards of excellence, and when an animated film managed an upset at the Oscars, they earned the right to their very own category. Rio may have been as much a retread as any, but with the lush colorful world never explored in animation and a top-notch comedic performance of Jesse Eisenberg as his familiar nervous-wreck character he so effectively portrays in his other films, the musically-swelled film has this exotic aftertaste both nostalgic and lucid which makes up for the excessively young-minded writing.

6.) Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon – July 2 to July 10, 2011

Michael Bay has been bashed by nearly every critic, even myself, since the beginning of his career. This is because of the teenage boy films he makes so consistently, which sell so efficiently. And that’s the get-away. Bay sells to the target audience naturally in place every weekend, and he’s box office gold every single time—with the exception of The Island, his only attempt away from his usual self, and his best film.

But Transformers closes with its best attempt at what it really should have started with, and what with the opening monologue, kind of makes for a standalone film. Whatever critics have to say isn’t enough to keep audiences away, and two of his films: Armageddon and The Rock; have joined the Criterion collection of outstanding cinema. So there’s some sun in your eyes, you hateful critics. People like to turn their brain off sometimes.

5.)  Thor – May 8 to 15, 2011

Superheroes have come to transcend the formulaic, black-and-white lives of their comic book counterparts. They have come to parallel the issues of today, become catalysts of their world which we aspire to be or long for help from, and all the while (for most of the time) manage some good clean fun for all ages.

Who would have thought that someone like Thor, not even an actual superhero, could be relatable? How does one relate to a god? And yet this film managed two full weekends of success. The trick was the superlative casting and spot-on humor. It was silly. It was adequate at best, never managing any form of spectacle or unique excitement or fully realized climax. However, it was still a dose of light-hearted fun that was accessible and well-performed, and sometimes that’s all it takes.

4.) Puss in Boots – October 30 to November 6, 2011

Animation domination ensues, even here. At the box office, children’s films have an advantage: their target audience equals at least one other ticket sale. Also, children are more tolerant of multiple viewings. However, it does take one hell of a script to make a success out of a spinoff of the Shrek series, which spiraled into mediocrity with its last two installments. Without retreading too many Shrek approaches to humor, particularly avoiding pop culture references (with the exception of Antonio Banderas playing Zorro again), and daring a PG rating that was indeed earned, this film managed an intriguing style—even panache—thanks to Boots.

3.) Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol – December 25, 2011 to January 1, 2012

1959. Alfred Hitchcock, the Master of Suspense releases North by Northwest, his biggest, longest, most expensive, most lush and vivid film yet. The excitement. The romance! A masterpiece no less. 1966. Mission: Impossible airs, funded by Desilu Productions, and it takes off. 1996. Brian De Palma has spent his entire career making Hitchcockian films, and finalizes with Mission: Impossible, abandoning the TV show’s canon for the most part, to form his very own North by Northwest.

The culmination is 2011’s definitive action film, Ghost Protocol, which pays the best homage in all the best ways, impresses us, excites us, and completely averts our eyes from Tom Cruise’s personal life to this newfound enthusiasm from animated director’s Brad Bird’s debut. No homage to M:I:2 thankfully. For the first time, this really feels like Mission Impossible, and is just the sort of story struggling families needed at the end of 2011 to transition enthusiastically into 2012. This deserves a hell of a lot more recognition than it’s gotten.

2.) Rise of the Planet of the Apes – August 7to August 14, 2011

Planet of the Apes of 1968 is a classic, any way you put it. It’s well-performed, and that’s the way we like our sci-fi. It’s not like in 1968 there was anything elaborate they could do to make the apes look very real, so it all hinged on the performances and the writing. In 2001, Tim Burton butchered Planet of the Apes by removing both of those good things (much like Alice in Wonderland).

It was a disappointment, a mockery in every meaning of the word. To remind audiences why the original was so beloved would be no easy trick. The first step to Caesar’s revolution was remarkably plausible within the realm of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and with all-around adequate casting (superb from Andy Serkis), and fully achieved top-notch ape visual effects, this film had “Summer Blockbuster” written all over it. It entertained visually and emotionally equally. What a spectacular spectacle.

1.)    The Help – August 21 and 28 to September 4, 2011

Ahh, yes. You are not surprised and you perhaps can’t even stand that I chose it. But there’s no denying this drama (with humorous moments), led by new-found superstar Emma Stone, is absolutely undeniably naturally explicitly a damn good piece of film. A solid cast, a solid script, and although it so fiercely excludes men from its target audience, it deserves every bit of attention it’s gotten.

Emma Stone’s capacity to express herself does an actress to be remembered make. It’s a pretty straightforward film, which ironically took exactly as many weekends as Twilight (at the very bottom of this list). However, there is clearly hope for cinema with an actual statement yet, and this film is a step forward in re-introducing audiences to the margins of what cinema is truly capable of. And that, I have no need to remind you, is one incredible feat to accomplish.