6 January 2013 2:35 PM, PST | Thompson on Hollywood | See recent Thompson on Hollywood news »

It's not easy figuring out what films were hits or misses (or something inbetween). Domestic gross totals don't tell the whole story. You need to look at revenue as well as production and marketing costs to assess global returns. (Remember, theaters return about half of what they take in at theater wickets to distributors.) Here's our stab at sorting out 143 films initially released in  2012 that played wide (750 screens or more) for at least one week. The titles have been divided into eight categories, from biggest hits to flops (some year-end pictures haven't yet gone wide). The list in each category is in order of U.S./Canada gross, but in determining placement, the total world-wide gross is a significant factor. Although the normal pattern for studio films these days is to gross more internationally than domestically,the degree of difference varies widely. Keep in mind the following caveats: Listed production budgets are estimates. »

- Tom Brueggemann

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