Monday, November 05, 2012

Direct Current #19/Box Office 1989

ITEM!  Star Trek Fan Companion - Enterprise 2x19 "Judgment"
This one's just cool, and there's a lot of reasons why it's cool, not the least of which it doesn't particularly try to be cool, it's just a combination of improbable elements working exceptionally well together, which in this case means something of a revisit to The Undiscovered Country, the return of J.G. Hertzler, and a dude named Duras...It's a Star Trek classic.

Read more here.


1989 was like the training year for Hollywood's eventual transformation into blockbuster central.  See how it all went down...

1. Batman ($251 mil)
Tim Burton and Michael Keaton are the unlikely source of the superhero boom that took a decade to truly sort itself out.  In hindsight, this is exactly the source of Robert Downey Jr.'s path to Iron Man, and thus The Avengers.

2. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade ($197 mil)
Sean Connery is as unlikely an addition to the Indiana Jones franchise as Keaton was as Batman.  But it worked.  It totally worked.  Still my favorite Indy.

3. Lethal Weapon 2 ($147 mil)
Mel Gibson and Danny Glover make a move toward a legitimate franchise, and wisely figure out that someone new and important must join the team each time.  With this one it's Joe Pesci.

4. Look Who's Talking ($140 mil)
John Travolta has his first hit since the Staying Alive fiasco.  Also, Bruce Willis figures out that he's a terrific voice actor.

5. Honey, I Shrunk the Kids ($130 mil)
Rick Moranis improbably stars in a hit other than a Ghostbusters movie.  But more importantly, the movie spawns ye another franchise.

6. Back to the Future Part II ($118 mil)
I know that there's this and another sequel, but I still can't wrap my head around the fact this Back to the Future became a trilogy.  Maybe that's why I still hasn't seen the other two movies.  It just seems wrong.

7. Ghostbusters II ($112 mil)
They're still working on getting the third one made.  Apparently that one will definitely complete the transition away from this franchise being all about how awesome Bill Murray is.

8. Driving Miss Daisy ($106 mil)
The popular career of Morgan Freeman begins.  You may be excused to believe The Shawshank Redemption was responsible.  That one made him a different kind of voice-over star than Willis (who doesn't do nearly enough of that).

9. Parenthood ($100 mil)
Reinvented the career of Steve Martin as a lovable family man.  He used to be a wild and crazy guy...

10. Dead Poets Society ($95 mil)
Robin Williams in a big dramatic hit, Ethan Hawke as that sensitive dude who still has a respectable indy career, "O captain my captain," the inspirational teacher genre...Who doesn't remember this one fondly?

Other notable movies: When Harry Met Sally... ($92 mil; a respectable gross, but its cultural impact makes it seem like a bigger hit), The Little Mermaid ($84 mil; likewise, you'd expect Disney's first smash animated hit in years, and a string that continues, to have been, well, a bigger smash), Steel Magnolias ($83 mil; everyone thinks Pretty Woman made Julia Roberts' career, but she was fast becoming a star before it), Christmas Vacation ($71 mil; what a durable franchise, Chevy Chase; what happened?), Turner & Hooch ($71 mil; Tom Hanks plays opposite a dog; subsequently reinvents himself as an actor in serious dramas), Born on the Fourth of July ($70 mil; Tom Cruise and Oliver Stone in a political firecracker; one of them kept doing these movies), Field of Dreams ($64 mil; Kevin Costner makes his first true classic, and somehow I thought this one was a bigger draw, too), Harlem Nights ($60 mil; I think the more Eddie Murphy reminded audiences that he was, well, black, the more he started to alienate them), The Abyss ($54 mil; James Cameron starts to get ambitious), Star Trek V: The Final Frontier ($52 mil; not as big a dog as Superman IV), Major League ($49 mil; possibly the reason Charlie Sheen's career has been more successful than Martin Sheen's; possibly the reason it's been less respectable), Always ($43 mil; proof positive once again that Steven Spielberg is not always an event), K-9 ($43 mil; James Belushi finds himself with a career; perhaps not coincidentally, stars alongside a dog and does not follow the same career path as Tom Hanks), Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure ($40 mil; excellent!), The Karate Kid Part III ($38 mil; this franchise did not take the Lethal Weapon course for success), The 'Burbs ($36 mil; Tom Hanks in another comedy), Fletch Lives ($35 mil; some people love this Chevy Chase franchise), License to Kill ($34 mil; Timothy Dalton as Bond again), Weekend at Bernie's ($30 mil), Do the Right Thing ($27 mil), Glory ($26 mil; makes Denzel Washington an icon; another movie you'd really expect to have done better), sex, lies and videotape ($24 mil; say hello to Steven Soderbergh, the first indy sensation?), A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child ($22 mil), Say Anything ($20 mil; the iconic movie in which John Cusack holds a boom box above his head), The Fabulous Baker Boys ($18 mil; Michelle Pfeiffer making whoopee), No Holds Barred ($16 mil; Hulk Hogan becomes a movie star...sort of), My Left Foot ($14 mil; in which Daniel Day-Lewis becomes a method icon), Kickboxer ($14 mil; in which Jean-Claude Van Damme truly becomes awesome), Friday the 13th Part VIII ($14 mil), Police Academy 6: City Under Siege ($11 mil), Who's Harry Crumb? ($10 mil; a personal favorite, starring John Candy), The Adventures of Baron Munchausen ($8 mil; a personal favorite Terry Gilliam)

...Maybe it's just because I seem to be insanely familiar with the movies released in 1989, but 1989 was a great year for the movies, wasn't it?

Source: Box Office Mojo


PT Dilloway, Superhero Author said...

Wow there were a lot of great movies. I've seen all those in the Top 10 and a lot of the others too. But if you do the 90s that's where things will take a turn for the worse, especially the early 90s. Then in the mid-late 90s you get all those stupid disaster movies.

Tony Laplume said...

I'm continuing the survey straight to the present. Or whatever 2012 is by the time I reach it.

MOCK! said...

Tom Hanks plays opposite a dog; subsequently reinvents himself as an actor in serious dramas

I read somewhere that Hanks joked if they hadn't killed the dog, the possibility for sequels was endless....not sure if he said it wistfully or thankfully...

Tony Laplume said...

I can only imagine a world where Tom Hanks made a bunch of Turner & Hooch movies instead of "Forrest Gump."

The upside is that we probably would still have gotten "Toy Story." We wouldn't have gotten Wilson, though. Alas, poor Wilson!


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