Thursday, January 10, 2013

#509. Box Office 2008

This year for me was pretty easily dominated by the movie at the top of the box office.  That doesn't always happen.  Congratulates 2008.

1. The Dark Knight ($533 mil)
Heath Ledger died before this movie was released.  There will always be doubt as to whether or not the resulting huge success and acknowledgment of his fine performance as the Joker was a result of this or because people started to appreciate Christopher Nolan's intricate vision of Batman, the reverse of everything audiences expect from superhero movies.  For me it doesn't matter.  I was already a fan of Ledger.  The performance speaks for itself.  The rest of the movie matches it perfectly.

2. Iron Man ($318 mil)
The start of the Avengers cycle was such a huge success that many fans still argue to this day that The Dark Knight had a rival for best superhero movie of 2008.  It doesn't, but without a doubt Robert Downey, Jr. made the role of Tony Stark his own.  Single-handedly revived his career, and made him hugely popular, his very own Jack Sparrow.

3. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull ($317 mil)
Because every movie that people flocked to see in 2008 couldn't possibly remain beloved, fans almost immediately started a backlash against this latter-day adventure of the most famous descendant of classic Hollywood serials.

4. Hancock ($227 mil)
If there's any superhero movie that rivals The Dark Knight's brilliance in 2008, this was it, and I'm not just saying that because I'm a fan of Will Smith and he was clearly still on his hot streak.  The unacknowledged second lead, Charlize Theron, plays a huge part in what makes this one so ultimately transcendent.  And I'm not just saying that because I had this same idea in 2004.  Let that be a warning.  If your idea exists too long in the creative ether, someone else will eventually come upon it.  Same thing with the title of the movie Book of Eli.  That was mine, too.

5. WALL-E ($223 mil)
Pixar's silent film has a thing for environmentalism.  You'd think if one half of the movie were subtle and sublime, the other half would be too.  It isn't.

6. Kung Fu Panda ($215 mil)
Jack Black becomes immortal as a computer animated kung fu fighting panda.

7. Twilight ($192 mil)
Yeah, so sparkly vampires officially become popular.

8. Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa ($180 mil)
At this point, you can clearly see Hollywood salivate at the prospect of computer animated movies.  They don't all become franchises, but the ones that do are lucrative indeed.

9. Quantum of Solace ($168 mil)
The first James Bond sequel, although I contend that you can enjoy it without having to worry too much about Casino Royale.  The second Daniel Craig outing isn't as well-received as the first, but it keeps both Craig and 007 wildly popular.

10. Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who ($154 mil)
Audiences love and will continue to love Dr. Seuss movies that are a little more faithful to the source material.  I tell ya, Seuss is an improbable heir to Shakespeare.  When people shout with glee, it's Seuss' rhymes they hear.  Jim Carrey is slightly more animated than usual.

Other personal highlights:

20. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button ($127 mil)
23. Tropic Thunder ($110 mil)
28. Step Brothers ($100 mil)
30. Yes Man ($97 mil)
36. 21 ($81 mil)
39. Cloverfield ($80 mil)
43. Vantage Point ($72 mil)
46. Seven Pounds ($69 mil)
49. The Happening ($64 mil)
50. Forgetting Sarah Marshall ($63 mil)
52. Burn After Reading ($60 mil)
64. Speed Racer ($43 mil)
71. Righteous Kill ($40 mil)
72. Body of Lies ($39 mil)
81. Star Wars: The Clone Wars ($35 mil)
88. The Love Guru ($32 mil)
95. Leatherheads ($31 mil)
103. The Other Boleyn Girl ($26 mil)
105. The Wrestler ($26 mil)
107. Superhero Movie ($25 mil)
108. W. ($25 mil)
112. Revolutionary Road ($22 mil)
113. Babylon A.D. ($22 mil)
117. The Spirit ($19 mil)
120. Frost/Nixon ($18 mil)
123. 88 Minutes ($17 mil)
124. Swing Vote ($16 mil)
125. Pride & Glory ($15 mil)
139. Meet Dave ($11 mil)
142. Doomsday ($11 mil)
144. U2 3D ($10 mil)
147. Smart People ($9 mil)
155. In Bruges ($7 mil)
166. Run Fat Boy Run ($6 mil)
168. RockNRolla ($5 mil)
171. Hamlet 2 ($4 mil)
177. Bottle Shock ($4 mil)
179. Charlie Bartlett ($3 mil)
191. How to Lose Friends and Alienate People ($2 mil)
196. The Fall ($2 mil)
209. Che ($1 mil)
226. Cassandra's Dream ($900 thou)
432. Boarding Gate ($40 thou)
549. Take ($6 thou)
570. Romulus, My Father ($4 thou)

Source: Box Office Mojo


PT Dilloway, Superhero Author said...

I did my part to make "The Dark Knight" number 1 that year. I think I watched it six times in theaters. The day it came out I luckily had a doctor's appointment so after that I got to go to an afternoon showing of the movie. I remember coming out of that feeling like someone had bludgeoned me with a sack of doorknobs for two hours. It was just so intense. Then I went and watched it again that night.

Tony Stark was a role Robert Downey Jr was pretty much born to play. I mean he is just about Tony Stark, only not a mechanical supergenius. But you know the whole manchild with a troubled past and substance abuse problems was not really a stretch for him to play. I mean basically he just had to grow a goatee.

You would love "Hancock." I liked the first half of the movie where he's all pissed off and drunk. Then it seemed the movie just didn't know where to go so it went in a completely absurd direction.

I didn't really love Indiana Jones 4 but afterwards when people like "South Park" were claiming Lucas/Spielberg had raped the franchise I was just like, it's not like the other three movies were exactly "Citizen Kane." I guess that was still the time when Hollywood was trying to make Shia LeBeouf known for more than hanging around with giant robots.

It's surprising to see Twilight only at #7 on that list. Given the hype afterwards you'd have thought it would have debuted stronger.

Those last couple on the list are pretty amusing. $6000? I could probably make as much showing a home video of my sisters's cats.

Tony Laplume said...

I still contend that Tom Cruise would make a more compelling Iron Man, more subtle anyway. I do enjoy RDJ in the role, but he's Tony Snark, not Tony Stark.

Shia LaBeouf proved in movies like Disturbia that he could be a draw even without giant transforming robots around him. He's apparently now chosen to only appear in movies that are guaranteed not to be blockbusters successes. Of course, he's appeared in enough of those that hopefully he's earned his chunk of money already, so he can do whatever he wants.

The first Twilight movie it was mostly the fans and a few other people checking in to see what it was all about. Then it became a real phenomenon.

I saw The Dark Knight for what will probably remain for me a record number of times in theaters. Star Trek the next year came close. But I remain mesmerized by Dark Knight. Fascinating stuff, even the scenes that don't feature Heath Ledger.

PT Dilloway, Superhero Author said...

I've only seen 21 of the movies on that list (which includes 21). I thought it would have been higher.


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