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