Two years ago now (!) is still pretty recent history. Here's a look at what was going on at the movies in 2011...
1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 ($381 mil)
The conclusion of the Harry Potter saga (the books ended in 2007) sees the end of Voldemort's threat, with just a few wrinkles left, including the ultimate fate and true character of Severus Snape and what Dumbledore ultimately left behind. Clearly audiences were primed to see how it all went down, finally bringing the franchise back to the level of popularity the films enjoyed at the beginning, and partly because of our modern franchise mentality that will make mass audiences turn out regardless of actual mass popularity.
2. Transformers: Dark of the Moon ($352 mil)
No Megan Fox! Michael Bay brought the focus back to the concept and softened the rough edges that had appeared in the second film.
3. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 ($281 mil)
The fourth film begins the final chapter of twinkly vampires and the women who love them.
4. The Hangover Part II ($254 mil)
Some people questioned making another of these, but clearly the result was still popular, so we're getting a third and probably final one this year.
5. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides ($241 mil)
This was an attempt to discover whether or not audiences really only cared about Johnny Depp's Jack Sparrow, because he's really the only common element between this installment and the previous three.
6. Fast Five ($209 mil)
The fourth and unexpectedly popular installment in this franchise brought the original crew back together, including Paul Walker and Vin Diesel. This fifth one brought most of the stars from each of the previous four back into the family, and added Dwayne Johnson, and was clearly a huge hit. So we get a sixth this year, and I say this series only gets better.
7. Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol ($209 mil)
Tom Cruise returns to a reliable franchise under his belt for another big hit.
8. Cars 2 ($191 mil)
For the first time even critics begin to wonder if Pixar is coasting on its own success.
9. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows ($186 mil)
Robert Downey Jr. in another installment of another popular franchise.
10. Thor ($181 mil)
The Avengers cycle starts to heat up, featuring a slightly more risky member of the team and a heavy focus on Marvel's version of Norse mythology, discovering once again that if they cast the central role right (in this instance Chris Hemsworth) they'll have good results one way or another. Yet it's Tom Hiddleston's Loki who creates magic, which is good, because he's also a huge part of the later Avengers movie itself.
Other personal highlights:
12. Captain America: The First Avenger ($176 mil)
14. Bridesmaids ($169 mil)
16. Puss in Boots ($149 mil)
17. X-Men: First Class ($146 mil)
21. Super 8 ($127 mil)
23. Horrible Bosses ($117 mil)
24. Green Lantern ($116 mil)
28. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo ($102 mil)
30. Cowboys & Aliens ($100 mil)
32. The Green Hornet ($98 mil)
34. The Muppets ($88 mil)
38. Immortals ($83 mil)
49. Hugo ($73 mil)
53. Mr. Popper's Penguins ($68 mil)
55. Unknown ($63 mil)
56. The Adjustment Bureau ($62 mil)
59. Midnight in Paris ($56 mil)
62. Source Code ($54 mil)
71. The Artist ($44 mil)
75. Hanna ($40 mil)
77. Spy Kids: All the Time in the World ($38 mil)
89. Sucker Punch ($36 mil)
90. Larry Crowne ($35 mil)
98. The Debt ($31 mil)
122. Fright Night ($18 mil)
131. Warrior ($18 mil)
132. The Tree of Life ($13 mil)
135. The Conspirator ($11 mil)
140. Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil ($10 mil)
176. The Way Back ($2 mil)
294. HappyThankYouMorePlease ($200 thou)
505. London Boulevard ($16 thou)
Source: Box Office Mojo