It’s all mega-franchises these days. It seems if you aren’t part of the Spider-Impossible-No Way To Dead Reckoning And The Wasp vs. Kong: Dawn Of Legacy cinematic universe these days, then you can pretty much forget making the big, big bucks. This wasn’t always the way.
Sure, we had franchises and sequels, but what really surprised me when I looked back on some movies from our recent past was just how much money quite a lot of movies made. What was even more surprising was how some of these movies have completely vanished from our consciousness, despite frankly staggering box office. Here are a few that raised my eyebrows.
The Adventures Of Tintin
Peter Jackson coming off the back of Lord Of The Rings. Edgar Wright fresh from Shaun Of The Dead. Spielberg’s passion project. So given the pedigree, it was a massive disappointment all round, wasn’t it? This is why nobody talks about it today? Only it wasn’t. It was the first movie not made by Pixar to win the Golden Globe for Best Animated Feature. It also pulled in a worldwide gross of $373,993,951 in 2011 dollars. That is a take most of Hollywood would rip your arm off for these days.
War Of The Worlds
In the early 2000s, Tom Cruise and Steven Spielberg became favored collaborators for a while. Another long-time passion project of Spielberg’s was War of the Worlds, and Spielberg and Cruise jumped in together back in 2005. This is back at a time when Spielberg was making a movie every 18 months. It seems general audiences didn’t get the memo that War Of The Worlds was, like the book, a story centered on individual survival against the backdrop of an alien invasion, Also the ending doesn’t feature triumphant hordes of soldiers and a valiant battle. Instead, they expected Independence Day. As a result, the movie quickly passed out of general discussion. Shame, as it grabbed a staggering $603,873,119 in 2005 money.
When thinking of iconic animated films from the 21st century, everyone goes to Pixar or anything featuring Minions. Nobody talks about Rio. The film about a macaw brought to Brazil got solid reviews, and praise for its visuals and even spawned a sequel that also made good money. How much is good money? Nearly half a billion pounds each! The first made $483,866,518 and the second almost the same. Crazy.
Men In Black 3
A disappointing sequel that came along a few years too late? The initial excitement and success of the first two movies had dimmed, and nobody was talking about Men In Black anymore. 2012 was, after all, the year that The Avengers exploded onto our screens and blew the competition away. Or did it? MIB 3 still made $654,213,485. Look at that number again. Just look at it!
If there is one movie we have to possibly blame for the live-action Disney remakes currently stalking the cinema landscape, it is this – Maleficent. This took a different approach. It wasn’t a straight remake. This time they chose to focus on the villain from Sleeping Beauty. The movie was huge. Critics loved it. People really came out to see it. It scored $759,853,685. Over 3/4 of a billion dollars! Yet, today, the movie doesn’t even register a blip.
Speaking of Angelina Jolie, we have to remember that she was, for a while, simply the biggest female movie star on the planet. Whether it was Lara Croft or Brangelina, she was everywhere. Men wanted her, women wanted to be her, and quite a few wanted her as well, in that college roommate and experimenting kind of way. Salt was marketed as a big new potential franchise. It didn’t happen. The whole thing just quietly slipped away. But on the way out the door it still made $239,503,354. Not too shabby.
The Day After Tomorrow
The master of disaster could do no wrong. Sandwiched between the massive Independence Day and the date-hyped 2012, The Day After Tomorrow is mostly forgotten, except for when people remember to laugh at the scene where Jake Gyllenhall and his friends actually outrun climate change on foot. It’s still good fun, though. It also has a decent cast including Dennis Quaid, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Emmy Rossum. So why is it almost completely forgotten these days, despite its massive scale? Who knows. It still broke the half-a-billion barrier with $552,639,571.
Oz The Great And Powerful
James Franco was huge off the back of Spider-Man. Rachel Weisz was riding high from The Mummy. Mila Kunis’ star was rising fast. The Wizard of Oz was a beloved story and Sam Raimi had the golden touch. With white women everywhere still going crazy over Wicked on Broadway and in the West End, it seemed like a home run. Given that nobody talks about this, you might imagine it was a big failure. It wasn’t. It made $493,311,825.
One of history’s most enduring legends. A huge scope. Epic scale. And the cast. That cast! Brad Pitt, Eric Bana, Orlando Bloom, Diane Kruger, Sean Bean, Rose Byrne, Bryan Cox, Brendan Gleeson, Trevor Eve, Saffron Burrows, and Peter O’Toole – by God!! Yet, nothing… crickets. Doesn’t even get mentioned today whereas Gladiator remains at the forefront of movie consideration to this day. Weird. It didn’t flop, either. It has a worldwide box office of $497,409,852. Legend also tells of Outposters who really know what they are doing using the beach invasion scene to test out the quality of new AV equipment and the motion-blurring capabilities.
So these were my thoughts, what about you guys? Any recent-ish movies that you just don’t think about anymore, that you are surprised to discover actually sold a lot of tickets? The always excellent BoxOfficeMojo.com always throws up a few delights.
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