As of last Friday, Iron Man 3 has become the latest film to gross more than $1 billion at the worldwide box office. It has become only the 16th film in history to do so (at least, not adjusted for ticket price inflation), and did so in only 22 days. Now, Shane Black has become the most unlikely of candidates to have directed a billion-dollar flick.
It’s a club that’s becoming slightly less prestigious with every passing year. Foreign markets are becoming even bigger box office draws to the studios than the domestic one, and greater advertising pushes, bigger and more bloated sequels, and effects-heavy action (not to mention rising ticket prices) are leading to bigger and more top-heavy opening weekends. And it’s becoming more common: Four of these films (a full quarter of the list) were released in 2012.
Here are the 16 films that make up the Billion-Dollar Club, from the lowest- to highest-ranked on Flickchart:
North American audiences are forced to wait until Friday, May 3, for the domestic release of Marvel’s Iron Man 3, but that hasn’t stopped Tony Stark from drumming up a massive box office take this past weekend in foreign markets. The sequel grossed $195.3 million in 42 markets, which beats out the $185.1-million international debut for The Avengers.
Once again, James Cameron will pioneer new filmmaking technologies in one of his movies. As his sequels to Avatar promise to spend time deep in Pandora’s oceans, Cameron and his crew will now utilize their groundbreaking performance capture technology underwater, according to producer Jon Landau.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey has become the 15th film to cross $1 billion (not adjusted for inflation) in worldwide ticket sales.
The first chapter of Peter Jackson‘s new trilogy based on the works of J.R.R. Tolkien crossed this threshold thanks to a 10-day, $37.3 million opening in China. It is the second of Jackson’s films to do so, after The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King grossed over $1 billion after its release in 2003. This makes Jackson the third director to have helmed two billion-dollar movies, after James Cameron and Christopher Nolan.
Of the 15 billion-dollar films, only three – the top two, Cameron’s Avatar and Titanic, and Tim Burton‘s Alice in Wonderland - were not part of pre-existing franchises. The Hobbit is the fourth film released in 2012 to hit the milestone, after The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises and Skyfall.
It is interesting to note that The Hobbit‘s domestic take of $301.4 million is well below that of the three Lord of the Rings films, despite having the additional boost of IMAX and 3D ticket sales. It has done far better overseas; by contrast, Return of the King grossed only $10.4 million in China. No doubt controversy over the film’s 48 frames-per-second technology diluted ticket sales, but it has still certainly proven popular enough.
Word of The Hobbit‘s success is good news for New Line and Warner Bros. after the underwhelming and potentially disastrous $28 million opening of Jack the Giant Slayer, a film that reportedly cost north of $200 million, and might prove to be an even bigger train wreck than last year’s box office bomb, John Carter (which also opened in March).
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is currently ranked #8 among 2012 films on Flickchart.
Already easily the most successful movie in the 50-year-old James Bond franchise, Skyfall has become the film in the series to cross the $1 billion mark at the worldwide box office, a feat the movie achieved on Sunday, a little over two months after its October 23 world premiere in London. Skyfall had its wide release on North America on November 9.
Skyfall has grossed $289.6 million domestically and $710.6 million internationally. This handily beats the previous franchise-best, its predecessor, Quantum of Solace, which topped out at $586 million worldwide. It is also the first movie ever to earn more than 100 million pounds in the U.K., even beating out the highest-grossing movie of all time, Avatar.
Skyfall is only the 14th movie in history to cross the $1 billion mark, and the third for 2012, along with The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises. Further proving its popularity with audiences, it is currently the third highest-ranked movie of 2012 on Flickchart, after its billion-dollar counterparts, and has supplanted Goldfinger as the highest-ranked Bond movie.