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:
Director Neill Blomkamp and actor Sharlto Copley are going for the sci-fi hat trick. The duo that brought us District 9 and the upcoming Elysium will reunite for Blomkamp’s next film, Chappie. Copley will play the title character, though details on the plot of the film – which Blomkamp describes as a “science-fiction comedy” in “an unusual setting” – are still under wraps. Copley made a big splash in his feature film debut in District 9, and Elysium - also starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster - opens this August. Copley is also part of the upcoming sci-fi thriller Europa Report and Disney’s Malificent. [EW]
Christopher Nolan‘s long-time cinematographer, Wally Pfister, is set to make his directorial debut with Transcendence, a sci-fi film gearing up for a 2014 release. Nolan is already on board as an executive producer. From a screenplay by Jack Paglen, not much is yet known about the secretive project, beyond the basic plot: A scientist’s brain is uploaded into a supercomputer of his own creation after he is assassinated by anti-technology terrorists.
The movie is set to star Johnny Depp and Paul Bettany, and now The Town‘s Rebecca Hall has been added to the cast. Reportedly, Hall beat out the likes of Rooney Mara and Emily Blunt for the role. Nothing is yet specified about the three principal actors’ roles, but I’d wager on Depp being the scientist and Bettany leading the terrorists.
As a cinematographer, Pfister has shot all of Nolan’s movies since Memento, and has been nominated for a Best Cinematography Academy Award for four of them. He won the Oscar for his work on Inception, which is currently ranked #9 on Flickchart’s list of the best movies to have won the award.
Hall has previously worked with both Pfister and Nolan, having starred in The Prestige. She can next be seen on the big screen in Marvel’s Iron Man 3 in April, and in Closed Circuit, a thriller co-starring Eric Bana, in August.
Before beginning part 3 of my year-in-review opus I’d like to acknowledge how truly great a year we’ve had this year in regards to movies. For as many films and performances that will be nominated for awards, there will be just as many that have a right to feel snubbed. There were so many quality indie, genre, and franchise films that even the stingiest of movie watchers could easily find one movie they really enjoyed. This year was so great that they didn’t even abide by the normal January-February as dumping grounds mentality, releasing movies like Haywire, The Grey, Chronicle, and Wanderlust, which are all vastly superior to the normal dreck that’s usually released at the beginning of the year. Even some of the more disappointing movies of the year were at least interesting to discuss, like Prometheus and The Dark Knight Rises.
Some Romances Are Stronger Than the Bonds of Time
Safety Not Guaranteed received quite a bit of love as the indie darling of the year. So much so that I assumed it would end up being this year’s annual indie movie that makes my top 5. Turns out, I didn’t like it nearly as much as everyone else. A lot of that had to do with my expectations being way too high, but the movie is far from flawless. As much as I like Mark Duplass his character is essentially a male version of a manic pixie dream girl and serves the purpose of being an eccentric person whose love saves the main character, Aubrey Plaza, despite being completely unrealistic to real life relationships. Jake Johnson has his own clichés to fight against as the guy who is a jerk but is funny enough where the audience doesn’t hate him. Then they find out his jerkiness is based around his unhappiness so they start to love him and he goes through a predictable character arc. Despite my complaints I still think the movie is good, just not as good as every other person seems to think.
Looper was writer/director Rian Johnston’s third feature film which starred Hollywood’s newest big man on campus Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a young Bruce Willis, or was Bruce Willis an old Joseph Gordon-Levitt? Time travel being used as a way for mobsters to have people killed with no evidence left behind? Awesomely brilliant idea, especially by having Jeff Daniels as the guy who traveled back in time to run it. Having numerous people have slight telekinetic powers? A little jarring and way more unbelievable than the idea of time travel for some reason. There was also a romantic sub-plot with Emily Blunt which felt a little forced, but since JGL and Blunt are so good, they made it work. That’s how the movie feels as a whole, though. It definitely has its problems and plot holes, but overall it’s so original and well-made/acted that it’s easy to forgive them.
And the Winner Is: Looper - but speaking of time travel let’s go back in time a few decades ourselves.
Ever since the release of Sweeney Todd five years ago, I’ve been worried about the future of Tim Burton. Sweeney Todd was yet another bid of hopeful Oscar consideration on his part that sadly went unnoticed, and with his last film Alice in Wonderland, I decided to just avoid it. It never interested me all that much, and at the time I had never done that ever to Burton. With his newest film Dark Shadows, I was actually looking forward to it, thinking it could be a return to form for Burton (I got a vibe of Beetlejuice almost immediately), and the biggest surprise for me: It’s actually a really entertaining black comedy. Read the rest of this entry »