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:
“It has been a very difficult decision not to accept Michael [Wilson] and Barbara [Broccoli]’s very generous offer to direct the next Bond movie,” Mendes has said. “Directing Skyfall was one of the best experiences of my professional life, but I have theatre and other commitments, including productions of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and King Lear, that need my complete focus over the next year and beyond.”
Regarding the split, producers Wilson and Broccoli have commented, “We thoroughly enjoyed working with Sam, he directed our most successful Bond movie ever, Skyfall. We would have loved to have made the next film with him but completely respect his decision to focus on other projects and hope to have the opportunity to collaborate with him again.”
So, evidently, the door is open for Mendes to return to 007 some time in the future, much as director Martin Campbell did, having directed 1995‘s GoldenEye and 2006‘s Casino Royale. In the meantime, given the venerable status that Skyfall‘s success has afforded the franchise, and the talented cast in place – including Daniel Craig, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris and Ben Whishaw – there should be no shortage of talented and high-profile directors for Wilson and Broccoli to choose from.
Skyfall has grossed more than $1.1 billion worldwide and is currently ranked the #5 film of 2012 on Flickchart.
The ball is rolling on Bond 24, and so begins the period of speculation. Who do you think would make a good replacement for Mendes? Let us know in the comments below.
There’s no director attached yet, but sources are reporting that superstar Adele will return to record the theme song for the upcoming 24th film in EON Productions’ James Bond franchise.
Merely a week after scoring the Oscar for Best Original Song for Skyfall (a first for the franchise), a source is telling Britain’s The Sun newspaper that “producers are thrilled by how well the song has been received and hope Adele’s presence on the next film will replicate that success. They want her to become as synonymous with Bond as Dame Shirley [Bassey].” (Bassey recorded the themes for Goldfinger, Diamonds Are Forever and Moonraker.)
Adele’s second studio album, “21″, was released to universal acclaim in early 2011, and went on to become the highest-selling album globally for both 2011 and 2012. It scored six Grammy awards, including Album of the Year. Given Adele’s immense popularity (and the success of her “Skyfall” single), having her return for another Bond theme is pretty much a no-brainer.
The script for the as-yet-untitled Bond 24 is currently being written by John Logan, who worked on Skyfall with Neal Purvis and Robert Wade.
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.
Ben Affleck‘s Argo completed its Cinderella rise to the top of the heap during awards season by claiming the Oscar for Best Picture at Sunday’s 85th Annual Academy Awards. When the nominations were announced on January 10th, the glaring omission of a Best Director nod for Affleck at first seemed to kill the film’s chances of winning Best Picture. After winning nearly every major award in the interim, Argo surged ahead from underdog to frontrunner and ultimately beat out conventional favorite, Lincoln. Argo‘s feat is particularly amazing in light of the fact that it is only the fourth film in Oscar’s 85-year history to take Best Picture without a nomination for Best Director. (The most recent was Driving Miss Daisy, 23 years ago.)