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:
Now, “Phase One” of Marvel’s blockbuster film schedule – kickstarted by Iron Man - is complete, Downey has two more performances and a cameo as Stark under his belt, and Phase Two has begun, with the North American release of Iron Man 3 today. Marvel and Disney’s advertising has been omnipresent for months, but if you’ve somehow been living under a rock recently, check out the trailer below.
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.
Next year will see the 75th anniversary of one of the all-time great films, The Wizard of Oz. Few films have had the impact or importance. When Dorothy opened up her Kansas farmhouse door to the world of Oz, she might have well have opened up the world of cinema to color films in a big way. The Wizard of Oz also told a fantasy story, even a children’s story, in a darker and much more intricate way than almost any film prior.
There have been several follow-ups or spin-offs to L. Frank Baum’s world, most notably Sidney Lumet’s musical The Wiz and the incredibly dark unofficial sequel, Disney’s Return to Oz. No film yet has had quite the spectacle, cast, or pedigree behind a Wizard of Oz follow-up as Oz: The Great and Powerful has. Not only is Disney basically banking on this being their next Alice in Wonderland, but the film is by Evil Dead and Spider-Man franchise director Sam Raimi, and features a huge cast that includes Mila Kunis, Zach Braff, and former Oscar nominees James Franco, Michelle Williams and former winner Rachel Weisz.
After a rough few years for Disney, with both animation projects and live-action films not going as planned, Disney has quite a lot riding on Oz: The Great and Powerful, their first live-action film since John Carter bombed. Before checking out Disney’s latest attempt at live-action greatness, and the prequel to one of cinema’s most famous stories, maybe check out some of these under-ranked films from the stars of Oz: The Great and Powerful.
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.