Summer 2008: The Top 10 Hits and More

We have arrived at part 3 of summer nostalgia looking over the cinematic seasons from 30, 20, and 10 years ago. If you missed my posts on 1988 and 1998, you can find them here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/07/11/summer-1988-the-top-10-hits-and-more/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/07/12/summer-1998-the-top-10-hits-and-more/

This brings us to 2008. It was a vaunted superhero summer to be sure and there’s some humdingers for our flops. Here are the top ten moneymakers in addition to other notables and bombs.

10. The Incredible Hulk

Domestic Gross: $134 million

The second feature in the Marvel Cinematic Universe found Edward Norton taking on the angry green giant from Eric Bana. While better received than Ang Lee’s Hulk, it was mostly met with a shrug and Mark Ruffalo would take over the part four years later in The Avengers. It stands at lowest earner of the MCU.

9. The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

Domestic Gross: $141 million

The follow-up to 2005’s The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe made less than half of what that picture achieved. Like Hulk, it may have placed in the top ten, but it was considered a bit of a disappointment.

8. Mamma Mia!

Domestic Gross: $144 million

The ABBA infused comedic musical was a major sleeper hit and its sequel hits theaters this Friday.

7. Sex and the City

Domestic Gross: $152 million

Fans of the HBO series turned out in droves for the big screen treatment. A sequel two years later yielded less impressive returns.

6. Kung Fu Panda

Domestic Gross: $215 million

Dreamworks Animation found itself a franchise with this animal fest led by Jack Black. Two sequels have followed.

5. WALL-E

Domestic Gross: $223 million

Yet another critically lauded effort from the money minting machine that is Disney/Pixar, this would take home Best Animated Feature at the Oscars.

4. Hancock

Domestic Gross: $227 million

Despite mostly negative reviews, this superhero effort proved Will Smith’s potency at the box office. Director Peter Berg has mostly moved to true life dramas with Mark Wahlberg.

3. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Domestic Gross: $317 million

Nearly 20 years after The Last Crusade, Harrison Ford’s iconic hero returned and teamed up with Shia LaBeouf. Critics and audiences had their issues with it, but Indy is slated to come back again in 2021 (when Mr. Ford will almost be 80).

2. Iron Man

Domestic Gross: $318 million

It’s crazy to think now, but the idea of casting Robert Downey Jr. as a superhero less known than Batman or Superman was considered risky business at the time. We know what followed… the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This started it all.

1. The Dark Knight

Domestic Gross: $533 million

The sequel to Batman Begins turned into a genuine phenomenon with Heath Ledger’s incredible work as The Joker and an experience that has influenced numerous franchises since.

And now for some other notables of summer 2008:

Get Smart

Domestic Gross: $130 million

Steve Carell experienced a box office bomb the summer prior with Evan Almighty. He got back into the good graces of audiences with this big screen rendering of the 1960s TV series alongside Anne Hathaway.

Tropic Thunder

Domestic Gross: $110 million

Ben Stiller’s comedy was a hit with crowds and critics. Robert Downey Jr. earned an Oscar nod for his work here and we see Tom Cruise as never before.

Step Brothers

Domestic Gross: $100 million

It didn’t make as much as Adam McKay and Will Ferrell’s previous collaboration two summers earlier, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. However, this has achieved serious cult status in following years.

Hellboy II: The Golden Army

Domestic Gross: $75 million

Guillermo del Toro’s sequel managed to out gross its predecessor and it was another critically hailed comic book adaptation in a summer filled with them. A reboot of the franchise with David Harbour comes next year.

The Strangers

Domestic Gross: $52 million

This low-budget horror flick turned into a sleeper. A sequel was released this March.

This brings us to the flops…

The Happening

Domestic Gross: $64 million

M. Night Shyamalan had his first flop two summers earlier with Lady in the Water. This one focused on killer trees with a lackluster performance from Mark Wahlberg. Audiences were laughing at it more than frightened by it. The director has since rebounded with Split. 

Speed Racer

Domestic Gross: $43 million

This was the Wachowskis first picture since the Matrix trilogy and it fell far under expectations at the box office and with critics.

The Love Guru

Domestic Gross: $32 million

Mike Myers couldn’t make this creation anywhere near as iconic as Wayne Campbell or Austin Powers. Moviegoers simply ignored Pitka.

The X-Files: I Want to Believe

Domestic Gross: $20 million

Ten summers after the first adaptation of the FOX show did well at theaters, audiences didn’t want to believe in its long gestating sequel.

Meet Dave

Domestic Gross: $11 million

This sci-fi comedy was a massive bomb for Eddie Murphy, making a small percentage of its reported $60 million budget.

And that does it for my recaps of the summer! You can be sure I’ll be back next season covering 1989, 1999, and 2009.

Top Ten Summer Hits of 2008: A Look Back

As I do each summer on the blog, I’m giving you the top 10 seasonal ditties from 10, 20, and 30 years ago as tabulated by Billboard. I’ve already covered 1988 and 1998 and if you missed them, here ya go:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/06/21/top-ten-summer-hits-of-1988-a-look-back/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/06/28/top-ten-summer-hits-of-1998-a-look-back/

We now move to one decade ago. As with past posts, I’m ranking each song on a scale of 1 (summer bummer) to 10 (summer classic) and letting you know whether or not said track is on my Apple Music. Let’s get to it…

10. “Dangerous” by Kardinal Offishall feat. Akon

This reggae tinged hip hop effort represents the biggest hit for Canada’s Offishall with an assist from Akon. It’s adequate though not particularly memorable.

My Rating: 6

Is It On My Apple Music? No

9. “Leavin'” by Jesse McCartney

This is the biggest hit from the second most famous McCartney in pop music. It gives exposure to G5 planes and is rather disposable, but pleasant enough.

My Rating: 6

Is It On My Apple Music?: No

8. “Disturbia” by Rihanna

Now we’re talking. She’s got tons of hits, but I find the dance groove of “Disturbia” to be among Rihanna’s very best.

My Rating: 9 and a half

Is It On My Apple Music?: Yes

7. “Pocketful of Sunshine” by Natasha Bedingfield

The Emma Stone pic Easy A had a whole sequence about how she couldn’t stand this pop confection by English artist Bedingfield and then found herself loving it and listening to it incessantly. I wouldn’t go that far, but it is annoyingly catchy.

My Rating: 6

Is It On My Apple Music?: No

6. “Forever” by Chris Brown

These were better times for Mr. Brown as this techno sounding dance smash serves as one of his musical highlights.

My Rating: 7

Is It On My Apple Music?: No

5. “Bleeding Love” by Leona Lewis

This one was pretty inescapable in summer 2008 with solid vocals from Brit singer Lewis. It’s co-produced by none other than Jesse McCartney.

My Rating: 7 and a half

Is It On My Apple Music?: No

4. “Viva La Vida” by Coldplay

Sorry Coldplay haters, but I find this string heavy work to be pretty darn terrific. It earns its place as one of their signature tunes.

My Rating: 9 and a half

Is It On My Apple Music?: Yes

3. “Lollipop” by Lil Wayne feat. Static Major

Lil Wayne was all the rage ten years ago yet I actually find this auto-tune monster hit to have lost some luster. Still, it’s his biggest selling single.

My Rating: 6 and a half

Is It On My Apple Music?: Yes

2. “Take a Bow” by Rihanna

How about a round of applause for more fine work from Rihanna. This ballad stands as one of her best. Co-produced by Ne-Yo.

My Rating: 9

Is It On My Apple Music?: Yes

1. “I Kissed a Girl” by Katy Perry

The song that turned Perry into a superstar, the lyrics certainly caught the attention of many. It’s a well-crafted pop track for sure. It’s not her greatest song, but it serves as an impressive breakout point for a career still roaring.

My Rating: 8

Is It On My Apple Music?: No

And there you have it! The summers of 1988, 1998, and 2008 are covered! I look forward to next summer when 1989, 1999, and 2009 are on deck…