Summer 1998: The Top 10 Hits and More

Continuing with my recaps of the movie summers from 30, 20, and 10 years ago – we arrive at 1998. If you missed my post recounting the 1988 season, you can find it right here:

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

1998 was a rather astonishingly sequel lite summer with only one making up the top ten moneymakers. And while 2018 will be known for its Avengers phenomenon, it was a much different story with Avengers two decades ago.

Behold my synopsis of the top 10 hits, along with other notables and flops:

10. The Mask of Zorro

Domestic Gross: $94 million

He may be playing Pablo Picasso on TV now, but Antonio Banderas had a significant hit (alongside Catherine Zeta-Jones and Anthony Hopkins) in this tale of the famed swashbuckler. A less successful sequel would follow in 2005.

9. Mulan

Domestic Gross: $120 million

Disney’s 36th animated feature (with a voice assist from Eddie Murphy) didn’t reach the heights of titles like Aladdin or The Lion King, but the Mouse Factory has already commissioned a live-action version slated for 2020.

8. The Truman Show

Domestic Gross: $125 million

Jim Carrey’s first major big screen foray outside of zany comedy, Peter Weir’s reality show pic garnered critical acclaim for the film itself and the star’s performance.

7. Lethal Weapon 4

Domestic Gross: $130 million

The final teaming of Mel Gibson and Danny Glover (with Chris Rock and Jet Li joining the mix) made slightly less than part 3 and was generally considered rather mediocre, especially considering the heights that the franchise started from.

6. Godzilla

Domestic Gross: $136 million

Coming off the massive success of Independence Day, Roland Emmerich’s tale of the giant green monster was expected to possibly be summer’s biggest hit. It came in well below expectations with critics and audiences. A better regarded version arrived in 2014.

5. Deep Impact

Domestic Gross: $140 million

Our first asteroid disaster flick on the list came from Mimi Leder with a cast including Tea Leoni, Elijah Wood, and Robert Duvall. Moviegoers loved their asteroids 20 years ago.

4. Dr. Dolittle

Domestic Gross: $144 million

Eddie Murphy was still in popular family guy mode with this remake of the Rex Harrison animal tale. A sequel would follow in 2001.

3. There’s Something About Mary

Domestic Gross: $176 million

The Farrelly Brothers had the comedic smash of the summer in this effort that made Ben Stiller a huge star and had a showcase role for Cameron Diaz’s talents.

2. Armageddon

Domestic Gross: $201 million

Our second asteroid pic (this one from Michael Bay) comes with Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck, and Liv Tyler… and an Aerosmith ballad that played all season long.

1. Saving Private Ryan

Domestic Gross: $216 million

Steven Spielberg’s acclaimed World War II drama with Tom Hanks has one of the most intense first scenes in cinematic history. It was considered the Oscar front-runner until it lost in an upset to Shakespeare in Love. 

And now for some other notable films:

The X-Files

Domestic Gross: $83 million

Bringing David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson’s alien themed FOX TV show to the big screen turned out to be a profitable venture. An ignored sequel would follow 10 years later.

Blade

Domestic Gross: $70 million

The vampire-centric Wesley Snipes flick spawned two sequels and major cult status.

Out of Sight

Domestic Gross: $37 million

Its box office performance was middling, but Steven Soderbergh’s romantic crime pic showed George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez at their best. Critics dug it.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Domestic Gross: $10 million

Not a success at the time, but Terry Gilliam’s wild ride featuring Johnny Depp as Hunter S. Thompson created a serious following in subsequent years.

And now for some flops:

Six Days, Seven Nights

Domestic Gross: $74 million

Harrison Ford was flying high off the success of Air Force One one summer earlier, but audiences and reviewers weren’t as kind to this action comedy with Anne Heche.

Snake Eyes

Domestic Gross: $55 million

Likewise, Nicolas Cage experienced a trilogy of mega hits during the two previous summers with The Rock, Con Air, and Face/Off. This one from Brian De Palma didn’t impress nearly as much.

The Avengers

Domestic Gross: $23 million

Not THOSE Avengers, ladies and gents. This big screen adaptation of the 1960s TV series with Ralph Fiennes, Uma Thurman, and Sean Connery landed with a thud in August. No sequels here.

54

Domestic Gross: $16 million

Mike Myers was coming off a little something called Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery when this pic about the famed NYC nightclub opened. Critics weren’t kind and crowds didn’t turn up.

BASEketball

Domestic Gross: $7 million

Trey Parker and Matt Stone rarely create something that isn’t massively successful – like “South Park” and The Book of Mormon. This sports comedy is the rare exception, though it has developed a following since.

And there you have it – the summer of 1998! Look for 2008 shortly…

Top 25 Highest Grossing Actresses of All Time (5-1)

Today we reach the final installment of my listing of the Top 25 Highest Grossing Actresses in box office history with the top five!

Here are the five ladies that have grossed the most stateside:

5. Julia Roberts

Career Earnings: $2.7 billion

Franchises: The Ocean’s pictures

Highest Grossing Picture: Ocean’s Eleven (2001) – $183 million

Number of $100M+ Earners: 11 (Ocean’s Eleven, Ocean’s Twelve, Pretty Woman, Runaway Bride, My Best Friend’s Wedding, Erin Brockovich, Hook, Notting Hill, Valentine’s Day, Sleeping with the Enemy, The Pelican Brief)

Lowest Grosser: Fireflies in the Garden (2011) – $70,000

Overall Rank: 30

4. Helena Bonham Carter

Career Earnings: $2.7 billion

Franchises: Harry Potter, Alice in Wonderland

Highest Grossing Picture: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (2011) – $381 million

Number of $100M+ Earners: 9 (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Alice in Wonderland, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Cinderella, Planet of the Apes, Les Miserables, The King’s Speech)

Lowest Grosser: The Theory of Flight (1998) – $73,000

Overall Rank: 28

3. Cate Blanchett

Career Earnings: $2.8 billion

Franchises: Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit

Highest Grossing Picture: Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) – $377 million

Number of $100M+ Earners: 10 (Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings, Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Cinderella, How to Train Your Dragon 2, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Robin Hood, The Aviator)

Lowest Grosser: Little Fish (2006) – $8,000

Overall Rank: 27

2. Cameron Diaz

Career Earnings: $3 billion

Franchises: Charlie’s Angels, Shrek

Highest Grossing Picture: Shrek 2 (2004) – $441 million

Number of $100M+ Earners: 11 (Shrek, Shrek 2, Shrek the Third, Shrek Forever After, There’s Something About Mary, My Best Friend’s Wedding, Charlie’s Angels, Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, The Mask, Vanilla Sky, Bad Teacher)

Lowest Grosser: Head Above Water (1997) – $32,000

Overall Rank: 19

  1. Scarlett Johansson

Career Earnings: $3.3 billion

Franchises: Marvel Cinematic Universe

Highest Grossing Picture: The Avengers (2012) – $623 million

Number of $100M+ Earners: 7 (The Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Iron Man 2, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil War, The Jungle Book, Lucy)

Lowest Grosser: A Love Song for Bobby Long (2004) – $164,000

Overall Rank: 9

And there you have it, my friends! Your 25 highest grossing females in the history of the movies…

Annie Box Office Prediction

There’s a whole lot of talent involved with the Annie remake opening this Friday. Will Smith and Jay-Z are among the producers with Easy A and Friends with Benefits director Will Gluck behind the camera. Quevenzhane Wallis (who won critical acclaim for Beasts of the Southern Wild) plays the title role with Jamie Foxx, Cameron Diaz, Rose Byrne, and Bobby Cannavale rounding out the cast.

There’s a real question as to whether those big names will translate to big holiday box office though. Based loosely on the Broadway play and 1982 picture, the film trades its Depression era setting for modern day NYC. So far, reviews have been far from kind. There’s also the matter of serious family competition in the form of Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. 

Sony Pictures is hoping for a healthy debut to divert attention away from its considerable hacking scandal. It could be wishful thinking. I believe Annie won’t even reach $20 million out of the gate for a lackluster start.

Annie opening weekend prediction: $17.6 million

For my prediction on The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2014/12/13/the-hobbit-the-battle-of-the-five-armies-box-office-prediction/

For my prediction on Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2014/12/13/night-at-the-museum-secret-of-the-tomb-box-office-prediction/

For my prediction on Wild, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2014/12/15/wild-box-office-prediction/

Sex Tape Movie Review

You might think putting two talented comedic performances such as Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel in a movie called Sex Tape would pretty much sell itself. It didn’t. When it opened this past summer, it failed to garner audience attention. Now I know why.

Diaz and Segel reunite with their Bad Teacher director Jake Kasdan for this uninspired and unfocused farce in which they play married couple Annie and Jay, who’ve let the spark dissipate in their relationship. To get their collective mojo back in gear, they decide to make said film title and, sure enough, it gets released on the infamous “cloud”. The duration of the picture is devoted to them trying to retrieve it back and save their dignity.

The simple premise is probably one that could be mined for humorous results. Yet both Diaz and particularly Segel seem as bored as their characters before they go all Kim and Ray J. Their best friends are played by Rob Corddry and Ellie Kemper and this talented duo fail to add much to the proceedings either. In fact, only Rob Lowe provides occasional laughs as a business associate looking to buy Annie’s blog. He’s in full Creepy Rob Lowe mode here and he’s almost as funny as his recent turn in those DirecTV commercials. There’s also a surprise cameo towards the conclusion that falls mostly flat.

Sex Tape is an uncomfortable hodgepodge of forced dark humor with trite sentimental romance. It tries to copy the formula of the original Hangover unsuccessfully by not showing us the sex tape until the end. By that point, the previous 90 minutes have rendered us so turned off that no tape could spice our spirits up.

*1/2 (out of four)

Top 25 Highest Grossing Actors of All Time: Nos. 15-11

We’ve returned to my Top 25 Highest Grossing Actors of All Time list and part three, covering numbers 15-11. If you missed the first two entries, you may find them here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2014/08/09/top-25-highest-grossing-actors-of-all-time-nos-25-21/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2014/08/10/top-25-highest-grossing-actors-of-all-time-nos-20-16/

Let’s go right to it:

15. Ian McKellen

Career Earnings: $2.8 billion

Franchises: The X-Men, Lord of the Rings, and Hobbit series

Highest Grossing Picture: Lord of the Rings: Return of the King – $377 million

Number of $100M+ Earners: 10. X-Men, Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, X2: X-Men United, Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, The Da Vinci Code, X-Men: The Last Stand, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, X-Men: Days of Future Past.

Lowest Grosser: Emilie – $5,800

14. Robert De Niro

Career Earnings: $2.9 million

Franchises: The Fockers series and Analyze This/Analyze That

Highest Grossing Picture: Meet the Fockers – $279 million

Number of $100M+ Earners: 6.  Analyze This, Meet the Parents, Shark Tale, Meet the Fockers, Little Fockers, Silver Linings Playbook.

Lowest Grosser: Killing Season – $39,000

13. Michael Caine

Career Earnings: $2.9 billion

Franchises: The Dark Knight series. Mr. Caine also appeared in sequels Jaws 4: The Revenge, Austin Powers in Goldmember, Cars 2, and Journey 2: The Mysterious Island.

Highest Grossing Picture: The Dark Knight – $534 million

Number of $100M+ Earners: 9. Miss Congeniality, Austin Powers in Goldmember, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, Inception, Cars 2, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, The Dark Knight Rises, Now You See Me.

Lowest Grosser: Around the Bend – $193,000

12. Cameron Diaz

Career Earnings: $2.9 billion **Blogger’s note: highest ranking female on list

Franchises: The Shrek series. Charlie’s Angels/Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle

Highest Grossing Picture: Shrek 2 – $441 million

Number of $100M+ Earners: 11. The Mask, My Best Friend’s Wedding, There’s Something About Mary, Charlie’s Angels, Shrek, Vanilla Sky, Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, Shrek 2, Shrek the Third, Shrek Forever After, Bad Teacher.

Lowest Grosser: Head Above Water – $32,000

11. Gary Oldman

Career Earnings: $3 billion

Franchises: The Harry Potter and Dark Knight franchises. Mr. Oldman also appeared in sequels Hannibal, Kung Fu Panda 2, and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

Highest Grossing Picture: The Dark Knight – $534 million

Numbers of $100M+ Earners: 12. Air Force, Hannibal, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Batman Begins, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, The Dark Knight, A Christmas Carol, Kung Fu Panda 2, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, The Dark Knight Rises, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

Lowest Grosser: We Think the World of You – $20,000

Tomorrow – we get to the Top Ten!

Sex Tape Box Office Prediction

Three summers ago, Bad Teacher performed well with audiences to the tune of a $100 million domestic gross. On Friday, that film’s director Jake Kasdan and its stars Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel reunite for Sex Tape. The raunchy comedy’s concept is simple: bored married couple makes sex tape to spice things up and it accidentally goes viral. Costars include Rob Corddry, Ellie Kemper, and Rob Lowe.

Diaz, especially, has proven herself to be a valuable commodity in these types of pictures. Just this spring, The Other Woman got off to a $24 million debut on its way to an $83M domestic haul. And Sex Tape could be more successful in bringing in a male audience as Woman was geared more towards… well, women. Similar types of movies such as No Strings Attached or Friends with Benefits both opened to just shy of $20 million, but this should outdo them.

The most fair comparison for how Sex Tape plays is likely Bad Teacher itself. It opened to $31 million in June 2011 and it’s certainly possible that this could open in the same range. Ultimately I’m predicting it falls just short of that for a solid opening.

Sex Tape opening weekend prediction: $29.1 million

For my The Purge: Anarchy prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2014/07/13/the-purge-anarchy-box-office-prediction/

For my Planes: Fire & Rescue prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2014/07/13/planes-fire-rescue-box-office-prediction/

Summer 2004: The Top Ten Hits and More

As we’re moving deep into the 2014 Summer Movie Season – on this here blog I’ve been reflecting on what has come in the summers before us. Days ago, I wrote a post reflecting on the hits, notable pictures, and flops from 20 years ago in 1994. Today – we focus on the season from a decade ago with 2004’s summer entries.

We’ll start with the Top Ten, but what is notable is some of the comedies that weren’t on that list that spawned endless catchphrases and became massive cult classics:

Onto the Top Ten:

10. Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story

Domestic Gross: $114 million

Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller teamed up for this well-received sports comedy which received 70% positive support on Rotten Tomatoes. While this was a solid hit, Vaughn’s biggest comedy would come one summer later with a certain pic costarring Owen Wilson.

9. Fahrenheit 9/11

Domestic Gross: $119 million

It’s not often you see a documentary in the top ten summer hits, but in the summer of 2004 the country was focused on an upcoming Presidential election between Bush and Kerry. Michael Moore’s examination of the Iraq War struck a chord with viewers and became the highest grossing documentary of all time.

8. Van Helsing

Domestic Gross: $120 million

Don’t let its #8 ranking fool you because Van Helsing starring Hugh Jackman was considered a major flop upon release. With a reported $160 million budget, it couldn’t recoup that stateside and a potential franchise for Jackman stalled immediately. Good thing he’s got another character he can go back to time and time again.

7. Troy

Domestic Gross: $133 million

Wolfgang Peterson’s Trojan War saga starring Brad Pitt, Orlando Bloom, and Eric Bana under performed a bit domestically (with its reported $175 million budget) but made it up overseas.

6. I, Robot

Domestic Gross: $144 million

While not reaching the heights of his previous summer hits Independence Day or Men in Black – Will Smith’s I, Robot did respectable business. Based on a short story by Isaac Asimov, it received mixed reviews from critics and a planned sequel never materialized.

5. The Bourne Supremacy

Domestic Gross: $176 million

Goodwill left over from the 2002 original The Bourne Identity propelled this Matt Damon sequel to gross over $50 million more than its predecessor. A third Bourne feature would follow three years later before Damon left the franchise and Jeremy Renner took over in 2012.

4. The Day After Tomorrow

Domestic Gross: $186 million

Roland Emmerich returned to doing what he does best (showing the world getting destroyed) and audiences rewarded him for it. Starring Dennis Quaid and Jake Gyllenhall, Tomorrow is the highest non-sequel on the list and it took in over half a billion worldwide.

3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Domestic Gross: $249 million

Alfonso Cuaron took over directing duties from Chris Columbus in this third franchise entry. While many (including myself) consider this the best of the series, it surprisingly has the lowest domestic gross of all eight Potter flicks.

2. Spider-Man 2

Domestic Gross: $373 million

Generally considered one of the best superhero movies of all time and the best of this particular franchise, Spider-Man 2 was a massive hit even though it couldn’t quite match the $403 million performance of the 2002 original.

1. Shrek 2

Domestic Gross: $441 million

DreamWorks Animation easily ruled the summer as the sequel featuring the vocal work of Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, and Cameron Diaz took the top spot. Of the four Shrek entries, it is the biggest grosser and outshined its predecessor by nearly $180 million dollars.

Beyond the top ten, there are four particularly notable pictures which achieved major cult status:

14. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy

It made a decent $85 million upon release, but as we all know, the Will Ferrell comedy has gone onto to becoming one of the most quoted flicks in memory. A 2013 sequel followed.

15. The Notebook

Based on the Nicholas Sparks novel, The Notebook caused audiences to fall in love with Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams and brought in $81 million.

27. Napoleon Dynamite

With a tiny $400,000 budget – the quirky comedy Napoleon Dynamite with Jon Heder came out of nowhere and posted a $44 million domestic gross. Like Anchorman, it became an endlessly quoted picture.

38. Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle

It made a meager $18 million upon release, but this stoner comedy became an instant cult classic and spawned two sequels.

And now we move to the flops of the summer:

21. The Stepford Wives

Frank Oz’s remake of the 1975 film cost $90 million to make and earned just $59 million. Critics weren’t impressed and audiences ignored the sci-fi comedy starring Nicole Kidman, Matthew Broderick, and Christopher Walken.

25. King Arthur

Training Day director Antoine Fuqua teamed up with Clive Owen and Keira Knightley for this retelling of the medieval legend. With a $120 million budget, Arthur tanked stateside with only $51 million.

29. Catwoman

Warner Bros. surely regrets spending $100 million on this critically lambasted Catwoman feature which starred Halle Berry and Sharon Stone. It earned only $40 million. The silver lining for the studio: one summer later, a certain Chris Nolan would reinvigorate their superhero fortunes with Batman Begins.

And that’s what was going on ten years at the multiplexes, my friends!