Summer 1989: The Top 10 Hits and More

In what has become tradition on this little blog of mine, the summer season brings us a lot of nostalgia on the silver screen. In the present, that means a slew of sequels and remakes and reboots coming on a near weekly basis. For these purposes, it means taking a look back on the movie summers of 30, 20, and 10 years ago.

As has been written in previous years, I’m listing the top ten hits as well as other notable pics and some flops. One thing is for sure about 1989. It will forever be known as the summer of the Batman and that blockbuster influenced what has become the predominant genre of the 21st century.

A recap of 1999 and 2009 will follow soon, but we start with what audiences were watching three decades ago.

10. Uncle Buck

Domestic Gross: $66 million

John Candy had one of his most notable headlining roles in this John Hughes family friendly comedy that also introduced the world to Macaulay Culkin. No sequel followed, but a short-lived TV series did.

9. Turner & Hooch

Domestic Gross: $71 million

Shortly before Tom Hanks started collecting Oscars and doing primarily dramatic work, he was still known for comedy in the late 80s. This one teamed him with a dog in a buddy comedy that followed the similarly themed with K9 with Jim Belushi from three months earlier. This one made a bit more cash.

8. When Harry Met Sally

Domestic Gross: $92 million

Rob Reiner’s romantic comedy (scripted by Nora Ephron) is considered one of the genre’s landmarks. Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan headlined with a diner scene that has become quite iconic.

7. Dead Poets Society

Domestic Gross: $95 million

Robin Williams seized the day and an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of an unorthodox English teacher in Peter Weir’s film, which also nabbed a nod for Best Picture.

6. Parenthood

Domestic Gross: $100 million

Ron Howard’s dramedy sported an ensemble cast with Steve Martin and a crowd pleasing vibe. This is a rare pic that spawned two TV shows. The one from 1990 flopped while the 2010 version ran six seasons. Parenthood marks appearance #1 in the top ten for Rick Moranis.

5. Ghostbusters II

Domestic Gross: $112 million

The eagerly awaited sequel to the 1984 phenomenon was a disappointment critically and commercially when considering the original’s $229 million haul. That said, it gives us appearance #2 for Rick Moranis. A direct sequel will follow in 2020.

4. Honey, I Shrunk the Kids

Domestic Gross: $130 million

And we reach the trifecta for Rick Moranis as Disney had an unexpected smash hit here. It stood as the studio’s largest grossing live-action feature for five years. Two less successful sequels followed.

3. Lethal Weapon 2

Domestic Gross: $147 million

Of the four action comedy pairings of Mel Gibson and Danny Glover, part 2 stands as the franchise’s top earner. This one threw Joe Pesci into the mix with sequels that followed in 1992 and 1998.

2. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Domestic Gross: $197 million

While Harrison Ford’s third appearance as his iconic character didn’t match the grosses of Raiders of the Lost Ark in 1981, it did earn more than 1984 predecessor Temple of Doom. Pairing Indy with his dad played by Sean Connery, the character wouldn’t make it to the screen again until Steven Spielberg and Ford teamed up again 19 years later.

1. Batman

Domestic Gross: $251 million

As mentioned, 1989 was dominated by Tim Burton’s take on the Caped Crusader. While the casting of Michael Keaton in the title role was controversial upon announcement, it turned out quite well (as did Jack Nicholson’s turn as The Joker and a funky Prince soundtrack). Three sequels and multiple reboots followed.

And now for some notable pictures outside of the top ten:

The Abyss

Domestic Gross: $54 million

James Cameron was riding a high after The Terminator and Aliens when he made this sci-fi aquatic adventure. Known just as much for its difficult production as its Oscar winning visuals, it had a mixed reaction that has grown more positive through the years.

Weekend at Bernie’s

Domestic Gross: $30 million

Turns out corpses are hilarious in this low budget comedy that turned into enough of a hit that a sequel followed four summers later.

Road House

Domestic Gross: $30 million

It may not have had critics on its side or been a huge success originally, but Patrick Swayze’s turn as a midwestern bouncer became a serious cult hit subsequently.

Do the Right Thing

Domestic Gross: $27 million

A cultural milestone, Do the Right Thing served as the major breakout for Spike Lee and was named by numerous critics as the greatest film of 1989.

sex, lies, and videotape

Domestic Gross: $24 million

Winning the Cannes Film Festival, Steven Soderbergh’s provocative debut helped usher in a wave of independent films that followed in the 90s.

It wasn’t all success stories in the summer of 1989 and here’s some that failed to meet expectations:

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier

Domestic Gross: $52 million

Captain Kirk himself directed this installment after Leonard Nimoy made its two well received predecessors. This one was met with ambivalence and stands at the second lowest earner of this particular Trek franchise.

The Karate Kid Part III

Domestic Gross: $38 million

In 1984, the original made $90 million and the 1986 sequel made $115 million. Three summers later, moviegoers had tired of Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita in their signature roles. Yet TV watchers are currently tuned to a series reboot with Macchio back as Daniel.

Licence to Kill

Domestic Gross: $34 million

Timothy Dalton’s second turn as 007 was a stateside flop and is the lowest grossing Bond flick when adjusted for inflation. Its star would never return in the role and the six year gap that followed when Pierce Brosnan reinvigorated the series with Goldeneye stands as the lengthiest gap in its near 60 years of existence.

Lock Up

Domestic Gross: $22 million

Sylvester Stallone had plenty of hits during the decade, but this one casting him as a tortured convict wasn’t one of them.

Casualties of War

Domestic Gross: $18 million

Brian de Palma was coming off a massive hit with The Untouchables, but this Vietnam War drama with Michael J. Fox and Sean Penn didn’t find an audience.

Pink Cadillac

Domestic Gross: $12 million

Three summers later, Clint Eastwood entered Oscar territory with Unforgiven. This action comedy with Bernadette Peters is one of his forgotten efforts and stalled with critics and crowds.

I hope you enjoyed this look back on the 1989 summer period and I’ll have 1999 up soon!

Oscar Watch: LBJ

More Toronto Film Festival action as Rob Reiner’s LBJ has screened. The biopic of our 36th President casts Woody Harrelson in the title role with Jennifer Jason Leigh as Lady Bird. Other cast members include Richard Jenkins, Bill Pullman, and Jeffrey Donovan as JFK. The pic has yet to secure to a fall 2016 release date, but it will likely get some sort of qualifying awards run before year’s end. It will probably come up fruitless.

LBJ has received decent reviews, but they don’t suggest it will be any sort of player in Picture or Director. Any Oscar chatter for this political drama was more geared toward the performances. Early reviews have suggested Harrelson does a commendable job in the role, even if more than one critic has pointed out a total lack of physical resemblance. Leigh was nominated last year for Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight and a consecutive nod seems doubtful.

Where LBJ could suffer most in the minds of voters is that it could be looked at as the second best film this year about the man. HBO’s All the Way with Bryan Cranston earned plenty of Emmy nominations. The big screen version of LBJ faces an improbable road to do the same.

lbj

2016 Early Oscar Predictions: Best Director

Day 5 of my early 2016 Oscar predictions continues with Best Director and this week has already helped solidify the standings of two: Damien Chazelle for La La Land (who looks like a shoo-in for a nod) and Tom Ford for Nocturnal Animals (not guaranteed; but very good chance).

Then there’s Martin Scorsese for Silence. The legendary director has been nominated 8 times for this award, including for five of his last six pictures (winning for 2006’s The Departed). It’s a safe pick to put him in, but the only uncertainty is whether or not Silence is actually released this year.

Ang Lee has won the award twice (for Brokeback Mountain and Life of Pi) and his Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk looks poised for several nominations.

There are many other possibilities: Denzel Washington could land his first directorial attention for Fences. Jeff Nichols’ Loving has already been the subject of much acclaim. Both Barry Jenkins (Moonlight) and Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester by the Sea) could find themselves in the mix, as could Denis Villenueve (Arrival) and Morten Tyldum (Passengers) for their science fiction pics.

Also worth noting: Nate Parker for The Birth of a Nation. This is a tricky one as the movie has been a critical hit yet prevalent stories on his past have called into question whether the Academy will make that a factor. We shall see.

Here’s how I have the race right now:

TODD’S EARLY OSCAR PREDICTIONS – BEST DIRECTOR

Damien Chazelle, La La Land

Tom Ford, Nocturnal Animals

Ang Lee, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

Martin Scorsese, Silence

Denzel Washington, Fences

Other Possibilities:

Ben Affleck, Live by Night

Warren Beatty, Rules Don’t Apply

Garth Davis, Lion

Ana DuVernay, The 13th

Clint Eastwood, Sully

Gareth Edwards, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

David Frankel, Collateral Beauty

Stephen Gaghan, Gold

John Lee Hancock, The Founder

Barry Jenkins, Moonlight

Ken Loach, I, Daniel Blake

Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea

David Mackenzie, Hell or High Water

John Madden, Miss Sloane

Ewan McGregor, American Pastoral

Theodore Melfi, Hidden Figures

Mike Mills, 20th Century Women

Jeff Nichols, Loving

Nate Parker, The Birth of a Nation

Rob Reiner, LBJ

Tate Taylor, The Girl on the Train

Morten Tyldum, Passengers

Denis Villenueve, Arrival

Ben Younger, Bleed for This

Robert Zemeckis, Allied

Best Picture tomorrow!

And So It Goes Box Office Prediction

Director Rob Reiner attempts a summer movie season counterprogramming move with And So It Goes, opening Friday. The romantic comedy stars Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton and the pic will try to bring in an adult audience burnt out on would-be blockbusters populating the marketplace.

I’m not so sure it’ll succeed. Early reviews have been mixed and the advertising campaign has been low-key. And So It Goes would love to bring in the numbers of Hope Springs with Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones, which opened two summers ago to a $14 million opening weekend gross. I don’t believe this will reach those heights. Premiering on a relatively low 1800 screens, I’m forecasting that this won’t quite reach double digits and should be available for home viewing in the near future.

And So It Goes opening weekend prediction: $9.3 million

For my Lucy prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2014/07/20/lucy-box-office-prediction/

For my Hercules prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2014/07/20/hercules-box-office-prediction/