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A Look at The Biggest Box Office Stories from 1972-present (THABOS: The History of Amazing Box Office Stories) | IT'S FINALLY COMPLETE!!!!!!!

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I must say Mission Impossible, Quiet Place and Spider-Verse are the only noteworthy movies that were mentioned. I didn’t care about any of those other movies. I‘m not into Marvel, Incredibles 2 was a disappointment due to high expectations, A Star Is Born left me cold with its basic plot. The less we talk about Bohemian Rhapsody and Fantastic Beats 2 the better. 

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2018 was a very interesting year for the box office. Obviously, Marvel dominated the year, no questions asked, but I don’t think anyone could’ve predicted the kind of monster hit that Black Panther ended up being. It even made more domestically than IW. How insane is that? The Incredibles 2 and Aquaman were also surprises, as was Halloween to a lesser extent. 

Edited by WittyUsername
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Infinity War remains my favourite Marvel movie. The whole film just ... flows. Theres not a single wasted moment. It still boggles my mind how that porject (IW and EG) was not only made, but that it was actually really good. In terms of impressiveness of the filmmaking process only LOTR is above those 2 movies for me.

 

Alsom naturally, shout-out to Fallen Kingdom, a movie i have to love despite knowing that its not that good :lol: I vividly remember discussing its box office here with some people that labeled it a flop when it openend to "only" 148M DOM, but in the end it was - like you wrote - just another proof, that Jurassic Park/World remains very popular!

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The 2 most influential film characters on pop culture  of the last 15 years were Heath Ledger's Joker and Chadwick Boseman's Black Panther. Neither of them are getting the sequel so many longed for. Not just very sad but unfathomable from a commercial perspective. 

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So this was a year that I was completely in the dark on. Aside from Infinity War I really didn't follow any box office news, and I remember being surprised upon finding out that Aquaman and Incredibles 2 made a billion like a year after they did so lol.

 

I'm very much looking forward to 2019, thank you @Eric Gardner!

Edited by Sir Tiki
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2019

 

Boris Johnson becomes the UK’s prime minister, Venezuela goes through a major presidential crisis, Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris burns to the ground, and Julian Assange is both arrested and has his rape allegation case reopened. We see the first image of a black hole, Hong Kong protests against the corrupt government and police forces, El Chapo is sent to prison for life plus 30, the Amazon is hit by several wildfires, and the first case of a strange coronavirus hits Wuhan.

 

It was a huge year for music. Billie Eilish hits the scene with her debut studio album, with her single “Bad Guy” taking the world by storm and turning the 18-year old into a superstar overnight, becoming the first musician since Christopher Cross to win the four major categories for that year’s Grammys. Likewise, Lil Nas X came to prominence with the release of the country rap single “Old Town Road”. Becoming a viral hit, this was mainstream audiences’ first exposure to this oddball combination of music genres, resulting in Nas creating a remix with Billy Ray Cyrus that became an even bigger smash hit, becoming the fastest single to reach diamond certification.

 

Gaming was hit with controversy after developer Blizzard Entertainment banned a pro-Hong Kong player at a Hearthstone tournament. But in terms of new major releases, there was Kingdom Hearts 3, Death Stranding, Devil May Cry 5, Pokemon Sword and Shield, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, Mortal Kombat 11, Borderlands 3, and both Sony and Microsoft promising they would reveal their next home consoles in 2020.

 

The big TV finale this year was Game of Thrones, arguably the defining series of the 2010s. It was incredibly hyped up and was just as dogpiled on, as people all around the world cited this as a disappointing, at times disrespectful conclusion to one of the most treasured shows in history. Of course that’s not stopping HBO from milking the GOT cash cow dry. Other finales were Steven Universe, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Broad City, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Veep, The Big Bang Theory, Jessica Jones, The Amazing World of Gumball, Big Little Lies, Orange is the New Black, Suits, and Mr. Robot.

 

Arguably the biggest new thing on television wasn’t technically on television, as two big streaming services hit the soon-to-be competitive market. The first was Apple TV+, which promised big stars and very little else, but the grand belle of the ball in 2019 was the one and only Disney+, a service that boasted itself as the main hub for all things Disney, opening the vault for all to enjoy any Pixar film or Disney Channel sitcom they so please, and hosting a wide variety of original shows based on iconic Disney properties. Their first major launch was the hit Star Wars series The Mandalorian, which has quickly become the talk of the town in Hollywood for a variety of reasons. Other premieres included Russian Doll, The Umbrella Academy, Doom Patrol, What We Do in the Shadows, Dead to Me, Euphoria, The Boys, Watchmen, The Witcher, The Chef Show, and No Good Nick.

 

Deaths this year were Carol Channing, Albert Finney, Bruno Ganz, Luke Perry, Scott Walker, Agnes Varda, Peter Mayhew, Doris Day, Dr. John, Gloria Vanderbilt, Toni Morrison, Peter Fonda, Valerie Harper, Caroll Spinney, and Cameron Boyce. I...didn’t know how to transition to this. And now onto the box office!

 

2019 at the box office was very...interesting to say the least. By all accounts, this was the year that Disney dominated the conversation. In theme parks, television shows, streaming, and especially movie theaters. Just about every division of Walt Disney Studios put out at least one heavy-hitter/guaranteed moneymaker this year, in a show of force of how mighty and powerful the Disney brand has become in the movies and in pop culture itself. Of course, this was also done as a big self-promo for an upcoming streaming service, effectively keeping Disney in the conversation long enough to make people remember to pre-order their Disney+ subscriptions. And, to an extent, this strategy from Disney was a detriment to all competing movie studios, forced to find some hedgeway in what was basically a year where Disney was an unstoppable menace.

 

This was best defined by one movie. One epic movie. One spectacular movie that signified both the end of an era and the beginning of a bright, prosperous future. I’m speaking of course about the one, the only, Avengers: Endgame.

 

It’s been five years since the Snap. Thanos wiped out half the universe, and with it hope is lost on our heroes. Some are still trying to save those who were taken unfairly by Thanos, while others have given up hope entirely. Yet one final key seems to have the answer. With the help of Scott Lang, the surviving heroes like Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, Thor Odinson, Natasha Romanoff, and more travel back in time to retrieve the Infinity Stones, reverse Thanos’ actions, and perhaps save half of humanity. But of course, this won’t be easy, but through a bunch of convoluted time travel rules that still don’t really make any sense, this soon leads to the battle of a lifetime.

 

I’ve already said my piece about the production in the Infinity War section, so I’ll keep this brief. Formerly a two-parter, Avengers 4 was going to be shot simultaneously with Infinity War, but to make things more cohesive and understandable for the cast, filming for #4 was set immediately after Infinity War wrapped up. And like Infinity War, the film was shot with IMAX/Arri 2D cameras, making it the first Hollywood feature film to be shot entirely with digital IMAX cameras. Production wrapped in January 2018, and throughout this whole process, we never actually got the official title. It wasn’t a Part 2 anymore, but any reveal about what Avengers 4’s title is would be a massive spoiler for Infinity War. So months went by and we didn’t get a peep about what the subtitle would be. Hell, we didn’t know anything outside of the fact it took place after the Snap.

 

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Finally, on December 7, the first trailer revealed the title. Purposefully hidden from any social media posts to make the reveal all the more exciting, Avengers: Endgame was officially revealed to the public. The Endgame subtitle was a double entendre. Arguably a triple entendre. Endgame served as a reference to a line in Infinity War, the conclusion to Infinity War, and somewhat of a conclusion to the MCU itself. If you ignore Far From Home two months later, this was the end of the Infinity Saga, as well as several story and character arcs. It was already confirmed before release this would be Chris Evans’ last time as Captain America (y’know, until it wasn’t), and this was going to finish up storylines for characters like Thanos, Tony, Thor, and more. By all accounts this was basically this generation’s Return of the King or Deathly Hallows Part 2. Yet at the same time, it felt so much grander and impactful. This was the ending of a decade-long journey for so many characters, a culmination of so many epic movies, and in many ways, a rebirth to something greater.

 

For audiences, whether they saw every Marvel movie or only a handful, this had to be seen. This was a grand finish that we would never see again, at least not to this scale. Only the most anti-Marvel or uninterested in superheroics passed on this epic, leading to a box office gross unlike any other. It was April 2, 2019, when tickets first dropped. Systems delayed, systems crashed, customers had to wait in virtual queues just to get their tickets. It was pure craziness, and it was here the first record was made. This didn’t just break The Force Awakens’ record of the most tickets sold in 24 hours. Rather, Avengers: Endgame beat Force Awakens’ entire 24-hour sales cycle in just six hours. At this point, the hype was at an all-time high, unlike anything else for any other movie. There was demand for this movie that had never been seen by any movie. We probably will never see this demand for any movie again. And sure enough, Avengers: Endgame was a pre-sales machine, earning $120-140 million before showtimes even started, with 8,000 sold-out showtimes all across the country.

 

The big day came, April 27. Projections were already high, estimating anywhere from $260-270 million, with an outside shot of $300 million. Either way, this would have meant Endgame earned the biggest opening weekend ever. But as it turns out, this 3-hour Avengers epic would do so much more than that. Thursday previews were $60 million, beating The Force Awakens’ 4-year record. This soon led to an opening day of $157.5 million, the biggest Friday of all time. Saturday was $109.3 million, the biggest Saturday of all time, and Sunday was $90.4 million, the biggest Sunday of all time. So if you tally all that together, you get yourself $357.1 million. And with the film opening in just about every other country in the world, Endgame’s global worldwide opening was an unbelievable, arguably impossible, $1.2 billion.

 

There’s more we’ll talk about with this run later, but it’s best to emphasize and focus on this opening right now. Because this is truly an opening for the ages. One of those debuts that only come once in a blue moon. I continued Baumer’s series with 2002, the year Spider-Man broke the $100 million ceiling. There is a lot you can say about the openings for Spider-Man, Dead Man’s Chest, Spider-Man 3, The Dark Knight, Deathly Hallows Part 2, The Avengers, Jurassic World, The Force Awakens, and Infinity War. And their high openings are iconic for a good reason. But Endgame, at least for right now, reached the absolute peak for any domestic or worldwide opening. It nearly outpaced $100 million from Infinity War’s debut just one year later, a 39% jump. It didn’t just break the record, but went so far from the old record that nothing could even come close to its debut.

 

And that $1.2 billion worldwide opening was also a major jump from Infinity War’s previous record, nearly double Infinity War’s $640.5 million record. This film wasn’t just something big for America, but it arguably tapped into the highest potential for almost every market. Endgame earned the biggest opening weekend in Australia, Brazil, China ($330 million there), Indonesia, Mexico, South Korea, Spain, Thailand, United Kingdom, and so many others. It was inescapable hype that showed how Marvel’s epic finale wasn’t just anticipated in select markets, but in every single corner of the world. This kind of worldwide debut is legendary, a perfect culmination of everything going right for just one movie.

 

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Simply put, we might not ever see this level of opening again. After building up years of audience trust through creating awesome sci-fi action movies that try to top each other in terms of scale every single year, getting to over $350 million or $1.2 billion would require a lot of hype, audience trust, and luck to pull something like this off. And as we look at the future landscape, there’s really nothing that could come close. Maybe a new Harry Potter movie that brings back the original cast could get to $300 million. Maybe James Cameron’s Avatar sequels will take the franchise to even greater heights. But those rely on a lot of variables that still require the kind of cultural decimation Marvel has achieved. It’s still tricky for a movie to even get to $200 million in this day and age. And as viewing habits and interests lean more and more towards streaming and at-home viewing every single year, it’s not hard to say the records Endgame achieved won’t be toppled for years. Maybe even decades.

 

Of course, there is still plenty more to talk about after its opening weekend, even if Endgame was more of a sprint than a marathon. Domestically, Endgame earned the second-biggest second weekend ever with $147.4 million, earning a 10-day total of $621.3 million, making it the fastest film to reach $600 million. One day later, Endgame surpassed Infinity War’s entire gross and became the fastest film to reach $2 billion. Weekend three grossed $63.3 million, becoming the fourth-biggest third weekend in history. It also passed $723.7 million, tying The Force Awakens’ 16 days for the fastest film to reach $700 million. On its 20th day of release, the film passed $2.5 billion, the second film to reach this mark. Its fourth weekend finally saw the movie dethroned, but by then, the film made more than enough money. 

 

Weeks went by, and the film still racked up millions thanks to stragglers and repeat watchers, who felt it was their duty to see the film that ended something they were truly passionate for. It was a worldwide phenomenon unlike anything else. And then came July 20. Nearly three months after release, the impossible happened. Thanks in part to a special re-release that gave new after-credits footage, Avengers: Endgame finally took down Avatar and became the highest-grossing film of all-time.

 

It seemed ludicrous that Avatar would fall after an entire decade of supremacy, but Papa Feige did it. And when all was said and done, when the film finally left theaters, Avengers: Endgame earned $858.4 million, the second-biggest domestic haul, $1.94 billion internationally, the second-biggest overseas total, and $2.798 billion worldwide, the biggest film of all time. Deadline, who estimated the film would break even five days after release, reported a net profit of $890 million after its release. And with numerous awards and nominations, massive home video and digital sales, millions in merchandise, and who knows what other venues the film saw recognition or high numbers, this is about as successful as you can get for a movie.

 

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It’s honestly kind of crazy to think how far Marvel has truly come in the pop culture landscape. When Marvel first made that deal with Merrill Lynch that allowed them to fund their own movies, nobody, not even Papa Feige, could have even imagined what could have happened nearly 15 years later. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has excited, enraptured, and inspired millions for over a decade, both young and old. Not every series or character is loved by everybody, but the universe Papa Feige has created is so vast, so engaging, and so fascinating that everybody is bound to like something about it. There’s a solid consistency in quality, release, and hype with all these movies. They know how to make each character exciting and cultivate a strong following, making it feel as if you are growing up with your heroes themselves. And through deliberate planning, savvy business moves, and talented filmmakers, writers, and actors, it pulled off something spectacular.

 

Obviously the MCU wasn’t this immaculately designed beast. Like any creative project, new ideas are constantly added in, old ones are thrown out, and not everything will appeal to everyone. But the way Papa Feige has managed to steer the ship and entice and excite billions of people through these goofy sci-fi movies is an incredible feat and shows just how smart Papa Feige is as a producer and how incredible of a job Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, and many others have done with this comics division. Especially when the MCU is the only franchise that has really pulled off this kind of epic shared universe in such spectacular fashion.

 

Really think about it. Star Wars tried to expand with spin-offs and anthology films, and it went kaput after two movies. The DC Extended Universe had several critical duds and nobody really even knows what Warner's doing with the thing. Fox tried to expand X-Men and Fantastic Four, but nobody gave a shit about Apocalypse, and Fantastic Four...did that. The MonsterVerse arguably missed some huge potential even back with Godzilla. Fantastic Beasts tried to expand the world of Harry Potter, but very few are invested. Transformers tried to make a shared universe, but then The Last Knight ruined everything. And it wasn’t like Bumblebee was that big a hit. The Lego Movie tried it out, but the first film was a one-hit wonder. Ghostbusters tried to make a shared universe with the 2016 reboot, but nobody cared about that. I didn’t even get into the Dark Universe because it was such a spectacular failure that even I was too embarrassed to talk about it. I guess the closest thing that’s come to the consistency of the MCU is The Conjuring Universe, but that’s at a much smaller scale. You won’t see Conjuring 3 or Nun 2 hit even $500 million.

 

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Really, only Papa Feige has pulled this whole thing off. And frankly, I don’t think anybody else can pull it off like he did. It’s absolutely miraculous stuff and really does emphasize how one-of-a-kind the MCU truly is. How unique it is as a sprawling epic of a movie franchise and how it has created such an incredible trust in audiences. Through 11 years of success, Papa Feige and Disney saw incredible rewards unlike any other, forever solidifying itself as an icon in the global blockbuster community. And quite honestly, global blockbuster cinema is better off for it.

 

But what’s crazy about all this is we’re still not over the MCU. Despite the ending of a lifetime, we still have so much more to go. So many more stories to tell, so many more characters to follow, and so many more journeys to come, all of which look to expand Marvel’s reach, both in the universe itself and pop culture dominance. We’re probably getting MCU titles when we’re stuck in the nursing home. On the day Papa Feige announced to the world Endgame finally dethroned Avatar, he revealed the plans for Phase 4 and beyond. And boy oh boy is it something glorious. 

 

The movies all coming down the pipeline look to be more exciting than the last. A Black Widow movie, coming years after demand and excitement. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the 10 Rings, a representational landmark that will give us our first Asian MCU lead. Eternals, taking the MCU into a celestial, otherworldly direction. Spider-Man: No Way Home, a multi-dimensional adventure. Doctor Strange 2 further building upon itself with a Multiverse of Madness. Thor bringing on the Love and the Thunder. A return to Wakanda, though without our beloved king T’Challa. Another adventure with Ant-Man and the Wasp featuring Quantumania and the big baddie Kang the Conqueror. A third Guardians of the Galaxy, promising the same edgy humor and hip soundtrack. A Fantastic Four film that hopefully won’t suck. A Blade movie, making everything come full circle. And we still have Deadpool and X-Men planning to join the party somehow.

 

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There’s so much to get excited for here, but Papa Feige is still not done. With the advent of Disney+, there is so much more that Marvel can do. They can create longer, bigger, more epic storylines. They can focus on the heroes that might not get the same theatrical hype. And most importantly, create even more excitement amongst fans, bring even more new fans into the fray, and sell a shitton of toys in the process. Within Phase 4 and beyond, multiple television shows will play a part in continuing the epic story. And these shows aren’t side adventures, but are just as, if not more integral to future storylines. This is the kind of transmedia storytelling format that hasn’t been seen since arguably The Matrix, and it’s certainly nothing to this scope.

 

Last month saw the debut of WandaVision, a sitcom/superhero hybrid focusing on Scarlet Witch and her relationship with her love Vision. The series has already become a smash success, earning praise from critics and Marvel fans, as well as becoming a huge success on social media, as people are enthralled by its mysteries and can’t stop talking about it every week. 

 

And that’s just the beginning. This March, a couple weeks after WandaVision wraps up, will be The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, which is also set to be a huge conversation starter when it launches. Shortly after, we’ll see a show focusing on Loki in June. And for the next few years, there’s so much more down the pipeline. An animated series called What If?, a show on new character Ms. Marvel, a Hawkeye series, a Moon Knight show, a She-Hulk show, a show titled Secret Invasion starring Nick Fury, a show focusing on Ironheart, a series called Armor Wars starring Rhodey, a show about Wakanda, and countless more, all from creative minds and featuring Papa Feige’s magic touch.

 

With so much Marvel goodness shoved down people’s throats in theaters and at home, we’re close to a future where we’re getting MCU material almost every week. This non-stop Marvel goodness strategy could go one of two ways. It could very well be that people are done with Marvel after Endgame wrapped everything up in a bow. It could be that this is too overwhelming or exhausting. It just might be that it’s just too much Marvel and people will get sick of all these shows and movies and move on to something else. But deep down, I know, and I’m sure you, dear reader, know that deep down this won’t happen. Rather, Papa Feige’s beautiful franchise will explode into something even grander into the 2020s. Something that is more grandiose, more epic, and more magical all at once. One that will take us to new heights, new adventures, and new friends, both on the screen and in the real world. And one that will certainly feature some epic box office stories. 

 

Simply put, Avengers: Endgame isn’t the finale to the MCU. Rather, it is the introduction to what might be a beautiful, gorgeous future of movies and television unlike anything else. And I can’t wait to see what happens next. God bless you Papa Feige! Thank you for giving us so many incredible film and box office stories in the past 11 years. Blockbuster cinema wouldn’t be the same without your contributions. Here’s to 11 more.

 

 

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Oh yeah, other movies came out this year. Second place on both accounts was the highly-anticipated remake of Disney’s The Lion King. In the African savannah lives Simba, a young lion who is set to follow in his father’s place and become king of the Pridelands. Things start to go awry however when Scar, Simba’s vindictive uncle who was once set to be ruler, kills Simba’s father and forces the young cub to run away forever. But through an emotional, epic journey, Simba discovers what a king truly is and brings peace and balance to the great circle of life.

 

The Lion King is one of those movies that needs no introduction. At one point the “B film” of Disney’s animation team, the original 1994 epic quickly became the highest-grossing animated film in history, saw an epic Broadway adaptation, spawned countless television shows and merchandise, and arguably became the first thing people think of when they hear the phrase “Disney movie”. And with Disney remaking all their animated classics into live-action movies, a live-action Lion King was both inevitable and impossible all at once.

 

Because The Lion King had no human characters, it made this a tricky film to adapt into the live-action format. As luck would have it, Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book, which boasted incredible, life-like CGI animals and a completely CGI jungle environment, was released in April 2016 and was a massive hit. So in September 2016, Disney confirmed Favreau would direct a “re-imagining” of The Lion King with the same visual effects and virtual cinematography used in The Jungle Book. And it’s here where lines were very blurred, as people still don’t know whether this is an animated movie or a live-action movie. Only one shot, the opening sunrise, was actually a filmed live-action piece. Everything from the characters to the backgrounds to the special effects were done through CGI technology, so it is technically animated. Wall-E has more live-action than this film. However, it looks photorealistic to emulate live-action, and passes as a live-action movie. Even Disney has gone back-and-forth in terms of deciding where this film sits in the confusing line between animation and live-action.

 

Either way, what can be said about this new Lion King was that it was a game-changer in the world of visual effects. Moving Picture Company was in charge here, and it’s here Favreau created a world that feels like a BBC wildlife documentary come to life. All the sets were created in virtual reality under the Unity video game engine, making them 360-degree virtual environments that allow the artists to change the lighting, cinematography, and more. This was revolutionary material that pushed the powers of virtual reality to new heights, and would even inspire the production and visual effects of Favreau’s hit series The Mandalorian.

 

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With The Lion King’s immense prestige, this resulted in an all-star cast, full of some of the most exciting young actors working today. Aside from James Earl Jones as Mufasa, all the original cast members were replaced, with the film featuring the likes of Donald Glover, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Afre Woodard, Billy Eichner, and Seth Rogen. Of course the biggest star of the bunch was the one and only Beyoncé as Nala. This was not just a big get for the cast, but also the music. Hans Zimmer and Elton John both returned, but Beyoncé also played a huge part in the soundtrack. While her planned collaboration with Elton John didn’t go anywhere, she would compose the song “Spirit” as the film’s lead single. This soon led to the creation of Beyonce’s own album The Lion King: The Gift, which retold the original story, but abstractly through songs inspired and produced by African artists, as well as R&B, pop, hip hop, and Afro beat.

 

The Lion King was destined to be a success, through its groundbreaking visuals, 90s nostalgia, and the success of all the previous live-action remakes. This was confirmed after the launches of both its teaser and official trailer. The teaser became the second-biggest trailer in the first 24 hours, and the official trailer earned 174 million views in the first 24 hours. And wouldn’t you know it, The Lion King was yet another success story for Disney. Despite earning mixed reviews, notably criticized for being a shot-for-shot remake of the 1994 classic, The Lion King debuted to $191.8 million, becoming the biggest July opening of all time, the biggest Disney remake opening of all time, and the eighth-biggest opening weekend in history. Its second weekend was a steep decline of 60%, repping $76.6 million for a 10-day of $351.9 million. Ultimately, the film continued on and finished with $543.6 million domestically. And when you include over $1.11 billion from overseas markets, The Lion King finished with $1.66 billion worldwide, becoming the seventh-highest grossing film of all time and the biggest animated film of all time...depending on who you ask of course.

 

This more than solidified the value of these remakes and The Lion King brand itself. This can be further shown in the years since its release. In 2020, Beyoncé both starred and directed Black is King, a visual album based on the music from The Lion King: The Gift, and released on Disney+. This abstract retelling of The Lion King saw immense hype upon its release and earned universal acclaim, with many arguing this was the better live-action Lion King than the one we actually got. It is currently nominated for two Grammy Awards. Meanwhile, a follow-up film, set to be a Godfather II style piece, is currently in development with Moonlight director Barry Jenkins of all people directing it. And of course, we are likely to see much more Lion King material in the decades to come.

 

Third domestic but seventh worldwide was the anticipated finale Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. The Resistance, led by Rey, is still trying to take down the First Order, led by Kylo Ren. This leads to a Final Stand against both teams that involve a Sith wayfinder and the surprise return of Star Wars baddie Emperor Palpatine, the surprise mastermind behind the First Order itself.

 

During development of the sequel trilogy, it was rumored that Rian Johnson, the writer and director of The Last Jedi, was working on a story treatment on Episode IX, though Johnson very quickly denied it. Ultimately, in August 2015, Colin Trevorrow got the gig just a couple months after the record-breaking success of Jurassic World. This fit in line with Star Wars now becoming a playground for fresh, up-and-coming directors. Pre-production was underway in February 2016, but a major snag hit the story development process for this new movie.

 

One of the big hooks of the sequel trilogy was that each movie would focus on one of the original cast members in a major way. The Force Awakens was all about Han, The Last Jedi was all about Luke, and the plan for Episode IX was all about Leia. Sadly, the death of Carrie Fisher in December 2016 meant those plans were thrown away entirely, despite Leia being planned as the big payoff for the trilogy. This was just one of many issues that plagued the creative process for Episode IX.

 

In September 2017, Colin Trevorrow left Episode IX over creative differences, a very...interesting pattern after the departure of Lord and Miller on Solo one month earlier. Trevorrow butted heads with Kathleen Kennedy, as he failed to deliver a compelling script after several drafts. While Rian Johnson was rumored, J. J. Abrams, the director of The Force Awakens, returned to the mantle one last time, with Abrams now co-writing the script with Batman v Superman writer Chris Terrio.

 

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Filming began in August 2018, but one big problem still remained: what to do with General Leia. Ultimately, Abrams found a loophole. Unused footage of Carrie Fisher during the filming of The Force Awakens was used to help complete the story, which meant they didn’t have to go through the controversy that surrounded Rogue One and the digital recreation of Peter Cushing. However digital de-aging was done for Fisher in a flashback sequence. Billy Dee Williams also returned as Lando Calrissian for the first time since Return of the Jedi in 1983.

 

Of course, the big surprise return was Ian McDiarmid as Emperor Palpatine, which surprisingly wasn’t leaked until the first trailer debuted at 2019’s Star Wars Celebration. This reveal was a huge one that propelled major interest in this final chapter. Now titled The Rise of Skywalker, the first trailer debuted to 111 million views, becoming the biggest first trailer ever for a Star Wars release. With several more trailers and promos to come, it seemed like this was yet another success for Star Wars.

 

Yet in the air, apathy could be smelled. The onslaught of Star Wars, much of it in a negative light, made it hard to truly get excited for this last movie. And this was made even worse when reviews dropped. The Rise of Skywalker saw some of the worst reviews ever for a Star Wars title, with reviewers criticizing the screenplay, pacing, and direction. In particular, many argued this film felt like an unneeded course-correction after The Last Jedi saw unfair backlash from both hardcore Star Wars fanboys and racist assholes.

 

So when The Rise of Skywalker opened on December 20, the film opened to $177.4 million. Now on paper, this doesn’t seem so bad. It was the third-biggest December opening and the 12th-biggest opening weekend in history. However, it was a pretty strong decline from the record-breaking success of The Force Awakens and the incredible opening The Last Jedi received, showcasing how fatigued and uninterested people were starting to get with the franchise.

 

And ultimately, this film that tried to appeal to everyone ended up appealing to few, as the film saw a mediocre B+ Cinemascore and poor legs, ultimately finishing with $515.2 million domestically, below what Rogue One, a spin-off title, earned in 2016. Its worldwide gross was $1.07 billion, and its net profit was $300 million, by far the lowest of the sequel trilogy. 

 

Much like the MCU’s consistent rise, the decline of Star Wars was just as fascinating. For a brief moment, Star Wars became the king of the crop once again and brought an even bigger and grander fandom than ever before. Yet by the time 2019 rolled around, it became a franchise people grew sick of and hard to truly get excited for. Not in the sense that people didn’t care anymore, you don’t get to a billion dollars on nothing, but it was clear there was indifference to many that were excited about it even a couple years ago. 

 

The reasons for this are plentiful and vary depending on who you ask. Maybe it was the risks The Last Jedi made. Maybe it was the online fandom making things worse. Maybe it was the fact Star Wars wasn’t seen as anything special anymore. Regardless, it quickly turned the Sequel Trilogy into a bright and exciting and bold future to something that even diehard fans couldn’t be bothered with. And it seemed that Star Wars would never get any better.

 

But as we all know, there’s a lot more to Star Wars than just movies. And as luck would have it, a hit TV series was riding on the coattails of Episode IX. One month before the release of Rise of Skywalker saw the launch of Disney+. And with that came the television series The Mandalorian. Created by Jungle Book and Lion King director Jon Favreau, The Mandalorian became a success story overnight and, in a way, revitalized the Star Wars brand for many. Its Western atmosphere, emphasis on action, and the adorable, merchandisable, and memeable little monster known as Baby Yoda quickly made the show exciting even to non-Star Wars fans. And since then, The Mandalorian is still one of the most talked-about shows today and is a consistent hit according to Nielsen. This also soon led to a Primetime Emmy nomination for Best Drama, 7 wins in the Creative Emmy Awards, and a nomination for Best Drama at the upcoming Golden Globes ceremony.

 

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This massive success, alongside the critically-acclaimed Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland and Disney World, and the recent launch of the High Republic book series shows that Star Wars was still alive and kicking even if the movies might not be as big as they are. And so, this has led to Star Wars finding new, even greater life, on television. Star Wars: The Clone Wars returned for one last season on Disney+ to great success, taking the animated series to greater heights in terms of popularity. And despite the fact one of the biggest criticisms laid to Star Wars under Disney was the oversaturation of Star Wars content, no less than 10 different Star Wars television shows and specials are set for release over the next couple years, with the first Mandalorian spin-off The Book of Boba Fett set for release this December.

 

And for movies, there’s still plenty more exciting stuff to come. In 2023, Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins is set to direct and write Star Wars: Rogue Squadron, a spin-off focusing on the TIE fighter pilots. A Star Wars film directed by Taika Waititi is also in development, and Papa Feige himself is going to produce his own Star Wars movie with Loki creator Michael Waldron in charge of the screenplay. So it may have seemed at first glance Star Wars was down. But looking at the glorious, exciting future to come, Star Wars is far from out. And it could be we have something even greater down the road.

 

Fourth domestic and third worldwide was the epic return of Elsa with Frozen II. Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, and Olaf find themselves on a brand new adventure. This time, after Elsa hears a mysterious voice, they go past the kingdom of Arendelle into the Enchanted Forest. There they find a neighboring tribe that vanished ages ago, while Elsa discovers the origins of her magical powers and how she can save her kingdom.

 

You may think that a second Frozen film was immediately greenlit after the first film became the highest-grossing animated movie in history. Yet there was a bit of a gap before the film actually went into development. A combination of prioritizing the planned Broadway adaptation, as well as Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck wanting to make a new project meant a Frozen sequel was just not in the cards yet. And Disney felt like it wasn’t worth making a mandated sequel, especially since many Disney properties did just fine without having major new releases every few years. But by the time fall 2014 rolled around, Lee, Buck and producer Peter Del Vecho were working on the short film Frozen Fever, which played in front of Disney’s Cinderella remake. And it’s here the creatives realized they really missed these characters. And with Frozen continuing to grow an active fandom, with fans demanding answers to the questions left unanswered, it only made sense to give people what they wanted

 

So on March 2, 2015, Disney formally announced at a shareholders meeting Frozen 2 was in development with the same creative team in charge. The production went on from there, with development beginning in 2014, voice recordings in 2017, and Hidden Figures writer Allison Schroeder joining the screenplay to write additional material in 2018. The most documented period of Frozen II’s production started in December 2018, when documentarian Megan Harding was brought on to showcase the production process of Frozen II, warts and all, in a planned Disney+ documentary series.

 

One of the major things that the documentary, titled Into the Unknown: Making Frozen II demonstrated was a major issue the crew found with The Voice, the driving force for the whole movie. They had the idea for some mysterious voice calling out to Elsa but they didn’t figure out yet who would be the origin for the voice. The decision to have the voice be Elsa’s mother Queen Iduna was chosen belatedly, but this would soon help the crew lock down the musical number “Show Yourself” in terms of the final product. “Show Yourself” was an important piece, being a major show stopping number and the final piece of Elsa’s two-movie arc, which resulted in the song being cut down and quickly rushed, as it was the last major animation sequence that was completed.

 

Another big issue came after a poor test screening in San Diego. While the adults were into it, the film was too complicated and hard to follow for the children. This resulted in the production crew changing several items at the last minute. They gave a better clarification on The Voice and the transformation of Queen Elsa, added more comedy, and more shots of the salamander Bruni looking cute. A comedic sequence where Olaf recaps the first movie was also added, as the original scene had too much grown-up expository dialogue. This resulted in 61 new shots being added at the last minute, as well as 35 shots being redone, due to all these extensive changes to the final movie.

 

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Production of Frozen II was not easy. What was easy however was the box office expectations. Mainly, that they were gonna be very high. The first teaser trailer launched in February and was viewed 116.4 million times in the first 24 hours, making it the most-viewed trailer ever for an animated film. And with Disney partnering with a record 140 brands as well as a shitload of toys hitting the shelves, Frozen II ads were just about everywhere you looked.

 

As such, Frozen II opened on November 22 to immediate success, grossing $130.3 million in its opening weekend, making it the biggest opening for a November animated movie, as well as the fifth-biggest November opening ever. This was in accordance with a launch in 37 other markets, which was home to a variety of records depending on the region. The biggest animated openings in both the UK and France. The biggest start for a Disney Animation title in China, Japan, Germany, and Spain. The third-biggest opening period for South Korea. This all tallied up to $228.2 million overseas and $358.5 million globally, making it the biggest worldwide opening ever for an animated movie.

 

Going back to domestic waters, Frozen II’s second weekend was Thanksgiving, a perfect time for the kids on holiday break. Its 3-Day still put the film at first, grossing $86 million and earning a holiday 5-day of $125 million, a record for the 5-day Thanksgiving period. It saw $288.8 million in its first 10 days. As you would expect, the movie continued to dominate well into the Christmas season and into the new year, as the movie finally stopped with $477.4 million domestically, a 19% increase from the first Frozen. And with an incredible $972.6 million total overseas, this resulted in Frozen II earning $1.45 billion worldwide, surpassing the first Frozen by 13%. This also meant Frozen II was the highest-grossing animated film of all time...although it’s also considered the second highest-grossing animated film of all time depending on who you ask. Curse you Jon Favreau and your mediocre remake!

 

This was yet another clear success for both Disney Animation and the Frozen empire, with an estimated net profit of $599 million. And just like its predecessor, Frozen II is still obsessed over by kids. The film landed on Disney+ in March, a few months ahead of the planned June launch, and is one of the biggest movies on the platform, with it actually being the most-viewed movie on streaming back in 2020. And it’s certain that Frozen fever won’t go away any time soon, as Anna and Elsa still capture the love and attention of little girls everywhere.

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Fifth domestic and eighth worldwide was the epic return of the Pixar powerhouse with Toy Story 4. Woody, Buzz, and the other toys are still living happily with Bonnie. This new adventure has Woody paired up with Forky, an existential spork that Bonnie created as an arts and crafts project, as the toys find themselves on an epic road trip adventure that finds Woody meeting Bo Peep, who was mysteriously absent during Toy Story 3.

 

After the release of Toy Story 3, it was reported from director Lee Unkrich that there were no real plans to continue with a fourth installment. Rumors did rise in the coming years, and both Tom Hanks and Tim Allen did tentatively sign on to a potential fourth film, but most of this was shot down by Pixar. And it kind of made sense. Not only did a trilogy feel pretty compact, the way the film concluded signified the end of Andy’s story. And to an extent the story of Woody. But as it turns out, John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter, Lee Unkrich, and many of the other Pixar brain trust members began developing a new story shortly after Toy Story 3’s release.

 

And in November 2014, during an investor’s call, Toy Story 4 was finally announced. John Lasseter returned to the director’s chair, the treatment was written by Andrew Stanton, and both Docter and Unkrich had input. Also of note, Rashida Jones and Will McCormack joined as writers, with the only basic plot details being that this would be a love story. Josh Cooley, head of story for Inside Out, would later be announced as co-director in 2015. It seemed like things were on the up and up, but it was clear from the outset that production was not very smooth, evident from a delay of June 2017 to June 2018 all the way to June 2019, with Incredibles 2 actually pushed up a whole year.

 

The first shoe dropped at D23 2017, when Lasseter revealed he would not direct, leaving Josh Cooley as sole director on the project. Lasseter was too busy overseeing both Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios. And the other shoe was in November 2017. Rashida Jones and Will McCormack left the project that month on what was known as “philosophical differences”. Such differences included the lack of diversity and input on minority voices at Pixar, and the other...is a bigger can of worms. 

 

Word broke out just before the release of Pixar’s Coco that John Lasseter would go on a sabbatical from Disney after several allegations of sexual misconduct, most notably through unwanted hugs and kisses. This very quickly tainted the image of Pixar and Disney itself, as the most important figure of Disney’s two animation studios was outed as a horrible, disgusting pervert. And in June 2018, it was formally announced that Lasseter would permanently leave his two positions at Pixar and Disney Animation, with Up and Inside Out director Pete Docter becoming the CCO of Pixar and Frozen director Jennifer Lee becoming the CCO of Walt Disney Animation Studios.

 

And with the original writers gone, somebody else had to fill into the role. Enter Thor: Ragnarok writer Stephany Folsom in January 2018. Alongside Andrew Stanton, the writer for the first two Toy Story movies, three quarters of the original Jones-McCormack script was completely rewritten, with the crux of the film being the relationship between Woody and Bo Peep. Bo would also go on to be a “lost toy”, which gave Woody a new and exciting conflict that challenged his world view.

 

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Recording began in September 2018, with several new characters joining the piece. Tony Hale was the voice of Forky, while Key and Peele landed the roles of Ducky and Bunny. Perhaps the biggest headliner was Keanu Reeves as the Canadian stuntman toy Duke Kaboom. Pixar actually contacted Reeves themselves for the part and allowed Reeves to give his own mannerisms and quirks to the character. There were also cameos from Carol Burnett, Betty White, Mel Brooks, and Carl Reiner. This would be the last film Reiner ever worked on before his death in 2020.

 

Toy Story 4 didn’t seem like it was all that anticipated at first. Online reactions had many viewers uncertain about whether this movie was even necessary in the first place. Hell, the first trailer was overshadowed by the breakout success of the Detective Pikachu trailer. Yet when tickets first dropped, Toy Story 4 became the highest-selling animated film in the first 24 hours. This caused projections for the opening to be pretty high, as low as $140 million and as high as $200 million. So it kind of made its June 21 opening a bit of a bummer. Opening to the tune of $120.9 million, this was a series high and the fourth-best animated opening. But with all the hype, including rave reviews, it felt like money was left on the table here.

 

But of course, that didn’t matter. Like the last three films, Toy Story 4 was a critical darling and beloved by almost all audiences, further solidifying Toy Story as one of the greatest movie series in history. And wouldn’t you know it, Toy Story 4 finished with $434 million domestically and $1.07 billion worldwide, making it the highest-grossing installment in the series, Pixar’s third-biggest domestic hit and second-biggest worldwide hit.

 

Even a supposedly pointless sequel doesn’t matter sometimes. So long as you have a strong premise, lovable characters, and a strong marquee name, you can see great success. And Toy Story 4 is yet another victory for Pixar and the brand itself, earning a net profit of $368 million. And Toy Story 4 is still a popular film today, becoming one of the top 10 movies on streaming according to Nielsen.

 

Word of a Toy Story 5 has been mentioned once or twice, though nothing concrete has been fully made. But that doesn’t mean Toy Story is finished. In November 2019, one of the launch titles for Disney+ was the short-form series Forky Asks a Question, which later went on to earn an Emmy for Outstanding Short Form Animated Program. And in January 2020, a short film titled Lamp Life hit the service. But of course, the next major Toy Story venture is the spin-off film Lightyear. Starring Chris Evans, this focuses on the actual Buzz Lightyear the toy was based off of, is directed by Finding Dory’s Angus MacLane, and is currently set for release in 2022. We’ll see if this can go to a billion and beyond.

 

Sixth domestic and fifth worldwide was another major MCU success, Captain Marvel. Set in 1995, Carol Danvers, a woman with severe amnesia and training on an alien Kree planet, finds herself landing on Earth. And after meeting with a young Nick Fury, Carol Danvers becomes Captain Marvel and finds herself caught in the center of a galactic conflict between two alien races, the Krees she used to live with, and the shapeshifting Skrulls.

 

The beginnings of Captain Marvel were found in May 2013, when Marvel Studios’ writing room began producing a script for Carol Danvers, who was then known as Ms. Marvel. And wouldn’t you know it, executive producer Louis D’Esposito was interested in some female-led superhero movies. Papa Feige was also interested, and he preferred if it was with a new character so they can construct a compelling origin story. And in October 2014, Papa Feige announced to the world that Captain Marvel would be their first woman-led film. Reportedly the film was in development for a long while. She was even in an initial draft for Age of Ultron. However, Papa Feige was unsure how to balance the character’s earthbound adventures with her incredible cosmic powers.

 

In 2015, Guardians of the Galaxy writer Nicole Perlman and Inside Out writer Meg LeFauve signed on to the project after Papa Feige was impressed by both of their separate takes. The duo found themselves hit by the “Superman complex” when developing the film. Carol Danvers was an incredibly powerful hero, so if she is too strong or too perfect, that might alienate audiences. Yet both women found this to be a fun challenge to overcome, and this problem soon resulted in the film’s themes of failure. More specifically, how “part of embracing your power is failure”. The idea of the film taking place in the 90s was also a very early choice in development, because this meant Carol Danvers was singular, unique, and stood out from the other Marvel heroes.

 

Also in 2015, Ava DuVernay was courted to direct Captain Marvel, though she rejected it alongside Black Panther. But it wasn’t until 2016 things really began to shape up for the movie, with the big one of course being who was cast as Carol Danvers. Brie Larson, fresh off her Oscar-winning success with Room, was confirmed at Comic-Con 2016. Larson was a bit hesitant to accept the part, but joined because the character of Carol was everything she could have ever wanted, as a progressive, powerful symbol she wished she had growing up. But even after the casting of Danvers, it took a long while for Papa Feige to find a good director. The story wasn’t fully defined by that point, and they were uncertain about how this would have fit in the grander scope of the MCU.

 

Finally, in March 2017, Papa Feige found his director. More specifically, his directors. Half Nelson and Mississippi Grind directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck were chosen, as their character-driven stories fit with what Marvel wanted for Captain Marvel. They wanted a movie that focused on the complexity and relatability of Carol Danvers’ character and did not want the film to be bogged down by the villains and special effects. This also led to Perlman’s and LeFauve’s script being rewritten by the duo and Geneva Robertson-Dworet, though the basic story and themes were still left in tact.

 

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The supporting cast was full of big names, like Lashana Lynch, Jude Law, Ben Mendelsohn, Gemma Chan, and even Djimon Honsou and Lee Pace reprising their Guardians of the Galaxy roles. But the big co-lead was Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury. Jackson and Larson worked together on Kong: Skull Island, and Larson was adamant Fury should be in the movie so they could work together again. Of course taking place in the 90s, Fury had to actually look younger. And the team at Lola VFX were in charge of de-aging Fury. The team looked at several Jackson films from the 90s, including Pulp Fiction, Jurassic Park, Die Hard with a Vengeance, Loaded Weapon 1, and One Eight Seven. The last film in particular was the main inspiration for Lola, because One Eight Seven was the first film to have Samuel L. Jackson as a lead, and this was when Jackson was in “hero mode”. It was the first time Lola de-aged an actor without a body double.

 

Captain Marvel was hyped for a number of reasons. Like Black Panther before it, this was a huge representational milestone for the series, and this released just in time for the record-breaking Avengers: Endgame. This led to the first trailer becoming an instant viral hit with 109 million views in the first 24 hours, the 11th most viewed trailer ever at that point. And at the same time, GoFundMes were made that allowed young girls at the LA chapter of Girls, Inc. a chance to see the film in theaters for free. Yet the most depressing publicity Captain Marvel received was due to manbaby losers.

 

The film was review bombed on Rotten Tomatoes and other movie aggregate sites, solely on Brie Larson’s feminist statements and push for representation in film criticism and during the press tour for her movie. And because men are trash, this trolling put Captain Marvel into a weird culture war, with some using the recently released Alita: Battle Angel as an attack against the film, with the hilariously misguided #AlitaChallenge. Of course, that didn’t really matter in the end, because even those idiots still saw the movie anyways.

 

Opening on March 8, Captain Marvel debuted to $153.4 million, making it the third-biggest March opening and the seventh-biggest MCU opening. It was also a solid hit critically. Its worldwide opening of $456.7 million was the sixth-biggest global debut in history. And ironically enough, the film was actually watched more by men than women on its opening weekend. Go figure. And with, frankly, no real competition to speak of until Endgame, Captain Marvel finished with $426.8 million domestically, becoming the fifth-biggest Marvel film in the region. The film also grossed $1.13 billion worldwide, making it the seventh-biggest Marvel title. A net profit of $414 million was made here.

 

It’s pretty hysterical how a bunch of whiny trolls forced this movie into an unnecessary culture war, but Papa Feige’s magic just made all those issues go away. Carol Danvers is still a hot topic amongst manbabies, but she still has her fans in the MCU and Captain Marvel shaped a good chunk of the MCU’s future. Monica Rambeau was introduced here and she would go on to be played by Teyonah Parris and play a big part in the hit MCU series WandaVision. And later this year, the series Ms. Marvel, focusing on the teenage Pakistani heroine Kamala Khan, will also be focused heavily on Carol Danvers, as Khan idolizes the spacebound hero. All of this will culminate in the highly anticipated Captain Marvel 2, directed by Nia DaCosta and set for release in November 2022.

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Seriously folks, go and watch Black Is King. Beyoncé worked her ass off for over a year, the story is simple but relatable, the songs are catchy and it‘s a visual powerhouse, both creative and determined from the way it serves the plot/narrative. The best thing that came out of all the bland Disney remakes.

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Seventh domestic and fourth worldwide was the other other MCU smash hit, Spider-Man: Far From Home. After the events of Endgame, Peter Parker is still dealing with the loss of Tony Stark. But with a class field trip to Europe, Peter hopes he can clear his head from these issues. Unfortunately, Nick Fury recruits Peter on a new mission to face off against the Elementals, a set of villains with the powers of the four natural elements. He’s paired up with a figure named Mysterio, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, who claims to be from another dimension. But as time goes on, Peter soon begins to realize that this Mysterio isn’t exactly what he appears to be.

 

After Sony and Marvel Studios teamed up to bring Spider-Man to the MCU, Papa Feige wanted this to be a real long-lasting series. Essentially follow the Harry Potter route where each film took place one year after the other one, with the second film having Peter in his junior year of high school. And by October 2016, plans were already being discussed on the plot and who the next villain will be. And when the first trailer for Homecoming dropped that December, a release date was already placed for July 2019. Jon Watts would later return to direct, and writers Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers also returned for the screenplay.

 

As the first Marvel film after the events of Endgame, this gave the team a fun creative challenge and new ideas to play around with. Stark’s death was a huge driving force for the movie, and Thanos’ snap also played a part in the new character dynamics. One idea the team thought up were the age differences between the snapped and unsnapped. Peter, MJ, and Ned were all snapped, so they’re still the same age. However, the people who weren’t snapped still aged up five years. This offered plenty of new dynamics and even some new comedy.

 

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In fact, Peter getting snapped kind of became a problem for advertising the movie. After Peter Parker had the most heartbreaking scene from Infinity War, there was concern that promoting a new Spider-Man movie that shows Peter came back was both a huge spoiler and anticlimactic. So there was concern that Spider-Man: Far From Home might not even start its campaign until two months before release. Ultimately the decision was to have Far From Home’s first trailer launch January 2019, with Spider-Man in full force, and almost ignoring the fact this Snap actually happened. And people didn’t really care, as Far From Home’s first trailer earned 130 million views in the first 24 hours, making it the most viewed trailer ever from Sony.

 

Its second trailer, released a week after Endgame and introduced by Tom Holland for having a ton of spoilers, was an even bigger hit, earning 135 million views. Alongside several sponsorships and tie-ins, people were beyond stoked to see the epic follow-up to Homecoming and the epic follow-up to Endgame. So on July 2, a Tuesday that led to a long week of release, Far From Home opened to $185.1 million in its first six days, surpassing Spider-Man 2’s six-day total on the same holiday weekend. And with the film earning strong reviews across the board, Far From Home ended up with $390.5 million, the second-biggest Spider-Man film domestically. And with incredible box office across the board, including an astonishing $98 million debut from China, Far From Home grossed $1.13 billion worldwide. This worldwide haul is home to so many records. It’s the biggest Spider-Man film ever made, the biggest Sony film ever made, and was the first time ever Spider-Man hit the billion-dollar mark.

 

Yeah, it’s kind of weird to think about, when you realize how massive the first Spider-Man was in 2002, but up until now, Spider-Man never reached a billion before. But it finally did it after 17 years of Spidey-filled goodness, and when you consider the monster success of Homecoming, Venom, and Into the Spider-Verse before it, this really shows that Spider-Man is arguably the biggest it’s ever been. I’d even argue it’s more popular now than it was during the Raimi era. Surreal to think about when only five years ago, Spider-Man was in freefall. And with a $339 million net profit, this was a perfect send-off to what was an incredible year for Marvel Studios. After 2018 already made so much money, Marvel went on to have three billion-dollar successes in a row, putting it at the absolute peak of all movie franchises.

 

And wouldn’t you know it, Spider-Man is still not done. The next Spider-Man film, subtitled No Way Home, is set for release December 2021 and with it promising both multiverse shenanigans, an appearance from Doctor Strange, and the actors from the non-MCU Spider-Man movies like Jamie Foxx and Alfred Molina, this is set to be yet another grand success for Papa Feige and Sony. Though how big is still up in the air, especially during this COVID nonsense.

 

Eighth domestic and ninth worldwide was Disney’s remake of the 1992 hit Aladdin. The titular hero is a street urchin who dreams of incredible wealth and riches. And after falling in love with the city’s Princess Jasmine, Aladdin finds himself in a grand adventure where he discovers a magic lamp, a wisecracking Genie, a wicked sorcerer named Jafar, and what true love really means.

 

Like The Lion King, Aladdin was one of those evergreen Disney titles that everybody has seen. The 1992 film garnered critical acclaim, became the highest-grossing animated film of all time, saw a television series, two direct-to-video sequels, and sold a shitload of merchandise. So a live-action remake off the heels of hits like Alice in Wonderland and Maleficent was inevitable. But surprisingly, it took Disney a while to actually get a live-action Aladdin off the ground.

 

In 2015, Disney announced a live-action prequel to Aladdin called Genies. In this, audiences would have seen the world of the genies and ask the bold question nobody actually asked of how the Genie from Aladdin ended up in the lamp. Freddy vs. Jason writers Mark Swift and Damian Shannon were in charge of the script (I’m not making that up), while famed film producer Tripp Vinson signed on with his production company Vinson Films. The plan was for Genies to come out first, and the film’s inevitable success would lead into a live-action Aladdin remake. But I guess somebody at Disney realized this idea was stupid and saw more potential with just doing an Aladdin remake first.

 

And in October 2016, it was announced that Guy Ritchie of all people would direct this live-action Aladdin, John August would write the screenplay, and Dan Lin was attached as a producer. And in March 2017, a worldwide casting call was done for the roles of Aladdin and Jasmine, with Dan Lin emphasizing the film would not be whitewashed a la 2010’s Prince of Persia. But funny enough, in January 2018, it was revealed during production that some white extras were painted with brown make-up so they could “blend in”...oops. Anyways, the roles for Aladdin and Jasmine were reportedly a challenge for Disney to obtain. Jasmine was the easier one, as Power Rangers star Naomi Scott and Disney Channel India actress Tara Sutaria were the final two in the running. But for Aladdin, the initial plan was for either Dev Patel or Riz Ahmed to play the role, with it ultimately being decided the part should be given to a newcomer. 

 

Finally in July 2017, it was revealed at the D23 Expo that unknown Mena Massoud was Aladdin and Naomi Scott was Jasmine. Scott’s casting did not go over well. Naomi Scott is of Indian descent, while Jasmine is of Arab or Middle Eastern origin. This sparked outrage and accusations of colorism, as well as the fact that talented Arab/Middle Eastern actresses were snubbed for the role of a lifetime. Ultimately Disney defended this decision by explaining that Scott’s casting reflected the blending of cultures of the countries that make up the Silk Road, a region that is defined by the Middle East, South Asia, and China, and that Jasmine’s mother would be from a land not from Agrabah...yeah this still doesn't help.

 

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But of course the most important casting choice of them all was who would play the Genie. Robin Williams’ performance in the 1992 film is as iconic as they could be, as the animators perfectly captured Williams’ manic, fast-paced, comedic energy. With a presence, personality, and quick-thinking unlike anything else, nobody could truly top what Robin Williams did. But one man was willing to take the job. Will Smith was approached by Disney for the part of Genie, and Smith turned it down because the idea of stepping into Williams’ shoes was too daunting. But he later listened to the original music from the 1992 film. More importantly, he began to realize he could do something really fun and unique with this soundtrack, giving it a nice hip-hop spin. So Will Smith was confirmed at the same as the D23 Expo and the film was made.

 

The marketing for Aladdin was one that did not do the movie any favors. The first teaser trailer came and went, as did the first look at Entertainment Weekly. But the film’s promo at the 2019 Grammy Awards did make some noise. And not in a good way. This was the grand debut of Will Smith as the Genie, blue CGI and everything, and it was immediately panned. People made fun of the cheap-looking effects and the uncanny valley-esque design of Will Smith as the Genie, with people making memes and Photoshop edits of him looking like Tobias Funke from Arrested Development, the Blue Man Group, Paul Giamatti in Big Fat Liar, and so on.

 

Things did perk up when the second trailer launched a month later, which featured improved CGI effects on the Genie, as well as showcasing some of the musical numbers, the thing that defined the original 1992 movie. This did perk up some interest again in the project, and it seemed to do so rather well, especially when there was still a lot of bad press. Reviews for this remake were on the mixed side, and Memorial Day was quickly becoming a less desirable slot for big openers. It seemed like the sharp negativity would cause strong disinterest. And yet that didn’t happen.

 

Aladdin opened on May 24 above the $80 million expectations, grossing $91.5 million on the three-day and $116.8 million on the four-day holiday, making it the biggest debut in both Ritchie and Smith’s career, as well as the fifth-biggest Memorial Day opening ever. This already put it on the right foot, and on its second weekend, the film went to second but still grossed a potent $42.8 million for a 10-day of $185.5 million. It saw a solid 42% drop on its third weekend for $24.7 million and $232.6 million in 17 days. And as the weeks went on, the drops got smaller and smaller and smaller. For whatever reason, despite the mixed reception, people were really into this remake. Whether it be the music, the acting, or the story, the film really got a lot of repeat viewings and stragglers finally checking the film out.

 

Weekend four? 30% drop. Weekend five? 24%. Weekend six? 24%. Weekend seven? 26%. Weekend eight? 18%. And it kept on going throughout the summer, despite all the summer competition, including from Disney themselves. Aladdin finally wrapped its domestic run with $355.6 million. And alongside great numbers across the world, especially in Japan and South Korea, Aladdin finished with $1.05 billion worldwide, with a net profit of $356 million. This beat out Independence Day’s 23-year long record, becoming Will Smith’s highest-grossing film of all time.

 

And Aladdin still lives on as one of the more popular Disney remakes, becoming one of the most watched movies on Disney+ according to Nielsen. And Ritchie’s interpretation is not stopping here. A spin-off film focusing on new character Prince Anders is in development at Disney+, and a sequel to Aladdin is also in development, with almost all the original creatives coming back for this installment.

 

It’s here that we can truly look back and recognize Disney and how they ruled 2019 and how it explains what one CEO’s incredible, lofty goals were. And miraculously, all these goals were met. The era Bob Iger created as Disney CEO was very much based on growth and expansion. Taking what was already a successful and beloved company home to dozens of hit franchises and ballooning it into an incredible empire with just about every major IP you can think of. And while Michael Eisner attempted something like this during his tenure, acquiring ABC, Saban, and the Go Network, Iger’s were much bolder, buying studios and properties that were already iconic and could be used effectively in terms of mass appeal and synergy across all corners of the Disney market.

 

It started with the acquisition of Pixar, becoming the first major task in Iger’s tenure and ensuring a strong relationship with Disney’s only real success by the time Eisner was done. And shortly after, Iger would go on to buy both Marvel and Lucasfilm. Alongside the record-breaking success of Alice in Wonderland, a new, bold strategy was created at Walt Disney Studios. Release the fewest amount of movies per year, but have each one be a major tentpole release one after the other, all of them from their five major divisions. All the while, these movies feature very memorable characters that are easy to merchandise, and are directed by crowd-pleasing filmmakers who have a love and appreciation for these brands. 

 

This was a strategy that was very well-timed, as rising ticket prices and competition from other entertainment meant people were more picky. Attendance slowly declined, and people started to treat a trip to the movies like a special event, with only the big, flashy blockbusters that deserved to be on the big screen getting more and more of the lion’s share. Disney didn’t just want to find a way into this new world of box office, but have its cake and gluttonously eat it too.

 

However, the big reason for this shift wasn’t just audience changes, though it was a big part. Rather, the beauty of Iger’s strategy, at least business wise, was how these constant big releases could help all facets of the company’s bottom line. A new Star Wars movie wasn’t just used as a safe venture for film, but would also spark new toy lines on store shelves, bring in new rides, lands, and meet and greets for their theme parks, and rejuvenate DVD and digital sales of the previous Star Wars movies. And Disney was willing to do it with about 9 or so of these kinds of movies every year. Essentially, box office quality over quantity.

 

This strategy was also helped by Iger recruiting the right people for the job. Alan Horn was brought in as Disney Studios chairman in 2012 after a record tenure at Warner Bros., overseeing the likes of Harry Potter and Ocean’s 11. And for all the major silos who would produce hit after hit, they were overseen by some of the brightest, most creative producers and filmmakers available today. Disney Animation and Pixar had John Lasseter, a Disney vet who directed the first CG animated film ever to great success. Marvel had Kevin Feige, a massive Marvel fanboy who envisioned a unique shared universe idea and had a clear love for the characters. Lucasfilm had Kathleen Kennedy, the woman who produced just about all your favorite movies. And even after Lasseter left due to being a creepo, Iger would bring in Jennifer Lee for Disney Animation and Pete Docter for Pixar, both of whom worked on their respective studios’ biggest hits.

 

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This tentpole strategy saw more and more success steadily through the years. Going from Alice in Wonderland and Toy Story 3 to The Avengers and Wreck-It Ralph to Iron Man 3 and Frozen to Inside Out and The Force Awakens to Zootopia and Civil War to Black Panther and Infinity War. And in 2019, Iger’s bold strategy paid off expertly. The seeds were sowed and the rewards were greatly reaped. By late July, a week or so after the record debut of The Lion King, Disney already surpassed its 2016 record of $7.61 billion worldwide, the original biggest calendar year gross, as well as becoming the first studio to gross $5 billion overseas in one calendar year. And this did not include any of the Fox movies Disney acquired. By early December, Disney crossed $10 billion in the worldwide box office, a milestone never achieved by any studio before. And when 2019 finally came to a close, Disney finished with $11.12 billion in just 365 days. $13.15 million when you include the Fox movies Disney inherited after the acquisition was finalized. Domestically Disney had a record share of 33.25% for the entire calendar year.

 

This was helped of course by several billion-dollar hits. If you include Spider-Man: Far From Home, which was co-produced by Marvel Studios, eight of the top 10 highest grossing movies of the year were produced or co-produced by Disney. Domestically, they dominate the entire top 8. It’s an incredible banner year that showcased Disney at the top of their game and how they have become the driving force in the pop culture landscape. As if Bob Iger was showing off to the rest of the competition. Over the past decade or so of Iger’s rein, Disney acquired the best brands, brought in the best creatives, and brought in incredible wads of cash and dedicated fandoms that love everything and anything Disney. This was a year unlike any other, and it’s one we will never see again. 

 

Of course, this banner year was helped by Iger selectively choosing the right projects. Specifically for Disney’s next new era of entertainment. With the conclusion of the Infinity and Skywalker Saga, two notable Disney Renaissance remakes, and two major animated sequels, these humongous releases were all just nothing more than a big expensive year-long promo for one exciting launch in November. One that Bob Iger himself has argued is his true crowning achievement, and the culmination of the savvy business making he had dealt with over the years.

 

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In November 2019, Disney+ was launched to the world. This streaming service was hyped as the main spot for all things Disney. Disney Animation movies? Only on Disney+. Pixar movies? Only on Disney+. Marvel? Star Wars? Fox? National Geographic? All only on Disney+. Combined with the announcement of several Marvel and Star Wars shows, Disney+ was the biggest event of the year. With how much people loved Disney and their movies, you could not miss out on this service. And after months of incessant promotion and fervor amongst Disney fanatics and general audiences, Disney+ didn’t just become a hit service, but something even greater: it became the crown jewel of the Disney empire almost overnight.

 

Just one day after its November 12 debut, Disney+ already accrued more than 10 million subscribers, far surpassing even the most optimistic expectations for the service. The appeal of having the Disney library at your fingertips, alongside the instant smash success of The Mandalorian, gave Disney+ an immediate edge on the competition, solidifying it as a fierce competitor next to the likes of Netflix and Amazon.

 

And over time, Disney+ has grown into something even greater. As of January 2, 2021, less than 14 months after release, Disney+ has 94.9 million subscribers worldwide, close to half of what Netflix, the top dog of the streaming world, currently has (203.7 million). That also excludes the US-only service Hulu, which currently hosts 39.4 million subscribers. This rapid growth has only pushed Disney even further, both in terms of brand loyalty and the synergy Iger made famous for with his film strategy. Now new movies are also designed as fodder for new television shows and original titles for the Disney+ service, which will itself lead to even more theme park rides and toys. Likewise, new shows help give way for new theatrical movies, new merch, and new theme park experiences.

 

Several of the current crop of original programs for Disney+ are developed by the studio heads that make Disney’s movies. Jennifer Lee, Pete Docter, Papa Feige, Kathleen Kennedy. They are not only developing new Disney+ content, but are giving it the same kind of care and respect that they would for their theatrical works. This is shown with the successes of both Mandalorian and the recently released WandaVision. These new D+ original movies and shows will only help further push exciting new theme park ideas, new merchandise, and give life to franchises new and old.

 

Other studios have tried to imitate this strategy, and while success has been found, it’s nowhere near as strong or as consistent as what Disney has achieved. Making it, like the MCU, its own unique entity that nobody can really pull off. It’s pretty fascinating to really think about how much Disney has evolved ever since it set ground in August 1923. In 1972, the very beginning of this series, the most exciting thing to come out of Disney was some movie called Snowball Express. In 2002, when I restarted this series, Disney’s only real consistent success story was Pixar, which was always at odds with CEO Michael Eisner. And in 2019? You could make a compelling argument that a Lion King remake reaching $1.5 billion or the premiere of Star Wars Land was only the 7th or 8th most exciting thing that year for Disney.

 

There’s of course a lot you can say about Disney’s strategy and how it negatively impacts the current film climate, but in a vacuum, this is pretty impressive stuff. Obviously Disney’s strategy doesn’t always work. Dumbo was a flop that year, and what goes up will come down eventually. But at the rate we’re at, who knows when Disney will finally fall? It could be years, maybe even decades before we see Disney taken down a peg. Whatever happens in the years to come, nothing will come close to what Disney achieved in 2019.

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Finally going away from the Mouse House, we have ninth domestic and sixth worldwide, the controversial release Joker. Arthur Fleck is a failed clown and stand-up comedian with a troubled life. He has severe mental health issues, a troubled family, and an inability to get along with others. And because society refuses to treat him well, Fleck soon falls into insanity and nihilism that causes the toppling of the wealthy within the decaying and disheveled Gotham City.

 

Famed actor Joaquin Phoneix always had an interest in doing a comic book movie...well, a certain type of comic book movie. Phoenix wanted to star in a low-budget, character study piece about a comic book villain. But for a while, nothing like this happened. Phoenix was courted by Papa Feige to play Doctor Strange or Bruce Banner, but those dreams were quickly dashed. Phoenix was also against using the Joker for his idea, because the character had been done before. And while Phoenix’s agent tried to set something up with Warner Bros., Phoenix declined and his idea seemed like an impossibility.

 

At the same time, director Todd Phillips also shared the same viewpoint. The famed Old School and Hangover director wanted to make comic book movies, but disliked the majority that came out today, believing they...were too loud. Okay? He wanted a different, more grounded comic book movie that could stand out from the bombastic sci-fi action pieces flooding the market. And he felt like using the Joker was a good vessel for this movie, because Joker was a character that never had any definitive portrayal, meaning he had considerable creative freedom.

 

So Phillips pitched his Joker idea to Warner Bros. shortly after the release of his film War Dogs. This was Phillips’ first attempt at a more unsettling piece after over a decade of stupid comedies. And at the same time, Phillips felt that DC Films could differentiate itself from the Marvel Cinematic Universe by producing low-budget, standalone films. Things stayed quiet after this pitch, but the massive success of the largely standalone Wonder Woman and the critical savaging of interconnected Batman v Superman made WB realize the potential for standalone pieces and a de-emphasis on the shared nature of the DCEU.

 

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In August 2017, the first bits of information about this new standalone Joker were revealed to the press. It was separate from the DCEU, would be directed by Todd Phillips, and would be reminiscent of darker, character-driven pieces by Martin Scorsese like Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy. And funny enough, Scorsese was attached as a producer for a while. WB hoped that Scorsese’s connection to the piece would result in Leonardo DiCaprio playing the Joker role, but Phillips was adamant on getting Joaquamole Phoenix, because nobody else could do the role justice.

 

Phillips and co-writer Joel Silver took about a year developing and writing the screenplay, yet there was a chance the film might not have gotten off the ground in the first place. The financial and critical disappointment of Justice League prompted a shake-up within DC Films, with Walter Hamada stepping in as its head. And in the process of this shake-up, Hamada looked over all the DC projects and determined what to advance and what to ditch. Hamada was reportedly reluctant to move Joker forward and gave the film a small $55 million budget as a way to dissuade Phillips. But that didn’t happen for long, as the film still went underway and even brought in Robert De Niro as one of the supporting actors. And when Joaquamole Phoenix finally signed on, the film was officially greenlit for an October 2019 release date. Scorsese also left the project as a producer due to his obligations with The Irishman. The film was also a co-produciton, as $25 million of the budget was funded by Creative Wealth Media, andboth Village Roadshow and Bron contributed 25% each.

 

Filming occurred in late 2018, with Phoenix losing 52 pounds in preparation for the role. And by the time marketing hit for the film, it was already firing on all cylinders, as people noticed this more moody and dramatic take on the famed clown prince was an interesting and exciting direction for both Batman and superhero movies itself. It would go on to debut at the Venice Film Festival and win the Golden Lion, the most prestigious prize of the festival, ensuring this as a title with acclaim and depth. Yet the biggest marketing push was something nobody saw coming.

 

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With the film’s controversial content, as well as the Joker character being reminiscent of and used as a symbol for incel communities, there were concerns of potential violence at screenings of the film according to the United States Army. The Army reportedly even had information from Texas law enforcement about this kind of event happening at an unknown movie theater. Whether it seemed credible or not was besides the point. And Todd Phillips decried this drama by blaming leftists trying to take down his movie (umm...okay?). This controversy boosted the movie to become a huge conversation starter. Coupled with the polarizing reviews, Joker became a movie people had to check out solely to see what all the hype and discourse was about.

 

So on October 4, Joker shocked the world with an incredible opening of $96.2 million. This served as both the biggest October opening and the fourth-biggest opening ever for an R-rated movie. This was also WB’s biggest opening in two years, a needed shot in the arm for a studio that wasn’t as consistent or as heavy-hitting as Disney or Universal at that point. And with the film still being a huge conversation starter, Joker’s second weekend saw a decline of only 42%. With $55.9 million, it was the biggest second weekend total for any October release, and pushed the film to an incredible 10-day of $193.6 million. And in the weeks since, word of mouth kept on getting out and people kept on flocking to see one of the most polarizing titles of the year. And when the dust finally settled, Joker finished with almost 3.5 times its opening, grossing $335.4 million domestically. And with the film becoming just as big a sensation elsewhere in the world, Joker made history with $1.07 billion worldwide. This not only made it the biggest R-rated film ever made, but it was the first time ever an R-rated movie hit the billion-dollar mark, something that seemed impossible. This made the film insanely profitable, earning a net profit of $437 million and giving 2019 9 billion-dollar hits, a record.

 

The success of Joker seems pretty understandable in hindsight, as the film became an important message to society. Ironic considering the backlash the film may have caused in terms of violence and damage. This is a movie that shows income inequality, the mistreatment of the mentally troubled, and how the current societal systems props up these horrible issues. Some may argue the movie doesn’t do it very well (I’m one of them), but it’s fair to say the themes and messages caught a lot of people’s attention, at a time when things are more messed up than ever.

 

And Arthur Fleck soon became a pretty unique protest symbol. Anti-government protests in Lebanon, Chile, and Hong Kong use the imagery and quotes from the movie in an attack against the system. And with significant praise from critics and industry members, this led to Joaquin Phoenix earning the Academy Award for Best Actor with this film, his first Oscar and boosting him as a titan in the film industry. A sequel to Joker was reportedly in development, but that was quickly denied later, and no word has been made on the future. But either way, we are living in a society where Joaquamole and Todd Phillips will see great success for many, many years.

 

Tenth place on both accounts was the hit sequel Jumanji: The Next Level. Two years after the events of the first movies, the kids who were sucked into Jumanji find themselves trapped into the game once again. And this time, Danny DeVito and Danny Glover find themselves in the bodies of the Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart avatars. And thus, action, adventure, and wacky old guy jokes ensue!

 

The surprise breakout success of Welcome to the Jungle resulted in a Jumanji 2/3/4 being announced in February 2018, with Jake Kasdan returning as director, Jeff Pinkner and Scott Rosenberg returning as writers, and the original cast all coming back for another go-around. And this time, a few more notable actors joined the Jumanji fun. Danny DeVito, Danny Glover, and Awkwafina all got to join the laugh riots. The film actually played things pretty smart as a sequel. It brought back all the stuff people loved about the first movie, with body swaps, video game action, and the utilization of the likable comedic actors. But by having The Rock and Kevin Hart ham things up as a couple of old coots, it gave the film just enough of a compelling hook to spice things up.

 

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So when the film opened on December 13, the film held its own with an opening of $59.3 million, above expectations. And sure enough, the film was still popular with kids and adults, with the film continuing to leg itself out in spite of the Star Wars competition. This resulted in a final total of $320.3 million, well more than 5 times its opening. It also saw $800.1 million worldwide and a net profit of about $236 million.

 

The Next Level’s performance is kind of a surprising one in all honesty. So many sequels to breakout hits often fall pretty hard, as the hook isn’t as strong or the concept really only works for one movie. It’s a case of novelty factor that makes it hard to sustain a franchise. And while The Next Level did decline, it wasn’t that big a fall, showing that Jumanji is still an exciting and interesting series for many, and giving Sony plenty of potential for this odd 90s throwback for years to come. A sequel is currently in development.

 

In fourteenth place, we have John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum. Minutes after the events of Chapter 2, famed hitman John Wick, played by Keanu Reeves, is on the run from a legion of assassins. After a $14 million bounty is placed on his head, Wick goes on a massive journey, meets some old friends and battles some new foes.

 

I’ve neglected talking about John Wick in previous entries, simply because I didn’t have any time to do it. So if I can briefly recap...2014’s action thriller John Wick was a Keanu Reeves vehicle directed by stuntmen Chad Stahelski and David Leitch, Reeves’ stunt doubles during production of The Matrix trilogy. John Wick was a love letter to martial arts films, gun fu movies, and Hong Kong action cinema. The film earned critical praise, bounced Keanu Reeves back into stardom, and did okay in theaters, earning $86 million worldwide. This boosted the careers of both Stahelski and Leitch exponentially. Stahelski would be the second-unit director for Captain America: Civil War, while Leitch would go on to direct Atomic Blonde, Deadpool 2, and Hobbs and Shaw.

 

The positive reception, prompted Lionsgate to greenlight John Wick: Chapter Two, which earned a bigger budget, a bigger cast, and expanded the world and lore only teased at with the first movie. And as it turns out, helped by the film earning a huge fan following thanks to cable reruns and DVD sales, Chapter Two saw a huge spike in attendance, with a $30.4 million opening, more than double the first movie’s $14 million, and grossing $171.5 million worldwide, almost double what the first film made.

 

So naturally, Chapter 3 was greenlit. Announced in October 2016, months before Chapter 2, this has the first two movies’ writer Derek Kolstad returning and Stahelski still at the helm as director. The film was given the subtitle Parabellum through inspiration by the 4th-century Roman quote “Si vis pacem, para bellum”. Or in English, “If you want peace, prepare for war”. The film continued the tradition of its predecessor by earning a bigger budget of $75 million, and earning a major supporting cast full of other memorable character actors. Examples include Halle Berry, Anjelica Huston, Mark Dacascos, Jason Mantzoukas, and NBA star Boban Marjanović. Laurence Fishburne and Ian McShane also return.

 

By the time Parabellum came out, John Wick was known by everybody. Growing from a cult hit, the films and title character quickly became more and more known by people and celebrated, especially as Keanu Reeves’ work like Bill and Ted and The Matrix were becoming more and more nostalgic to people. And with $48 million in marketing, including an appearance in Fortnite, expectations were that Parabellum would increase from Chapter Two, with an opening weekend range of $30-40 million projected. But as it turns out, this was yet another step in John Wick’s quick and incredible permeation into pop culture.

 

The film debuted on May 17 to the tune of $56.8 million. This not only beat out the first John Wick’s entire domestic total, but it was slightly less than double Chapter 2’s debut, a stunning growth that showed just how big these movies got in the ancillary market. Plus the film’s debut gave Parabellum the distinction of being the film that dethroned Endgame at the weekend box office, which only helped boost the film’s headlines even further for the next few weeks.

 

The film continued to play well throughout the summer as the main non-Marvel action movie of choice. Despite being surrounded by brands and properties with more longevity and legacy, Parabellum opened ahead of properties like Men in Black, Godzilla, and more that summer. The film ended with $171 million domestically, only slightly less than Chapter 2’s worldwide gross. Worldwide was $326.7 million, with a net profit of $89 million.

 

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Parabellum’s success was a god-send for Lionsgate. The finale of Hunger Games, the departure of Tyler Perry, and the disastrous fall of Divergent left Lionsgate with no reliable franchises or names. But John Wick, a property few heard of even just a couple years ago, managed to give Lionsgate a leg to stand on. This also shows the value of creating new IP. As much as stuff like Star Wars will live on forever, you can’t expect decades-old franchises to stay strong forever. By creating new, creative properties, this can easily excite new audiences and get people interested in going to the movies. Something I think all studios are hoping for now as we try to rebuild theatrical exhibition, even if they still haven’t gotten the right idea just yet.

 

Parabellum’s success benefited many, but none more so than Keanu Reeves. After many successful years as a character actor, Reeves had one major project after the other this year. His appearances in John Wick, Toy Story 4, and Always Be My Maybe, all in the span of a couple months, plus his cool, lovable personality quickly made him an Internet and meme king. And to this day, Keanu is still getting major work and huge attention on social media, with appearances in Bill and Ted 3, Cyberpunk 2077, and the upcoming Matrix sequel.

 

And for the future of John Wick, it looks to be a very bright one. Chapter 4 was announced immediately after Parabellum’s opening weekend, and just a few months ago, Lionsgate announced Chapter 4 would be shot back-to-back with a Chapter 5, effectively making this cult action movie a mainstay in the industry for years to come.

 

Lionsgate had another major hit this year with fifteenth place’s Knives Out. Daniel Craig plays Benoit Blanc, an eccentric master detective. Blanc finds himself in the case of a lifetime, as he investigates the death of Harlan Thrombey, the patriarch of the highly wealthy, highly dysfunctional Thrombey family. With a great ensemble cast full of character actors, this whodunnit features twists, turns, reveals, and scandals, all in one glorious package.

 

Knives Out was directed by Last Jedi’s Rian Johnson, who had an interest in making a murder mystery movie as early as his debut feature Brick. And sure enough, Johnson would start writing the script after finishing the press tour for The Last Jedi. As a huge film buff, Johnson took inspiration from several murder mysteries and mystery comedies, including The Last of Shiela, Murder on the Orient Express, Something’s Afoot, Murder by Death, Death on the Nile, The Private Eyes, The Mirror Crack’d, Evil Under the Sun, Deathtrap, Clue, and Gosford Park. The title was also taken from the Radiohead song of the same name. Johnson loves Radiohead.

 

The project was announced in September 2018 and was sold to distributors during the Toronto International Film Festival, with Lionsgate winning the deal in the end. Daniel Craig was the first actor chosen, and from there the cast exploded into a massive who’s who of some of the coolest talents, young and old, working today. Chris Evans, Lakeith Stanfield, Ana de Armas, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson, Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Collette, Christopher Plummer, Jaeden Martell, and Katherine Langford, among plenty others, were all a part of this massive ensemble, ensuring there was at least one big name out there for every person to check this movie out.

 

Knives Out first debuted at the 2019 TIFF and saw instant success, earning critical praise for its characters, storyline, themes, and direction. And Lionsgate knew they had a hit on their hands, as they endlessly promoted the title, pushed their massive cast through the press tour, and even had advanced screenings a couple days before the big opening day of November 27. This push from Lionsgate would pay off tremendously.

 

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Projections had the film’s 5-Day Thanksgiving opening at $22-25 million, which would have already been pretty decent. But with very strong reviews and buzz on the film, it managed to surpass all expectations, to the point its 3-Day of $26.8 million is actually ahead of the tracked 5-day. 5-Day was $41.4 million. And the film very quickly caught on with audiences, as newbies were engrossed by the mystery and repeat viewers caught all the little details. It dropped only 47% on its second weekend, an impressive hold for a post-Thanksgiving weekend. And it continued to play well in the December holidays and onwards, ultimately finishing with $165.4 million, 4 times its 5-day opening. Worldwide was $311.4 million and it saw a net profit of $82 million.

 

In the risk-averse Hollywood of today, original films, specifically ones not based on any previous source material, are a rarity. And those that are successful are practically a unicorn. But Knives Out shows the potential for exciting, original ideas, so long as you have the right ingredients. You need a solid premise that can hook in the masses, a strong creative team with a solid fanbase, whether they be in the cast or the director, and have a studio that is confident in the product and knows how to push it to the masses. Knives Out has since been cited as one of the best films of the year, earning 3 Golden Globe nominations and an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay, and has given Rian Johnson even more fans after the likes of Looper and The Last Jedi hit the scene. A sequel is currently in development with Rian Johnson back, Daniel Craig returning as Benoit Blanc, and a new cast of character actors ready to sink their teeth into a brand new mystery.

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Nineteenth place was the much-hyped Pokémon: Detective Pikachu. In a city where humans and Pokémon coexist together, an aspiring trainer named Tim Goodman finds himself reluctantly paired up with a talking Pikachu voiced by Ryan Reynolds. Together the two uncover the mystery of Tim’s missing father and uncover a conspiracy that could destroy the Pokéworld forever.

 

There’s a lot to say about Pokémon that it’s hard to really start at one point. A property co-owned by Nintendo and Game Freak, Pokémon is a series all about catching, training, and battling against a series of self-titled creatures, all with unique stats and abilities. It first saw life as a Game Boy role-playing game in 1996, which soon led to the highest-grossing media franchise in history. It’s currently the second-best-selling video game franchise in history, only behind Mario, and it just spills out from there. Trading cards, manga, books, music, a theme park, toys, and an anime television series that has gone on for 20 seasons and is still producing new episodes today.

 

In fact, Pokémon has had a very long history in movies and the box office. In 1999, Pokémon: The First Movie was released in America at the height of the brand’s popularity and was based on the popular anime series. This resulted in The First Movie earning the biggest 5-Day opening for a November release, as well as the biggest opening ever for a non-Disney animated movie. Pokémon the Movie 2000 released one year later, and while it did drop hard from the first film’s gross, it was still a financial success, earning the third-biggest non-Disney animated opening. Then Pokémon 3 came out in 2001, dropped even further from the last movie, and Warner Bros. dropped distribution for future films outside of Japan. And after two more Pokémon movies saw a limited theatrical release, Pokémon was no more as a theatrical property, at least outside Japan. With Pokémon movies coming out every year, they still release in theaters in Japan and air on TV on channels like Cartoon Network consistently.

 

So naturally a live-action Pokémon movie was going to happen no matter what. And in April 2016, Legendary Pictures announced they earned the production rights. This was convenient timing too. 2016 was the 20th anniversary of Pokémon and the mobile game Pokémon Go would become a worldwide phenomenon. In July 2016, we first got details on this movie, and how it wasn’t a traditional adaptation of the Pokémon games or anime series. Rather, it was an adaptation of the obscure spin-off 3DS game Detective Pikachu. This was a puzzling choice to many Pokémon fans, but The Pokémon Company explained that since they made so many movies about Ash already, they could do something fresh with a new story and a new protagonist. Rob Letterman of Goosebumps and Monsters vs. Aliens fame signed on as director in November 2016, and development was underway.

 

While the human cast was largely full of upcoming names like Justice Smith and Kathryn Newton, the big star of the show was the voice of Pikachu. Actors like Danny DeVito, Dwayne Johnson, Mark Wahlberg, and Hugh Jackman were considered, but the voice was ultimately given to Ryan Reynolds, fresh off his success with Deadpool. And after that, things kind of went under the radar for the film. While Pokémon was still as big as ever, there wasn’t much discussion amongst fandom circles about the feature. But then the first trailer dropped. And all of a sudden, everything had changed.

 

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It was November 12 when the trailer first launched, and it very quickly took the world by storm. It was the top trending video on YouTube and Twitter, spawned numerous memes and reaction videos, and amassed more than 100 million views in the span of 24 hours. The combination of cute Pokémon, Reynolds’ starpower, and nostalgia for the Chu got everybody talking about this movie. It saw more than 1.22 million likes on YouTube in just five days and set a record of most Twitter mentions in one day, earning 400,000 mentions. With two more trailers to come, as well as many more TV spots and featurettes, the hype for Detective Pikachu seemed otherworldly.

 

The views and likes kept on coming, as people couldn’t resist this movie’s charms and it really seemed like this would be huge. With such massive online hype, an iconic brand, and plenty in there for both kids and nostalgic adults, it only made sense that Detective Pikachu would be a massive hit. The stars were aligning perfectly, the buzz was just right. This was going to be for video game movies what Spider-Man was for comic book movies.

 

And when the film finally came out, on the back of several merchandise tie-ins, Detective Pikachu’s May 10 debut was...okay. That’s not to say its $54.4 million opening was bad. In fact, it was the biggest opening ever for a video game movie. But when the dust settled that weekend, it was kind of underwhelming. After all the buzz on social media and the iconic legacy of the Pokemon brand, it really felt like money was left on the table here and that it didn’t live up to the lofty expectations shown by social media. Ultimately the movie finished with about $144.1 million domestically and $433 million worldwide. Domestically this was the biggest video game movie ever, while worldwide it was only second-best, behind 2016’s ill-fated Warcraft movie.

 

It’s kind of weird to think about this film really. When the first trailer dropped, the buzz was through the roof and everybody was hyped for it. Then when it came out, it couldn’t even beat Warcraft’s global total. The theorizing over the movie’s “good not great” performance has been full of possible answers. Maybe it was Avengers: Endgame releasing so soon. Maybe it was the positive, if unenthusiastic reviews. Maybe the trailers got more buzz because of Pikachu’s cuteness rather than actual excitement. Whatever the reason, Detective Pikachu still was successful enough, but there’s still arguments out there it could have been a true box office juggernaut.

 

Either way, the release of Detective Pikachu and its solid critical and commercial success would give the video game movies a needed shot in the arm. This was the first video game movie ever to have a Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and it showed that people would be interested in this kind of material. This would lead to a number of video game movies either releasing or currently in the works, with the trailer for the upcoming Mortal Kombat movie making huge headlines on social media just a couple weeks ago. A Detective Pikachu sequel was also reported to be in development, though no word has been made on it since 2019.

 

Let’s go a fair ways down here at 54th place with the critical darling Parasite. This black comedy thriller focuses on the Kim family, a poor family living in a cramped basement who are just barely making ends meet. But when the teenage son poses as a University student, he becomes an English tutor for the extremely wealthy Park family. Realizing the Park family are rarely in the house and are pretty dense individuals, the Kims pretend to be unrelated and highly qualified workers and all end up working for and mooching off the Parks. This soon leads to conspiracy, shocking reveals, twisted visuals, biting commentary, and twists and turns all around.

 

Parasite was directed by famed South Korean talent Bong Joon-Ho. He first saw great critical and commercial success with films like Memories of Murder and The Host, and would go on to see two English-language hits with both Okja and Snowpiercer. And it was during production of Snowpiercer in 2013 that Bong found the inspiration for Parasite. Bong was a tutor for the son of a wealthy family in his early 20s, and wanted to take his experience and turn it into a stage production. The title of Parasite was considered early on, as it was an effective double meaning. The poor family are technically parasites, leeching off the rich family. Yet at the same time, the rich family are also parasites, leeching off the labor of the working class.

 

A fifteen-page treatment was written after Snowpiercer’s release, but it wasn’t until Okja was finished things went full speed ahead. Filming began May 2018 and the film first debuted to the public at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival on May 21. And at Cannes, it was an instant critical favorite. Festival goers praised the film for its direction, editing, acting, and themes of social inequality and class conflict. And it soon made history when it won the Palme D’Or, the most prestigious prize of the festival. This was the first South Korean movie ever to win the Palme, and was the first unanimous win since Blue is the Warmest Colour in 2013. 

 

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The festival buzz helped Parasite’s numbers in South Korea, where it released one week after Cannes. And starting with an opening weekend of $20.7 million, it racked up $72.2 million and more than 10 million admissions, meaning Parasite was watched by roughly one-fifth of South Korea's population. Not an easy feat. And sure enough, Parasite slowly but surely became a sensation in every part of the world. It became the first Korean film in nearly 15 years to pass 1 million admissions in Japan. It saw the biggest non-English debut in the United Kingdom. But for the domestic box office, the only box office that matters, there’s a great story here.

 

Opening on October 11 in just three theaters, Parasite opened to $376.3 thousand. With a PTA of $125.4 thousand, it was the strongest per-theater average since La La Land in 2016 and the biggest ever for an international release. Parasite’s distributor Neon would slowly build the film’s hype week after week. Next weekend, it opened in 33 theaters and grossed $1.2 million. Weekend three was 129 theaters with a $1.8 million weekend haul. Then $2.5 million on weekend four, then $2.6 million on weekend 5. Weekend six had it at about 620 theaters, its peak, making about $1.9 million. It continued to play well in limited capacity, reaching $20 million by weekend 10, an incredible feat for a non-English title.

 

The film continued to earn solid results in the arthouse markets, helped by its Best International Film win at the 2020 Golden Globes. MLK weekend had the film boost back up to $1.7 million, buoyed by an 843 theater count and earning six Academy Award nominations. The weekend of the Oscars saw it at 1,060 theaters, grossing $1.6 million. And then we come to that fateful Academy Awards ceremony. And it was here where history was made. Of the six nominations, Parasite won four. Best International Feature Film, Best Original Screenplay, Best Director, and most important of all, Best Picture. This was the first time ever a non-English language film ever won Best Picture before, with such films being ghettoized into the Foreign-Language category. Parasite was also the first South Korean film ever to be nominated for Best Picture, and the second East Asian film, the first being Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. It was also only the third film to win both the Palme D’Or and Best Picture at the Oscars, the other two being 1945’s The Lost Weekend and 1955’s Marty.

 

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This made Parasite a film icon. While it was already popular with Korean film fans and film buffs, Parasite’s historical win turned heads and instantly made the film known by the millions watching the ceremony and the millions more who saw it pop up on their news feed. Now everybody had to check this movie out. Sure enough, despite already being available to own on home video, Parasite expanded to 2,001 theaters and leaped 245% from the previous weekend, reaching #7 on the top 10 and grossing $5.7 million over the weekend, the best box office bump for a Best Picture winner since Slumdog Millionaire in 2009. This boosted its total all the way to $43.4 million. Alongside a brief IMAX stint, Parasite finally finished with $53.4 million in the United States and Canada, as well as $258.8 million worldwide, making it the biggest film in Bong’s career, and earning a net profit of $46.2 million. And frankly, if it weren’t for COVID-19, it probably could have finished even higher than that.

 

Parasite’s success was a bellwether, as it quickly gave South Korea cinema, an area of film that has been going through a renaissance of sorts nowadays, more attention than ever. At the same time, Bong Joon-Ho is now considered one of the greatest directors working today almost overnight, standing toe-to-toe alongside living legends like Martin Scorsese. And after the Oscars So White debacle, it seemed to indicate a shift in Hollywood that it was becoming more inclusive and more willing for other types of films.

 

And Parasite is still not done. After being hailed as one of the greatest films of all time, a spin-off television series is currently in the works at HBO with both Bong and Adam McKay as executive producers. No word yet on what Bong’s next film will be, but it’s almost certain it’ll be yet another smash success when it finally drops.

 

For 2019, I’ve talked about nothing but hits. Disney’s utter domination, the Jokah, and the surprise sensations of Knives Out and Parasite. But you all know that I love being an ass, so I think it’s fair to end things with one spicy meatball of a failure. All the way down in 87th place is the one, the only, Cats. Focusing on the hidden world of half-human, half-feline figures known as the Jellicle cats. We follow a young white cat named Victoria and her interactions with the Jellicles, as they all prepare for the Jellicle Ball, an annual ceremony where cats compete against one another to go to the Heaviside Layer and be given a new life.

 

Based on the T. S. Eliot poems, Cats first began life as a West End musical from the great Andrew Lloyd Weber, known for works like Phantom of the Opera, Evita, and Jesus Christ Superstar. Running for 21 years in London and 18 years on Broadway, Cats is one of those musicals that everybody knows. Despite mixed reviews and an unusual premise, people could not get enough of the sets, costumes, choreography, and music. The song “Memory” became a Broadway staple and Cats’ success established a global market for musical theater and pushed the industry for big-budget spectacle and tourist/family friendly pieces...gee, that sounds familiar.

 

A Cats movie, despite an unconventional plot and becoming more and more of a joke amongst the masses, was a no-brainer. As such, the rights were soon picked up by Amblimation in the 1990s. Amblimation, an animation studio founded by Steven Spielberg and owned by Universal, did get concept art done, but the commercial failures of their films We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story and Balto caused the studio to shut down and the plans were promptly abandoned.

 

But that didn’t stop Universal, as they still had the rights and weren’t going to stop until this movie came out. Weber did tease the movie in 2013, but it wasn’t until 2016 things really got rolling. Academy Award winner Tom Hooper would attach himself as director. And in January 2018, Hooper, alongside production company Working Title, began casting. Andrew Lloyd Weber also started working on writing a new song for the film, titled “Beautiful Ghosts”. And thus, the hellish film that came to be was born.

 

Things already seemed pretty off when the first casting details were announced. That July, it was revealed that Taylor Swift, James Corden, Ian McKellan, and Jennifer Hudson would all appear in this movie. It was an odd starting roster to say the least, though interestingly Swift was set to appear in Hooper’s Les Miserables adaptation as Eponine. Things got weirder from there, as Idris Elba, Judi Dench, Rebel Wilson, and Jason DeRulo all joined the party. At the very least, you can’t say this wasn’t a starry cast.

 

Filming began in December 2018, but before any of the cast members could actually start filming Hooper forced them all to attend “cat school”. The cast had to crawl on the floor barefoot and hiss at each other for hours, in an attempt to understand what it was really like to be a cat. I am not making a word of this up. The sets were also pretty unique. Because the characters were cat-sized, the sets the actors had to work on were these ginormous, Pee-Wee’s Playhouse monstrosities, with oversized furniture and doorways and all that jazz.

 

Filming wrapped in April 2019, and the first trailer released later in July. It...did not go well. Pretty much entirely due to the visual effects and character designs. A weird combination of CGI and motion capture, the cats in this film had a bizarre, uncanny look to them. The digital fur technology combined with the face of the actors weirdly plastered onto the CG models was horrifying to half the population and hilarious to the other half. The film would soon be mocked and memed online, a fate worse than death, and pretty much killed any and all interest in the movie right off the bat.

 

How did these designs get approved and look so horrid and unfinished? Well, the culprit was Tom Hooper himself. Hooper had never worked with visual effects, at least something to this scale. This lack of visual effects and animation training meant things were truly hellish for the VFX team. The staff was reportedly working 80-90 hour weeks so they can get the film finished before the release date. And seeing as how they were forced to spend six months producing the two-minute trailer, this really meant they had four months to finish an entire 110-minute film that had CG-heavy characters in every frame. All the while, Tom Hooper, a man who had no idea what he was doing, continuously sent angry, denigrating emails to the effects team and continuously insulted them during conferences.

 

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But the film was finished...kind of. Because there was such a huge time crunch between the beginning of VFX work and the film’s actual release date, the movie was completed literal hours before its big premiere and still had technical hiccups. There were several CGI glitches and errors throughout the film, with the biggest one being one scene where Judi Dench’s literal hand was on frame, including her wedding ring, rather than the paw that was supposed to be there. Universal had to notify cinemas there would be a new version of the film that fixed these errors right on opening day. So this basically had a Day 1 patch that replaced the print that was shown to opening day patrons. This type of practice was unheard of according to cinema owners.

 

So to recap, this was a movie based on an odd stage musical that was already considered a joke among the masses, had a director who had no idea what he was doing, VFX artists who were forced into one of the worst crunches in film history, a horrifying visual and production design, wasn’t even completely finished when it first premiered, garnered immediate backlash after its first trailer, and opened on December 20, the exact same day as Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. I think you can figure out at this point how the movie fared.

 

Cats tanked both critically and financially. Reviews slammed the film for its story, characters, direction, visuals, editing, musical numbers, comedy, and...pretty much everything else you can think of. And so, Cats, a $95 million monstrosity, opened to just $6.6 million, only managing fourth place for the weekend. And it all went downhill from there. With literally anything else being a better option, Cats basically died once the new year began, grossing just $27.2 million domestically and $73.8 million worldwide. When you include its advertising budget of around $115 million, Cats became one of the biggest bombs of the year, losing Universal around $113.6 million. Only Dark Phoenix and Terminator: Dark Fate are estimated to have lost more.

 

Not long after, Cats’ For Your Consideration campaign for the awards season was quickly canceled, though it did win 6 Golden Raspberry Awards and Taylor Swift was nominated for a Kids’ Choice Award. Andrew Lloyd Weber went on to say he hated the film, and the film, as well as director Tom Hooper, quickly became a laughingstock in the industry. However, there is a silver lining to all this. While the film was lambasted by the general public, an underground cult following did spring up for the piece. There was a significant number of people who found themselves entranced by the nonsensical story, horrifying designs, and garish musical numbers. And people were starting to check out the film in both an ironic and unironic sense at the same time. Costumed screenings and sing-along screenings started to pop up in major cities and were quickly sold out. And sure enough, Cats has become a midnight movie hit, combining the camp value of Rocky Horror Picture Show with the ironic “so-bad-its-good” hilarity of The Room. And once COVID is out of the way, we’ll likely see Cats live on as a bizarre flick that has even more bizarre appreciators in the years ahead.

 

And we have 2019 done. But as always, we still need to highlight a few other stories. It: Chapter 2 finished the series to mixed-ish results. Us continued Jordan Peele’s hot streak. Hobbs & Shaw expanded the world and profits of Fast and Furious. How to Train Your Dragon ended with flying colors. 1917 used the one-take method to great success. The Secret Life of Pets 2 dropped like a rock from the first movie. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood was another hit for Tarantino. Shazam! saw another hit for DC. Ford v Ferrari continued James Mangold’s hot streak. Dumbo was the only notable Disney bomb. Maleficent returned to little fanfare. Glass ended the Unbreakable trilogy with...grace? Godzilla: King of the Monsters failed to find an audience. The Upside was a surprise former Weinstein hit. Little Women gave us Timothee at his all-time sexiness. The Lego Movie 2 killed the franchise. Hustlers gave J-Lo major awards attention until it didn’t. The Addams Family was brought back to decent success. 

 

Downton Abbey showcased the brand loyalty of the fanbase. Rocketman was a decent follow-up to Bohemian Rhapsody. Alita: Battle Angel was an ill-fated swan song for Fox. Good Boys brought raunchy laughs to many. Men in Black: International was a dud of a spin-off. Annabelle Comes Home was the lowest of the Conjuring Universe, unless you count Curse of La Llorona, which also came out this year. Yesterday was an “eh” summer sleeper. Zombieland gracefully returned. Angel Has Fallen continued Gerard Butler’s weird little action series. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark brought the famous book series to decent success. Spies in Disguise was the unexpected swan song for Blue Sky. Dark Phoenix killed the franchise. Likewise with Terminator: Dark Fate. 

 

Dora and the Lost City of Gold brought back the Nick Jr. icon to little fanfare. Escape Room was a surprise hit for Sony in the first weekend of January slot. Pet Semetary was a botched Stephen King title. Uncut Gems was a cult hit for A24 and the Sandman. Ad Astra brought James Gray to the mainstream to mixed results. Gemini Man was an epic bomb for Will Smith and Ang Lee. Ma gave Octavia Spencer a chance to show her scary side. Angry Birds got a sequel but nobody cared. Jojo Rabbit gave Taika Oscar gold. Doctor Sleep was a flop sequel to The Shining. Booksmart became a cult hit. Charlie’s Angels was a film nobody watched. And lastly, Midway...came out I guess.

 

This was 2019

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@Brainbug@charlie Jatinder @excel1 @YourMother the Edgelord @Webslinger @Noctis @DAJK @Sir Tiki @Giesi @WittyUsername

 

This was another long and taxing year to work on, if only because there were so many major stories to tackle, especially when it came to Disney. My stint talking about Disney's 2010s run was a lengthy one, but necessary. It's certainly fascinating to see just how massive the studio has become at the box office and how they're already dominating streaming in little more than a year and I thought it was important to really contextualize it in what was their big banner year.

 

I only have one year left to take care of, and thank goodness for that. I obviously had a blast working on this series, but it does take a lot out of you. And even with no movies last year, there's going to be plenty to talk about in regards to the future of the box office that I'll still be swamped in the writing process. Hope you guys, and the people I have not @ed, are enjoying this big adventure.

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Ah Endgame, the movie that made numbers which always seemed like massive errors and typos.

 

That run was just stupid in a mesmerizing sense. I knew something was truly off when Endgame practically grossed the same amount of money WW on its Opening weekend than the worldwide phenomenon Frozen (2013) did in its entire WW run.

 

I truly think (and dread) that we will never see such a run again.

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I’ll be the first to admit that I’m embarrassed at having over predicted the box office potential of Detective Pikachu. All the buzz for that initial trailer threw me off guard. In hindsight, it seems that the reason the trailer did so well was because people wanted to see what live action Pokémon would look like, but they didn’t care much about the film itself. It’ll be interesting to see if Godzilla vs. Kong suffers a similar fate.

 

Aside from that, Endgame’s OW was pretty unbelievable. The fact that it (barely) became the highest grossing film of all time is no small feat either, but those OW numbers, both domestically and overseas, were the craziest thing ever. I saw the movie on Saturday, and it was a pain to try and find a parking space, and when I got inside, people were crowded around the ticket vendor. That was a little less than two years ago, but it feels more like five. 
 

Joker was also a big surprise. It still baffles me that the movie inspired such a nonsensical controversy, but I think it might’ve actually helped it to an extent. There’s something about the Joker that always seems to make him a public phenomenon, whether it’s genuine or ironic. 

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ENDGAME is the most anticipated film of all time and the MCU is the most impressive commercial cinematic feat of all time. I never thought we would see STAR WARS dethroned but we absolutely did. It was a true marvel ;) to witness.

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