When a movie becomes a hit, it has the potential to set all sorts of records. From gross earnings to critical reviews, every movie gets measured. From how a film makes its actors and actresses legends of Hollywood to how many swear words are included in the final release, everything is documented and recorded for later review. There are blockbuster films that have grossed over $2 billion worldwide, and there are movies that made very little money but are recognized for being truly iconic and winning awards left, right and center.
Do you think you know what these movies are?
The following list will take a look at 15 movies that made blockbuster history. These movies were unique in their own way, but in almost every case, they’ll be remembered for something beyond just being an entertaining popcorn flick. Some became a smash success at the box office. Others developed huge followings, made a sizable profit, and, in many cases, made it possible to produce a sequel.
Some of these movies go back quite a few years and some took years to make. Others are more recent releases that only became popular in the year 2017 but they deserve recognition just the same. The rules of this list are simple; if the movie broke a cool record, we listed it.
We hope you enjoy learning something about each and every one of the following movies. Read through this list, comment, and share with a friend to see if your fellow movie circle was aware of the records each one of these films broke.
15. Most Successful Sports Franchise
Sylvester Stallone is one of the most hard-working actors today. He’s found a niche way of making movies that seem to be blockbusters in more ways than one. From The Expendables franchise to his Rambo series and a host of other popcorn action flicks, he’s made a boatload of money. That said, if he only ever produced and acted in one franchise, Rocky, he would never have had to work again.
There will probably never be another sports franchise that does as well as the Rocky franchise has done. It’s lasted the test of time and with its latest installment, Creed, Stallone was nominated for an Oscar. This boxing franchise put Stallone on the map, and it has been a labor of love for the megastar. He’s been involved in every facet of making the movies, and he was set to accept a certificate validating the record for the $1,251,372,491 the movies have taken in so far. It’s an astonishing number and that doesn’t count what Creed will add to the total. It made another $100 million that isn’t in that number.
14. Best Reviewed Film Of All Time
Sometimes, so much work goes into a film and the movie is so good, everyone who sees it respects it and understands that there may never be another movie quite like it. That was the case with the movie Boyhood which was filmed over a period of 12 years. Production began in 2002 and ran until 2013 and the director’s (Richard Linklater) idea was to make a film about growing up.
There was no script, only a beginning and an ending. The rest of the movie was written as it was being created, taking one year at a time and only after watching the previous years footage to see which direction to take the story. The movie won all sorts of awards, from Golden Globes to an Academy Award for Patricia Arquette for Best Supporting Actress.
The film itself wasn’t a blockbuster in terms of gross earnings, but it did make $46 million and perhaps more importantly, was reviewed better than any movie in history. It had a 98 score on Rotten Tomatoes, a 100 score on Metacritic, and a 99 average score.
13. Highest Grossing Film Of 2017
Considering we’re currently living in the year 2017, it seemed only right to include an item on our list that pertained specifically to the year 2017. This year, one film—a completely expected-to-be-great film—caught everyone’s attention and has set forth the blueprint for a series of new movies that will remake animated films in live-action reboots. If you like live-action Disney movies, you can thank this film. If you don’t, well you’re out of luck because the world will be seeing a lot more of them.
Beauty and the Beast (2017) stars Emma Watson (of Harry Potter fame) as Belle and retells her character’s journey after being taken prisoner by a Beast in his castle. Despite her fears and contempt for the animal, she befriends the castle’s enchanted staff and learns to look beyond the Beast’s hideous exterior image to find his true heart within. They go on to live happily ever after.
12. Highest Grossing Animated Film
There are so many animated movies coming out nowadays that it’s probably difficult for producers to guess which one is going to be a box office blockbuster. For the most part, any Pixar or Disney movie does well, but none have done as well as Frozen, a movie about a couple of princesses, a snowman, and some ill-timed magic that makes an entire city an icy palace. Between the fact that this movie resonated with so many people and then added hit songs, spin-off films, toys, and merchandise that flew off the shelves, Frozen pretty much destroyed the box office record for a full-length animated film.
You see, if you’re anything like the countless families with a kid between the ages of 4 and 14, then you probably saw Frozen. The younger your kids, the more times you probably saw it. Frozen pulled in a whopping $1,287,000,000 worldwide. Frozen 2 was an easy decision after that. It will be released sometime around 2019.
11. Highest Grossing Actor In Hollywood
For a while, he’d lost his spot as Hollywood’s highest-grossing actor. Even after starring in hits like Star Wars and Indiana Jones, Harrison Ford still wasn’t at the top of the standings. Well, that was until he reprised his role as Han Solo in the new installment of the blockbuster franchise in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. His pay and cut of that movie made him tons of cash and, more importantly, popped him right back up to the top of the charts in terms of highest grossing movie stars.
Over the course of his career, Ford has earned $4.9 billion at the box office. Star Wars: The Force Awakens is his highest-grossing movie within the franchise but it’s his overall body of work that ranks him where he is. Ford has been in 41 movies that have grossed an average of $118 million each.
10. Fastest Movie To Reach $1 Billion In Gross
Everyone knew that Star Wars: The Force Awakens was going to be a huge movie. As you can see here, it’s the only movie to make our list twice. The anticipation for its release was probably higher than any other movie in history. So, it’s understandable that people raced to the theater to see it. Many probably went multiple times in a single day.
Thanks to the swell of fans that literally couldn’t wait, the film took only 12 days to hit $1 billion in gross revenue. Today, it’s not strange to see a movie make a billion dollars. But, to see it get there in less than two weeks? That’s pretty phenomenal. The only other movie to do so was Jurassic World which got to $1 billion in 13 days. Furious 7 is also right up there but took a little while longer. It’s not a shock that all three of these franchises keep popping out new movies every year or two. Being involved in these films is like a license to print money.
9. Most Expensive Film Ever Made
Among those movies listed to reach $1 billion, the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise is up there too. They’ve got two films that did so. Since producers and the studio seem to know these movies are going to make money, they don’t seem shy about spending money when it comes to making them.
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides spent so much money that it broke the record for the most expensive movie ever made. The film cost a staggering $378.5 million to create and much of that was due to insanely high salaries (Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, and Penelope Cruz), an extremely large supporting cast and crew, and wildly detailed sets that are more elaborate than perhaps any other film in history. This film also reached the $1 billion mark, and it became the second most successful of the franchise. It grossed over $350 million on its opening weekend.
8. Largest Stunt Explosion
If you want to see a movie that has lots of action, you can guarantee that going to any James Bond flick will have you leaving satisfied. The films have become synonymous with cool. They are known for the newest and fastest cars, Bond hooking up with gorgeous women, testing all sorts of new awesome gadgets, and spitting out one-liners. Now more than ever, the sequels continually try and outdo themselves when it comes to the elaborate stunts. The 2015 installment of the Bond franchise called Spectre was presented with an official Guinness World Records certificate for the largest film stunt explosion ever.
The explosion had a total yield of 68.47 tonnes of TNT equivalent and was created by detonating 8,418 liters of kerosene with 33 kg of powder explosives. The blast lasted for over 7.5 seconds. Other movies up for consideration were Mad Max: Fury Road and The Dark Knight Rises.
7. Most Expensive Script Ever Purchased
While there were a ton of movies that did better numbers in terms of box office sales, to this day, Déjà Vu remains one of the absolute highest selling spec sales of all time. The movie starred Denzel Washington and was written by Bill Marsilii and Terry Rossio. Déjà Vu was a sci-fi thriller involving time travel and dramatic threats of terrorism on a ferry boat that left hundreds of people dead. Attempting to figure out what happened, an advancement in technology allowed Washington’s character to go back in time for four days and try to not just solve the crime, but prevent the crime before happening.
Yes, that sounds interesting enough, but no, I didn’t think that sounded like the kind of movie I’d have paid $5 million for either. Somebody probably got fired over that one. Still, the movie made some pretty decent money.
6. First-Ever Fully Computer Animated Film
The movie Toy Story was not only fantastic, but the Pixar Animation Studios film changed the world of movies forever when it was made. It was the first ever fully computer-animated feature film, and it set the bar for the way movies like it were afterward.
The idea for the film came after Disney produced a short-film called Tin Toy. It was about seeing things from the perspective of a toy, and it won the 1988 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. Pixar had always wanted to produce a computer-animated feature film and when the potential for a partnership with Disney to produce Toy Story came up, they jumped at it.
The movie was not only groundbreaking, but it proceeded to make $373 million at the box office and earned three Academy Award nominations. People have been trying to repeat their success ever since, and the franchise has made multiple Toy Story movies since.
5. Most Oscar Wins
Not every movie needs to win an Oscar to be considered a huge success. Some of the biggest box office earners of all time would probably never be up for an Academy Award. In fact, some of the highest-grossing movies were not very good. But to have won an Oscar is a real feather in any filmmaker’s cap, and it provides bragging rights for your entire career.
The yearly awards tell the movie world what movies were considered the best. An academy of voters sit and vote on a number of movies most of us have never even heard of and the results often launch the award winners into superstardom. You win one, you’re set. You win a bunch, you’re the cream of the crop. The record for most Oscar wins currently stands at eleven.
It’s a record shared by three movies—Ben-Hur, Titanic, and Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. This is a record that is going to be extremely hard to beat. La La Land had a chance of doing it in 2017 but came up short winning only six awards. It had 17 nominations and that may never happen again either.
4. Most Oscar Nominations Without Winning
What does it say about a movie that is considered an amazing piece of work and gets nominated for eleven Academy Awards? You’d think it’s a pretty darn good movie, right? I would. What if that same movie was nominated over and over again, but in every category in which they received a nomination, they didn’t receive an award? Would you still think it was a pretty darn good movie? I’m not so sure.
It sounds weird to think that a movie that was up for so many awards might be a dud, but that’s probably the way those involved in making the movies The Turning Point and The Color Purple felt. Both of those films tied for eleven nominations, and they left the award show completely empty-handed. Talk about an awkward moment at the after party. If only Oprah could have given out Oscars like she used to give out prizes to her audience. “You get an Oscar and you get an Oscar…. everyone is getting an Oscar!!!”
3. First Remake To Win An Oscar
Typically, remakes of movies don’t do so well. But because this particular remake varied quite a bit from the original, that’s perhaps why it bucked the trend. The film The Departed was a dark drama and crime thriller by Martin Scorsese, and it featured an all-star cast including Leonardo DiCaprio, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, and Matt Damon. It was about a cast of characters simultaneously working both in the Boston mob and the Boston police department, neither of which was legit and the characters were all completely crooked.
The Departed was released in 2006 and was a huge success both critically and at the box office. It made almost $300 million worldwide, and the film won four Oscars including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Film Editing. It was based on the film Internal Affairs.
2. Most Number Of Deaths In A Film
When the movie you make kills over 80 thousand people, you have to wonder what kind of person finds such pleasure in utter destruction. When you realize the movie that holds the record is a Disney/Marvel movie, you’re probably saying to yourself ‘huh?’
Yep, the movie that holds the record for the most onscreen deaths is Guardians of the Galaxy with a staggering 83,871 onscreen deaths. Before you rack your brain trying to figure out who counted those deaths, consider that 80,000 Nova Corps pilots die in one scene. Director James Gunn confirmed the statistic when he tweeted: ‘There are 80,000 CGI pilots on screen when the Dark Aster crashes through the Nova Net.’
1. First Movie To Gross $2 Billion
We talked about the movies that made $1 billion and how it’s not becoming completely abnormal to see that feat happen now and again. But, $2 billion is a completely different animal. $2 billion is just an insane amount of money for one film to earn.
Yet, James Cameron was able to do it when he made the movie Avatar. It was one of the first movies to really dig into the 3D technology and as such, it attracted a huge audience. The fact that the movie was created by James Cameron also helped. His past films were pretty big successes, and as a director, he’d developed a sizable following. He’d been talking up this project for years and the buzz was out of this world.
Amazingly, the movie isn’t really considered one of the best movies ever made. In fact, there were a lot of people who didn’t like it at all. It won several Oscars and got glowing reviews, but much of that can be attributed to the timing of the film and the 3D aspect of it. Still, you can’t knock a movie that makes that kind of money.
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