2008 Movies: Box Office Top Ten Report

By at December 21, 2008 | 12:23 am | Print

Before we do the Review Roundup for a seriously busy Christmas Day 2008, here’s a look at the year’s box office Top Ten — and what it might mean.

(numbers accurate as of this post)

:: 1. The Dark Knight ($530 million)
:: 2. Iron Man ($318 M)
:: 3. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull ($317 M)   
:: 4. Hancock ($228 M)
:: 5. WALL-E ($223 M)
:: 6. Kung Fu Panda ($215 M)
:: 7. Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa ($170 M)
:: 8. Quantum of Solace ($159 M)
:: 9. Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears A Who! ($154 M)
:: 10. Twilight ($153 M)

Christian Bale as Batman in The Dark KnightSUPERHERO? SUPER CASH.
Batman. Iron Man. Even Hancock. Three of the top four box office blockbusters have a lead character with special powers — real, artificial or otherwise. And if we want to expand the idea into adventurous, courageous characters, let’s include Indy and maybe even Po from Kung Fu Panda.

It’s probably just a matter of timing (Iron Man mania only pumped up Dark Knight anticipation even more), but the biggest flavor of the year was the deep, dramatic update of the superhero genre. You can thank Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man series for leading the way.

We’ve discussed Will Smith’s impermeability as a box office star and Hancock certainly supported that claim. Will Smith in HancockThe story about a slovenly, unwilling superhero received fair reviews, with an ending that was generally skewered by critics. $228 million later…

In a year where reviews appeared to make a difference — with moviegoers wanting a sure thing in this economy — that’s an amazing testament to Smith’s appeal. But it’s not the only Smith hit of 2008…

Remember I Am Legend? That was a megahit in December 2007, but still grossed $62 million in theaters in 2008. And now Mr. Smith has a third shot for the year with Seven Pounds. Stay tuned…

Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson in TwilightTHE CHICK FACTOR
Would you call the #10 movie, Twilight, a chick movie? Sure. How about #11, Sex and the City ($152 M)? Definitely. And #12, Mamma Mia ($143 M)? Without a doubt.

We’re not just talking about young women, although Twilight is certainly their big winner. The key here is that studios will look at marketing their female-targeted titles as potentially massive movies, not just niche profits.

By the way, it helps if the film works — and doesn’t seem like it’s simply pandering to its intended audience. The ill-advised remake of The Women earned just under $27 million.

:: Coming Next: The 2008 box office results for indie and limited-release films.

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  1. […] this week, we reviewed the Top Ten box office hits of 2008 — now we take a look at the smaller successes of the year, those limited-release films that […]

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