This Week in Box Office History takes a look at the last 30 years of top grossing movies. Sifting through the celluloid, we nail down audiences preferences and spot the trends in movie watching history. This week takes a detour into a bad neighborhood, and we have to call the cops. Let’s take a look at the film.
August 9th-16th: The Trends
Comedy apparently acted as a cinematic sorbet, cleansing audience palettes of Super Heroes and Blockbusters. Action movies return, but interestingly they return with a badge- drama’s and thrillers about cops, spies, and international intrigue are the major players this week. And E.T. is back. And there are no musicals. I guess it can’t always be sunshine and rainbows…
“Just give me the dang phone, this can’t be that complicated.”
Cops and Robbers
Crime movies swing into town, blue lights flashing, and take a significant portion of the #1 movie spots. The titles range from thrillers – The Fugitive (1994), Conspiracy Theory (1997), S.W.A.T. (2003); to action – Four Brothers (2005); and even comedy – Rush Hour 3 (2007), The Other Guys (2010). Besides being a godsend to Mark Wahlberg, crime certainly paid well for Hollywood, and I’m a little shocked to see that this summers crime movie (2 Guns, another Wahlberg flick…seriously, the guy must practically own the badge and gun prop department) fell off so precipitously in the rankings. We’ll have to keep our eyes peeled to see how many of these top earners have the moxie to stick around next week.
“Somebody order a buddy cop film?”
Send in the Marines
but he was stuck in traffic that day.”
Sometimes local law enforcement is not enough, and Hollywood has to send in the troops (as well as various other paramilitary and alphabet agencies.) Red Dawn (1984, not the Kim Jong Il version), Aliens (1986), Hot Shots! (1991), and Saving Private Ryan (1998) all put boots on the ground in the top position. For the covertly inclined, Bond and Bourne show up too this week, as well as agent XXX (Vin Diesel version, not the harrowing Ice Cube version…I love me some Cube, but deciding to sub him in for Diesel ranks right up there with Danny Glover fighting the Predator. Plus, I now wish Cube’s album, The Predator, featured Danny Glover in some way. Make this happen, Hollywood.) As for more unconventional crime fighters (yes, more unconventional than Bond and XXX, both of whom have fought bad guys while on jet ski’s) we have The Dark Knight (2008) busting criminal heads, and the true bastions of law and order that people everywhere cried out for, GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009). So, yeah. Are we going to stop rewarding film studios for action figure inspired movies any time soon?
We have a western! Clint Eastwood’s excellent Unforgiven raked it in in 1992 and reminds me that we haven’t had a western worth watching in more than TWO DECADES. Sorry Jonah Hex and Cowboys and Aliens, you don’t make the grade. The Oscar-bait teacher movie, Dangerous Minds (1995), sticks out like a sore thumb amongst all the gun toting macho flicks. And there is no disturbingly sexual imagery via musical this week. I know, I was crushed too.
Information courtesy of Box Office Mojo. Used with permission.