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 movie goers rewarded more diverse offering, and a trend emerges of decade regionalism. Lets break it all down.
July 25th – August 1st: The Trends
This weeks Box History boggles the mind. So many entries that scored big could have been classified under the Notable Movies outlier section on any other week, that trends in viewing are murky. Gone for now is the monolithic holiday glut of big action films, though they certainly stay relevant in the more recent years. What is beginning to coalesce are mini-trends that dominate for a definite time period and then are superseded by another genre. Surprisingly, the one constant this week is Comedy, which holds strong in each decade, though shot through with streaks of action, drama, or whatever the hell Waterworld was supposed to be. Fascinating movie evolution ahead.
“Not what I meant, internet.”
The 80’s: Comedy and Tragedy
The over-arching trend in the 80’s is comedy mixed with decidedly edgier movies. The Best Little Whore House in Texas (1982) finally edges E.T. out of the top spot. Who knew that what you needed to beat out the heart-warming tale of a boy and his stranded alien was a musical about prostitution?
“To be honest, between her figure and his mustache,This movie could have been about algebra and I’d go see it.”
Chevy Chase did well in the Box with two National Lampoon Vacations, Disney tried to make us believe killing Christopher Lloyd was OK in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (pro-tip, it’s never OK, the man’s paid his dues), and Tom Hanks tackles the Gordian Knot of comedy, a buddy movie with an animal partner, Turner and Hooch.
On the darker side, we have Aliens and Robocop continuing to spray the audience with gore, and a tense crime thriller starring Harrison Ford as a wrongly accused man… Presumed Innocent. What did you think I meant?
“Separated at birth?”
The 90’s: Cultural Awareness and Harrison Ford for some reason…
In the early 90’s we see audiences finally reward stories featuring African-American stars and story lines. The Wayan brothers turned their TV success into Box Office gold with 1992’s Mo’ Money, and Tupac and Janet Jackson made a similar leap from music to film in 1993’s Poetic Justice. I’m still waiting on hologram Tupac to make the sequel. We’ve been waiting long enough, deliver the goods! Samuel L. Jackson though they deserved to die (and hoped they burned in Hell) in A Time to Kill, and I guess I could be generous and say The Klumps and Eddie Murphy spoke to cultural issues, somehow. Dammit, Eddie, you’re really making this harder than it needs to be.
“Well, I guess it did make way for the masterpiece that was
Martin Lawrence’s nuanced and insightful “Big Momma’s House…”
Book-ending the decade, we have Harrison Ford in the aforementioned Presumed Innocent, and Air Force One (1997) and The Haunting (1999).
“Gary Oldman: ‘Well, technically its the Tax Payer’s Plane…ahhhhhhhhhh!'”
2000 to Present: Gritty Action and Fart Jokes. Stay classy, Hollywood.
Rounding out this week’s trends we have action films of the darker pedigree, with Nolan’s Dark Knight, Inception, and Dark Knight Rises, a Bourne Supremacy, and this weeks current Top Earner, The Wolverine.
Audiences took a break from the neck snapping, brooding action with 2000’s The Klumps (fart jokes), 2002’s Goldmember (fart jokes), 2007’s The Simpson’s Movie (shit jokes), and 2009’s G-Force (piece of shit joke of a movie.) Everything I know and love about cinema cannot handle that a movie about a special forces team of Guinea Pigs took the #1 spot. Humanity, what the fuck.
“Seriously. What. The. Fuck.”
So with the king, E.T., dethroned, all bets are off. We’ve got a clean slate working, time to see what the heck was going on in 1982. Apparently Hollywood manages to get one musical into the top spot each week, thanks to the adorable 80’s- you guys make this fun, keep it up. This weeks winner is Purple Rain, of which I can speak not an unkind word about. Go see it, and prepare to have your mind blown.
“Just Prince on a purple motorcycle, nothing to see here.”
Information courtesy of Box Office Mojo. Used with permission.