The worldwide market has become increasingly more important for studios over the years and 2009 has been the best year yet with markets that were considered average a few year ago, truly exploding last year. This can be seen in the fact that for the first time ever we have had 7 movies gross more then $700 million worldwide.
10. The Hangover (WarnerBros) $467.3M
The rare R-rated comedy that managed to break out and pull in a big audience all over the world but also one of the best comedies of the year if not the best (at least the Foreign Press thinks so). A sequel is already in the works.
9. Sherlock Holmes (WarnerBros) $468.8M
British director Guy Ritchie waited for 10 years to finally get his chance with a big studio movie and unlike others before him, he did not disappoint. But then again, this is the guy that brought us Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch and RockNRolla, but then again, he also did Swept Away. Sherlock Holmes might not be his best movie but it was a hell of a lot of fun and showed great promise for a future franchise that is already being pushed forward by Warner Bros.
8. Angels & Demons (Sony) $485.9M
The adventures of Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) continue in this Dan Brown adaptation of the book with the same title that was written as a sequel to the author’s best seller and worldwide phenomenon The Da Vinci Code, also adapted into a movie by the same team. That one made a bit more money with $758.2 million worldwide so it seems people are starting to get tired of Robert Langdon.
7. The Twilight Saga: New Moon (Summit) $706.6M
Sequel to 2008’s Twilight and based on the series of extremely popular books by author Stephenie Meyer. New Moon managed to almost double the $384 million that the first one made showing that there’s a very big audience still out there for this series. This summer Breaking Dawn, the 3rd chapter in the Twilight Saga comes out and regardless of what me or anybody else thinks of this series, it will continue to make a lot of money for Summit Entertainment and we will see it again in the top 10 of 2010.
6. Up (BuenaVista) $723M
Pixar scored their second biggest hit ever with this strange tale about the journey of an old man, a young boy and a dog named Dug that can speak. A year ago if someone asked me what I think of the potential box office of this movie, I would have replied that this was going to be one of the lowest grossing flicks in Pixar’s catalog. Fortunately I was wrong and Up turned into a success and it deserves every last penny it made. A nomination for Best Picture at the Oscars this weekend is a testament to that.
5. 2012 (Sony) $769.7M
What can I say, people love to see this world blown to pieces on the big screen and that’s exactly what 2012 promised, nothing more, nothing less. Did it deliver on that promise, first 90 minutes, hell yes, after that, not so much. Regardless, this has become Sony’s biggest hit worldwide outside of the now defunct Spider-Man franchise. Roland Emmerich said this was going to be his last disaster movie so he went all out on 2012 and it shows. Just watch any trailer and you’ll see what this movie is all about and why it has made so much money.
4. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (Paramount/DreamWorks) $835.3M
Director Michael Bay comes back with this sequel to the 2007 hit Transformers (also directed by him) and he does everything he can to make this the biggest most epic thing he’s ever done, so that means a lot of stuff is going on and even more stuff is blowing up. Giant robots are everywhere helping with the blowing stuff up and basically everything is one huge mambo-jambo. Still, for me it was an enjoyable romp, just pure fun and between you and me, I liked it better then the first one. Anyway, the third one is coming out next year so what can I say, hate them or not, giant robots are here to stay.
3. Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (Fox) $884.5M
Now here’s a bit of a surprise, Ice Age is huge! This has been a monster outside of the US and now worldwide it is only second to Sherk 2 with $919.8M. But if we look closely at the way this animated series has evolved, everything starts to make sense, Ice Age made $383.2 million while Ice Age 2 did $655.3 million. It is very uncommon that a series continues to increase its gross with each new sequel but it seems the animation studio Blue Sky have nailed the perfect recipe for continued success with Ice Age.
2. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (WarnerBros) $934M
Yet another series that continues to keep the flag up with each new chapter. What more can I say about Harry Potter that hasn’t been said already, we all know the books, some even read them, some just like to watch the movies. Two more (made from a single book) and the most successful series ever (unadjusted for inflation) will finally come to an end. So, has Warner Bros found a replacement yet?
1. Avatar (Fox) $2,546.8M
Words can’t describe the gigantic surprise that this movie was in terms of actual box office. Just like with Titanic there were people on either side, the ones that said it will bomb and the ones that knew it will become a hit. But here’s the thing, no one, not even the most crazy fan could have predicted just how much money this was going to make. 7 consecutive weekends in first place in NA, 11 consecutive weekends in first place Internationally, this has turned into a global phenomenon unlike anything we’ve seen since, well, Titanic. And to top this, both movies were directed by James Cameron. Love it or hate it, Avatar changed the way people look at 3D movies and now more then ever this format looks like it’s here to stay.
And there you go, 365 days and billions of dollars later, 2009 is over.
But I won’t stop here, I will go on with a top 10 that this time leaves out every single dollar made in the US, a non-US top 10 if you will:
- Avatar (Fox) $1,839M
- Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (Fox) $687.9M
- Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (WarnerBros) $632M
- 2012 (Sony) $603.5M
- Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (Paramount/DreamWorks) $433.2M
- Up (BuenaVista) $430M
- The Twilight Saga: New Moon (Summit) $410.6M
- Angels & Demons (Sony) $352.6M
- Sherlock Holmes (WarnerBros) $262.4M
- Terminator Salvation (WarnerBros/Sony) $246.7M
For even more information and stats on international box office go to here.