The former rapper made his big screen debut in a 1994, often overlooked, little gem called Renaissance Man. That comedy starring Danny DeVito saw a young and promising Mark Wahlberg singing in the shower and hold a beat to a rap version of Hamlet in a US Army base.
18 years later and Mark Wahlberg is still here better than ever. Right now you can see him in the popular R-rated Seth MacFarlane comedy Ted. After the break we’ll be looking at his current top 10 biggest box office hits in North America adjusted for inflation (in parentheses the unadjusted number).
10. The Happening (2008) $71.1 million ($64.5M) – Not a lot of love for M. Night Shyamalan lately and The Happening sure didn’t help his cause back when it came out. Mark Wahlberg was a professor here giving probably one of his worst performances to date.
9. Four Brothers (2005) $92 million ($74.5M) – A great action film that had Mark Wahlberg, Tyrese Gibson, Andre Benjamin and Garret Hedlund play four adopted brothers taking revenge for the death of their mother, played by Fionnula Flanagan.
8. The Fighter (2010) $92.5 million ($93.6M) – Director David O. Russell gave us a look at the early years of boxer Micky Ward, played by Mark Wahlberg, and his rise to pro boxing in the 80’s. Nominated for 7 Oscars in 2011, The Fighter won 2 for Best Supporting Actor (Christian Bale playing Micky Ward’s brother) and Best Supporting Actress (Mellisa Leo, playing the mother of Micky Ward).
7. Three Kings (1999) $94.4 million ($60.6M) – A modest hit in theaters, this film took a life of its own on DVD. Again under the direction of David O. Russell and this time set in the aftermath of the 1991 Gulf War, Three Kings starred Mark Wahlberg, George Clooney, Ice Cube and Spike Jonze. Three Kings is a great war dramedy and if you haven’t seen it yet, you definitely should.
6. Date Night (2010 $98.3 million ($98.7M) – In this comedy Mark Wahlberg has a supporting role as Holbrooke Grant, a security expert. Played mostly shirtless, the part sees him helping out the troubled (in the film) Steve Carell and Tina Fey.
5. The Other Guys (2010) $118.7 million ($119.2M) – This is the only straight comedy in the top 10 and besides Mark Wahlberg, also stars Will Ferrell. Now you know that’s a recipe for laughter and on that front The Other Guys does not disappoint. But the real show-stealers here are Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne Johnson as a ridiculously confident team of detectives.
4. The Italian Job (2003) $139.3 million ($106.1M) – A remake of the 1969 classic Michael Caine heist film, The Italian Job hits all the right notes offering an enjoyable 111 minute robbery that should not be missed, new Mini included.
3. The Departed (2006) $159.3 million ($132.3M) – This Martin Scorsese thriller gave Mark Wahlberg his first Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor in 2007. He is right at home in The Departed as Dignam, a role that fits him perfectly.
2. Planet of the Apes (2001) $251.8 million ($180M) – Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes was not what you’d call a memorable or even good film for that matter. Mark Wahlberg does what he can in his part, which is really not much. For your ape fix, Rise of the Planet of the Apes is a much better choice.
1. The Perfect Storm (2000) $268.3 million ($182.6M) – Director Wolfgang Petersen brought to the big screen the tragic story of the Andreea Gail. On paper this was hardly blockbuster material but infused with some of the best CGI of the time (that giant wave was really something), The Perfect Storm turned into the 6th highest grossing film of 2000.
Besides this mostly great films, Mark Wahlberg has been part of other features worthy of your attention, stuff like Invincible, Rock Star, Boogie Nights and The Basketball Diaries. Plus you should definitely give Ted a chance (if you’re over 15). Now Mark Wahlberg might not be the next Al Pacino but he certainly has had one of the most successful transitions from music to acting and I dare you guys to prove me wrong on that one.
So what’s your favorite Mark Wahlberg film?