Beyond the capped crusader’s mask and gravelly voice, Christian Bale is also an Academy Award winning actor, an actor that’s very much in demand right now. He just opened thriller Out of the Furnace but his fans are actually waiting for American Hustle, opening now in cinemas. So this is about the perfect time to look back at Christian Bale’s top 10 highest grossing movies of his career, worldwide. Again, the films here are ranked based on how much money they made worldwide, not how good (or bad) they are.
10. 3:10 to Yuma (2007) $70 million – A good western that sort of started the resurgence of the genre at the box office. James Mangold directed and Russell Crowe stared alongside Christian Bale.
9. Reign of Fire (2002) $82.2 million – Fire-breathing dragons bring forth the apocalypse in this modern day action-fantasy. It’s a great premise that was sort of wasted on a not so great flick.
8. Shaft (2000) $107.2 million – Another remake on this list (3:10 to Yuma being the other), Shaft is the name of a hard-ass black police detective. Samuel L. Jackson was born to play the role of John Shaft and while the movie was nothing to write home about, I can’t put any blame for that on the lead. Regarding Bale, I don’t recall his part in this, sorry (seen Shaft a long time ago).
7. The Prestige (2006) $109.7 million – Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale’s second collaboration was a brilliant period piece about the rivalry between two magicians. Unfortunately this film came before Nolan became a household name so its box office numbers were, as you can see, not exactly setting the world on fire. With the director’s success today, I’m pretty sure The Prestige would have done a lot better.
6. The Fighter (2010) $129.2 million – David O. Russell, also responsible for American Hustle with Christian Bale again, directed this biopic of boxer Micky Ward. Christian Bale absolutely transformed himself into Dicky Eklund, the troubled brother of Ward, thus taking home a well-deserved Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in 2011. This was his first (and only for now) nomination and win.
5. Public Enemies (2009) $214.1 million – Michael Mann’s take on the war between the feds and gangster John Dillinger (Johnny Depp) and his gang. Set during the 1930’s, Public Enemies is an entertaining crime-drama, if a bit long. Christian Bale plays FBI agent Melvin Purvis here.
4. Terminator Salvation (2009) $371.4 million – Salvation was supposed to act as a sort of reboot to this old franchise, taking place after Judgement Day with Bale in full John Connor mode. Unfortunately the trilogy starter set up a lot of things that we will never see brought to an end simply because Terminator Salvation was not successful enough. That and it really wasn’t a great start, although it had potential for superior followups (with a different director).
3. Batman Begins (2005) $372.7 million – Now this is how you reboot a dead series. Batman Begins still is for me personally the best Batman flick simply because it focuses on the capped crusader above all else. There’s also the great origin story and perfect representation of Gotham City, the later being something subsequent followups left to be desired.
2. The Dark Knight (2008) $1,003 billion – The Dark Knight is a great movie, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way I can start ripping it apart. Joking aside (no puns here, I promise), I wish they would have done more with Harvey Dent after his accident and that Gotham didn’t look like Chicago. Maybe silly stuff in the grand scheme of things, I know.
1. The Dark Knight Rises (2012) $1,084.4 billion – Plot holes and contrivances aside, this was a fitting end to The Dark Knight trilogy and probably the most fun to watch. While Begins was about Batman and The Dark Knight focused on the Joker, Rises is Bruce Wayne’s movie.
Special mentions here at the end go out to Equilibrium, a great sci-fi action flick that you should definitely watch if you haven’t already (imdb link here), and The Machinist to understand just how dedicated Christian Bale can be to a single role.
So what’s your favorite Christian Bale movie?