3D is all the rage right now among blockbuster, it’s like a “must have” on the checklist of things that should be in a big budget movie. So to see an epic like The Dark Knight Rises not go into the 3rd dimension and still bring in one of the biggest opening weekends of all time is very impressive.
The following list includes only movies released in the good-old and perfectly fine 2D and to give you a perspective on things, if I were to include 3D flicks, only two would make this top 10 (and both were converted). Kind of makes you think doesn’t it.
10. Shrek the Third (2007) $121.6 million – As far as openings go, this is the gold standard for the Shrek series (unadjusted for inflation). Now quality is a completely different topic and in my opinion, Shrek the Third is by far the worst film to feature the likes of a green mud-loving ogre and a loudmouth donkey.
9. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 (2010) $125 million – The first of two parts based on the final Harry Potter book, Deathly Hallows Part 1 was almost a 3D flick but Warner Bros. ended up releasing this only in 2D because a quality conversion could not be done in time.
8. Iron Man 2 (2010) $128.1 million – There was some debate over turning this one to 3D, I mean it came out just 6 months after the juggernaut that was Avatar, so obviously everyone and his mom wanted to turn their films to this new money-sucking dimension back then. Fortunately for everyone, Iron Man 2 stayed in 2D.
7. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006) $135.6 million – Back when it came out this Charlie Foxtrot of a film had the biggest opening weekend of all time. Dead Man’s Chest was entertaining but at the end of the day remained a complete mess and most of its success came from the good reception of the 2003 original.
6. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 (2011) $138.1 million – Similarly to Warner with Harry Potter, Summit Entertainment decided to break the final Twilight book, Breaking Dawn, into a two-part movie. For Potter that move was needed, there was just not enough time to cram everything into a single film. Now Twilight is a different story, with the general consensus being that Summit simply wanted to milk the series a bit more. When it opens this November, whether we like it or not, Breaking Dawn Part 2 will have a spot on this top 10.
5. The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009) $142.8 million – You didn’t actually think we were done with Twilight, did you? Yeah, New Moon was quite the big deal 3 years ago, best midnight ($24 million) and opening day of all time ($72.7 million). After that impressive debut the film dropped like a rock and finished with $296.6 million in North America.
4. Spider-Man 3 (2007) $151.1 million – This had the biggest opening weekend of all time when it came out but similarly to New Moon, fell fast and ended up as the lowest grosser of the trilogy in North America, $336.5 million.
3. The Hunger Games (2012) $152.5 million – Very few (if any) saw this one coming. Sure, the hype was there but not at such an insane level. A non-sequel based on a great but kind of niche book, The Hunger Games didn’t look like the kind of film that would end up with the 5th highest weekend debut of all time (4th when it came out).
2. The Dark Knight (2008) $158.4 million – Now this probably trumps The Hunger Games in terms of “holly hell” surprises at the box office. The Dark Knight was the rare blockbuster absolutely loved by critics and audiences alike. Also, it’s not every day that a sequel surpasses its predecessor in little over 5 days.
1. The Dark Knight Rises (2012) $160.8 million – The newest addition to this top 10 is also the top film. The Dark Knight Rises has so far made about $354 million after 17 days and while it won’t make as much as the freakishly successful The Dark Knight in North America, it’s still going to end up as probably the 3rd highest grossing superhero film of all time.
Films with $200+ million budgets are slowly becoming a rare occurrence in 2D only, so I don’t know if we’ll see changes anytime soon at the top of this chart. Maybe the sequel to The Hunger Games if it stays in 2D, that one might stand a chance.
So what upcoming 2D only film you think could open with the kind of numbers that would guarantee it a spot on here?