Vampires seem to be all the rage today, theaters, TV and just about every book store out there. You just can’t get away anymore and while they’ve been here for a very long time, it’s only recently that blood-suckers become so popular with mainstream audiences.
Today we’ll take a look at the top 10 most successful vampire movies at the box office in North America. Now we all know what will be found at the top, but I always say the journey is more important than the destination so if you’re not a Twilight fan just enjoy this up to the #5 spot.
10. Underworld: Evolution (2006) $62.3 million – There’s a very good reason why I chose North American box office instead of worldwide and it involves Underworld: Evolution. This top 10 would look about the same with a very important difference, Blade: Trinity would be 10th and I wanted an Underworld film here (since we already have two other Blade flicks). The original 2003 Underworld was a well made genre flick that managed to blend vampires and werewolves in a modern Romeo and Juliet story. If there ever was a Twilight equivalent for guys, this would probably be it. Underworld: Evolution was a worthy sequel that took the series in a somewhat different direction (leaving Romeo and Juliet behind). Underworld: Awakening, the 4th film, is set to open in just 2 months.
9. Blade (1998) $70 million – A few months back I wrote a series of posts about superheroes and there I gave Blade credit for being the movie that made Hollywood studios have faith in superheroes again. Without the original Blade, Marvel Studios would not be the same today. The fact that he’s a kick-ass half-vampire, half-human, vampire hunter is just a bonus and for me personally, a damn good enough reason to watch Blade again.
8. Blade 2 (2002) $82 million – A bit more visually impressive thanks to director Guillermo del Toro, Blade 2 is a great sequel followed by a not so great 3rd part (Blade: Trinity) that managed to kill the series.
7. Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992) $82.5 million – If you have even the slightest interest in vampires and you haven’t seen this movie yet, do yourself a favor and check it out. Unless you’re a 13 year old girl, when you think vampires, Dracula comes to mind and for good reason. According to Wikipedia, as of 2009, around 217 films featured Dracula in a major role. The version we’re talking about here was directed by Francis Ford Coppola and starred Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder, Anthony Hopkins and Keanu Reeves among others.
6. Interview with the Vampire (1994) $105.2 million – Based on the novel written by Anne Rice and published in 1976, this is among the best vampire movies out there. Starring Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, a very young Kirsten Dunst, and Antonio Banderas, this is one flick you don’t want to miss. Adjusted for inflation, Interview with the Vampire would have over $200 million today.
5. Van Helsing (2004) $120.1 million – This is not a good movie, not much else you need to know here. If you were lucky enough to skip this back when it came out then I envy you and know that you haven’t missed anything.
4. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 (2011) $139.5 million (so far) – If you absolutely hate Twilight there’s not much else for you here (just skip to the end), everyone else, keep reading. As you probably know this movie just came out so the number shown above is an opening weekend estimate. Later today the actual numbers will come out and then I’ll write a full report, explaining in more detail what $139.5 million (or more) actually means for this series and box office in general.
3. Twilight (2008) $192.7 million – One might say that the vampires featured in this series are a joke to real blood-suckers. Fortunately there are no real vampires out there so at the end of the day credit must be given to the movie that turned a niche genre into a mainstream phenomenon.
2. The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009) $296.6 million – No matter how much one hates this series, there are things that just can’t be argued. You don’t grow $100 million in just a year unless your movie really has something going. It might not be aimed at everyone but it definitely hits the right chords with its target audience.
1. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010) $300.5 million – It takes a lot of strength for a movie to reach a ceiling like this series did and manage to remain up there. Like it or not, when it comes to box office this is as close as a studio has ever got to a Harry Potter-like hit.
Before I close, there are a few vampire movies out there that maybe came out a very long time ago when tickets were a lot cheaper or just never managed to catch a big enough audience, so I feel that I have to at least mention them here. An obvious choice is the 1931 Dracula starring the late Bela Lugosi, simply a must see for every vampire fan out there. The original 1985 Fright Night as well as the 2011 remake should also be seen, in that order if possible. Then there’s the Swedish masterpiece Let the Right One In (2008) and trust me, you need to see this. Finally, while not a particularly great film, it was definitely a big hit back in 1979. Adjusted for inflation, Love at First Bite would have $139.1 million today.
I probably missed more than a few great ones so feel free to comment below and name your favorite vampire movie.