AN EMH TOP 5: Top five movies I just simply cannot believe made 200 - 300 million dollars domestically
Before I begin I just wanted to say how flattered I am that so many of you are reading my lists. My only request is that you leave your own feedback. I would love to see what you think I missed. What parts of the list do you agree or disagree with. Thanks so much for your support, and I hope you enjoy this latest list.
5. The Wedding Crashers (209.2)
This movie just kept making money. People like us. You know, real movie freaks. We loved Vince Vaughn in “Swingers” and “Made.” We even remember when he was the tree-hugging-free-the-dinosaurs-liberal from The Lost World: Jurassic Park. We knew what he was capable of doing. Owen Wilson has made us laugh in indies like “Bottle Rocket” and more mainstream movies like “Shanghai Noon.” We trusted him as well. After the success of “Dodgeball,” we believed “Crashers” could be a success, but to the tune of $209 million?! Never. Look, you’ve got to look at the track record of rated-R movies. They generally don’t make this kind of money (which we will look at later in this list as well). I use a term called “straight comedy.” It’s my term for a movie that cannot be called an action-comedy, a romantic comedy, or a “dra-medy.” That explanation being clear…”Wedding Crashers” is the highest grossing R-rated straight comedy of all time. It gobbled money in theaters from July to December. No one expected that kind of box office staying power, especially in this age of four weeks and your out box office grabbing.
4. The Sixth Sense (293.5 million)
Think back. The year was 1999. It seemed to me like this movie had the most played trailer I had ever seen. Every summer movie I went to had the trailer for this film. Quite honestly, I wasn’t too excited about it. Bruce Willis seemed to do well in big-budget action spectaculars, but seemed to fall short on just about everything else. Proof? Name as many Bruce Willis non-action movies as you can that were legitimate box office hits before 1999. Even if I give you Pulp Fiction as a non-action movie, that’s just one. The only other one, which is also arguable, is Look Who’s Talking (140.1 million), but he just did voice over work. So Willis in a suspense/drama was very much an unproven entity. Also, how many directors strike this kind of box office gold on their very first movie? M. Night Shyamalan wrote and directed the film. Then of course their were two unknowns in the other major roles. Toni Collette and Haley Joel Osmont played a near perfect dysfunctional mother and son. When you have this big of a surprise hit at number 4, you know the rest of the list is going to be jaw dropping.
3. Beverly Hills Cop (234.7 million)
Again, the numbers tell the story by themselves. After making 234 million dollars in 1984, this movie was the 7th highest grossing film of all time. And never forget the most impressive aspect. It grossed this amount with an ‘R’ rating. It was the biggest rated – R gross ever. It still ranks as the number 3 R-rated movie of all time, and you know what is ahead of it? “The Passion of the Christ,” and “The Matrix Reloaded.” FUN FACT: Imagine this, “Beverly Hills Cop,” starring SYLVESTER STALLONE as Detroit police detective Axel Foley. Yeah, Stallone was originally offered the part in the Don Simpson/ Jerry Bruckheimer produced action/comedy. Apparently, he wanted a little more action and a little less comedy. So he did “Cobra.” It made 49 million. Not your best decision, Sly.
2. Jaws (260 million)
So your first thought is to say "Wait. That's a Speilberg movie. How can that be a surprise?" Well, let me tell you. Before Jaws, Speilberg had made one semi-big full-length movie for the theatre. It was called "The Sugarland Express" It made 7.5 million dollars. "Jaws" was over-budget. It took longer to produce than the filmmakers wanted. And most people have heard about the crew jokingly referring to the movie as "Flaws" during the rough shoot. Richard Dreyfuss thought the movie would doom his career. Eventually, "Jaws" became not just a movie moneymaker, but also a culturally significant film. It was the first film with a wide box office release, the first summer movie blockbuster, the first film to reach $100 million dollars, and when it came to rest at $260 million, it was the biggest movie of all time.
1. My Big Fat Greek Wedding (231.4)
Okay, so let’s go over the checklist for the ingredients of a blockbuster movie: Male lead? No. Big, established box office draw actor/actress? No. Incredible special effects? None. Summer opening with a big marketing campaign? Nope. Holiday opening with a big marketing campaign? No.This movie had an April release, not even a semi-big star, and wasn’t even marketed that much. This is the hardest success story to explain of any movie that has ever been a box office smash.
So imagine you are a Hollywood producer in 1989 or so, and I walk into your office and say “Hey, let’s get the team behind “Airplane,” Airplane II: The Sequel,” and “Top Secret” to do very dramatic, supernatural love story. Yeah, and I think we should get Patrick Swazee to be the leading man. Isn’t this a great idea? Also, I want to make sure to get that relatively unheard of actress Demi Moore to play the part, and to cut her hair so short that no guy will really think she is that hot.” I know exactly what you’d say in response. “Figure out a way to mix in Whoopi Goldberg, and you’ve got a deal.”
Meet the Fockers (279.1 million)
If you put this one on your list, I can’t complain. You know how I feel about sequels making these lists, but this movie is so impressive and surprising in it’s success. It’s the same story as the first. Gaylord Focker is embarrassed for a couple of hours. They just added Streisand and Hoffman. Yeah, I liked it, but $279 million? “Meet the Fockers” is the 34th highest grossing movie EVER! Higher than “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” and “Prisoner of Azkaban.” Higher than “Jaws.” Higher than “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” Way higher than “Saving Private Ryan.” It’s unbelievable.
Well, I just simply cannot tell you how much I am enjoying writing these. I hope you will continue to find them interesting. Please let me know what I can do better. Are there any lists you are interested in seeing me tackle? Let me know. I am here to entertain you.
Until next time,