Just for fun, here’s a quick look of the top movies of 2008, from a box-office perspective:
1. The Dark Knight: $531,001,578
2. Iron Man: $318,313,199
3. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull: $317,023,851
4. Hancock: $227,946,274
5. Wall-E: $223,806,889
6. Kung Fu Panda: $215,434,591
7. Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa: $177,016,810
8. Twilight: $176,922,850
9. Quantum of Solace: $166,820,413
10. Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who!: $154,529,439
That looks pretty much like what an annual list of box-office blockbusters has usually looked like in recent decades: cartoons, action movies, comic books, science fiction… What’s interesting this year is that there’s a slightly larger intersection of movies the critics are praising with the ones audiences showed their approval of by opening their wallets. Multiple critics organizations have already ranked both Wall-E and The Dark Knight as among the very best movies of the year, and it’s not out of the question at the moment for either film to receive an Oscar nomination for Best Picture. (Wall-E is sure to be nominated for, and win, the Best Animated Film Oscar, but that’s not the one I’m referring to here.)
You have to go back to 2001-3 to the Lord of the Rings trilogy to find a similar intersection. And then it was just one film each year that was hugely popular with both audiences and critics. A quick glance at the top films of each of the last 20 years suggests that usually, there isn’t any overlap, and in a good year, there’s one movie critics and audiences agree on.
And here we have two. I’d like to think that it’s all as I have been saying for years now: that the geeky movies are growing up, combined with the fact that there are now more younger critics working today who understand geeky films in a way that older critics do not.
The entire list of the top 150 films of 2008 is available at Box Office Mojo.