Happy Christmas! If you’ve escaped the chaos of the festivities to ‘check your emails’ or are brushing up on some trivia for a family quiz, then grab some nibbles and a cheeky drink as we’re going to get our box office numbers on.2015 was a record breaking 12 months for movies and we’re running down the 20 biggest of the year.
Still with me? Excellent.
While the figures are accurate as of today, the only movies of note that are still on release are Spectre, The Hunger Games, The Martian and Star Wars. The Force Awakens. Now, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that Star Wars will easy pass a billion dollars before the year is out, and when that day happens it will mean five billion dollar movies were released in 2015. So, here’s the top 20 biggest movies of the year.
20. Taken 3 – $326.5 million
The final entry in the action franchise had Liam Neeson use his set of skills to clear his name when he is stitched up for his ex-wife murder. It didn’t seem to matter that the movie was terrible audiences worldwide shelled out $326.5 million.
19. Mad Max: Fury Road – $375.8 million
George Miller’s reboot was one of my favourite movies of the year; Tom Hardy proved to be perfect casting for the new Max and Charlize Theron almost stole the show as Imperator Furiosa. Taking $375.8 million, Fury Road was a critical and commercial hit. A sequel is in development, but we could be in for a bit of a wait.
18. Home – $386 million
Dreamworks scored a sorely needed hit with their only offering this year; the struggling studio had a string of disappointments and even successes like How To Train Your Dragon 2 didn’t tip the scales. I didn’t see Home, I’m not likely to see it anytime soon either, but it made $386 million.
17. Kingsman: The Secret Service – $414.4 million
Now here’s a movie I’ve seen a whole bunch, Matthew Vaughn’s deliriously entertaining spy flick is another highlight of the year for me. Colin Firth as an action hero, HA! Wait a second, he nails it. A spy movie for grown-up with another strong script from the Jane Goldman/Matthew Vaughn funhouse. Making $414.4 million, you’ll be pleased to know a sequel start filming early next year.
16. Terminator Genisys – $440.6 million
The reboot/sequel/what-the-fuckel? was mostly hated by critics, audiences, small cats and an ill-tempered fox named Derrick. I didn’t mind it, it was better than Rise of the Machines, but compared to Judgement Day the new movie is on par with a Uwe Bowl motion picture. Bad acting and a mind fuck of a plot (with added Jai Courtney) murdered a franchise in the face. Even though a strong run in China and an overall haul of $440 million, no further sequels to the reboot will be made.
15. Hotel Transylvania 2 – $449.4 million
I didn’t see the first one, and I haven’t seen the sequel, it’s not that I have actively avoided Hoel Transylvania I just haven’t been presented with the circumstances to watch it. Making $449.4 million (thus far), it’s now Adam Sandler’s highest grossing movie.
14. San Andreas – $473.8 million
Dwayne Johnson proved he could open a major studio movie on his own, it’s just a shame that San Andreas is an empty-headed movie that has characters ask each other if they can see the tsunami wave right in front of their faces. For all its problems, San Andreas is a fun movie that harks back to the classic disaster movies of old and it gave The Rock his biggest hit as a leading man.
13. Ant-Man – $518.6 million
The behind the scenes goings on will always leave a slight stain on the Ant-Man movie we ended up with, but the end results deliver a fun heist movie that’s fun, did I mention it’s fun? After some heavier instalments in the MCU, Ant-Man gets back to the lightheartedness that made Iron Man so enjoyable. It might not be the biggest success in the franchise, it’s too much fun to ignore.
12. Cinderella – $542.7 million
Kenneth Branagh’s live-action version of Cinderella wasn’t for me, as an unashamed fan of his work I will always watch his directorial efforts even when it’s the misguided remake of Sleuth. Anyhoo, Disney seem to be committed to making more live action versions of their animated classics so prepare for more whimsy!
11. Fifty Shades of Grey $570 million
I have nothing to say about this film other that WHY??
10. The Martian – $593.2 million
After Prometheus, the prospect of another space set Ridley Scott movie was about as appealing a Jar Jar Binks spin-off. However, fuelled by a script by Drew Goddard, The Martian was a hugely enjoyable movie that gave Scott the biggest hit of his career.
9. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 – $600 million
The final (for now) entry in The Hunger Games is still on release and might climb a place or two on this list in the weeks to comes. A mostly satisfying conclusion to the franchise delivered a more action-centric finale than the deeply slow paced Part 1, a prequel trilogy is being talked about and are almost certain to happen eventually.
8. Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation – $682.3 million
Tom Cruise and co are back for another high-stakes impossible mission and serve up a pleasing action blockbuster. While the core of the franchise might be simple, all Mission Impossible wants to do is entertain and it delivers the goods. Christopher McQuarrie will be back to write and direct Mission 6 with production starting summer 2016.
7. Spectre – $837.6 million
Bond 24 is still in cinemas and still has a shot at $1 billion while the critical response was a little less enthusiastic than Skyfall, Spectre was a solid follow-up. Without ruining the movie for you, there are a lot of similarities between Spectre and Rogue Nation only I have to say the M.I team did it better.
6. Inside/Out – $851.6 million
You’d have to be a cold-hearted swine not to like Disney/Pixar’s movie about feelings, but somehow I managed it. Only kidding Inside/out was adorable even if it gives children an unrealistic rationality of how emotions work.
5. Star Wars The Force Awakens – $900 million
At the time of writing Star Wars The Force Awakens has made $900 million after a week on release. J.J Abrams’ well-received sequel will easily hit $1 billion before the end of the year and won’t have too much trouble surpassing Jurassic World as the biggest movie released in 2015. Star Wars already broke the opening weekend record set by Jurassic World.
4. Minions – $1.1 billion
Believe it or not, but The Minions movie made more than a billion dollars worldwide. Bananas.
3. Avengers Age of Ultron – $1.4 billion
Joss Whedon reunited earth’s mightiest heroes for a slightly jumbled sequel that can’t quite recapture the fun of the first team-up. To be fair, I have a lot of love for Age of Ultron even though there are visible cracks in the story.
2. Furious 7 – $1.5 billion
The franchise that gets bigger with each entry delivered its biggest entry and stepped up into the mega leagues with part seven. What started out as a Point Break update has transformed into a Mission Impossible style series thats low on logic, but big on action.
The tragic death of Paul Walker forced the filmmakers to rework the script and use digital effects to complete the movie and honour their friend. A fitting (and surprisingly emotional) farewell to Walker’s character was delicately handled, and the movie itself was tremendous fun.
1. Jurassic World – $1.6 billion
At the risk of alienating myself, I didn’t get along with Jurassic World that well and found the whole experience somewhat empty. Sure there was glossier effects, crazier dinosaurs and pantomime villains, but the ‘plot’ was so contrived it made Jurassic Park 3 look fresh by compassion. To its credit I liked the mean streak that ran throughout, I just had a real issue with the by the numbers plot and too much screen time given to kids I struggled to care about. A sequel is currently in development. Regardless of my own humble opinion, Jurassic World is the biggest in the ageing franchise by a country mile.