(Photo by Lions Gate/courtesy Everett Collection)

The 80 Best 2000s Horror Movies

Welcome to the new millennium. The decade horror came home to America. The decade horror went global. Welcome to the 80 Best Horror Movies of the 2000s.

If horror movies reflect the fears and concerns of a people, it’s notable that America claimed torture-porn as their de rigueur subgenre. Something in Saw and its ilk’s slow-roasted dismantling of human flesh appealed to a nation consumed by post-9/11 paranoia and a bombardment of wartime images and atrocity. But while torture-porn movies made a killing at the box office, none were ever particularly well-reviewed; only Hostel arrives here. Recovering from the ’90s doldrums, the best horror movies came from overseas, as digital cameras lowered the cost to film and the rise of the internet made knowledge and dissemination of these movies as simple as a mouse click. In fact, of the top 10 movies here (which includes the likes of Pan’s Labyrinth and The Host), only two were shot in America. Other trends seen during this decade: Asian originals and occasional remakes (The Ring, Thirst), found footage (Paranormal Activity, Cloverfield), the return of the living dead (Shaun of the Dead, 28 Days Later), and nostalgic throwbacks (Slither, Death Proof). The only stipulation for a movie to be considered for this list was a Fresh rating from at least 20 reviews.

Time to add some scary MIDIs to your MySpace and set AIM status to away (FOREVER), because here comes the best scary 2000s movies!

90 Best ’70s Horror Movies | 80 Best ’80s Horror Movies
40 Best ’90s Horror Movies| 140 Best 2010s Horror Movies
200 Best Horror Movies of All Time | Best Horror Movies of 2021

#80
#80
Adjusted Score: 64961%
Critics Consensus: This gory, senses-assaulting slasher film is an unpretentious, effective mix of old-school horror stylings and modern 3D technology.
Synopsis: Ten years ago, an inexperienced coal miner named Tom Hanniger (Jensen Ackles) caused an accident that killed five men and... [More]
Directed By: Patrick Lussier

#79

Them (2006)
62%

#79
Adjusted Score: 62489%
Critics Consensus: Suspenseful and tense from start to finish, the French horror film Them proves that a lack of gore doesn't mean a dearth of scares.
Synopsis: Lucas (Michaël Cohen) and Clementine (Olivia Bonamy) live in an isolated house near Bucharest. On one rainy night in their... [More]
Directed By: David Moreau, Xavier Palud

#78

Day Watch (2006)
62%

#78
Adjusted Score: 64644%
Critics Consensus: Day Watch is frequently cheesy but it offers enough twists, surprises, and inventive action sequences to maintain viewer interest.
Synopsis: Anton (Konstantin Khabensky), a member of a group of supernatural guardians who monitor the forces of the Dark, discovers that... [More]
Directed By: Timur Bekmambetov

#77
#77
Adjusted Score: 65829%
Critics Consensus: As Diary of the Dead proves, time hasn't subdued George A. Romero's affection for mixing politics with gore, nor has it given him cinematic grace or subtlety.
Synopsis: The dead are returning to life to feast on the flesh of the living. As civilization dissolves in this nightmare... [More]
Directed By: George A. Romero

#76

Cabin Fever (2002)
62%

#76
Adjusted Score: 66497%
Critics Consensus: More gory than scary, Cabin Fever is satisfied with paying homage to genre conventions rather than reinventing them.
Synopsis: Bert (James DeBello), a college student vacationing with friends in the mountains, mistakenly shoots a local man (Arie Verveen) with... [More]
Directed By: Eli Roth

#75

Identity (2003)
62%

#75
Adjusted Score: 66793%
Critics Consensus: Identity is a film that will divide audiences -- the twists of its plot will either impress or exasperate you.
Synopsis: When a vicious storm breaks out in the Nevada desert, 10 people seek refuge in an isolated motel. At the... [More]
Directed By: James Mangold

#74
Adjusted Score: 64121%
Critics Consensus: Poultrygeist may be relentlessly tasteless and juvenile, but it's also a lively slice of schlocky fun.
Synopsis: Some fast-food workers discover the restaurant they work in is built on an ancient burial ground, and the chickens they... [More]
Directed By: Lloyd Kaufman

#73

Martyrs (2008)
64%

#73
Adjusted Score: 64775%
Critics Consensus: A real polarising movie, this Gallic torture-porn is graphic, brutal, nasty and gruesome and not to everyone's taste.
Synopsis: A young woman's quest for revenge leads her down a path of depravity.... [More]
Directed By: Pascal Laugier

#72

In My Skin (2002)
64%

#72
Adjusted Score: 64649%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A Parisian marketing professional, Esther (Marina de Van) has a gruesome secret. She's been obsessed with the damage she can... [More]
Directed By: Marina de Van

#71

Session 9 (2001)
66%

#71
Adjusted Score: 67275%
Critics Consensus: Relying more on atmosphere than gore, Session 9 is effectively creepy.
Synopsis: A tale of terror when a group of asbestos removal workers start work in an abandoned insane asylum. The complex... [More]
Directed By: Brad Anderson

#70

The Eye (2002)
64%

#70
Adjusted Score: 66943%
Critics Consensus: Conventional ghost tale with a few genuine scares.
Synopsis: After 18 years of blindness, 20-year-old violinist Wong Kar Mun (Lee Sin-Je) regains her vision when she undergoes a corneal... [More]

#69

Willard (2003)
64%

#69
Adjusted Score: 67105%
Critics Consensus: In this creepy story of a man and his rodents, Glover seems born to play the oddball title character.
Synopsis: Desperate for companionship, the repressed Willard (Crispin Glover) befriends a group of rats that inhabit his late father's deteriorating mansion.... [More]
Directed By: Glen Morgan

#68

Lunacy (2005)
65%

#68
Adjusted Score: 64620%
Critics Consensus: A Svankmajer movie is not for everyone, but he displays his usual creative flair for surreal imagery.
Synopsis: In 19th-century France a young man (Pavel Liska) meets a nobleman (Jan Tríska) who invites him to spend the night... [More]
Directed By: Jan Svankmajer

#67

Ichi the Killer (2001)
65%

#67
Adjusted Score: 65806%
Critics Consensus: Ichi The Killer is a thoroughly shocking gorefest that will surely entertain those with strong stomachs and a penchant for brutal violence.
Synopsis: A bloodthirsty hoodlum (Tadanobu Asano) sparks a series of violent reprisals after his boss is apparently taken by a mysterious... [More]
Directed By: Takashi Miike

#66
Adjusted Score: 66059%
Critics Consensus: Death Proof may feel somewhat minor in the context of Tarantino's larger filmography, but on its own merits, it packs just enough of a wallop to deliver sufficiently high-octane grindhouse goods.
Synopsis: Stuntman Mike (Kurt Russell) is a professional body double who likes to take unsuspecting women for deadly drives in his... [More]
Directed By: Quentin Tarantino

#65

Carriers (2009)
66%

#65
Adjusted Score: 65729%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: When a virus threatens to wipe out humanity, Danny (Lou Taylor Pucci), his brother Brian (Chris Pine), and their friends... [More]
Directed By: Àlex Pastor, David Pastor

#64

Severance (2006)
66%

#64
Adjusted Score: 68357%
Critics Consensus: A twisted and bloody spoof on office life, Severance nicely balances comedy and nasty horror.
Synopsis: Members (Danny Dyer, Laura Harris, Tim McInnerny) of the Palisades Defense Corp. sales group arrive in Europe for a team-building... [More]
Directed By: Christopher Smith

#63

My Little Eye (2002)
67%

#63
Adjusted Score: 52547%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: As part of an Internet reality show, five people sign up to spend six months in a mansion while cameras... [More]
Directed By: Marc Evans

#62
Adjusted Score: 67391%
Critics Consensus: If nothing else, Happiness of the Katakuris scores points for its delirious, over-the-top originality.
Synopsis: Fearing bad publicity, an innkeeper and his family bury the bodies of their ill-fated guests themselves.... [More]
Directed By: Takashi Miike

#61

Red Dragon (2002)
68%

#61
Adjusted Score: 73203%
Critics Consensus: Competently made, but everything is a bit too familiar.
Synopsis: Ex-FBI agent Will Graham (Edward Norton) is an expert investigator who quit the Bureau after almost losing his life in... [More]
Directed By: Brett Ratner

#60
#60
Adjusted Score: 68430%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Members of Charles Manson's cult tell their story.... [More]
Directed By: Jim Van Bebber

#59

Tormented (2009)
69%

#59
Adjusted Score: 69530%
Critics Consensus: It relies too heavily on American slasher cliches, but Tormented is a timely, funny, and even somewhat touching entry in the high school horror genre.
Synopsis: Darren Mullet (Calvin Dean) doesn't have it easy. He's overweight, uses an inhaler and is constantly bullied by his spoiled... [More]
Directed By: Jon Wright

#58

May (2002)
70%

#58
Adjusted Score: 70709%
Critics Consensus: Above average slasher flick.
Synopsis: Young misfit May (Angela Bettis) endured a difficult childhood because of her lazy eye. And though contact lenses have helped... [More]
Directed By: Lucky McKee

#57

Dead Snow (2009)
69%

#57
Adjusted Score: 70504%
Critics Consensus: Though it doesn't cover new ground, Dead Snow is an entertaining mix of camp, scares, and blood and guts.
Synopsis: A party of eight Norwegian medical students travel to a remote Arctic mountain for an Easter weekend filled with skiing... [More]
Directed By: Tommy Wirkola

#56

American Psycho (2000)
69%

#56
Adjusted Score: 74646%
Critics Consensus: If it falls short of the deadly satire of Bret Easton Ellis's novel, American Psycho still finds its own blend of horror and humor, thanks in part to a fittingly creepy performance by Christian Bale.
Synopsis: In New York City in 1987, a handsome, young urban professional, Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale), lives a second life as... [More]
Directed By: Mary Harron

#55
#55
Adjusted Score: 75479%
Critics Consensus: Snakes on a Plane lives up to its title, featuring snakes on a plane. It isn't perfect, but then again, it doesn't need to be.
Synopsis: FBI agent Nelville Flynn (Samuel L. Jackson) boards a flight from Hawaii to Los Angeles, escorting a witness to trial.... [More]
Directed By: David R. Ellis

#54

The Mist (2007)
72%

#54
Adjusted Score: 77082%
Critics Consensus: Frank Darabont's impressive camerawork and politically incisive script make The Mist a truly frightening experience.
Synopsis: After a powerful storm damages their Maine home, David Drayton (Thomas Jane) and his young son head into town to... [More]
Directed By: Frank Darabont

#53

Open Water (2003)
71%

#53
Adjusted Score: 77696%
Critics Consensus: A low budget thriller with some intense moments.
Synopsis: Daniel (Daniel Travis) and Susan (Blanchard Ryan) embark on a tropical vacation with their scuba-diving certifications in tow. During a... [More]
Directed By: Chris Kentis

#52

28 Weeks Later (2007)
71%

#52
Adjusted Score: 79379%
Critics Consensus: While 28 Weeks Later lacks the humanism that made 28 Days Later a classic, it's made up with fantastic atmosphere and punchy direction.
Synopsis: Six months after the original epidemic, the rage virus has all but annihilated the population of the British Isles. Nevertheless... [More]

#51

The Ring (2002)
71%

#51
Adjusted Score: 76848%
Critics Consensus: With little gore and a lot of creepy visuals, The Ring gets under your skin, thanks to director Gore Verbinski's haunting sense of atmosphere and an impassioned performance from Naomi Watts.
Synopsis: It sounds like just another urban legend -- a videotape filled with nightmarish images leads to a phone call foretelling... [More]
Directed By: Gore Verbinski

#50

Grace (2009)
72%

#50
Adjusted Score: 71456%
Critics Consensus: Though not entirely effective as a conventional horror flick, Grace is still a graphic, disturbing, and artful exploration of twisted maternal instinct.
Synopsis: In the wake of a horrific car accident that kills her husband, Michael (Stephen Park), expectant mother Madeline Matheson (Jordan... [More]
Directed By: Paul Solet

#49

Vampire Hunter D (2000)
72%

#49
Adjusted Score: 71436%
Critics Consensus: Vampire Hunter D's gothic charms may be lost on those unfamiliar with the anime series that spawned it, but the crisp action and nightmarish style will satiate horror aficionados' bloodlust.
Synopsis: In a dark and distant future, when the undead have arisen from apocalyptic ashes, an original story unfolds. Ten thousand... [More]
Directed By: Yoshiaki Kawajiri

#48

Dahmer (2002)
72%

#48
Adjusted Score: 71479%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In this fictionalized, fragmented biopic of one of America's most notorious serial killers, Jeffrey Dahmer (Jeremy Renner) contemplates his latest... [More]
Directed By: David Jacobson

#47

I Sell the Dead (2008)
72%

#47
Adjusted Score: 72094%
Critics Consensus: A horror comedy that's almost as chilling as it is funny, I Sell the Dead relies on its dark humor and offbeat charm to overcome its low budget shortcomings.
Synopsis: Arthur Blake (Dominic Monaghan) is about to be executed by guillotine for the crime of grave robbing. But before he... [More]
Directed By: Glenn McQuaid

#46

Gozu (2003)
72%

#46
Adjusted Score: 72238%
Critics Consensus: Miike continues his run of compellingly bizarre flicks.
Synopsis: Chaos ensues when a yakuza boss orders a young gangster (Hideki Sone) to kill an insane colleague (Shô Aikawa).... [More]
Directed By: Takashi Miike

#45

Fido (2007)
72%

#45
Adjusted Score: 74637%
Critics Consensus: Making the most of its thin premise, Fido is an occasionally touching satire that provides big laughs and enough blood and guts to please gorehounds.
Synopsis: When a cloud of space dust causes the dead to rise as ravenous zombies, the ZomCon Corp. emerges to conquer... [More]
Directed By: Andrew Currie

#44

Black Sheep (2006)
72%

#44
Adjusted Score: 74596%
Critics Consensus: With an outrageous premise played completely straight, Black Sheep is a violent, grotesque, and very funny movie that takes B-movie lunacy to a delirious extreme.
Synopsis: Sheep-fearing Henry (Nathan Meister) returns to his brother's (Peter Feeney) New Zealand farm, hoping his sibling will buy out his... [More]
Directed By: Jonathan King

#43
#43
Adjusted Score: 72502%
Critics Consensus: A creative and energetic adaptation of a Clive Barker short story, with enough scares and thrills to be a potential cult classic.
Synopsis: When struggling photographer Leon Kaufman (Bradley Cooper) meets the owner of a prominent art gallery, he sees a chance for... [More]
Directed By: Ryûhei Kitamura

#42
#42
Adjusted Score: 74186%
Critics Consensus: This French animated horror portmanteau is monochrome and minimalist, visually stunning, but light on scares.
Synopsis: Animated sequences explore people's fear of darkness.... [More]

#41
#41
Adjusted Score: 76663%
Critics Consensus: Brotherhood of the Wolf mixes its genres with little logic, but the end result is wildly entertaining.
Synopsis: In a rural province of France, a mysterious creature is laying waste to the countryside, savagely killing scores of women... [More]
Directed By: Christophe Gans

#40

Splinter (2008)
74%

#40
Adjusted Score: 73729%
Critics Consensus: Never taking itself too seriously, Splinter scores as a fast-paced, fun thriller with more than enough scares.
Synopsis: When their plans for a nature trip go awry, Polly Watt (Jill Wagner) and boyfriend Seth Belzer (Paulo Costanzo) decide... [More]
Directed By: Toby Wilkins

#39

Frailty (2002)
75%

#39
Adjusted Score: 78839%
Critics Consensus: Creepy and disturbing, Frailty is well-crafted, low-key horror.
Synopsis: Set in present day Texas, "Frailty" centers on the FBI's search for a serial killer who calls himself "God's Hands."... [More]
Directed By: Bill Paxton

#38

Land of the Dead (2005)
74%

#38
Adjusted Score: 81000%
Critics Consensus: George A. Romero's latest entry in his much-vaunted Dead series is not as fresh as his genre-inventing original, Night of the Living Dead. But Land of the Dead does deliver on the gore and zombies-feasting-on-flesh action.
Synopsis: In a world where zombies form the majority of the population, the remaining humans build a feudal society away from... [More]
Directed By: George Romero

#37

Hair High (2004)
75%

#37
Adjusted Score: 63672%
Critics Consensus: Hair High isn't first-tier Plympton, but like the rest of the animator's work, this is an assuredly odd tale that should resonate with fans of strange cinema.
Synopsis: As the prom approaches, the head cheerleader (Sarah Silverman) of Echo Lake High dumps her quarterback boyfriend (Dermot Mulroney) in... [More]
Directed By: Bill Plympton

#36

Planet Terror (2007)
76%

#36
Adjusted Score: 75388%
Critics Consensus: A cool and hip grindhouse throwback, Planet Terror is an unpredictable zombie thrillride.
Synopsis: An ordinary evening in a small Texas town becomes a grisly nightmare when a horde of flesh-eating zombies goes on... [More]
Directed By: Robert Rodriguez

#35
Adjusted Score: 77011%
Critics Consensus: A smart mockumentary that presents a gory, funny, and obviously affectionate skewering of the slasher genre.
Synopsis: Nice, normal-looking Leslie Vernon (Nathan Baesel) has an obsession with movie-style slashers like Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger.... [More]
Directed By: Scott Glosserman

#34

The Last Winter (2006)
76%

#34
Adjusted Score: 77441%
Critics Consensus: The Last Winter creatively and effectively uses horror tactics -- fear, tension, anticipation, and just enough gore -- to shock, but never repulse, its audience.
Synopsis: Sent to evaluate the environmental impact of oil drilling in the Arctic, James Hoffman (James Le Gros) clashes with the... [More]
Directed By: Larry Fessenden

#33

Dawn of the Dead (2004)
76%

#33
Adjusted Score: 82020%
Critics Consensus: A kinetic, violent and surprisingly worthy remake of George Romero's horror classic that pays homage to the original while working on its own terms.
Synopsis: When her husband is attacked by a zombified neighbor, Ana (Sarah Polley) manages to escape, only to realize her entire... [More]
Directed By: Zack Snyder

#32

Cloverfield (2008)
78%

#32
Adjusted Score: 85527%
Critics Consensus: A sort of Blair Witch Project crossed with Godzilla, Cloverfield is economically paced, stylistically clever, and filled with scares.
Synopsis: As a group of New Yorkers (Michael Stahl-David, Mike Vogel, Odette Yustman) enjoy a going-away party, little do they know... [More]
Directed By: Matt Reeves

#31

Eden Lake (2008)
80%

#31
Adjusted Score: 80365%
Critics Consensus: A brutal and effective British hoodie-horror that, despite the clichés, stays on the right side of scary.
Synopsis: During a romantic weekend getaway, a young couple confronts a gang of youths, and suffers brutal consequences.... [More]
Directed By: James Watkins

#30

Dog Soldiers (2002)
79%

#30
Adjusted Score: 78819%
Critics Consensus: Frightening, funny, and packed with action, Dog Soldiers is well worth checking out for genre fans -- and marks writer-director Neil Marshall as a talent to keep an eye on.
Synopsis: During a routine nighttime training mission in the Scottish Highlands, a small squad of British soldiers expected to rendezvous with... [More]
Directed By: Neil Marshall

#29

Bubba Ho-Tep (2002)
79%

#29
Adjusted Score: 81981%
Critics Consensus: The best movie to star both the King and JFK.
Synopsis: After falling into a lengthy coma following a freak accident involving hip gyration, a now aged Elvis Presley (Bruce Campbell)... [More]
Directed By: Don Coscarelli

#28

1408 (2007)
79%

#28
Adjusted Score: 86378%
Critics Consensus: Relying on psychological tension rather than overt violence and gore, 1408 is a genuinely creepy thriller with a strong lead performance by John Cusack.
Synopsis: Mike Enslin (John Cusack) is a successful author who enjoys worldwide acclaim debunking supernatural phenomena -- before he checks into... [More]
Directed By: Mikael Hafstrom

#27

Wake Wood (2011)
80%

#27
Adjusted Score: 80077%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The parents of a deceased girl are given three days with their dead daughter.... [More]
Directed By: David Keating

#26

Teeth (2007)
80%

#26
Adjusted Score: 82186%
Critics Consensus: Smart, original, and horrifically funny, Teeth puts a fresh feminist spin on horror movie tropes.
Synopsis: Dawn (Jess Weixler) is an active member of her high-school chastity club but, when she meets Tobey (Hale Appleman), nature... [More]
Directed By: Mitchell Lichtenstein

#25

Thirst (2009)
80%

#25
Adjusted Score: 84279%
Critics Consensus: The stylish Thirst packs plenty of bloody thrills to satisfy fans of both vampire films and director Chan Wook Park.
Synopsis: Sang-hyun (Song Kang-ho), a respected priest, volunteers for an experimental procedure that may lead to a cure for a deadly... [More]
Directed By: Park Chan-wook

#24

Taxidermia (2006)
81%

#24
Adjusted Score: 80995%
Critics Consensus: Surreal and visually striking, Taxidermia is, at times, graphic and difficult to watch, but creatively touches on disturbing subjects with imagination and wit.
Synopsis: Set over three generations and beginning with Morosgoványi Vendel, a sexually frustrated orderly during the war who relieves his tensions... [More]
Directed By: Gyorgy Palfi

#23
#23
Adjusted Score: 86070%
Critics Consensus: Shadow of the Vampire is frightening, compelling, and funny, and features an excellent performance by Willem Dafoe.
Synopsis: F. W. Murnau (John Malkovich) is struggling to create his silent classic "Nosferatu" on location in Eastern Europe. The director... [More]
Directed By: E. Elias Merhige

#22

Trick 'r Treat (2007)
84%

#22
Adjusted Score: 84456%
Critics Consensus: A deftly crafted tribute to Halloween legends, Trick 'r' Treat hits all the genre marks with gusto and old fashioned suspense.
Synopsis: Interwoven stories demonstrate that some traditions are best not forgotten as the residents (Anna Paquin, Brian Cox, Dylan Baker) of... [More]
Directed By: Michael Dougherty

#21

The Others (2001)
83%

#21
Adjusted Score: 89447%
Critics Consensus: The Others is a spooky thriller that reminds us that a movie doesn't need expensive special effects to be creepy.
Synopsis: Grace (Nicole Kidman), the devoutly religious mother of Anne (Alakina Mann) and Nicholas (James Bentley), moves her family to the... [More]
Directed By: Alejandro Amenábar

#20
#20
Adjusted Score: 91421%
Critics Consensus: Using its low-budget effects and mockumentary method to great result, Paranormal Activity turns a simple haunted house story into 90 minutes of relentless suspense.
Synopsis: Soon after moving into a suburban tract home, Katie (Katie Featherston) and Micah (Micah Sloat) become increasingly disturbed by what... [More]
Directed By: Oren Peli

#19
Adjusted Score: 84726%
Critics Consensus: This anthology contains brutal, powerful horror stories by three of Asia's top directors.
Synopsis: ... [More]
Directed By: Takashi Miike

#18

Pontypool (2008)
84%

#18
Adjusted Score: 87005%
Critics Consensus: Witty and restrained but still taut and funny, this Pontypool is a different breed of low-budget zombie film.
Synopsis: When disc jockey Grant Mazzy (Stephen McHattie) reports to his basement radio station in the Canadian town of Pontypool, he... [More]
Directed By: Bruce McDonald

#17
#17
Adjusted Score: 86397%
Critics Consensus: Restrained but disturbing, A Tale of Two Sisters is a creepily effective, if at times confusing, horror movie.
Synopsis: After being institutionalized in a mental hospital, Korean teen Su-mi (Yum Jung-ah) reunites with her beloved sister, Su-yeon (Im Soo-jung),... [More]
Directed By: Kim Jee-woon

#16
#16
Adjusted Score: 88330%
Critics Consensus: Though its underlying themes are familiar, House of the Devil effectively sheds the loud and gory cliches of contemporary horror to deliver a tense, slowly building throwback to the fright flicks of decades past.
Synopsis: Desperate to make some money so she can move into a new apartment, college student Samantha Hughes (Jocelin Donahue) takes... [More]
Directed By: Ti West

#15

Requiem (2006)
86%

#15
Adjusted Score: 86715%
Critics Consensus: This harrowing, naturalistic drama holds you in its grip through Huller's intense performance.
Synopsis: Michaela, an epileptic, enrolls in college to study education. She goes off her medication and soon begins hearing voices and... [More]
Directed By: Hans-Christian Schmid

#14

The Descent (2005)
86%

#14
Adjusted Score: 93861%
Critics Consensus: Deft direction and strong performances from its all-female cast guide The Descent, a riveting, claustrophobic horror film.
Synopsis: A year after a severe emotional trauma, Sarah (Shauna Macdonald) goes to North Carolina to spend some time exploring caves... [More]
Directed By: Neil Marshall

#13
Adjusted Score: 88434%
Critics Consensus: Guy Maddin's film is a richly sensuous and dreamy interpretation of Dracula that reinvigorates the genre.
Synopsis: In this ballet version of Bram Stoker's classic vampire tale, Dracula (Zhang Wei-Qiang) arrives in London and performs a dance... [More]
Directed By: Guy Maddin

#12

Slither (2006)
87%

#12
Adjusted Score: 91716%
Critics Consensus: A slimy, B-movie homage oozing with affection for low-budget horror films, Slither is creepy and funny -- if you've got the stomach for it.
Synopsis: Wheelsy is a small town where not much happens and everyone minds his own business. No one notices when evil... [More]
Directed By: James Gunn

#11

The Orphanage (2007)
87%

#11
Adjusted Score: 94006%
Critics Consensus: Deeply unnerving and surprisingly poignant, The Orphanage is an atmospheric, beautifully crafted haunted house horror film that earns scares with a minimum of blood.
Synopsis: Laura (Belén Rueda) has happy memories of her childhood in an orphanage. She convinces her husband to buy the place... [More]
Directed By: J.A. Bayona

#10

28 Days Later (2002)
87%

#10
Adjusted Score: 94188%
Critics Consensus: Kinetically directed by Danny Boyle, 28 Days Later is both a terrifying zombie movie and a sharp political allegory.
Synopsis: A group of misguided animal rights activists free a caged chimp infected with the "Rage" virus from a medical research... [More]
Directed By: Danny Boyle

#9

Rec (2007)
89%

#9
Adjusted Score: 89819%
Critics Consensus: Plunging viewers into the nightmarish hellscape of an apartment complex under siege, [Rec] proves that found footage can still be used as an effective delivery mechanism for sparse, economic horror.
Synopsis: A reporter (Manuela Velasco) and her cameraman record the horrifying outbreak of a disease that turns humans into vicious cannibals.... [More]

#8

Zombieland (2009)
89%

#8
Adjusted Score: 99788%
Critics Consensus: Wickedly funny and featuring plenty of gore, Zombieland is proof that the zombie subgenre is far from dead.
Synopsis: After a virus turns most people into zombies, the world's surviving humans remain locked in an ongoing battle against the... [More]
Directed By: Ruben Fleischer

#7

Ginger Snaps (2000)
90%

#7
Adjusted Score: 90570%
Critics Consensus: The strong female cast and biting satire of teenage life makes Ginger Snaps far more memorable than your average werewolf movie -- or teen flick.
Synopsis: The story of two outcast sisters, Ginger (Katharine Isabelle) and Brigitte (Emily Perkins), in the mindless suburban town of Bailey... [More]
Directed By: John Fawcett

#6
#6
Adjusted Score: 96338%
Critics Consensus: Creepily atmospheric and haunting, The Devil's Backbone is both a potent ghost story and an intelligent political allegory.
Synopsis: After losing his father, 10-year-old Carlos (Fernando Tielve) arrives at the Santa Lucia School, which shelters orphans of the Republican... [More]
Directed By: Guillermo del Toro

#5
#5
Adjusted Score: 98888%
Critics Consensus: Shaun of the Dead cleverly balances scares and witty satire, making for a bloody good zombie movie with loads of wit.
Synopsis: Shaun (Simon Pegg) is a 30-something loser with a dull, easy existence. When he's not working at the electronics store,... [More]
Directed By: Edgar Wright

#4

Drag Me to Hell (2009)
92%

#4
Adjusted Score: 103288%
Critics Consensus: Sam Raimi returns to top form with Drag Me to Hell, a frightening, hilarious, delightfully campy thrill ride.
Synopsis: Christine Brown (Alison Lohman) has a loving boyfriend (Justin Long) and a great job at a Los Angeles bank. But... [More]
Directed By: Sam Raimi

#3

The Host (2006)
93%

#3
Adjusted Score: 98421%
Critics Consensus: As populace pleasing as it is intellectually satisfying, The Host combines scares, laughs, and satire into a riveting, monster movie.
Synopsis: Careless American military personnel dump chemicals into South Korea's Han River. Several years later, a creature emerges from the tainted... [More]
Directed By: Bong Joon-ho

#2

Pan's Labyrinth (2006)
95%

#2
Adjusted Score: 104471%
Critics Consensus: Pan's Labyrinth is Alice in Wonderland for grown-ups, with the horrors of both reality and fantasy blended together into an extraordinary, spellbinding fable.
Synopsis: In 1944 Spain young Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) and her ailing mother (Ariadna Gil) arrive at the post of her mother's... [More]
Directed By: Guillermo del Toro

#1
#1
Adjusted Score: 104738%
Critics Consensus: Let the Right One In reinvigorates the seemingly tired vampire genre by effectively mixing scares with intelligent storytelling.
Synopsis: When Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant), a sensitive, bullied 12-year-old boy living with his mother in suburban Sweden, meets his new neighbor,... [More]
Directed By: Tomas Alfredson

(Photo by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection)

All Samuel L. Jackson Movies Ranked

After a number of character parts and bit roles in a swath of urban dramas at the start of his career, Jackson made his breakthrough statement as the fiery voice of reason in Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing: DJ Mister Señor Love Daddy. Pulling off a character with a name like that should only lead to more success, and sure enough, then came the slapstick comedy (Loaded Weapon 1), a disarming role in Jurassic Park, and the ultimate ’90s character: hitman Jules Winnfield in Pulp Fiction.

From there, Jackson has only cemented his rep as Hollywood’s versatile king of volatile cool, partnering with John McClane (Die Hard With a Vengeance), feelin’ the Force in the Star Wars prequels, starring as the sexy spawn of Shaft, and making his mark in original meme movie Snakes on a Plane.

And as, of course, the linchpin of the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Nick Fury, whose movie appearances (brief or significant) are all included here in the greater interest of the general public, i.e. you’re going to complain if we didn’t. With that said, hold on to your butts for Samuel L. Jackson movies ranked by Tomatometer!

#97

Kite (2014)
0%

#97
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: With the help of her father's ex-partner (Samuel L. Jackson) and a friend (Callan McAuliffe) from her past, an orphaned... [More]
Directed By: Ralph Ziman

#96

Twisted (2004)
1%

#96
Adjusted Score: 5579%
Critics Consensus: An implausible, overheated potboiler that squanders a stellar cast, Twisted is a clichéd, risible whodunit.
Synopsis: Recently promoted and transferred to the homicide division, Inspector Jessica Shepard (Ashley Judd) feels pressure to prove herself -- and... [More]
Directed By: Philip Kaufman

#95
#95
Adjusted Score: 8953%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Waymon (Joseph C. Phillips) has a great job in real estate and a promising future, but he's also trapped in... [More]
Directed By: Kevin Hooks

#94

Sphere (1998)
11%

#94
Adjusted Score: 13428%
Critics Consensus: Sphere features an A-level cast working with B-grade material, with a story seen previously in superior science-fiction films.
Synopsis: When psychologist Norman Goodman (Dustin Hoffman) wrote a report for the government on how to deal with extraterrestrial life forces,... [More]
Directed By: Barry Levinson

#93

Cell (2016)
11%

#93
Adjusted Score: 12657%
Critics Consensus: Shoddily crafted and devoid of suspense, Cell squanders a capable cast and Stephen King's once-prescient source material on a bland rehash of zombie cliches.
Synopsis: A graphic novelist (John Cusack) begins a desperate search for his estranged wife (Clark Sarullo) and son (Ethan Andrew Casto)... [More]
Directed By: Tod Williams

#92

The Spirit (2008)
14%

#92
Adjusted Score: 17156%
Critics Consensus: Though its visuals are unique, The Spirit's plot is almost incomprehensible, the dialogue is ludicrously mannered, and the characters are unmemorable.
Synopsis: Apparently murdered cop Denny Colt (Gabriel Macht) returns as the Spirit, dedicated to protecting Central City from crime. His archenemy,... [More]
Directed By: Frank Miller

#91

Jumper (2008)
15%

#91
Adjusted Score: 20622%
Critics Consensus: Featuring uninvolving characters and loose narrative, Jumper is an erratic action pic with little coherence and lackluster special effects.
Synopsis: Aimless David Rice (Hayden Christensen) has the ability to instantly transport himself to any place he can imagine. He uses... [More]
Directed By: Doug Liman

#90

Cleaner (2007)
17%

#90
Adjusted Score: 8608%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Retired policeman Tom Cutler (Samuel L. Jackson) works as a crime-scene cleaner to support his young daughter. Cutler's quiet life... [More]
Directed By: Renny Harlin

#89

Amos & Andrew (1993)
17%

#89
Adjusted Score: 17326%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: When erudite black playwright Andrew Sterling (Samuel L. Jackson) moves to a predominantly white suburb, the buffoonish local police surround... [More]
Directed By: E. Max Frye

#88
#88
Adjusted Score: 21212%
Critics Consensus: Even more absurd and implausible than the first XXX movie, State of the Union is less inspired and technically competent than its predecessor.
Synopsis: When the government finds out that a group of terrorists has infiltrated its ranks, and the group is being trained... [More]
Directed By: Lee Tamahori

#87
#87
Adjusted Score: 24712%
Critics Consensus: Mechanical animation and a less-than stellar script make The Clone Wars a pale shadow of George Lucas' once great franchise.
Synopsis: As more star systems get swept into the Clone Wars, the valiant Jedi knights struggle to maintain order. Anakin Skywalker... [More]
Directed By: Dave Filoni

#86
Adjusted Score: 22295%
Critics Consensus: Loaded Weapon 1 hits all the routine targets with soft squibs, yielding a tired parody that cycles through its laundry list of references with little comedic verve.
Synopsis: This "Lethal Weapon" spoof follows Los Angeles police officers Wes Luger (Samuel L. Jackson) and Jack Colt (Emilio Estevez) as... [More]
Directed By: Gene Quintano

#85

Basic (2003)
21%

#85
Adjusted Score: 24615%
Critics Consensus: Basic gets so needlessly convoluted in its plot twists that the viewer eventually loses interest.
Synopsis: During a special operations training mission in Panama, four U.S. soldiers are killed mysteriously, and their leader, Sgt. Nathan West... [More]
Directed By: John McTiernan

#84

Reasonable Doubt (2014)
22%

#84
Adjusted Score: 9300%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A prosecutor (Dominic Cooper) commits a fatal hit-and-run, then manipulates the case so that the man who was arrested for... [More]
Directed By: Peter P. Croudins

#83

Meeting Evil (2011)
22%

#83
Adjusted Score: 9315%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: An unwitting family man (Luke Wilson) takes a joy ride from hell with an insane killer (Samuel L. Jackson).... [More]
Directed By: Chris Fisher

#82
#82
Adjusted Score: 23763%
Critics Consensus: The ensemble cast works hard, but hammy direction and a script lacking in nuance ruins this movie's noble intentions.
Synopsis: Following a lengthy tour of duty in Iraq, three soldiers find that readjusting to life at home is not as... [More]
Directed By: Irwin Winkler

#81

Freedomland (2006)
23%

#81
Adjusted Score: 29193%
Critics Consensus: Poorly directed and overacted, Freedomland attempts to address sensitive race and class issues but its overzealousness misses the mark.
Synopsis: A mother blames the disappearance of her child on a black man from the projects after she reports a carjacking.... [More]
Directed By: Joe Roth

#80
#80
Adjusted Score: 25663%
Critics Consensus: A well-intentioned but melodramatic look at post-Apartheid South Africa.
Synopsis: An American reporter (Samuel L. Jackson) and an Afrikaans poet (Juliette Binoche) meet and fall in love while covering South... [More]
Directed By: John Boorman

#79

Zambezia (2012)
25%

#79
Adjusted Score: 8950%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Kai (Jeremy Suarez), a high-spirited falcon, travels to the bird city of Zambezia and discovers the truth about his origins.... [More]
Directed By: Wayne Thornley

#78
#78
Adjusted Score: 11780%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Police Detective Jack Friar (Samuel L. Jackson) is searching for a runaway teen when he's taken hostage by a band... [More]
Directed By: Bob Rafelson

#77
Adjusted Score: 36103%
Critics Consensus: Despite the charms of its ensemble, The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard fails to protect the audience from repetitive and tired genre tropes.
Synopsis: The world's most lethal odd couple -- bodyguard Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) and hitman Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson) --... [More]
Directed By: Patrick Hughes

#76

Barely Lethal (2015)
26%

#76
Adjusted Score: 25569%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Seeking a normal adolescence, a special-operations agent (Hailee Steinfeld) fakes her own death and enrolls in high school as an... [More]
Directed By: Kyle Newman

#75

The Samaritan (2012)
26%

#75
Adjusted Score: 25647%
Critics Consensus: The Samaritan is a ludicrous neo-noir starring a seemingly bored Samuel L. Jackson.
Synopsis: After many years in prison, a former grifter (Samuel L. Jackson) tries to go straight, but the son (Luke Kirby)... [More]
Directed By: David Weaver

#74

The 51st State (2001)
26%

#74
Adjusted Score: 28905%
Critics Consensus: Filled with profanities, Formula 51 is a stylized and incoherent mess that doesn't add up to much.
Synopsis: "The 51st State" is the story of Elmo McElroy (Samuel L. Jackson), a streetwise American master chemist, who heads to... [More]
Directed By: Ronny Yu

#73

Fluke (1995)
27%

#73
Adjusted Score: 13324%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Workaholic Thomas P. Johnson (Matthew Modine) has achieved professional success at the expense of his family life, having neglected his... [More]
Directed By: Carlo Carlei

#72

One Eight Seven (1997)
30%

#72
Adjusted Score: 30019%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: When a student writes the police code for homicide, 187, inside a textbook owned by teacher Trevor Garfield (Samuel L.... [More]
Directed By: Kevin Reynolds

#71

Shaft (2019)
34%

#71
Adjusted Score: 40533%
Critics Consensus: Decades removed from the original, this multi-generational Shaft struggles to keep its characters interesting -- or anything other than uncomfortably outdated.
Synopsis: John Shaft Jr. may be an FBI cyber security expert, but to uncover the truth behind his best friend's untimely... [More]
Directed By: Tim Story

#70
#70
Adjusted Score: 51092%
Critics Consensus: The Legend of Tarzan has more on its mind than many movies starring the classic character, but that isn't enough to make up for its generic plot or sluggish pace.
Synopsis: It's been nearly a decade since Tarzan (Alexander Skarsgård), also known as John Clayton III, left Africa to live in... [More]
Directed By: David Yates

#69
#69
Adjusted Score: 39342%
Critics Consensus: The script is unconvincing and the courtroom action is unegaging.
Synopsis: Col. Terry Childers (Samuel L. Jackson) is a 30-year Marine veteran: a decorated officer with combat experience in Vietnam, Beirut... [More]
Directed By: William Friedkin

#68
Adjusted Score: 47822%
Critics Consensus: Spiral: From the Book of Saw suggests an interesting new direction for the Saw franchise, even if the gory sum is rather less than its parts.
Synopsis: A criminal mastermind unleashes a twisted form of justice in Spiral, the terrifying new chapter from the book of Saw.... [More]
Directed By: Darren Lynn Bousman

#67

Oldboy (2013)
39%

#67
Adjusted Score: 44761%
Critics Consensus: Suitably grim and bloody yet disappointingly safe and shallow, Spike Lee's Oldboy remake neither surpasses the original nor adds anything new to its impressive legacy.
Synopsis: Although his life is already in a downward spiral, things get much worse for advertising executive Joe Doucett (Josh Brolin)... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#66

Death to 2020 (2020)
40%

#66
Adjusted Score: 40485%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: 2020: A year so [insert adjective of choice here], even the creators of Black Mirror couldn't make it up... but... [More]
Directed By: Al Campbell, Alice Mathias

#65
#65
Adjusted Score: 59825%
Critics Consensus: The Hitman's Bodyguard coasts on Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds' banter -- but doesn't get enough mileage to power past an overabundance of action-comedy clichés.
Synopsis: The world's top protection agent is called upon to guard the life of his mortal enemy, one of the world's... [More]
Directed By: Patrick Hughes

#64

Lakeview Terrace (2008)
44%

#64
Adjusted Score: 50488%
Critics Consensus: This thriller about a menacing cop wreaking havoc on his neighbors is tense enough but threatens absurdity when it enters into excessive potboiler territory.
Synopsis: An uptight cop (Samuel L. Jackson), the self-appointed watchdog of his neighborhood, strongly disapproves of the interracial newlyweds (Patrick Wilson,... [More]
Directed By: Neil LaBute

#63
Adjusted Score: 54777%
Critics Consensus: xXx: Return of Xander Cage should satisfy fans of the first two installments, but its preponderance of set pieces can't quite make up for a tired storyline that fails to take the franchise -- or action fans -- anywhere new.
Synopsis: After coming out of self-imposed exile, daredevil operative Xander Cage (Vin Diesel) must race against time to recover a sinister... [More]
Directed By: D.J. Caruso

#62
#62
Adjusted Score: 45575%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Boxing promoter the Rev. Fred Sultan (Samuel L. Jackson) decides the best way to revive public interest in his top... [More]
Directed By: Reginald Hudlin

#61
#61
Adjusted Score: 47768%
Critics Consensus: The Caveman's Valentine has an intriguing premise, but the film falls flat under the weight of its ambition.
Synopsis: Romulus (Samuel L. Jackson) is a homeless man who dwells in a cave in one of New York City's parks,... [More]
Directed By: Kasi Lemmons

#60

Soul Men (2008)
45%

#60
Adjusted Score: 48439%
Critics Consensus: Soul Men features lively performances from Bernie Mac and Samuel L. Jackson and some hilarious moments, but ultimately suffers from an unoriginal script.
Synopsis: Louis (Samuel L. Jackson) and Floyd (Bernie Mac) used to be one of the country's top musical duos, until they... [More]
Directed By: Malcolm D. Lee

#59

S.W.A.T. (2003)
48%

#59
Adjusted Score: 52597%
Critics Consensus: A competent, but routine police thriller.
Synopsis: Hondo Harrelson (Samuel L. Jackson) recruits Jim Street (Colin Farrell) to join an elite unit of the Los Angeles Police... [More]
Directed By: Clark Johnson

#58

RoboCop (2014)
48%

#58
Adjusted Score: 57427%
Critics Consensus: While it's far better than it could have been, José Padilha's RoboCop remake fails to offer a significant improvement over the original.
Synopsis: In 2028, OmniCorp is at the center of robot technology. While its drones have long been used by the military... [More]
Directed By: José Padilha

#57

XXX (2002)
49%

#57
Adjusted Score: 53782%
Critics Consensus: It has an endearing lack of seriousness, and Vin Diesel has more than enough muscle for the starring role, but ultimately, XXX is a missed opportunity to breathe new life into the spy thriller genre.
Synopsis: Vin Diesel stars as former extreme sports athlete Xander "XXX" Cage, notorious for his death-defying public stunts. Betting he can... [More]
Directed By: Rob Cohen

#56

Astro Boy (2009)
50%

#56
Adjusted Score: 55326%
Critics Consensus: While it isn't terribly original, and it seems to have a political agenda that may rankle some viewers, Astro Boy boasts enough visual thrills to please its target demographic.
Synopsis: In futuristic Metro City, a brilliant scientist named Tenma builds Astro Boy (Freddie Highmore), a robotic child with superstrength, X-ray... [More]
Directed By: David Bowers

#55
Adjusted Score: 62032%
Critics Consensus: Burdened by exposition and populated with stock characters, The Phantom Menace gets the Star Wars prequels off to a bumpy -- albeit visually dazzling -- start.
Synopsis: Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) is a young apprentice Jedi knight under the tutelage of Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) ; Anakin... [More]
Directed By: George Lucas

#54

Deep Blue Sea (1999)
59%

#54
Adjusted Score: 63810%
Critics Consensus: Deep Blue Sea is no Jaws, but action fans seeking some toothy action can certainly do -- and almost certainly have done -- far worse for B-movie thrills.
Synopsis: On an island research facility, Dr. Susan McAlester (Saffron Burrows) is harvesting the brain tissue of DNA-altered sharks as a... [More]
Directed By: Renny Harlin

#53
#53
Adjusted Score: 63902%
Critics Consensus: Die Hard with a Vengeance benefits from Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson's barbed interplay, but clatters to a bombastic finish in a vain effort to cover for an overall lack of fresh ideas.
Synopsis: Detective John McClane (Bruce Willis) is now divorced, alcoholic and jobless after getting fired for his reckless behavior and bad... [More]
Directed By: John McTiernan

#52
#52
Adjusted Score: 64565%
Critics Consensus: The Last Full Measure struggles to capture the incidents that inspired it, but ultimately prevails thanks to strong performances in service of a remarkable true story.
Synopsis: Airman William H. Pitsenbarger Jr. is awarded the Medal of Honor for his service and actions on the battlefield.... [More]
Directed By: Todd Robinson

#51
#51
Adjusted Score: 64742%
Critics Consensus: While sluggish in spots, Resurrecting the Champ is a sports/newsroom drama elevated by high-caliber performances by Samuel Jackson, Josh Hartnet, and Alan Alda.
Synopsis: Things are not going well for Erik Kernan (Josh Hartnett). Erik, a sports reporter, is stuck covering the bush leagues... [More]
Directed By: Rod Lurie

#50

Coach Carter (2005)
64%

#50
Adjusted Score: 69704%
Critics Consensus: Even though it's based on a true story, Coach Carter is pretty formulaic stuff, but it's effective and energetic, thanks to a strong central performance from Samuel L. Jackson.
Synopsis: In 1999, Ken Carter (Samuel L. Jackson) returns to his old high school in Richmond, California, to get the basketball... [More]
Directed By: Thomas Carter

#49
Adjusted Score: 79958%
Critics Consensus: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children proves a suitable match for Tim Burton's distinctive style, even if it's on stronger footing as a visual experience than a narrative one.
Synopsis: When his beloved grandfather leaves Jake clues to a mystery that spans different worlds and times, he finds a magical... [More]
Directed By: Tim Burton

#48
Adjusted Score: 73554%
Critics Consensus: Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones benefits from an increased emphasis on thrilling action, although they're once again undercut by ponderous plot points and underdeveloped characters.
Synopsis: Set ten years after the events of "The Phantom Menace," the Republic continues to be mired in strife and chaos.... [More]
Directed By: George Lucas

#47

Black Snake Moan (2007)
66%

#47
Adjusted Score: 71871%
Critics Consensus: Uninhibited performances, skillful direction, and a killer blues soundtrack elevate Black Snake Moan beyond its outlandish premise.
Synopsis: After her lover (Justin Timberlake) leaves to serve in the military, Rae (Christina Ricci) gives in to her raging libido... [More]
Directed By: Craig Brewer

#46

Shaft (2000)
67%

#46
Adjusted Score: 70184%
Critics Consensus: With a charismatic lead, this new Shaft knows how to push the right buttons.
Synopsis: Crooked cops on the take -- small-time drug lords -- sleazy informers and sadistic rich kids ready to kill ---... [More]
Directed By: John Singleton

#45

Turbo (2013)
67%

#45
Adjusted Score: 70146%
Critics Consensus: It's nowhere near as inventive as its off-the-wall premise might suggest, but Turbo boasts just enough colorful visual thrills and sharp voice acting to recommend as undemanding family-friendly fare.
Synopsis: Turbo (Ryan Reynolds) is a speed-obsessed snail with an unusual dream: to become the world's greatest racer. This odd snail... [More]
Directed By: David Soren

#44

A Time to Kill (1996)
68%

#44
Adjusted Score: 70005%
Critics Consensus: Overlong and superficial, A Time to Kill nonetheless succeeds on the strength of its skillful craftsmanship and top-notch performances.
Synopsis: Carl Lee Hailey (Samuel L. Jackson) is a heartbroken black father who avenges his daughter's brutal rape by shooting the... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#43

Kiss of Death (1995)
67%

#43
Adjusted Score: 68029%
Critics Consensus: An outstanding ensemble cast propels Kiss of Death, a noir-ish crime thriller that's slick and big on atmosphere, even if its script may only provide sporadic bursts of tension.
Synopsis: After his time in prison, Jimmy Kilmartin (David Caruso) keeps his head down and provides for his wife and kids,... [More]
Directed By: Barbet Schroeder

#42
#42
Adjusted Score: 75479%
Critics Consensus: Snakes on a Plane lives up to its title, featuring snakes on a plane. It isn't perfect, but then again, it doesn't need to be.
Synopsis: FBI agent Nelville Flynn (Samuel L. Jackson) boards a flight from Hawaii to Los Angeles, escorting a witness to trial.... [More]
Directed By: David R. Ellis

#41
#41
Adjusted Score: 70199%
Critics Consensus: Smart, sharp-witted, and fueled by enjoyably over-the-top action, The Long Kiss Goodnight makes up in impact what it lacks in consistent aim.
Synopsis: Schoolteacher and single mother Samantha Caine (Geena Davis) lives an average suburban life -- until she begins having strange memories... [More]
Directed By: Renny Harlin

#40

Unbreakable (2000)
70%

#40
Adjusted Score: 76710%
Critics Consensus: With a weaker ending, Unbreakable is not as a good as The Sixth Sense. However, it is a quietly suspenseful film that intrigues and engages, taking the audience through unpredictable twists and turns along the way.
Synopsis: David Dunn (Bruce Willis) is the sole survivor of a devastating train wreck. Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson) is a... [More]
Directed By: M. Night Shyamalan

#39

Mo' Better Blues (1990)
71%

#39
Adjusted Score: 71957%
Critics Consensus: Mo' Better Blues is rich with vibrant hues and Denzel Washington's impassioned performance, although its straightforward telling lacks the political punch fans expect from a Spike Lee joint.
Synopsis: Financially irresponsible Giant (Spike Lee) manages a jazz group, but his sax player, Shadow (Wesley Snipes), wants to replace him... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#38

Iron Man 2 (2010)
72%

#38
Adjusted Score: 83904%
Critics Consensus: It isn't quite the breath of fresh air that Iron Man was, but this sequel comes close with solid performances and an action-packed plot.
Synopsis: With the world now aware that he is Iron Man, billionaire inventor Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) faces pressure from... [More]
Directed By: Jon Favreau

#37

The Red Violin (1998)
74%

#37
Adjusted Score: 74716%
Critics Consensus: A symphony of storytelling whose lulls lead to satisfying crescendos, The Red Violin weaves a centuries-long saga with the journey of a single instrument.
Synopsis: The intricate history of a beautiful antique violin is traced from its creation in Cremona, Italy, in 1681, where a... [More]
Directed By: François Girard

#36

The Negotiator (1998)
74%

#36
Adjusted Score: 75687%
Critics Consensus: The Negotiator's battle of wits doesn't wholly justify its excessive length, but confident direction by F. Gary Gray and formidable performances makes this a situation audiences won't mind being hostage to.
Synopsis: Danny Roman (Samuel L. Jackson) is considered the best police hostage negotiator in Chicago. After a friend warns him that... [More]
Directed By: F. Gary Gray

#35
#35
Adjusted Score: 88107%
Critics Consensus: The Hateful Eight offers another well-aimed round from Quentin Tarantino's signature blend of action, humor, and over-the-top violence -- all while demonstrating an even stronger grip on his filmmaking craft.
Synopsis: While racing toward the town of Red Rock in post-Civil War Wyoming, bounty hunter John "The Hangman" Ruth (Kurt Russell)... [More]
Directed By: Quentin Tarantino

#34
Adjusted Score: 84834%
Critics Consensus: Stylish, subversive, and above all fun, Kingsman: The Secret Service finds director Matthew Vaughn sending up the spy genre with gleeful abandon.
Synopsis: Gary "Eggsy" Unwin (Taron Egerton), whose late father secretly worked for a spy organization, lives in a South London housing... [More]
Directed By: Matthew Vaughn

#33
#33
Adjusted Score: 104540%
Critics Consensus: Offering exhilarating eye candy, solid acting, and a fast-paced story, Kong: Skull Island earns its spot in the movie monster's mythos without ever matching up to the classic original.
Synopsis: Scientists, soldiers and adventurers unite to explore a mythical, uncharted island in the Pacific Ocean. Cut off from everything they... [More]
Directed By: Jordan Vogt-Roberts

#32
#32
Adjusted Score: 90810%
Critics Consensus: Exuberant and eye-popping, Avengers: Age of Ultron serves as an overstuffed but mostly satisfying sequel, reuniting its predecessor's unwieldy cast with a few new additions and a worthy foe.
Synopsis: When Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) jump-starts a dormant peacekeeping program, things go terribly awry, forcing him, Thor (Chris Hemsworth),... [More]
Directed By: Joss Whedon

#31

Changing Lanes (2002)
77%

#31
Adjusted Score: 80763%
Critics Consensus: Though some may find its conclusion unsatisfying, Changing Lanes is a tense, well-crafted exploration of meaty ethical dilemmas.
Synopsis: A rush-hour fender-bender on New York City's crowded FDR Drive, under most circumstances, wouldn't set off a chain reaction that... [More]
Directed By: Roger Michell

#30

Thor (2011)
77%

#30
Adjusted Score: 87536%
Critics Consensus: A dazzling blockbuster that tempers its sweeping scope with wit, humor, and human drama, Thor is mighty Marvel entertainment.
Synopsis: As the son of Odin (Anthony Hopkins), king of the Norse gods, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) will soon inherit the throne... [More]
Directed By: Kenneth Branagh

#29

Big Game (2014)
78%

#29
Adjusted Score: 79990%
Critics Consensus: Big Game's enthusiastic throwback vibe will appeal to fans of low-budget '80s action movies, but co-writer/director Jalmari Helander adds a level of smarts and skill that make it more than just an homage.
Synopsis: The U.S. president (Samuel L. Jackson) must rely on a 13-year-old boy (Onni Tommila) to get him out alive after... [More]
Directed By: Jalmari Helander

#28

Mother and Child (2009)
78%

#28
Adjusted Score: 82433%
Critics Consensus: Though it occasionally veers into unnecessary melodrama, Mother and Child benefits from a stellar cast and writer-director Rodrigo Garcia's finely detailed, bravely unsentimental script.
Synopsis: The lives of three women have a commonality: adoption. Karen (Annette Bening) is a physical therapist who regrets that, as... [More]
Directed By: Rodrigo Garcia

#27

The Other Guys (2010)
79%

#27
Adjusted Score: 85914%
Critics Consensus: A clever parody of cop-buddy action-comedies, The Other Guys delivers several impressive action set pieces and lots of big laughs, thanks to the assured comic chemistry between Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg.
Synopsis: Unlike their heroic counterparts on the force, desk-bound NYPD detectives Gamble (Will Ferrell) and Hoitz (Mark Wahlberg) garner no headlines... [More]
Directed By: Adam McKay

#26

Captain Marvel (2019)
79%

#26
Adjusted Score: 113649%
Critics Consensus: Packed with action, humor, and visual thrills, Captain Marvel introduces the MCU's latest hero with an origin story that makes effective use of the franchise's signature formula.
Synopsis: Captain Marvel is an extraterrestrial Kree warrior who finds herself caught in the middle of an intergalactic battle between her... [More]
Directed By: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck

#25

1408 (2007)
79%

#25
Adjusted Score: 86378%
Critics Consensus: Relying on psychological tension rather than overt violence and gore, 1408 is a genuinely creepy thriller with a strong lead performance by John Cusack.
Synopsis: Mike Enslin (John Cusack) is a successful author who enjoys worldwide acclaim debunking supernatural phenomena -- before he checks into... [More]
Directed By: Mikael Hafstrom

#24

The Banker (2020)
79%

#24
Adjusted Score: 83712%
Critics Consensus: The Banker's timid approach to dramatizing its fact-based story is often outweighed by the trio of strong performances at its core.
Synopsis: In the 1960s, two entrepreneurs hatch an ingenious business plan to fight for housing integration and equal access to the... [More]
Directed By: George Nolfi

#23
Adjusted Score: 89804%
Critics Consensus: With plenty of pulpy action, a pleasantly retro vibe, and a handful of fine performances, Captain America is solidly old-fashioned blockbuster entertainment.
Synopsis: It is 1941 and the world is in the throes of war. Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) wants to do his... [More]
Directed By: Joe Johnston

#22
Adjusted Score: 91497%
Critics Consensus: With Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, George Lucas brings his second Star Wars trilogy to a suitably thrilling and often poignant -- if still a bit uneven -- conclusion.
Synopsis: It has been three years since the Clone Wars began. Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and Jedi Knight Anakin... [More]
Directed By: George Lucas

#21

Hard Eight (1996)
81%

#21
Adjusted Score: 82364%
Critics Consensus: An absorbing showcase for Philip Baker Hall, Paul Thomason Anderson's feature debut is a gamble that pays off handsomely.
Synopsis: A stranger (Philip Baker Hall) mentors a young Reno gambler (John C. Reilly) who weds a hooker (Gwyneth Paltrow) and... [More]
Directed By: Paul Thomas Anderson

#20

Trees Lounge (1996)
81%

#20
Adjusted Score: 80861%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Long Island loser Tommy (Steve Buscemi) is a hopeless alcoholic who loses his job for stealing from his boss, Rob... [More]
Directed By: Steve Buscemi

#19

Jungle Fever (1991)
82%

#19
Adjusted Score: 84389%
Critics Consensus: Jungle Fever finds Spike Lee tackling timely sociopolitical themes in typically provocative style, even if the result is sometimes ambitious to a fault.
Synopsis: A married black lawyer named Flipper (Wesley Snipes) begins an affair with Angie (Annabella Sciorra), his white secretary. When the... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#18

Eve's Bayou (1997)
82%

#18
Adjusted Score: 85261%
Critics Consensus: Eve's Bayou marks a striking feature debut for director Kasi Lemmons, layering terrific performances and Southern mysticism into a measured meditation on disillusionment and forgiveness.
Synopsis: Over the course of a long, hot Louisiana summer, a 10-year-old black girl, Eve Batiste (Jurnee Smollett), discovers that her... [More]
Directed By: Kasi Lemmons

#17

Chi-Raq (2015)
82%

#17
Adjusted Score: 90973%
Critics Consensus: Chi-Raq is as urgently topical and satisfyingly ambitious as it is wildly uneven -- and it contains some of Spike Lee's smartest, sharpest, and all-around entertaining late-period work.
Synopsis: The girlfriend (Teyonah Parris) of a Chicago gang leader (Nick Cannon) persuades other frustrated women to abstain from sex until... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#16
#16
Adjusted Score: 87361%
Critics Consensus: Told with grit and verve by the Hughes brothers in their feature debut, Menace II Society is a gangland epic that breathes with authenticity while steeped in style.
Synopsis: After growing up in the gang lifestyle of the Los Angeles projects, 18-year-old Caine Lawson (Tyrin Turner) wants a way... [More]

#15
#15
Adjusted Score: 92087%
Critics Consensus: Kill Bill: Volume 2 adds extra plot and dialogue to the action-heavy exploits of its predecessor, while still managing to deliver a suitably hard-hitting sequel.
Synopsis: The Bride (Uma Thurman) picks up where she left off in volume one with her quest to finish the hit... [More]
Directed By: Quentin Tarantino

#14
#14
Adjusted Score: 92345%
Critics Consensus: Kill Bill is admittedly little more than a stylish revenge thriller -- albeit one that benefits from a wildly inventive surfeit of style.
Synopsis: A former assassin, known simply as The Bride (Uma Thurman), wakes from a coma four years after her jealous ex-lover... [More]
Directed By: Quentin Tarantino

#13
#13
Adjusted Score: 114161%
Critics Consensus: Avengers: Infinity War ably juggles a dizzying array of MCU heroes in the fight against their gravest threat yet, and the result is a thrilling, emotionally resonant blockbuster that (mostly) realizes its gargantuan ambitions.
Synopsis: Iron Man, Thor, the Hulk and the rest of the Avengers unite to battle their most powerful enemy yet --... [More]
Directed By: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

#12

Jackie Brown (1997)
87%

#12
Adjusted Score: 92479%
Critics Consensus: Although somewhat lackadaisical in pace, Jackie Brown proves to be an effective star-vehicle for Pam Grier while offering the usual Tarantino wit and charm.
Synopsis: When flight attendant Jackie Brown (Pam Grier) is busted smuggling money for her arms dealer boss, Ordell Robbie (Samuel L.... [More]
Directed By: Quentin Tarantino

#11

Django Unchained (2012)
86%

#11
Adjusted Score: 98844%
Critics Consensus: Bold, bloody, and stylistically daring, Django Unchained is another incendiary masterpiece from Quentin Tarantino.
Synopsis: Two years before the Civil War, Django (Jamie Foxx), a slave, finds himself accompanying an unorthodox German bounty hunter named... [More]
Directed By: Quentin Tarantino

#10

Fresh (1994)
88%

#10
Adjusted Score: 89167%
Critics Consensus: Well cast and sharply directed, Fresh serves as an attention-getting calling card for writer-director Boaz Yakin as well as a gripping urban drama.
Synopsis: Fresh (Sean Nelson) is a 12-year-old drug dealer who finds himself trapped in a web of poverty, corruption and racial... [More]
Directed By: Boaz Yakin

#9
Adjusted Score: 102467%
Critics Consensus: Suspenseful and politically astute, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a superior entry in the Avengers canon and is sure to thrill Marvel diehards.
Synopsis: After the cataclysmic events in New York with his fellow Avengers, Steve Rogers, aka Captain America (Chris Evans), lives in... [More]
Directed By: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

#8
Adjusted Score: 118745%
Critics Consensus: A breezily unpredictable blend of teen romance and superhero action, Spider-Man: Far from Home stylishly sets the stage for the next era of the MCU.
Synopsis: Peter Parker's relaxing European vacation takes an unexpected turn when Nick Fury shows up in his hotel room to recruit... [More]
Directed By: Jon Watts

#7
#7
Adjusted Score: 106046%
Critics Consensus: Thanks to a script that emphasizes its heroes' humanity and a wealth of superpowered set pieces, The Avengers lives up to its hype and raises the bar for Marvel at the movies.
Synopsis: When Thor's evil brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston), gains access to the unlimited power of the energy cube called the Tesseract,... [More]
Directed By: Joss Whedon

#6

Jurassic Park (1993)
92%

#6
Adjusted Score: 102598%
Critics Consensus: Jurassic Park is a spectacle of special effects and life-like animatronics, with some of Spielberg's best sequences of sustained awe and sheer terror since Jaws.
Synopsis: In Steven Spielberg's massive blockbuster, paleontologists Alan Grant (Sam Neill) and Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) and mathematician Ian Malcolm (Jeff... [More]
Directed By: Steven Spielberg

#5

Pulp Fiction (1994)
92%

#5
Adjusted Score: 98550%
Critics Consensus: One of the most influential films of the 1990s, Pulp Fiction is a delirious post-modern mix of neo-noir thrills, pitch-black humor, and pop-culture touchstones.
Synopsis: Vincent Vega (John Travolta) and Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson) are hitmen with a penchant for philosophical discussions. In this... [More]
Directed By: Quentin Tarantino

#4

True Romance (1993)
93%

#4
Adjusted Score: 96233%
Critics Consensus: Fueled by Quentin Tarantino's savvy screenplay and a gallery of oddball performances, Tony Scott's True Romance is a funny and violent action jaunt in the best sense.
Synopsis: A comic-book nerd and Elvis fanatic Clarence (Christian Slater) and a prostitute named Alabama (Patricia Arquette) fall in love. Clarence... [More]
Directed By: Tony Scott

#3
#3
Adjusted Score: 100605%
Critics Consensus: Smart, vibrant, and urgent without being didactic, Do the Right Thing is one of Spike Lee's most fully realized efforts -- and one of the most important films of the 1980s.
Synopsis: Salvatore "Sal" Fragione (Danny Aiello) is the Italian owner of a pizzeria in Brooklyn. A neighborhood local, Buggin' Out (Giancarlo... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#2

Incredibles 2 (2018)
93%

#2
Adjusted Score: 116866%
Critics Consensus: Incredibles 2 reunites Pixar's family crimefighting team for a long-awaited follow-up that may not quite live up to the original, but comes close enough to earn its name.
Synopsis: Telecommunications guru Winston Deavor enlists Elastigirl to fight crime and make the public fall in love with superheroes once again.... [More]
Directed By: Brad Bird

#1

The Incredibles (2004)
97%

#1
Adjusted Score: 106293%
Critics Consensus: Bringing loads of wit and tons of fun to the animated superhero genre, The Incredibles easily lives up to its name.
Synopsis: In this lauded Pixar animated film, married superheroes Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) and Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) are forced to... [More]
Directed By: Brad Bird

In 2019, Rotten Tomatoes turns 21, and to mark the occasion we’re celebrating with a series of features that look back at the brightest moments on screen of the past two decades – and one year – and the things that have us excited for the future. 

They’re the lines you’ve worn on T-shirts and Photoshopped into memes. They’re the lines you’re maybe a little sick of, but can’t stop loving. Before they were famous, though – before they were parodied on SNL and printed onto ironic mugs – they were words on a page and then words in a movie you were hearing for the first time, and they stuck. Maybe they were hilarious (poor Gretchen, “fetch” never happened), or maybe they were chilling (“I see dead people”). Maybe they were delivered just right (“Why… so… serious?”). Here, we’re looking back at the 21 most memorable lines from the movies since August 1998, the year that Rotten Tomatoes came into this world. If we missed a favorite of yours, let us know in the comments.


The Sixth Sense (1999)

Neither M. Night Shyamalan nor Haley Joel Osment knew that the intensely whispered “I see dead people” would become the center of Disney’s marketing push for The Sixth Sense – and the subject of parodies for decades. Talking recently to Rotten Tomatoes, Osment said he was just thankful Twitter hadn’t been invented at the time the film came out, when he was 11.


Notting Hill (1999)

When you pair America’s sweetheart with Britain’s reigning rom-com king, you have to bring your A-game, and writer Richard Curtis did just that for Notting Hill. With this heartbreaking line, he manages to somehow get us rooting for one of the world’s richest and most glamorous movie stars, and screaming with frustration at the regular “fairly level-headed bloke” whose love she’s asking for.


American Pie (1999)

Paul and Chris Weitz’s surprisingly sweet teen sex comedy gave us one of the late ’90s most indelible movie images (the pie!), and chased that up with one of the decade’s most memorable movie lines. And one that’s got a sex-positive ring: “What?” asks Alyson Hannigan’s Michelle flatly after revealing where she sometimes puts her flute. “You don’t think I know how to get myself off?”


Fight Club (1999)

From Chuck Pahalniuk’s pen to Brad Pitt’s mouth and into the minds of college students all over the country…


Galaxy Quest (1999)

It was only appropriate that this cult spoof of Star Trek and its legion of Trekkie fans would have its own live-long-and-prosper–style catchphrase. It is delivered with Shatnerian levels of cheese and determination by Tim Allen, playing Jason Nesmith, who’s playing Commander Quincy Peter Taggart.


Office Space (1999)

We could run through an entire stack of Post-Its writing down our favorite lines from Mike Judge’s cult favorite, but this chipper, grating, morning greeting wins out – an encapsulation of the deep, smiley rage suppression that gives Office Space its kick.


Erin Brockovich (2000)

When Ed (Albert Finney) asks Julia Roberts’ Erin Brockovich, “What makes you think you can just walk in there and find what we need?”, she fires off this line and a look that says, Seriously, you need to ask? The resourceful real-life Erin Brockovich has said she did use the line with the real-life Ed – probably more than once.


The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

Some consider it blasphemy that Peter Jackson added this line as a climax to Gandalf’s defiant verbal smackdown of the fiery Balrog; in the original Tolkien book, Gandalf only says “you cannot pass” (which he also says, though less iconically, as he starts his speech in the film). Jackson’s addition became one of the best “f—k yeah!” moments in the original movie trilogy and went on to spawn thousands of memes.


Training Day (2001)

Denzel Washington won an Oscar for playing corrupt narcotics cop Alonzo in Atonine Fuqua’s Training Day, and it might have been his delivery this line – puffed-up and chest-pounding as he realizes power is slipping away – that got any hesitant Academy voters across the line.


The Incredibles (2004)

It’s unfair to say that Edna Mode (voiced by Incredibles writer-director Brad Bird) steals Pixar’s superhero smash – there are too many awesome elements and characters for one to dominate – but she comes very, very close. She’s full of one-liners and shady zingers, but it’s her golden rule (“No capes!”), and the various anecdotes that led to it (R.I.P. Thunderhead), that people remember most fondly.


Mean Girls (2004)

Mean Girls’ Regina George (Rachel McAdams) is the queen bee of her group, and this was perhaps her sharpest stinger. Irony is, while “fetch” didn’t happen, this line caught on in a big way.


300 (2006)

On paper, there’s nothing particularly special about this line – it’s kinda just a statement of fact (it is Sparta, after all – not Athens or Thermopylae, and definitely not madness, nor blasphemy). But coming out of Peak Gerard Butler’s mouth as a kind of gravelly scream for the ages, and accompanied by that iconic slow-mo kick, it’s gone down in film history. Watching this moment, we are all Sparta (even those of us without six packs).


Black Panther (2018)

This greeting of the Wakandan people, and the accompanying gesture, infiltrated popular culture following the release of mega-hit Black Panther in February 2018. (The film’s stars were asked to do the gesture so frequently on red carpets and during interviews, memes began to circulate showing a bored-looking Chadwick Boseman – who plays the titular hero – giving a perfunctory version of the cross-armed symbol.) Interestingly, the most memorable use of the phrase might come in Infinity War, and not Black Panther, when T’Challa shouts the phrase as he leads his Wakandans into battle against Thanos’s forces.


Brokeback Mountain (2005)

When Jake Gyllenhaal said these words to Heath Ledger while shooting Brokeback Mountain, he probably had no idea what a life they would go on to have: first as a wrenching moment between their characters, Jack Twist and Ennis Del Mar; then as a source of parody and a meme (mostly among those too immature to cope with the film); finally, and most recently, as a shorthand for the film itself, and what it meant to the LGBTQ community to see a gay couple portrayed authentically and without judgment in a major release.


The Hunger Games (2012)

There are plenty of action-packed, effects-enhanced, and completely thrilling moments throughout the Hunger Games franchise, but few are as simultaneously inspiring and terrifying as the quiet scene in which Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) steps forward to take her young sister’s place in the Games. The line is lifted directly from the same scene in first book of Susanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy.


Snakes on a Plane (2006)

You may not recall the insane hype around Snakes on a Plane in the lead up to its release – an irony-fueled internet buzz-wave that stemmed, essentially, from the absurdity of its premise-capturing title. You may not even remember much of the film itself. But there is no way you forgot this line, spoken by profanity wizard Samuel L. Jackson in one of those legendary B-movie inspiration speeches he’s so masterful at delivering. (Fun fact: The line has aired on FX as the more-safe-for-work “monkey-flying snakes on this Monday-to-Friday plane.”)


Taken (2008)

It was in 2009, while in his mid 50s, that Liam Neeson discovered a very particular set of skills – gravelly line-readings, a death-stare for the ages, and a capacity for rapid-fire action – that would launch a whole new chapter of his career: Liam Neeson, Action Star! And while the past decade has been littered with Neeson action programmers (right up to 2019’s Cold Pursuit), none have matched Taken for its intensity, impact, and the power of that oft-quoted bedroom scene.


The Dark Knight (2008)

Heath Ledger’s Oscar-winning turn as the Joker in Christopher Nolan’s second Batman film might well have given us the best comic-book movie villain ever. The character’s most famous line – “Why so serious?” – became iconic even before the film’s release, centering one of the most effective marketing campaigns of recent decades.


There Will Be Blood (2007)

Speaking of Oscar winners… This rather surprising analogy for oil drainage, spoken by Daniel Day-Lewis as Daniel Plainview, was inspired by real-life words to congress from then Secretary of the Interior, Albert Fall, spoken during a 1920s Congressional investigation. Or so Paul Thomas Anderson has said – the original quote has not been found.


Zoolander (2001)

The best stupid movie of the past 21 years? Maybe. (Step Brothers would give it a definite run for its money.) But Zoolander is probably the most quotable, thanks to brilliant bites of silliness like this.


The Fast and the Furious (2001)

The Furious franchise has evolved greatly over the years, shifting gears (sorry!) from smallish-scale Point Break-alike to globe-trotting stunt spectacular, each entry one-upping the other in terms of scale and ludicrousness. What keeps the whole thing grounded, and provides the through-line from 2001 right through to this year’s Hobbs and Shaw? Family, of course, but also the dedication to awesome cheese perfectly encapsulated by this line/mantra/religion. Us too, Dom, us too.

Photos courtesy of Buena Vista, Universal, Twentieth Century Fox, DreamWorks, Warner Bros., Walt Disney, Paramount, Marvel Studios, Focus Films, Lionsgate, Paramount Vantage.


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Look out! The fifth film in Syfy’s shark-infested franchise is coming: Sharknado: Global Swarming reunites Fin Shepard (Ian Ziering) and April Wexler (Tara Reid) in a globe-trotting, chainsaw-swinging shark-tornado adventure.

Can’t get enough ridiculous animal attacks? Check out this gallery of silly and savage cinematic offerings — many, like Sharknado, have lots of sequels if you need more mutant spiders or nightmare hybrid beasties.


Sharknado: Global Swarming premieres August 6 at 8/7C on Syfy.

Snakes-on-a-Plane-Title

There is no quality the Internet prizes above awesomeness. Truth, beauty, justice; these are all fine and dandy. But for the hardcore denizens of the internet — the snarky, smartass souls who spend their days quipping wise on Twitter, contributing to Facebook groups, and surfing various pop culture websites — such admirable, old-fashioned qualities can’t begin to measure up to the zeitgeist-capturing awesomeness of the space raccoon that wears people clothes in Guardians Of The Galaxy or the Merc with the mouth currently hypnotizing the masses.

The cult of the internet is in many ways a cult of awesomeness, and about a decade ago, its denizens were overjoyed (hell, let’s use the appropriate terminology: they were super mega geeked) to stumble across a film title, star, and premise that promised to result in the single most awesome movie ever made. Note that I did not say the best movie or the funniest or, god forbid, the smartest.

On the contrary, the movie was one that couldn’t — and shouldn’t, and wouldn’t — be anything approaching good. Hell, the internet didn’t want this movie to be good. They wanted it to be awesomely bad, hilariously incompetent. They wanted it to be “so bad it’s good.”

The film that I am talking about is, of course, 2006’s Snakes On A Plane, a silly little trifle elevated to the level of a bona fide pop culture phenomenon before the non-internet world — the one that, to its credit, doesn’t care what insanity Jaden Smith is tweeting because they have more important things to worry about — knocked it back down to size.

Snakes On A Plane’s road to over-hyped notoriety kicked into high gear when, according to popular lore, Samuel L. Jackson agreed to sign onto a movie called Snakes On A Plane, to be directed by Hong Kong veteran Ronny Yu (who was eventually replaced), without needing to look at a screenplay. Why would he need to? If this awesome dude thought the title Snakes On A Plane was awesome enough for him to sign on, sight unseen, who were we to suggest that maybe this movie maybe wouldn’t be transcendently, awesomely bad, but merely sub-par?

Snakes-Plane-Jackson-Line

The filmmakers re-shot scenes in a desperate attempt to give its instant cult more of what they thought it wanted.

As the media frenzy grew, cannibalizing itself in its delirious abandon, the public angrily demanded that this cheesy vessel for their fantasies feature all of the things they craved, namely boobs, drugs, and Samuel L. Jackson, that peerless poet of punchy profanity, loudly and climactically demanding, “Enough is Enough! I have had it with these motherf—ing snakes on this motherf—ing plane.” Oh, I’m sorry. What they actually demanded was Jackson yelling, “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!! I’VE HAD IT WITH THESE MOTHERF—ING SNAKES ON THIS MOTHERF—ING PLANE!!!”

It was like the old “Magic Word” on You Bet Your Life, only this time, the internet was promising that if Jackson would simply scream those words at the top of his lungs, then they would give the studio behind this surefire masterpiece all of the money. Not just all of their money, mind you, but all the money in the world. And if Snakes On A Plane did make all the money in the world, it would be considered a distinct commercial success. To that end, the filmmakers re-shot scenes in a desperate attempt to give its instant cult more of what they thought it wanted, and bumped up the rating from a weak and compromised PG-13 to a hard R in the process.

It did not go down the way the internet imagined it would, however, and the movie, which promised to make far more money and reach a vastly larger audience than anyone dreamed possible, ended up being, of all things, a distinct commercial disappointment. Considering the film’s modest budget, it wasn’t quite a flop, but it’s hard to see it as anything but the most compromised kind of success.

The internet loved the idea of Snakes On A Plane, but it was a lot less gung-ho about the reality of it, and non-Internet people who wondered what the fuss was about stayed away. Like the similarly hyped, similarly underwhelming Fanboys, Snakes On A Plane was an enormous cult movie whose cult seemed to have mysteriously disappeared as soon as the film was released and proven eminently unworthy of their frothing, misplaced passion and belief.

Jackson’s enthusiasm helped make Snakes On A Plane a thing, but he fails to make his protagonist, FBI agent Neville Flynn, anything more than than the shouty guy with a gun he plays in most of his more forgettable films. In Snakes On A Plane, Flynn offers to protect simian-featured extreme sports enthusiast Sean Jones (Nathan Phillips) if he’ll travel from his Hawaii home to Los Angeles to testify against martial arts-adept bad guy Eddie Kim (Byron Lawson) after the earnest, charisma-impaired young man witnesses the crime boss killing an enemy.

The veteran FBI agent plans to take up all of first class on the flight transporting his precious cargo, but his plans go extravagantly awry when Kim decides to smuggle pheromone-crazed snakes onto the plane in hopes that they’ll bring it down. Kim only wants to get rid of a single witness, but he has no problem killing a whole bunch of innocent bystanders in the process. He is not a very nice man.

Snakes On A Plane was released around a decade ago, but all of its characters seem to have emerged from the schlocky genre cinema of the 1970s and 1980s. The film is a lazy pastiche of tropes beloved by shameless action filmmakers of the Carter and Reagan eras, particularly the lovable creeps over at the Cannon crap factory. The film gingerly combines martial arts (the bad guys), soft-core porn (the couple that boards the plane solely to have sex, only to be killed by snakes), campy comedy, and campier horror.

Snakes-Plane-Margulies-Reaction

The internet loved the idea of Snakes On A Plane, but it was a lot less gung-ho about the reality of it.

It’s an action-comedy, but more than anything, it’s a disaster movie about a coterie of broadly drawn types who are faced with a crisis beyond most folk’s vivid imaginations and expected to figure out a way to band together for the sake of survival. In the grand tradition of disaster movies, these supporting characters don’t even need to open their mouths for us to know everything about them.

All it takes is one look at Mercedes (Rachel Blanchard), a lanky beauty with a chihuahua in her purse, to know that she’s a snobby child of privilege who enjoys the finer things in life, just as a single gander at “Three Gs” (Flex Alexander), a well-dressed black man surrounded by chunky flunkies, tells us he’s an arrogant celebrity who’s full of himself and more than a little obnoxious.

Snakes On A Plane doesn’t deliberately choose to be bad so much as it luxuriates in the freedom the world has given it to not be good. Even the talented actors on display here sink to the level of the material, like Julianna Margulies, who makes zero impression as Claire Miller, a flight attendant on her last trip before leaving the stewardess trade for good. Thank God the filmmakers establish that Claire is experiencing a personal and professional milestone, or the only notable thing that would have happened on her final flight would be all those snakes popping out of nowhere and killing people.

Snakes are the film’s reason for existing, but like everything in Snakes On A Plane, they’re more fun in theory than in practice. The idea is a kitschy, goofball delight, but as villains, snakes are pretty limited and one-dimensional; they basically have one move, which is to jump out and kill people. The CGI-intensive special effects here are unconvincing enough to kill any suspense but not unconvincing enough to be funny or fun.

Once onboard, Snakes On A Plane wastes little time pandering to the drunken whims of the audience. A couple goes to the bathroom to have sex and smoke weed and are murdered by reptiles for their troubles. Shortly afterwards, a man trying to urinate is rudely interrupted by a snake that attaches itself to his penis and refuses to let go. In shock and horror the unfortunate victim yells, “F—ing d—, get off my d—!” to the cursed reptile.

Now, a man moaning “F—ing d—, get off my d—!” while bleeding to death from a reptile feasting on his penis may engender guilty chuckles, but Snakes On A Plane is frustratingly light on guilty chuckles, which is the whole point of instant camp like this.

I was thoroughly underwhelmed by the film when I saw it by myself at a 10 o’clock screening the Friday it came out. I felt a bit like an enemy of fun, being so thoroughly non-entertained by such a frenzied juggernaut of trash-culture fantasy fulfillment. I suspect part of my response was attributable to seeing it in less than ideal circumstances (stone cold sober, in the morning, and with a critical eye), but I was also probably responding, on some level, to the hype.

I’ve made bad movie appreciation the cornerstone of my life and career, so re-contextualizing Hollywood product in fun and subversive ways is something I’ve devoted a lot of thought and energy to. I was irritated that the studio tried to create a pre-fabricated “so bad it’s good” cult classic, rather than letting a cult come to the movie organically. I was both relieved and a little chagrined that Snakes On A Plane left me just as cold a full decade later in a much different context.

Jackson-Snake-Phone

Snakes On A Plane knows that it’s stupid and silly, but that’s the extent of its self-awareness.

The ultimate problem with Snakes On A Plane is that it has no real take on the material, no point of view. Bad movies generally become cult classics one of two ways. They’re either the product of gloriously misplaced passion, personality, and sincerity, like The Room, Fateful Findings, or Glen & Glenda, or they realize their fundamentally tawdry and sleazy nature and have fun with their shortcomings.

Snakes On A Plane knows that it’s stupid and silly, but that’s the extent of its self-awareness; it gives audiences what it thinks they want to such a tedious degree that it ends up feeling less like the kind of cult favorite that inspires fan fiction than actual fan-fiction itself.

It’s as if the internet were “playing” Snakes On A Plane like a kid playing a video game. The masses were making the movie’s characters do and say what they wanted, but all they were really doing was hitting the “Be More Awesome!” button until it stopped working. Movies made by committee seldom work when that committee consists of unseen armies of executives, script doctors, editors, and focus group respondents all working to create something that reflects less the strong, uncompromised voice of a single auteur than the half-assed contributions of a far-flung aggregation of people doing the best they can. But movies made by committee work just as poorly when the “committee” in question is the internet.

In a sense, it all comes down to the scene where Jackson fulfills his cornball destiny and yells that instantly famous catchphrase about the mother-bleeping snakes on the mother-bleeping plane. It’s the film’s ultimate moment of truth: an actor who embodies awesomeness is yelling the awesome line the Internet has lovingly forced on him in an awesomely titled movie with an insanely awesome premise, and the result is, alas, decidedly less than awesome. The whole phenomenon is leading up to this moment, and it rings utterly hollow. It turns out that “awesomeness” is a pretty thin conceit, shallow, juvenile, and empty. Huge portions of the internet may be built upon a middle school concept of “awesomeness,” but it’s not even enough to sustain a single silly b-movie.

Snakes On A Plane was supposed to illustrate the strength of the internet. Its success was supposed to be a testament to the web’s ability to whip up a hurricane of hype and press and transform a glorified b-movie into a fluke blockbuster. Instead, its failure illustrated the limitations of the internet’s awesomeness brigade, as well as “awesomeness” as both a conceit and a state of mind.


Original Certification: Rotten
Tomatometer: 69 percent
Re-Certification: Rotten


Nathan Rabin is a freelance writer, columnist, the first head writer of The A.V. Club and the author of four books, most recently Weird Al: The Book (with “Weird Al” Yankovic) and You Don’t Know Me But You Don’t Like Me.

Follow Nathan on Twitter: @NathanRabin

Carrying some major buzz into the marketplace, Sony’s teen comedy Superbad hits the multiplexes this weekend aiming to bring in some big business from horny young adults looking for a spark to get rid of their end-of-summer blues. The R-rated entry comes from current comedy king Judd Apatow who directed Knocked Up and The 40-Year-Old Virgin which collectively grossed a stunning $256M domestically. He takes on producing chores here but his involvement has wisely been promoted heavily in the film’s marketing campaign which really ignited earlier this summer with the release of the uncensored red-band trailer on the internet which basically put Superbad on the map.

The marketplace for teen sex comedies has had a void since the American Pie franchise switched into direct-to-DVD mode. Superbad has the goods to make itself into this generation’s must-see raunchfest with its story of three lovable nerdy high school kids on a mission to score booze for a party to impress some girls. The lethal mix of strong marketing, filmmaker starpower, and a high-quality product that actually delivers what the audience wants will lead to a potent opening weekend that should be enough to send it to the top of the charts. And with a reported $18M budget, this could very well be the summer’s least expensive number one hit. Crashing into over 2,800 theaters, Superbad might collect around $25M this weekend.


Superbad!

Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig give the suspense thriller The Invasion the most starpower of any of this weekend’s new releases. The PG-13 film finds the Oscar-winning actress playing a psychiatrist and the current Bond as her doctor pal who must team up to fight an alien entity that infects the human population around the world. This latest remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers boasts some considerable star wattage which will help it get the attention of adults. Warner Bros. is hoping to appeal to the same audience that made hits out of previous late-summer adult thrillers like The Skeleton Key ($16.1M, $5,795 average)and Kidman’s The Others ($14.1M opening, $8,397 average). With no other scary movies for mature audiences, competition should not be too fierce although The Bourne Ultimatum‘s third weekend will be a formidable foe. Landing in about 2,700 locations, The Invasion could debut with around $13M.


The two stars of The Invasion.

The Weinstein Company unleashes its Roman empire adventure The Last Legion on Friday. The PG-13 film stars Ben Kingsley, Colin Firth, and Bollywood superstar Aishwarya Rai. Excitement in the marketplace is not too high and the push has not been very strong so modest returns are expected at the box office. The current pair of threequels topping the charts will give Legion some major competition for the action crowd. Debuting in roughly 2,000 theaters, The Last Legion could bow to about $6M.


Ben Kingsley leads The Last Legion.

Like most summer sequels, Rush Hour 3 should lose more than half of its opening weekend audience in the sophomore session. There is no special buzz around the action-comedy to prevent a big drop and Superbad will steal away much of the young comedy crowd. A 55% decline is likely which would put Rush Hour 3 at about $22M for the weekend and $88M after ten days.

Fellow threequel The Bourne Ultimatum looks to witness a smaller decline in its third assignment. Universal might experience a 45% drop to around $18M for a robust 17-day cume of $162M.

LAST YEAR: Opening weaker than expected, but still at number one, was the Samuel L. Jackson actioner Snakes on a Plane which bowed to $15.2M. New Line found its way to a disappointing $34M. Talladega Nights dropped to second with $13.8M while World Trade Center held steady in third with $10.9M. The dance sensation Step Up fell to fourth with $10.2M while Universal’s teen comedy Accepted debuted in fifth place with $10M. A $36.3M final resulted. MGM’s comedy Material Girls stumbled into ninth with a mere $4.6M on its way to only $11.4M. But opening powerfully in limited release was the mystery The Illusionist with less than $1M from only 51 theaters for a potent $18,195 average. The Yari Film Group release expanded nationally and enjoyed good legs going on to gross $39.9M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Moviegoers rallied behind the star-driven comedy "Wild Hogs," which raced to number one at the North American box office, zooming past all expectations from Disney. Meanwhile, Viacom saw less-than-stellar debuts from its serial killer drama "Zodiac" from Paramount Pictures and the southern fried saga "Black Snake Moan" from arthouse unit Paramount Vantage. Overall, the box office remained healthy and surged well ahead of last year’s performance.

Buena Vista powered its way to an estimated $38M in opening weekend sales for its road comedy "Wild Hogs," delivering the largest March debut in history for a live-action film. The PG-13 pic starring Tim Allen, John Travolta, Martin Lawrence, and William H. Macy as four middle-aged men on a motorcycle adventure averaged a stellar $11,561 from 3,287 theaters. It was the year’s second biggest opening after "Ghost Rider‘s" $45.4M bow two weeks ago. According to studio research, 54% of the audience was actually female. Travolta’s everlasting sex appeal, Allen’s pull with moms thanks to his many Disney flicks, and the cast’s appearance on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" last week probably contributed to the solid turnout by women. The stars also allowed the film to tap into different audience segments.

"Wild Hogs" posted the best opening ever in March for a non-animated film and the third biggest overall. The only movies to debut better in this month were the "Ice Age" flicks of 2002 and 2006. It also gave Travolta the biggest opening by far of his career, beating the $23.5M of 2005’s "Be Cool," and the second best bow for Allen after the $57.4M bow of 1999’s "Toy Story 2." As expected, "Hogs" was slammed by critics but reviews are practically irrelevant for a star-driven comedy like this. This is a crowdpleaser, not a criticpleaser. Audiences make their decisions based on if they think they will get a good laugh or not and Buena Vista’s marketing push was indeed solid. Though the overall weekend gross was strong, what was even more encouraging was the significant Friday-to-Saturday boost of 49% which is rare for any new release. A journey into nine-digit territory seems likely.

Debuting far back in second place was the serial killer pic "Zodiac," with an estimated $13.1M from 2,362 sites. Averaging a respectable $5,546 per theater, the R-rated film from director David Fincher played to an older audience as two-thirds of the crowd was over the age of 25, according to studio research from Paramount. Males and females were evenly represented. Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey Jr., and Mark Ruffalo, "Zodiac" follows the investigation behind one of California’s most notorious murderers from the 1960s and 70s. The $65M film fared better than last fall’s murder mysteries set in the Golden State, "The Black Dahlia" and "Hollywoodland," which debuted to $10M and $5.9M respectively.

Reviews were overwhelmingly positive for "Zodiac," but its 160-minute length may have cut into its grossing potential. Plus when factoring in ticket prices increases over the years, it can be estimated that "Zodiac" sold the fewest opening weekend tickets of any of Fincher’s films. Admissions were roughly the same as for "Fight Club," which bowed to $11M in 1999. The studio is hoping that good word-of-mouth can carry the film in the weeks ahead.

After leading the pack for two full weeks, the Johnny Blaze flick "Ghost Rider" fell to third but only dropped 43% for an estimated $11.5M gross. Sony’s Nicolas Cage starrer has taken in $94.8M in 17 days and should become the first new release of 2007 to break the $100M barrier. Disney’s "Bridge to Terabithia" also held up well dipping 39% in its third adventure to an estimated $8.6M. Cume stands at $57.9M.

Jim Carrey‘s thriller "The Number 23" fell from second to fifth place in its sophomore scare and collected an estimated $7.1M. Down an understandable 52%, the New Line title has taken in a semi-decent $24.7M in ten days and looks headed for a $35-38M finish.

Eddie Murphy‘s latest comedy "Norbit" enjoyed the smallest decline in the top ten and dipped 34% to an estimated $6.4M for a $83M sum. Fellow laugher "Music and Lyrics" dropped just 36% to an estimated $4.9M giving the Hugh GrantDrew Barrymore pic $38.7M to date.

Paramount Vantage bowed its Samuel L. JacksonChristina Ricci drama "Black Snake Moan" and collected an estimated $4M from 1,252 theaters. Averaging a mild $3,208, the debut was half the size of writer/director Craig Brewer‘s last film "Hustle & Flow," which opened in July 2005 to $8M from 1,013 theaters on its way to $22.2M and an Oscar. Jackson has witnessed many of his headlining vehicles struggle at the box office including "Freedomland," "The Man," and even "Snakes on a Plane," which despite hitting the top spot, grossed much less than expected given its media hype last summer.

The Fox comedy "Reno 911!: Miami" tumbled 64% in its second weekend to an estimated $3.8M for a ninth place finish. The R-rated pic has grossed $16.4M in ten days and should conclude with roughly $20M. Rounding out the top ten was the FBI thriller "Breach" with an estimated $3.5M, off 42%, for a $25.4M total.

Three smaller films dropped out of the top ten over the weekend. The slave trade drama "Amazing Grace" dipped only 26% in its second weekend to an estimated $3M. With $8.2M in ten days, the Samuel Goldwyn/Roadside Attractions period pic may find its way to $15-18M. The Billy Bob Thornton flop "The Astronaut Farmer" grossed an estimated $2.2M, down 52%, and put its sum at an embarrassing $7.7M. Look for a $11M final.

Lionsgate’s Tyler Perry comedy "Daddy’s Little Girls" fell 53% to an estimated $2.3M in its third frame and upped its cume to $28.4M. By comparison, the distributor saw stronger 17-day grosses of $44M and $55.7M respectively for the director’s last two films, "Diary of a Mad Black Woman" and "Madea’s Family Reunion." "Daddy’s" should end its run with $30-33M.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $100.8M which was up a stunning 30% from last year when "Madea" stayed at number one with just $12.6M; but off 4% from 2005 when "The Pacifier" debuted on top with $30.6M.

Source: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

The New York Post’s Lou Lumenick informs us that Sony’s (very) long-awaited "Ghost Rider" would be landing in theaters next week without making a pit stop with the movie press. And that means two things: 1. The movie is probably not very good, based on the average Tomatometer (15 percent) of unscreened movies; 2. It’s time to play Guess the Tomatometer!

Yes, movie fans, it’s Guess the Tomatometer time — and you know what THAT means: You, um, well you guess what the … Tomatometer will be at the end of the weekend … obviously. OK, so it’s a simple game, but it’s fun, too!

Here are some things to remember:

1. "Ghost Rider" was originally set to hit theaters about eight months ago. The delay was reportedly caused by the need for extra FX work. We shall see.

2. "Ghost Rider" was directed by Mark Steven Johnson, the man who turned Marvel’s "Daredevil" and "Elektra" into movie-type … things.

3. The latest "Ghost Rider" trailer seems to be going more for tongue-in-cheek camp than intense action and evil curses and what-not.

4. "Ghost Rider" opens opposite a political thriller ("Breach") and a family-style adventure epic ("The Bridge to Terabithia"). This will affect box office returns moreso than critical reaction, but I thought it was a fun thing to mention anyway.

5. You never can tell what "the critics" are going to like. New Line hid "Snakes on a Plane" from the press, and probably ended up kicking itself when A) the critical response was pretty decent, and B) the box office was surprisingly anemic.

Of course I’ll give the flick a fair shake, but we all know what long delays, silly trailers, and press blackouts usually mean: Turkey time.

Unfortunately "Ghost Rider" doesn’t open until next Friday (the 16th), so consider this the Guess the Tomatometer pre-game warm-up. We’ll be back next week with the official game.

Films Not Screened for Critics in 2007 (Best To Worst Tomatometer Score):
———————————————-
21% — The Hitcher
16% — Primeval
14% — The Messengers
10% — Blood and Chocolate
3% — Epic Movie

Films Not Screened For Critics In 2006:
————————————–
68% — Snakes on a Plane
59% — Crank
29% — Saw III
28% — Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Family Reunion
26% — Silent Hill
23% — Phat Girlz
22% — The Marine
18% — The Return
17% — Black Christmas
17% — One Night with the King
15% — Grandma’s Boy
13% — Underworld: Evolution
13% — Pulse
13% — Wicker Man
11% — The Benchwarmers
11% — The Grudge 2
10% — When a Stranger Calls
8% — See No Evil
7% — Date Movie
7% — Doogal
7% — Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector
7% — Ultraviolet
6% — Let’s Go To Prison
6% — Stay Alive
6% — Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj
5% — BloodRayne
5% — Material Girls
3% — The Covenant
0% — Zoom

**Update: Columbia TriStar confirms there will be press screenings prior to the release of "Ghost Rider" next week.

Moviegoers had football on their minds for the second straight weekend as Disney’s true-life NFL tale "Invincible" remained atop the North American box office over the long Labor Day holiday weekend finishing off another summer movie season. New releases "Crank" and "The Wicker Man" opened in second and third, respectively, while the critically acclaimed films "Little Miss Sunshine" and "The Illusionist" both scored strong per-theater averages in moderate release. The holiday frame marked the first weekend in six long months where no new film debuted with at least $15M. Hollywood was happy to close the books on a summer movie season that was slightly better than than last year’s.

Retaining its first-place position, Mark Wahlberg‘s "Invincible" grossed an estimated $15.2M over the four-day Friday-to-Monday holiday weekend and remained the most popular movie in North America. After 11 days of release, the feel-good drama about a 30-year-old bartender who earned a spot on the Philadelphia Eagles starting lineup has grossed a solid $37.8M and could be headed for the neighborhood of $60-70M.

It was only fitting that Disney topped the box office charts as the summer came to an end. Since the summer movie season kicked off on May 5 with "Mission: Impossible III," Buena Vista has grossed $786M at the multiplexes beating out all other studios. Disney’s success was powered by the summer’s two highest grossing hits, "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest" ($414.2M) and "Cars" ($242M), but also included surprise late-summer winners like "Invincible" and "Step Up." It was a drastic turnaround from last summer when the Mouse House’s biggest film was "Herbie: Fully Loaded" with $66M.

Opening in second place was action star Jason Statham‘s new thriller "Crank" with an estimated $13M over four days from 2,515 theaters. Averaging a commendable $5,169 per site, the R-rated film features a poisoned hitman who will die if he can’t keep his adrenaline up constantly. The Lionsgate release opened better than Statham’s 2002 film "The Transporter" ($9.1M in three days) but did not reach the $20.1M bow of his action sequel "Transporter 2" which ruled the Labor Day frame a year ago. That number one hit carried a commercially friendly PG-13 rating and kicked its way into 800 more theaters. Over the Friday-to-Sunday span, "Crank" grossed $10.3M and averaged $4,095.

Nicolas Cage opened his new suspense thriller "The Wicker Man" close behind in third place with an estimated $11.7M in ticket sales over the Friday-to-Monday holiday session. The Warner Bros. remake about a cop who investigates a missing girl averaged a mediocre $4,210 from 2,784 theatrs over four days. The PG-13 film grossed $9.6M in three days for a mild average of $3,448. Cage appeared twice in the top ten as his previous film "World Trade Center" finished further down in ninth place.

Two smaller films successfully expanding into national release followed and scored the best averages among all the wide releases. Fox Searchlight’s road comedy "Little Miss Sunshine" ranked fourth for the weekend with an estimated $9.7M over four days with $7.6M over the Friday-to-Sunday portion. It was the second weekend in a row that actor Greg Kinnear had two films in the top five. He plays a supporting role in "Invincible" as well. "Sunshine" averaged a strong $6,071 from 1,602 theaters over four days pushing its total to $35.8M and counting. At its current rate, it should eventually surpass "Miami Vice" as the top-grossing R-rated film to come out of the summer.

Rookie distributor Yari Film Group did an excellent job expanding its period mystery "The Illusionist" into national release and jumped into fifth place with an estimated four-day gross of $8M. Expanding from 144 to 971 theaters, the Edward NortonPaul Giamatti drama scored the best average in the top ten with a sturdy $8,261 per venue. Cume now stands at $12.1M. The distributor scored excellent averages during its two weeks in limited release allowing positive word-of-mouth to spread for a film that was not easy to sell at a time when there were plenty of good choices for mature adults. Another 400 theaters will be added on Friday.

A trio of comedies followed. Sony’s Will Ferrell hit "Talladega Nights" grossed an estimated $7.7M over four days and lifted its cume to a stellar $138.4M making it the top-grossing comedy of the summer. Paramount’s animated pic "Barnyard" took in an estimated $6.4M pushing its total to $63.6M. The teen flick "Accepted" placed eighth and collected an estimated $5.9M giving Universal $29.4M to date.

Rounding out the top ten were the 9/11 drama "World Trade Center" with an estimated $5.8M over four days and the dance saga "Step Up" with $5.5M, according to estimates. Paramount’s Oliver Stone film has taken in a solid $63.7M thus far while Buena Vista’s surprise hit has taken in $58.4M.

Opening quietly outside of the top ten was the street basketball drama "Crossover" with an estimated $4.5M over four days from a moderate release in 1,023 theaters. Sony averaged a decent $4,399 over the long weekend on the $6M film which played mostly to a young urban audience.

Platforming to muscular numbers was the IFC Films doc "This Film Is Not Yet Rated" which grossed an estimated $42,000 from solo houses in New York and Los Angeles for a potent $20,832 average. The unrated expose that examines the ratings board of the MPAA will continue to expand throughout September.

Three films dropped out of the top ten this weekend. The raunchy comedy "Beerfest" tumbled to an estimated $4.6M over four days giving Warner Bros. only $14.8M in 11 days. A $20M final seems likely. Universal’s OutKast pic "Idlewild" took in an estimated $2.9M in its sophomore session giving the music-driven film only $9.9M in 11 days. Look for a $14M conclusion. New Line’s buzzworthy action-horror pic "Snakes on a Plane" has scared up just over $31M to date and is set to end with a final domestic gross close to its $35M production budget.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $89M over four days which was down 3% from last year when "Transporter 2" debuted at number one with $20.1M; but up 19% from 2004 when "Hero" remained in the top spot with $11.5M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

The summer movie season comes to an official end with the Labor Day holiday weekend unleashing three new releases plus the national expansion of a fourth.

Lionsgate offers the action crowd "Crank," Warner Bros. provides the suspense thriller "The Wicker Man," Sony takes a shot with the basketball drama "Crossover," and Yari Film Group goes nationwide with its period thriller "The Illusionist." Each is hoping that current champ "Invincible" will fumble the ball. The summer-ending frame is often a time when moviegoers catch up on hit films they haven’t seen yet so notable holdovers could see their four-day grosses grow beyond their three-day takes from last weekend. Overall, the marketplace remains overcrowded with too many films fighting to get a slice of the box office pie.

British action star Jason Statham attacks the U.S. for the second Labor Day weekend in a row with his latest pic "Crank." Co-starring Amy Smart, the Lionsgate release sees the actor playing a poisoned hitman who must keep his adrenaline up in order to stay alive. Unlike his PG-13 "Transporter" flicks, "Crank" carries a more restrictive R rating which could narrow its target audience. It’s been a tough summer for R-rated action films with movies like "Snakes on a Plane" and "Miami Vice" both underperforming. But if there’s any distributor who can successfully target young adult males with these types of films with intriguing concepts, it’s the "Saw" studio.


Jason Statham showing off his dramatic range

"Snakes" was the only pure action film in the top ten last weekend so competition for "Crank" may not be too fierce. Statham has seen his starpower grow in the last couple of years and that might benefit his latest pic too. Still, the marquees are jam packed with choices this weekend so it will be tough to fight off other films and convince moviegoers that their time and money should be best spent here. A year ago this weekend, "Transporter 2" opened at number one with a four-day tally of $20.1M. However, that Fox pic was a sequel, had a less restrictive rating, and bowed in 900 more theaters. Given "Crank’s" debut in about 2,400 locations, it could end up with around $13M over the long Friday-to-Monday period.

With his twin towers drama still in the top ten, Nicolas Cage hits the big screen for the second time in a month with the psychological thriller "The Wicker Man." The PG-13 film stars the Oscar-winning actor as a cop investigating a cult while looking for a missing girl. Labor Day weekend has been a good time for creepy thrillers, especially for ones that appeal to high school and college students like the "Jeepers Creepers" pics. "Wicker Man’s" rating will help its cause, but whether it can excite teens will determine how big it can become. With a half-dozen production companies, six producers, and seven executive producers all involved, it’s hard to say if this is really director Neil LaBute‘s film. Warner Bros. has given "Wicker" a decent marketing push, but it has not become a must-see thriller. A marketplace flooded with pictures will provide plenty of competition for adults and this one will have to work extra hard to stand out in the crowd. Ending a disappointing summer for the studio, "The Wicker Man" bows in over 2,500 theaters and could scare up around $12M over the four-day period.


Nicolas Cage and Ellen Burstyn in "The Wicker Man"

Sony goes after the urban youth audience with its new basketball drama "Crossover" which finds two young streetballers competing in the world of underground hoops. The PG-13 film is getting a moderate release in 1,023 theaters which will limit its potential, however a solid per-theater average could result. Compared to reigning box office champ "Invincible," this new sports drama will attract a much more ethnic audience and should play primarily to teens and young adults. "Idlewild" will provide some competition for African American moviegoers, however the OutKast pic is playing to an older audience. With Anthony Mackie, Wesley Jonathan, and Wayne Brady heading up the cast, "Crossover" does not offer up much starpower. But it could be a short-term choice for the back-to-school crowd in urban markets. Over the Friday-to-Monday holiday span, "Crossover" might shoot up about $5M.


The first rule of underground streetball is…

After two weeks of strong results in limited release, the period mystery "The Illusionist" expands wide from 144 theaters to approximately 1,000 sites across North America. One of the summer’s best-reviewed films, the Edward NortonPaul Giamatti drama opened in 51 theaters with a powerful $18,195 average and widened on its second frame scoring a still-potent $12,745 average. Glowing praise from critics and solid word-of-mouth could help sell "The Illusionist" to moviegoers who would not ordinarily buy tickets to a film with these stars. Competition will be tough, though. For only the second time all year, ten films surpassed $5M last weekend and most are looking to remain relevant over the holiday session. "The Illusionist" could capture the same amount over four days this weekend pushing its cume to about $9M.


Those illusionists get all the chicks

More new movies enter into limited release on Friday. IFC Films unveils the documentary "This Film is Not Yet Rated" in exclusive engagements in New York and Los Angeles. The unrated film (it was given an NC-17, but is going out with no official rating) explores the mystery behind the movie ratings system as determined by the Motion Picture Association of America. Writer/director Ed Burns returns to theaters as a private investigator searching for a missing woman in "Looking for Kitty." The R-rated drama is being released in one solo New York house by ThinkFilm.

Last weekend, Mark Wahlberg‘s football drama "Invincible" scored a number one opening and was the only film to attract more than $10M in ticket sales over the frame. Word of mouth has been good and the Disney release would like nothing more than to land another win over the holiday session. The four-day gross might see only a small drop from last weekend’s three-day bow. A decline to about $15M would give "Invincible" a total of $38M after 11 days.

Labor Day weekend has historically been a great time for hot late-summer indie films to reach out to broader audiences and "Little Miss Sunshine" hopes to be the latest one to capitalize on its buzz. Four-day increases over the previous three-day weekends in recent years have included 17% for "March of the Penguins" last year, 35% for "Garden State" in 2004, 80% for "Napoleon Dynamite" that same year, and a whopping 104% for "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" in 2002. That PG-rated blockbuster added about 300 theaters over the holiday frame while the R-rated "Sunshine" will only increase its current count of 1,430 by a hundred or so. The Fox Searchlight hit could charm about $9.5M from ticket buyers over the long weekend and boost its cume to $36M.

LAST YEAR Jason Statham ruled the Labor Day weekend box office with the number one opening of his action sequel "Transporter 2" which grossed $20.1M over four days. The Fox hit went on to collect $43.1M. The comedy sensation "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" slipped to second place with $16.5M over four days displaying another great hold in its third frame. Debuting in third with $11M was the thriller "The Constant Gardener" from Focus which went on to gross $33.6M and become a major awards contender. Rounding out the top five were the DreamWorks suspense flick "Red Eye" with $9.4M and Miramax’s adventure pic "The Brothers Grimm" with $9M. Two new films opened with weak results outside of the top ten. Miramax’s "Underclassman" bowed to $3.1M on its way to $5.7M while Warner Bros. took in just $1.2M for "A Sound of Thunder" leading to only a $1.9M final.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

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