(Photo by Warner Bros./ courtesy Everett Collection)
We heard it in a Hollywood movie once: “A million dollars isn’t cool. You know what’s cool? A billion dollars.”
And in this town, it’s true. A movie making that minimum seven figures isn’t cool, it’s a box office bomb. But 10 figures? Now we’re talking. Cracking a billion dollars globally requires a mighty recipe of the hottest stars, the shiniest filmmaking technology, and an engaging plot with twists and turns that never becomes super-duper complicated. And, of course, you’ll need an audience willing to turn out in droves the world over, from America to Lebanon to Zambia.
Now we’ve compiled all of the movies that have achieved just that and ranked them by Tomatometer. It’s a compelling window into our era of blockbusters and inflation. The Transformers and Pirates of the Caribbean series each have multiple entries, in the years before the franchises were run into the ground. Alice in Wonderland showed the way for Disney and these newfangled live-action remakes. The last Lord of the Rings was rewarded by fans with the highest gross of the trilogy, goodwill that transferred into The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, and then evaporated after that. The presence of the Jurassic and Star Wars movies, along with Skyfall, shows you can still wring plenty of money out of long-in-the-tooth franchise.
Then there’s the superheroes. The Dark Knight movies officially ushered in the era of big business for those who take their comic-book moviemaking seriously. Marvel took a lighter step, focusing on interconnected stories that create serious FOMO for those who skip the multiplex line, in movies like Avengers, Spider-Man, Captain Marvel, and Black Panther.
Re-releases of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was enough to get it over the edge, while Spider-Man: No Way Home had no problem swinging over the line! And now, Top Gun: Maverick is the latest to land in the billion zone.
(Photo by Sony/courtesy Everett Collection)
Before he would get to utter the words “Bond, James Bond” to the delight of millions, Daniel Craig built up a durable if not spectacular resume, showing up in a range of films from the first Angelina Jolie Tomb Raider to A Kid In King Arthur’s Court. As the sniveling son of mob boss Paul Newman in Road to Perdition, Craig was able to make an impact with a broad audience in a film that already had plenty for us to look at, including Conrad L. Hall’s rain-drenched cinematography and a rare anti-hero turn from Tom Hanks.
By 2005, Craig was on the cusp of a major breakthrough with a co-starring role in Steven Spielberg’s Munich, and crime flick Layer Cake, essentially a stylish and gritty feature-length audition tape to play Agent 007. The following year, he and GoldenEye director Martin Campbell launched Casino Royale, a rousing and hard-nosed crowdpleaser revealing a James Bond for a new cynical generation. He’s since reprised the role three more times with Quantum of Solace, Skyfall, and Spectre, and when he returns in 2020 with No Time to Die, Craig will have the longest consecutively tenured Bond in film history.
Of course, when you’re James Bond, every non-Bond role you take becomes something of an automatic sensation. Some roles, like Logan Lucky or David Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo really demonstrate Craig’s range. Other films, like Dream House or The Invasion, are spectacular bombs. And the rest, along the lines of Cowboys & Aliens and The Golden Compass, are right in the mushy middle.
We know on which end of the spectrum Craig’s latest film, the Rian Johnson whodunit Knives Out, lands. (Hint: It’s his best-reviewed movie ever.) With No Time To Die‘s April 2020 November 2020 April 2021 October 2021 release now behind us, take a look back as we rank all Daniel Craig movies by Tomatometer! —Alex Vo
(Photo by ©Sony Pictures Releasing/©Marvel Entertainment)
While Avengers: Endgame and Avatar spent the last couple of years duking it out for bragging rights as the all-time highest-grossing movie, 2021 surprised everyone — to an extent — with the success of a certain friendly neighborhood wall-crawler. Despite continued audience ambivalence about returning to theaters, Spider-Man: No Way Home blew everyone away, setting new records and entertaining fans all over the world even as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to wreak havoc on the industry. It’s a far cry from 2019, when a total of nine films — including No Way Home’s predecessor, Spider-Man: Far From Home — cracked the top 50 and a whopping three movies — The Lion King, Frozen II, and the aforementioned Endgame — made it into the top 10. But it offered a glimmer of hope that things might actually eventually return to normal sooner rather than later.
With No Way Home landing at No. 6 and Disney’s absorption of what used to be 21st Century Fox, Disney now occupies seven of the 10 top box office rankings of all time worldwide (eight, if you count its joint ownership of Titanic with Paramount). But what does the future have in store? Both Marvel and DC/Warner Bros. have several films scheduled for release, including Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which is likely a can’t-miss especially after the events of No Way Home, and Matt Reeves’ hotly anticipated The Batman. Then Universal is delivering the final chapter of its Jurassic World trilogy, which unites the new crew with the old, and Sony looks to follow up its Oscar-winning Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse with Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse – Part One. If any of them makes it onto this list, and we’re sure some of them will, we will update accordingly.
For the list below, we’ve included global box office performance, as well as domestic, and release date. We included dollars earned in re-releases, and in each of our descriptions, we look at where the film stood record-wise at the time of its run, and dive into things like critical and audience reception. We’ll be here to track the progress of new blockbusters and regularly update this list of top box office performers. So keep your eyes here, and check in with our weekly weekend box office wrap-ups.
The world had to wait some 12 years for James Cameron to follow up the biggest film of all time with what would become the new biggest film of all time. Nobody believed he was going to surpass Titanic’s numbers with this tale of an alien planet and the paraplegic Marine who teams up with its inhabitants in the battle for Unobtanium. But he did. At the peak of a 3-D reemergence, aided by the filmmaker’s usual technological gamesmanship (and higher ticket prices), Avatar‘s seven straight weekends at number 1 led to over $595 million at the North American box office. Then, two days later on Feb. 2, 2010, its 47th day of release, the movie became the highest domestic earner ever. Avatar held that record for five years and eleven months and went on to become the only film ever to earn $2 billion outside of the U.S. and Canada, making it the world’s highest grosser at the time. It held onto its impressive global record for nearly 10 years, until Avengers: Endgame came along and snatched the crown. But with Avatar 2 coming soon, the now Disney-owned-and-rebranded 20th Century Studios decided to remind everybody the franchise existed, re-releasing the film in China in March of 2021 and, whether intentional or not, pushing it back into pole position.
The journey that began in 2008 with Iron Man was coming to an end – at least for some of the characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Audiences that had been holding their breath for an entire year after perhaps the biggest cliffhanger since Empire Strikes Back could not wait to buy their tickets – and did they ever buy those tickets when they finally could. Opening weekend for Avengers: Endgame in April 2019 surpassed Infinity War’s year-long record by nearly $100 million. In just eight days, the film had grossed a half-billion domestically. On day 10 it was over $621 million. One by one the records fell, leading many to ignore the words “if” and “can” and focus instead on “when” Avatar’s previous record ($2.787 billion) as the highest-grossing movie would fall. But Endgame began to show signs early in its run that its impressive sprinting start might not be enough for it to ultimately come out ahead of James Cameron’s epic; it only had the second-biggest second weekend ever and the fourth-best third weekend. In the era of the modern blockbuster, even a record-breaker can be front-loaded and only spend three weeks atop the charts. It really all came down to a final dash near the finish line. After just six weeks of release, Endgame was about $73 million away from dethroning Avatar – substantial ground to make up. But then Marvel and Disney re-released the film on June 28 with new goodies over its end credits. And then, over the weekend of July 19, 2019 – its 13th week of release – when another Disney release would begin its run for the top 10 all-time earners (hello, Lion King), Endgame squeaked ahead. It may not have been able to catch The Force Awakens for the all-time domestic leader, but by the time summer was over, it would pull in front of Avatar and become the king of the world… at least for a while. With a 2021 re-release in China, Avatar did ultimately take back the crown, but it doesn’t diminish the incredible achievement of Endgame.
James Cameron makes expensive movies. The Abyss, Terminator 2, and True Lies were all the most expensive movies of their time upon release. In 1997, Cameron blew out the budget again and this time there was worry he may have gone too far. Though delayed from July until December, Titanic nevertheless became a global phenomenon the likes of which the box office had never seen at the time. After 15 straight weeks at number 1, 14 Oscar nominations and 11 statuettes, Titanic, its stars and its song were ingrained in the hearts and tear ducts of the world, and the movie would hold the all-time box office record for 12 years – until Cameron would eclipse himself once again with Avatar.
Twelve years after the completion of the Star Wars prequel trilogy, J.J. Abrams was tasked with making Episode VII – a monumental undertaking, and a risky one. Were people still interested after the prequels? Were they burnt out? The approach was to mix the old and the new, and it worked. Abrams gave a brand-new cast of characters the chance to interact with the original trio of Luke, Han, and Leia, and generations of fans were so ready for the adventure that they gave the film the highest opening weekend in history ($247.9 million). In just under three weeks, The Force Awakens became the all-time domestic champion, passing Avatar and joining the $2 billion club within 54 days. It still remains the highest-grossing domestic release of all time.
Just shy of 10 years since it began, the Marvel Cinematic Universe gathered nearly every one of its characters for a galaxy-wide showdown with the series’ Big Bad, Thanos. The movie featured one of the gutsiest cliffhangers in any franchise’s history, leaving audiences to wait in shock for an entire year to discover how Phase 3 of the epic series would end. The film bested The Force Awakens’ three-day opening weekend record with $257.6 million, and hit the $2 billion mark in 48 days. Domestically, it would ultimately come up just short of Black Panther, which was released two months prior.
Speaking of gathering Marvel characters for an epic showdown, 2021 provided an unexpected box office champion that would swing triumphantly into the top 10. That is to say, the success of
Spider-Man: No Way Home wasn’t unexpected because of the film itself, which was an ambitious, multiverse-expanding entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe that brought together some of the most beloved characters in the web-slinger’s big-screen history in a funny, heartbreaking, thrilling spectacle. No, it was unexpected because it managed this herculean feat even as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to keep audiences largely at home. If there was one movie in all of 2021 — or, hell, even going back as far as 2020 — that moviegoers were willing to risk going to the theater for, it was absolutely No Way Home, and boy did they ever show up. The film became not only the highest-grossing Spider-Man movie ever made, but also the most successful movie ever released by Sony Pictures en route to dominating 2021 and settling into the top 10 here. The future of Tom Holland’s Peter Parker is still up in the air, but he has earned himself a rather secure spot on the all-time box office list.
Twenty-two years after Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park became the Jaws for a new generation, it was time for that generation’s kids to have their own version of dinosaur mayhem. The second-best–reviewed film in the Jurassic series (72% on the Tomatometer vs. the original’s 91%), Jurassic World trampled a competitive summer full of Avengers, Minions, and inner feelings, and became just the third film since Titanic in 1998 to pass $600 million in domestic box office.
Having found success with its live-action re-imaginings of The Jungle Book and Beauty and the Beast, Disney tripled down in 2019 with three “new” remakes. Dumbo was a bit of a bust, Aladdin was a success, but The Lion King truly roared. That made sense given that the 1994 original, at the time, was one of the studio’s most successful films in the middle of its rebirth, and director Jon Favreau’s CGI-fueled version traced it for a new generation. The result is the highest-grossing domestic release to receive a Rotten score on the Tomatometer, at 53%. But its $191 million opening was the eighth highest of all time and it became the 14th film to pass a half-billion domestically and just the ninth film to rack up $1 billion overseas.
Want proof that Avengers work best together? Consider that the first combined outing for Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America bested the $1.4 billion that their origin stories had made combined. Five films into the MCU (including Edward Norton’s The Incredible Hulk), the team was finally assembled for a singular battle against Loki and his inherited army. Joss Whedon’s movie became the first ever to make over $200 million in a single weekend and was Marvel’s first entry into the Billion Dollar Club, which had just 12 members at the time.
What started out as a Point Break derivative – with cars! – became one of the unlikeliest mega franchises ever. Vin Diesel’s return in the series’ fourth film is what really got the Fast and Furious franchise engines revving, and Dwayne Johnson’s addition in the fifth film added some humor and helped get the critics on board. But it was the full embrace of the series’ now-signature bombast, as well as the untimely death of Paul Walker, that brought the combo of curiosity and tribute that helped make James Wan’s Furious 7 the franchise’s most successful entry. It hit with audiences – the opening weekend haul of $147 million was almost $50 million more than any previous entry – as well as with critics (it’s the highest-rated movie in the series at 81% on the Tomatameter).
When a film becomes not just a global phenomenon but the highest-grossing film in your canon of animated entertainment, a sequel is inevitable. While not quite as well-received as the first film critically (77% vs. 90% on the Tomatometer), Frozen II virtually demanded that parents bring their children for a second adventure. It began with the third-highest opening weekend for an animated film (after Pixar sequels Incredibles 2 and Finding Dory) – $130.26 million – and then became the highest-grossing film over the five-day Thanksgiving holiday, which was all the more impressive given it had opened the prior weekend. In its fourth weekend of release, it became Disney’s sixth billion-dollar film of 2019, pushing Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle out of the Top 50 on the same weekend that its sequel The Next Level opened. Now, the movie has overtaken the original Frozen to become the highest-grossing animated film of all time.
If any film in the top 10 could be considered both a success and a disappointment it would be Joss Whedon’s Avengers sequel. Coming up shy of the first film’s record-breaking opening weekend – note that it was still the second-best opening of all time when it was released – the movie never matched its predecessor in dollars or affection. With a 75% Tomatometer rating, it doesn’t even rank among the top 10 Tomatometer scores of the MCU – though we think there’s a case to be made for reassessing its virtues – and it lost the summer of 2015 to the dinosaurs of Jurassic World. Still, it was just the 16th film ever to cross the $400 million line domestically in its initial run.
After an introduction in Captain America: Civil War, T’Challa got his own film in February of 2019. Audiences were hungry for representation on screen and looking for a thrilling re-introduction to the character, and in Ryan Coogler’s action-packed, beautiful-looking epic, they got both. The movie became the fifth film in history to have a $200 million opening weekend, and just the third film ever to gross over $700 million in North America, outlasting even Avengers: Infinity War that summer. Why isn’t it even higher in the list? Because it remains the only post-Avengers film in the MCU to make less money internationally than domestically.
Fans of J.K. Rowling’s fantasy series got to see its characters (and the actors who played them) grow up in front of their eyes. The culmination of the journey that began in 2001 also ushered in a new trend of splitting final chapters in halves. The back half of the Potter finale set the new record for an opening weekend at the time with $169.1 million, and its $960 million international haul ranked only behind Avatar and Titanic. By the end of its run, the eight Harry Potter had films grossed a combined $7.72 billion.
One of the more controversial entries in the Star Wars series – don’t get anyone started on the casino planet sequence! – Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi took the standard dip that had afflicted other middle films in the franchise. The Empire Strikes Back made 31.9% less than A New Hope, Attack of the Clones made 34.6% less than The Phantom Menace, and The Last Jedi fell 33.8% off The Force Awakens. Still, Johnson’s film joined Episodes IV, V, and VII in the 90%+ realm on the Tomatometer and may end up being the ultimate bridge to the next generation of Star Wars fans.
J.A. Bayona’s follow-up to Colin Trevorrow’s continuation of Steven Spielberg’s series received the weakest Tomatometer score of the franchise to date (48%) and, following the path of many “second” entries in franchises (even if it’s technically the fifth), dropped 36% from Jurassic World in overall domestic box office. But it was still good enough for 23rd all-time in North America and 13th in overseas dollars. It was also the second-highest-grossing domestic film of the 2018 summer season, behind the #17 film on this list.
The Oscar-winning song that has tortured parents for nearly a decade was just part of what made Frozen the highest-grossing animated film in history. The story of two sisters searching for happily-ever-after with each other rather than the standard gentlemen suitors also won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature and bested 2012’s Ice Age: Continental Drift for the highest international haul for an animated film ever ($875.7 million compared to $715.9 million), a record it holds to this day despite challenges from Minions and Incredibles 2. (If you consider the new Lion King animated though, this is one crown the Arendelle princesses no longer wear.)
Speaking of Disney soundtracks, it was the 2017 live-action redo and not the Best Picture-nominated animated Beauty and the Beast from 1991 that really broke the bank and remains in the record books. Bill Condon’s version of the tale as old as 1991, starring Emma Watson, was not the first of Disney’s splashy re-imaginings, but it certainly was the most successful at the time, becoming the seventh film to cross a half-billion in North America and the 16th to pass three-quarters of a billion overseas.
Brad Bird’s The Incredibles debuted a full four years before the MCU began, a time when the Pixar brand was as close to a guarantee of success (and quality) as the industry had. Fourteen years later and deep into the superhero cinematic explosion, Bird’s sequel more than doubled the original’s box office and became the highest-grossing animated film ever at the domestic box office. It was the ninth film to cross the $600 million mark in North America and remains in the top 10 all-time earners domestically.
A half-billion dollars was put into the production of the seventh and eighth chapters of this franchise and they made a combined $2.75 billion globally. F. Gary Gray’s film was a bit of a comedown from the highs of James Wan’s Furious 7. It even fell behind the sixth Furious film domestically, but did incredibly well abroad: it was the sixth film ever to make a cool billion outside the U.S. and Canada alone. Though still Fresh (67% on the Tomatometer), it was the lowest-scored Fast and Furious movie among critics since the fourth film.
The first Marvel film released following the massive success of Joss Whedon’s The Avengers was also the most successful of the individual Iron Man films. Robert Downey Jr.’s Kiss Kiss Bang Bang director, Shane Black, took over for Jon Favreau and put a twist on some comic-book lore in ways that still draws out disappointment from some fans. The general moviegoing public ate it up, though. Iron Man 3 was just the 13th film to reach $400 million domestic in its initial run, and is the highest-grossing non-Avengers film in the MCU overseas with over $805 million. (And, if you are are keeping track, it is the 12th Disney property in the top 20.)
After two successful Despicable Me films it was time to give Gru’s kooky supporting yellow folk their own story. Smart move. Minions had the largest opening for Illumination Entertainment ever, earning $115.7 million on its first weekend. Though it came up shy domestically of Despicable Me 2 ($336 million vs. $368 million) it can still boast the second-best overseas return for any animated film ($823.4 million), behind only Disney’s Frozen, and stands as the company’s biggest global success to date.
It was not officially an Avengers film, but Civil War may as well have been. Thor and Hulk were AWOL, sure, but Spider-Man received his welcomed introduction into the MCU, as did Black Panther. The movie’s run kicked off with the fifth-highest opening in history, earning $179.1 million on opening weekend (that’s now the 11th-highest opening). Another $745 million internationally made this the fourth MCU film to reach $1 billion. Another fun fact: Anthony and Joe Russo are one of only two filmmakers/filmmaking pairs on this list to have three films in the top 50
How could the DCEU get to $1 billion? Adding Batman into their Superman storyline couldn’t do it. Wonder Woman’s solid domestic numbers were nearly matched internationally, but even those figures came up short of Suicide Squad – and the goal. It would take Aquaman to crack the $1 billion mark for the DC Extended Universe. James Wan’s second billion-dollar film on the list may have had the second-smallest opening weekend of the Universe, but its prolonged success through the holiday season and beyond – the movie made nearly five-times its opening – was greater than any DC property since Tim Burton’s Batman in 1989.
Peter Jackson’s (first) epic trilogy unfolded over three straight holiday seasons and its finale was rewarded in every fashion: Return of the King historically won all 11 Oscars that it was nominated for, including Best Picture and Best Director; it was one of the best-reviewed films of the year (Certified Fresh at 93%); and it became the fourth-highest domestic grosser of all time behind just Titanic, The Phantom Menace, and Sam Raimi’s first Spider-Man film. It was no slacker overseas, either: When Return finished its run, only Titanic had a greater number outside of the U.S. and Canada.
No wonder Disney and Sony made up: 2019’s Spider-Man: Far From Home, which might have been the end of their association had they not moved past their impasse, is Sony’s highest-grossing film of all time. Six of the studio’s eight highest-grossing films ever have involved Spider-Man (or Venom), but this was the first Sony flick to cross the $1 billion line, and the ninth film in the MCU to do it. (Spider-Man appeared in four of the MCU’s other members of the $1 Billion Club). It was also the fifth stand-alone Spider-Man film (live-action or animated) to register at 90% or higher on the Tomatometer – critics love their web-slinger.
After getting tag-teased at the end of Infinity War, Brie Larson’s Carol Danvers made her debut in the MCU as the universe’s first headlining female superhero in 2019’s Captain Marvel. Outgrossing DC’s Wonder Woman around the world and at home, the breakthrough film was embraced by critics (though its Certified Fresh score of 78% ranks 18th out of the MCU’s 23 films). The space epic was only one of two films in 2018-19 to spend 10 straight weeks in the top 10 (the other being Black Panther), and was the seventh MCU film to reach $1 billion at the box office globally.
The only Transformers sequel under the direction of Michael Bay to rank higher than 20% on the Tomatometer (a whopping 35%!) is not the series’ biggest domestic or international earner. But combined it remains the champion overall in worldwide gross (and bonus for the studio: it had one of the series’ lowest budgets). Only the final Harry Potter chapter could beat it in the summer of 2011, when they were the only films to pass $300 million domestic.
The James Bond franchise got a boost with Pierce Brosnan and an even larger one with Daniel Craig. But there was no bigger boost to the long-running franchise than Craig’s Skyfall, the first film to cross $300 million domestically and $1 billion globally. A series that has existed for 50-plus years is going to get a little help from inflation – Goldfinger, Thunderball, and You Only Live Twice would have been $300 million grossers today – but we’re not doing inflation here. Skyfall was also a gold standard for Bond beyond the box office: It stands amongst the series’ top five scores on the Tomatometer, Certified Fresh at 92%.
The Transformers series was beginning to show its age in North America in 2014, but around the world it was more popular than ever. Shia LaBeouf was replaced with Mark Wahlberg as the franchise’s central hero, and the fourth film from Michael Bay approached a near three-hour running time at 165 minutes. But even as it dipped below $300 million for the first time at home, its $858 million international haul was still the sixth-highest total for any movie outside the U.S. and Canada at the time. (It is now 16th.) Bay’s fifth film of the franchise, The Last Knight, fell 47% in overall domestic and nearly 45% internationally. At 18% on the Tomatometer, Age of Extinction has the lowest Tomatometer score of the top 50 biggest films at the worldwide box office.
Before James Cameron owned the top two spots in all-time domestic box office (for a period), it was Steven Spielberg who had pulled off that feat. His adaptation of Michael Crichton’s novel, Jurassic Park, was a return to the revered popcorn blockbusters he made his name on and it replaced the previous year’s Batman Returns as the top opener ever with $47 million and went on to gross over $357 million that summer. That was just a couple million dollars shy of his 1982 classic, E.T., but re-releases in 2-D and 3-D over the years have put the film over $400 million domestic and $1 billion worldwide.
The conclusion of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy gave us Bane, Catwoman, and even a surprise along the way. By the end of that summer only four films had grossed more domestically in their initial runs than The Dark Knight Rises: Avatar, Titanic, The Dark Knight, and Marvel’s The Avengers, which was the only film to eclipse Rises in all of 2012. When all was said and done, Nolan’s trilogy had grossed over $2.46 billion worldwide.
The director of The Hangover films wanted to make an origin story out of Batman’s most infamous nemesis. The project was met with skepticism, and then it began a run on the festival circuit. Venice awarded the film its top prize in the Golden Lion; some critics were hailing it a masterpiece. Though its Tomatometer score is among the lower scores in the Top 50 (69%), Todd Phillips’ Joker had the highest-opening ever in the month of October (passing the previous years’ Venom) and ultimately became the highest-grossing film ever released in that month in North America, surpassing Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity domestically. The film has just taken over Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Jurassic Park, Finding Dory, The Phantom Menace, Aladdin, and Warner Bros’ The Dark Knight on this list, and also earns a place as one of its most profitable films of all time.
The final chapter of the Skywalker saga may have broken the trend set by the other third entries in the franchise’s trilogies (each outgrossed the middle episodes), but it will become record that we may never see broken again. During the week of January 12, 2020, it became the seventh film released by Disney in 2019 to break the $1 billion barrier – it reached that marker in 28 days, whereas The Last Jedi did it in less than three weeks. That will be remembered far longer than having the 12th-highest opening of all-time – The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi were numbers one and two until Avengers: Infinity War opened – or that it had one of the lowest Tomatometer scores among the nine films. Nevertheless, it puts a capper on a nine-episode series from 1977-2019 that grossed (with re-releases) a collective $8.71 billion.
When the fourth entry of Pixar’s signature series opened to “only” $120 million, many labeled it “a disappointment.” Some had expected Toy Story 4 to have the studio’s biggest opening ever, and the film was then written off – by some – as part of a string of failed sequels in the summer of 2019. Well, Woody and the gang proved them all wrong. The movie went on to outgross the third film by over $12 million domestically. Even if it came up a bit short internationally, it still became the fourth billion-dollar grosser in Pixar’s history and their third-highest–grossing film overall.
We all assumed it was the end for Woody, Buzz, and all their toy friends – that bittersweet finish was just so perfect. The series would have gone out with a box-office bang, too. The first summer release for the Toy Story franchise turned into the first $100 million opening weekend for Pixar as well as the studio’s first $400 domestic tally and first worldwide haul of $1 billion. For almost two years it was the second-highest–grossing domestic release in Disney’s history; by 2019 it was 16th.
Everyone mocked the concept of Disney turning one of their classic rides into a feature-length film. Well, some $300 million and an Oscar nomination for Johnny Depp’s portrayal of Captain Jack Sparrow later, we were looking at a franchise with a modicum of respect. At least, for a little while. Critics went from disdain for the concept before the first film was released to disdain for its epic-length and earnestness in the space of just two films, with the original movie’s score of 79% dropping to 53% on the Tomatometer for the sequel. But audiences went the other direction, giving Dead Man’s Chest a 38.6% boost in domestic earnings and an 84.2% boost internationally. It was Disney’s first $100-plus million opening ($135 million to be precise), and the studio has had 20 more since then. From 2006 until Toy Story 3 was released in 2010, Dead Man’s Chest was the highest-grossing domestic release in Disney’s history.
The Lion King (1994)
For 25 years, this film has remained relevant in pop culture through an acclaimed stage show, direct-to-video sequels, spinoffs, television series, and that mammoth re-imagination. The original Lion King was the second-highest–grossing film of 1994 behind Forrest Gump, which was – at the time – third only to the initial runs of E.T. and Jurassic Park at the all-time domestic box office. That made The Lion King the fourth highest-grossing film ever (not counting re-releases) and the number 1 domestic animated release of all time, a title it held for nine years until Finding Nemo.
A year after J.J. Abrams launched the record-breaking continuation of George Lucas’ Skywalker saga, audiences were given a go-between tale to help fill in the gaps that led to the destruction of the first Death Star. The Magnificent Seven-like story was an instant favorite for some and an average side-trip for others. It became just the seventh film to clear a half-billion dollars in domestic box office. A nearly-equal international haul filled in the other half needed for Rogue One to join the $1 Billion Club, a goal that Solo: A Star Wars Story came up more than $600 million short of.
Aladdin wasn’t always a sure bet: A blue Will Smith was mocked in early reveals of his Genie character and Tim Burton’s live-action Dumbo proved to be a bust just two months before Aladdin‘s release. But Guy Ritchie’s new version of the beloved 1992 animated film took advantage of other 2019 summer under-performers like Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Dark Phoenix, and Men In Black International, gobbling them all up and staying in the top five at the box office for seven straight weeks. Its international haul was only $70 million less than 2017’s Beauty and the Beast, and was even higher than several films above it on this list including Black Panther, Incredibles 2, and numbers 29-32.
After Gore Verbinski’s Pirates trilogy grossed a combined $2.68 billion worldwide, Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer were not about to let the series sail into the sunset. The third film’s bloated length of 168 mins was roundly criticized (its Tomatometer score is just 45%), and this fourth film fared even worse with reviewers (33%), but it did the job at the box office. Domestic audiences showed up for the revamped outing with Jack Sparrow, just not in the expected droves, and a mammoth international total ($804.6 million) kept Stranger Tides in the record books.
Though the third film in the Despicable Me franchise made just $13 million more than the original at the domestic box office, internationally the Despicable Me films had a 164% increase from the first film ($543.1 million) to the third ($1.035 billion). Released in 4,529 theaters, Gru’s third chapter did manage to have the largest launch in film history in North America until Avengers: Endgame came along. Four other films during the summer of 2019 also exceeded its one-time-record theater count.
Thirteen years after Finding Nemo became Pixar’s first $300 million domestic grosser and its biggest hit, the sequel focusing on Ellen Degeneres’ beloved memory-challenged sidekick reclaimed the throne, becoming again the animation house’s highest domestic grosser ever. The movie bested Toy Story 3 by over $71 million at home – even if it came up a bit short of that film internationally – and showed Pixar’s sequel business was really starting to thrive.
George Lucas returned to the director’s chair after more than two decades to give fans what they thought they wanted 16 years after the release of Return of the Jedi. Fans certainly turned over their money but many left with a sense of disappointment that would help taint the prequel trilogy for decades to come. Phantom Menace was the highest-grossing film domestically to earn a Rotten score 55% (until 2019’s The Lion King came along). The $431 million earned in its initial run was enough to make it second only to Titanic all-time in North America; it took re-releases to push it over $1 billion globally. In 1999, it was the first film to clear $100 million in five days, beating the previous record holder, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, which earned $98.6 million in the same amount of time.
Among the first five attempts Disney had made to bring its classic cartoons to life by 2010, Tim Burton’s Alice In Wonderland was by far the most successful. Its $116.1 million start was the sixth-largest movie opening ever at the time and the second-highest for Disney behind the second Pirates film. It was Burton’s seventh collaboration with Johnny Depp and the director has not had a film gross as much domestically in total as Alice made in its first three days since – not even with his attempt to replicate the success with Dumbo in 2019, which grossed a total of $114.7 million. But back in 2010, only Avatar, Titanic, and The Return of the King had made more money outside of North America than Alice did.
To this day, Zootopia remains the second-highest–grossing animated Disney film not connected with Pixar. Since Frozen spent 16 straight weeks in the top 10, only three films have come as close, with 13 straight weeks in that top 10: Black Panther, La La Land, and yes, Zootopia. Its $682 million overseas is the sixth-best ever for an animated film, the second-best for any Disney animated film, Pixar or otherwise. Also, it is just one of four films on this list to receive a Tomatometer score of 97%.
Four years after the publication of J.K. Rowling’s first Harry Potter book, Chris Columbus brought it to the big screen and its legions of fans turned up in record numbers. A $90.2 million opening weekend crushed the previous title holder from four years earlier, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, by over $18 million. The Sorcerer’s Stone‘s final domestic total ranked sixth all-time behind the initial runs of Titanic, The Phantom Menace, E.T., Jurassic Park, and Forrest Gump. That total remained the highest of the series until Deathly Hallows: Part 2 in 2011.
Almost a decade after wrapping up his landmark Lord of the Rings trilogy, Peter Jackson returned to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien to give audiences the Bilbo Baggins tale. A planned two-parter turned into a full-blown trilogy and critics were feeling the bloat: While Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films all scored over 90% on the Tomatometer, the Hobbit films never rose above 74%, with the first film right in the middle with 64%. Audiences were not tired just yet, though, even if this was the last of the Middle-earth series to hit $300 million domestic and $1 billion worldwide. On the glass-half-full side, Jackson’s first four Tolkien films grossed a combined $3.938 billion globally.
The untimely passing of Heath Ledger in January 2008 was a gut punch, but it made anticipation for what would become his iconic, Oscar-winning portrayal of Batman’s arch-nemesis, the Joker, even more feverish. It was the central piece of what is considered one of the greatest comic-book films ever made. The movie’s $158 million opening weekend broke the previous record-holder, Spider-Man 3, by more than $7 million, and Dark Knight held the record for nearly three years to the day until the final Harry Potter chapter was released. The opening is still 17th all-time and the movie’s domestic total haul is the 12th-highest ever.
If Quentin Tarantino could do it, why not Harry Potter? Warner Bros. tried to maximize their profits by splitting J.K. Rowling’s final book into two films. The first 150 minutes missed getting close to the $300 million mark, perhaps as some fans figured they could catch up on home video just before Part 2 hit theaters the following summer. Still, only five films had done better than its $125 million opening (The Dark Knight, Spider-Man 3, The Twilight Saga: New Moon, Dead Man’s Chest, Iron Man 2). The combined power of the Deathly Hallows resulted in $677.1 million domestic and $2.3 billion worldwide alone (but together.)
Thumbnail image courtesy ©New Line Cinema, ©Sony Pictures Releasing, ©Warner Bros.
You know his name. You got his number. Since 1962, James Bond has been the spy whose reputation precedes him: As international man of mystery, as guru of gadgets and espionage thrills, and as the agent who never encountered a boundary – country, or personal space – he couldn’t sneak across.
The Ian Fleming adaptations started with a bang: Dr. No remains among the best-reviewed of 007’s movies, bringing forth that first legendary era of Sean Connery suited up as the debonair rogue that women crave and men aspire to be in vain. Case in point: 1967’s Casino Royale had no less than six James Bonds within its spooferifous walls, none holding a candle to the Con’. The non-comic caper is the worst-reviewed James Bond movie, and was produced outside of franchise gatekeepers Eon.
As celebrated was Connery’s reign was – the late actor’s films occupy three of the top five slots on this list – the sun sets on every empire, and thus was ushered in the age of the Lazenby. A mild administration for George, yes, with only 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service released, though Certified Fresh.
Then it became time to move over for Roger Moore, who offered a lightly winking and intelligent Bond for those burned-out ’70s times. Three of his movies are Rotten, three are Fresh, and one is Certified Fresh. Not bad, and he even traveled into space.
In 1981, Connery came back for non-Eon Bond Never Say Never Again, just as HQ was hiring Timothy Dalton for the job. Dalton’s Bond: Cool and menacing, and his films The Living Daylights and License to Kill are praised by modern fans for their dark, grittier take on the spy game. It’s something Daniel Craig would pick up on in the future, but with a bigger budget and fewer a-ha theme songs.
Pierce Brosnan brought back the sophisticated sex appeal, as the best Bond in the not-so-greatest movies. GoldenEye was intoxicating Certified Fresh fun, while the three that followed are all Rotten.
After Austin Powers took the piss out of the franchise for a decade, Eon turned to resurrecting James Bond as the brooding, brutish hulk we have today. Casino Royale was a return to form, Daniel Craig’s sneer and occasional smile calibrated to the modern cynical viewer. Skyfall was likewise Certified Fresh, but there was not so much critical love for in-betweener Quantum of Solace and the most-recent Spectre of 2015.
Six years passed until No Time To Die, the longest wait between Bond movies. At 15 years, Craig holds the record for longest uninterrupted on-screen ownership of Bond, but Connery spread his appearances as Bond across 21 years. Now, we’re reaching into the classified files for every James Bond movie ever ranked by Tomatometer!
As we all settle in to stay at home and socially distance ourselves, the planet has been given a unique resource not often afforded in the modern world: time. With no place to go, what shall we do with this new abundance of free hours? Time to finish that book you have had on your bedside table? Maybe take an online French class or learn to play an instrument? Time to binge every series that ever was? Or perhaps, like us, you’re thinking of all the films you wished you’d seen but never had the time to before.
Maybe one of those epic movie franchises that seemed too daunting to jump into late in the game – don’t ever admit you’ve never seen an MCU movie, ever – or a series of which you’ve caught a few entries but want to fill in the gaps. Fear not – we have you covered with our Epic Franchise Movie Binge Guide. Read below as we break down some of the most beloved long-running movie franchises – like The Lord of the Rings, Mission Impossible, or the granddaddy of them all, the Marvel Cinematic Universe – and tell you the best way to approach watching them, how long the binge will take, and which titles you can skip. Because hey, even all the time in the world may not be enough time to make you sit through A Good Day to Die Hard.
Disagree with our picks or have a suggestion for a franchise movie binge? Let us know in the comments.
What is it: The film adaptations of the fantasy novels by J.R.R. Tolkien, set in ”Middle-earth,” the fictitious medieval land where elves, men, dwarves, wizards, and hobbits co-exist, often not so peacefully. Over the course of several films, we follow hobbit Bilbo Baggins and later his young heir Frodo Baggins as they go on adventures and battle against the forces of evil.
How many hours: Extended editions: 20 hours 30 minutes; Theatrical cuts: 17 hours and 12 minutes.
Starts with: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)
Ends with: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
Best way to watch: Some would argue the second trilogy – though the first by story chronology – from Peter Jackson was an unnecessary and bloated cash grab that should be avoided at all costs, but we have a better suggestion. We suggest you begin with the LOTR animated film from 1978, which will give you all the events of the films in a quicker and to-the-point format. Then, if you are compelled to see the best of The Hobbit live-action series, we would say check out the standard edition of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, which is the best of the three. We would also suggest you try to watch the extended editions of the original live-action LOTR series – they are more than worth it for the extra content. This recommendation would make for a shorter, 16-hour watch, which could be broken up easily over two days.
What is it: The 23-film saga that chronicles the epic adventures of various superheroes, based on the comics first distributed by Marvel and its subsidiaries.
How many hours: 50 hours and 3 minutes.
Starts with: Iron Man (2008)
Ends with: Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)
Best way to watch: Not surprising for a franchise that grossed over $22 billion at the global box office, but Marvel Studios’ 23-film, decade-long opus is quite watchable as is. Some folks would have argued in 2010 that Avengers: The Age of Ultron is a skippable mess, but as we detail here, it is essential viewing to truly appreciate the first four phases of the saga that culminated with Avengers: Endgame. Sorry for those looking for a shortcut, but watching it all is worth it. Viewing all 23 movies straight through, without breaks, however, is not the way to do it.
Instead, we suggest you go in release order and complete each day as follows: day one after Avengers; day two after Ant-man; day three after Black Panther; and finish on day four with Spider-Man: Far From Home. If you’ve previously watched the MCU and are looking to watch it in a new way, use our guide here to watch in chronological order based on the events of each film. If the thought of 50 hours of superheroes is still too intimidating for you, but you want to understand enough to get by, watch these character introduction films (Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Ant-Man, Guardians of the Galaxy) and these team-up films (Civil War, Winter Soldier, Avengers, Ultron, Infinity War, Endgame). Once you have finished that, check out our Oral Histories of the MCU, in which the directors, producer, and casting director who worked on the epic franchise break down all the behind-the-scene secrets.
Where to watch: FandangoNOW, Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, GooglePlay. All of the films save The Incredible Hulk and the Spider-Man films are streaming on Disney+. The Avengers: Infinity War and The Avengers: Endgame are streaming on Netflix; and Captain America: The First Avenger, The Avengers, and Thor are streaming on Amazon Prime.
What is it: Follow John McClane, a police detective who seems to be a magnet for maniacal criminals no matter which city/structure he is in, and proves to be a tough man to kill.
How many hours: 10 hours and 14 minutes.
Starts with: Die Hard (1988)
Ends with: A Good Day to Die Hard (2013)
Best way to watch: The original Die Hard is so beloved that many argue it’s the greatest action film ever made – or maybe the greatest Christmas movie, but that is a debate for another day. The film and its follow-ups have a loyal fanbase, and though the second and third entries pale in comparison to the first, we still say they’re worth a watch. The fourth film, Live Free or Die Hard, is a true return to form and, frankly, it’s where you should stop unless you are a true completist. The series’ most recent film, A Good Day to Die Hard, is the only PG-13 entry on the list, and without McClane’s iconic “Yippee-ki-yay, motherf–ker,” there’s really no point pushing play.
Where to watch: FandangoNOW (Discounted Bundle), Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, GooglePlay. Die Hard and Die Hard with a Vengeance are streaming now on CinemaxGo; Live Free or Die Hard is streaming on the Starz app.
What is it: Follow Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his crew, which he calls his family, as they shift from illegal street-racing criminals to heist experts and then finally emerge as a new crime-fighting unit that tackles the world of espionage.
How many hours: 15 hours and 57 mins.
Starts with: The Fast and the Furious (2001)
Ends with: Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019)
Best way to watch: As Dom and everyone in the Fast franchise says – quite often – this is about family. So, if you’re looking for something to skip, it’s hard to imagine who you’d want to kick out one of the family – though, let’s be honest, 2 Fast 2 Furious is definitely not Dad’s favorite. Without Vin Diesel, that entry can barely call itself a Fast and Furious movie, and the 2009 series soft reboot, Fast & Furious, is not much better and an easy call to skip, as well. We would caution against skipping third entry Toyko Drift; its charms are significantly more than its 37% Tomatometer score would suggest (something we wax about in our book Rotten Movies We Love). Not to spoil anything, but when we finally get Fast 9 in 2021, you’ll need to have seen Tokyo Drift to understand everything fully – check out #JusticeForHan after you finish the series, and you will understand.
What is it: Follow Philly underdog boxer-turned-champion, Rocky Balboa, as he battles various fighters in the ring, as well as his own issues outside of it, and later trains the next generation of champions.
How many hours: 14 hours and 55 minutes.
Starts with: Rocky (1976)
Ends with: Creed II (2018)
Best way to watch: This one’s real simple: trust us and skip Rocky V. Just pretend it didn’t happen; we’re pretty sure Sylvester Stallone did.
What is it: The franchise based on JK Rowling’s phenomenally successful novels follows the adventures of Harry Potter, an orphan-turned-famed wizard, the evil He Who Must Not Be Named, and the Wizarding World they inhabit.
How many hours: 24 hours and 6 minutes.
Starts with: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)
Ends with: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001)
Best way to watch: As this is a British series, allow us to put this as politely as possible: Fantastic Beasts is simply not quite on form. The first entry is saved by Eddie Redmayne and mesmerizing magical effects; the second entry is the first and only Rotten flick from the Wizarding World and very skippable at this stage. The original seven films are near perfect, but if you wanted to pass over The Chamber of Secrets you wouldn’t miss much – you won’t be too confused later in the series. (Though if watching as a family, this is one the kids tend to like.) If you follow that suggestion, you can finish the entire series in one day.
Starts with: X-Men: First Class (2011)
Ends with: Logan (2017)
How to watch: The critics will tell you that both X-Men: The Last Stand (the third of the original films) and X-Men: Apocalypse (the third of the rebooted, second-gen films) are shells of their brilliant predecessors. And with the last X-Men film to enter theaters, Dark Phoenix, disappointing on the Tomatometer and at the box office, you should essentially skip any film that has anything to do with Jean Gray’s Dark Phoenix. X-Men Origins: Wolverine is admittedly a hard watch to suffer through, but you kinda have to just to appreciate the brilliance of Deadpool and its sequel, if only for what they did differently with the character. Every film that character is in after Origins highlights why Ryan Reynolds was born to play the “Merc with a Mouth.”
Watching in the order of events is the best way to approach things if you don’t want to be confused by the time travel that happens later in the series. That order is: First Class, Days of Future Past, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, X-Men Apocalypse, Dark Phoenix, X-Men, X2, X-Men: The Last Stand, The Wolverine, Deadpool, Deadpool 2, Logan. If you leave off the aforementioned weakest entries (The Last Stand, Apocalypse, Dark Phoenix) you can complete the entire series in one day.
Where to watch: FandangoNOW (Discount Bundle), Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, GooglePlay. X-Men: Days of Future Past and Deadpool are streaming on FXNow; X-Men Origins: Wolverine is available to stream on the Starz app.
What is it: In these films, we welcome you to Jurassic Park, a theme park – and eventually various associated islands, mansions, West Coast cities – where dinosaurs have been genetically recreated to walk the Earth alongside humans. Over the course of series we watch as that combination invariably doesn’t work out well for the humans.
How many hours: 10 hours and 1 minute.
Starts with: Jurassic Park (1993)
Ends with: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018)
Best way to watch: This was a subject of contentious debate among the RT staff: some thought the Jurassic World part of the franchise is unwatchable, while others had strong takes on Jurassic Park 3 and The Lost World. As this is only a five-film series so far, we compromised: Watch them all and make your own determinations. Either way, we all agreed that the original Jurassic Park is a bona fide classic, and if you haven’t seen it, please remedy this injustice as soon as possible. It only takes a day to watch them all.
What is it: Watch secret agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his crew of talented spies as they battle the world’s most dangerous criminals along with the bureaucracy of his own organization, the IMF. The films are based on the 1960s television show.
How many hours: 13 hours and 3 minutes.
Starts with: Mission: Impossible (1996)
Ends with: Mission: Impossible -- Fallout (2018)
Best way to watch: It’s apparent after six films (with a seventh on the way): Tom Cruise really likes playing Ethan Hunt. And with every film, Cruise looks to top the jaw-dropping stunts from the last. Still, there is a stark contrast between the first three films and the rest, in regards to quality and scope. Many will tell you the second film, directed by John Woo, and the third, directed by J.J. Abrams, are the weakest of the set, but they’re still thoroughly enjoyable and feature some truly astonishing stunts – so we suggest you watch them all. And thankfully this is not – yes, we’re gonna say it – impossible to do in one or two days.
Where to watch: FandangoNOW (Discount Bundle), Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, GooglePlay. Mission Impossible: Fallout is streaming on Amazon Prime and Hulu; Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol and Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation are streaming on FXNow.
What is it: James Bond, MI6 intelligence officer and international playboy, charms women, thwarts terrorist plots, and sips a shaken martini in well-tailored suits. Based on Ian Fleming’s iconic novels.
How many hours: 55 hours and 11 minutes.
Starts with: Dr. No (1962)
Ends with: Spectre (2015)
Best way to watch: For completists, we recommend you start with the Connery films on day one, then do a day of Timothy Dalton, David Niven (the satire Casino Royale from 1967), and George Lazenby’s films, adding one or two of Roger Moore’s. Finish with Moore on day three, then do a full day of Pierce Brosnan for day four, and end the series on day five with Daniel Craig. If that’s a bit too daunting, you can break up the films we suggested for one day across two days instead. If you’re looking for a few to skip, we’d suggest A View to Kill and Octopussy. We’d also suggest you skip Never Say Never Again, as it is a shadow of Connery’s older work; Moonraker is only enjoyable for how laughable it is; and there’s not enough vodka on earth to make The World is Not Enough a good time. Quantum of Solace is another one you can miss, but at least watch the opening scene – it’s fantastic.
Where to watch: FandangoNOW (Discount Bundle), Amazon, Itunes, Vudu, GooglePlay. Goldeneye, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World is Not Enough, and Die Another Day are streaming on Netflix; Quantum of Solace and Casino Royale (1967) are streaming on HBONow.
What is it: These are the stories of the USS Enterprise, crafted for the silver screen. Watch Captain Kirk (William Shatner) and later Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) as they lead their crews to the furthest reaches of the universe on a peacekeeping mission to discover new worlds. The films are based on the Star Trek television series and its subsequent spin-offs.
How many hours: 25 hours and 17 minutes.
Starts with: Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)
Ends with: Star Trek Beyond (2016)
Best way to watch: At the risk of angering the original series Trekkies, the first film – Star Trek: The Motion Picture – is simply not very good (it’s 42% on the Tomatometer). The same can be said of The Final Frontier. When we shift into The Next Generation part of the franchise, the series starts off strong but fizzles with Star Trek: Nemesis. We suggest you should skip those four. When you start the reboot franchise, some would advise you to skip Star Trek: Into Darkness, which was much maligned by the fandom but which we say is worth seeing for Benedict Cumberbatch, if nothing else. As far as ordering your binge, watching the series as the films were released is the way to go. Begin with the first set of films featuring the original series characters, followed by the films centering on the cast of The Next Generation, and finish with the reboot films that started in 2009. If you are skipping films following our advice, the new order is original series (The Wrath of Khan, Search for Spock, The Voyage Home, Undiscovered Country), followed by the Next Generation films (Generations, First Contact, Insurrection), and finishing with the 2009 reboot films (Star Trek, Into Darkness, Beyond).
Where to watch: FandangoNOW (Discount Bundle), Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, GooglePlay. Star Treks 1-6, First Contact, Insurrection, and Generations are streaming Amazon; Star Trek: Into Darkness is streaming on FXnow; and Star Trek Nemesis, First Contact, Generations are streaming on Crackle.
Thumbnail image: yParamount, Paramount, courtesy of the Everett Collection
Thor: Ragnarok only needed to get a 67% on the Tomatometer to improve upon The Dark World‘s score. Looks like all this franchise needed was some new zeal and New Zealand director Taika Waititi because Ragnarok is currently scoring way higher than that, which inspires this week’s gallery of 24 most improved movie sequels by Tomatometer!
(Photo by Jonathan Olley/Columbia Pictures)
For the last four years, Daniel Craig has been, to use his own word, “coy” about whether he’d return for another James Bond movie. Back in 2015, he even told our very own Grae Drake, “I’m not gone yet.” Rumors have gone every which way but confirmed, even with recent announcements of a release date and potential directors for the next 007 adventure. Last night, the actor finally said “yes,” he is still on board as the most famous spy character of all time.
He made the confirmation on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, admitting that he’s been discussing the possibility for the last couple months but wanted to save the news for the CBS talk show. “We’ve just been trying to figure things out,” he said. “I always wanted to. I needed a break.” He also explained his infamous quote about preferring bodily harm to doing another one.
At the end of the interview, Colbert asked if this will be Craig’s final installment as Bond. “I think this is it,” the actor answered. “I just want to go out on a high note.” Then he added, “I can’t wait.” Presumably he was referring to doing this next one, not leaving.
In response to the confirmation, many movie critics have chimed in about the news. Craig’s last outing as Bond, Spectre, received fairly positive reviews overall (64 percent on the Tomatometer) but they weren’t as glowing as his prior installment, Skyfall (93 percent) or his debut with the franchise, Casino Royale (95 percent). So there are mixed feelings:
I think we all want to see Craig go out on a high note as well. He’s left his mark on the character and has had two of the best Bond films ever made.
– Matt Goldberg, Collider
It was a near-inevitability that he would return for one last ride…he waited until right before his new movie opened to drop the news.
– Scott Mendelson, Forbes
Pro: Daniel Craig is a great Bond. Con: Spectre was not great, and also the end of it felt like a farewell for his 007.
– Matt Singer, ScreenCrush
Daniel Craig announced on Colbert he’s back for Bond 25 — here, I genuinely believed he’d call it quits. We need more Lucky Logan-like DC.
– Jason Gorber, Screen Anarchy
Happy to see Daniel Craig returning for another Bond despite his four-film tenure being a study in steadily decreasing quality.
– Rob Hunter, Film School Rejects
Delighted that Daniel Craig is back as Bond, so that all the good actors floated for the role can continue to do just about anything else.
– Guy Lodge, Variety
The currently untiled 25th James Bond instalment will be released in the US on November 8, 2019. See below for Craig’s appearance on The Late Show, in which he also shares a Logan Lucky clip and discusses his cameo in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Bond, James Bond is back. His 26 movies over 53 years have created a long legacy of international espionage, daring escapes, stellar gadgets, and, yes, beautiful women. Celebrate the release of Spectre with our 50 favorite Bond girls throughout history.
This week’s Ketchup includes movie development news stories involving the next James Bond movie, movies based on the comic books Archie, Fables and Guardians of the Galaxy, and new roles for Jennifer Lawrence, Kristen Stewart, and Denzel Washington.