Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Greatest Summer Blockbuster Of All Time.

The Summer movie season has ended, and even though its a sad time for moviegoers, we look back with fond memories of films that made us cry, cheer, and scream.  Lets look further back though, past the summer of 2012 and see if we can maybe find the ultimate summer blockbuster.

I can't start this list without mentioning the first summer blockbuster, the 1975 film Jaws.  If you didn't know by now, Jaws was the first film to ever pass the two-hundred million dollar mark, a feat no one saw coming when the film was released.  The budget ballooned way past what most producers put into it, and with a faulty shark, happily named bruce that never seemed to work, the film looked to be on its way to a box office blunder.  Who knew that the lack of seeing the shark in the film would make it a success.  It turns out that since the shark wasn't working, Steven Spielberg would shoot the scenes with the point of view of the shark, rather than what everyone else sees.  The camera zooming past kicking legs beneath the surface of the water was more traumatizing than seeing the the shark itself.  The anticipation of an attack gave the audience more chills and thrills.  Jaws has gone on to become a classic in the horror genre, bringing to life a new genre of film and even spawning three sequels, all of which couldn't hold a candle to the original.  The blu-ray release of the film is now available for the first time this month.  But is Jaws the ultimate summer movie, or was it just the first? 

Two years after the release of the first summer blockbuster, we find ourselves in a new territory that most movie makers can only dream of being in with the release of Star Wars.  I'm sure most Star Wars fans are looking for A New Hope to come after the title but when the film first arrived in theaters it was just called Star Wars, so that's what I'm sticking with.  Star Wars went on to become the highest grossing picture of all time, and it held onto that position for twenty years, until the release of Titanic.  Star Wars has gone on to have multiple re-releases and is due to come back to theaters in 2015 with a conversion to 3D.  Adjusted for ticket prices and inflation, Star Wars is the second highest grossing film of all time, just behind Gone With The Wind.  Two sequels were released several years after the original along with three prequels twenty years after that.  The franchise has become a phenomenon and still lives through novels, television shows, and conventions.  It has held the test of time and still builds upon its already massive fan base with every passing year.

  Raiders of the Lost Ark, too some the ultimate action adventure movie of all time, too others just another box office success from Steven Spielberg and George Lucas; too me, the greatest movie of all time.  I won't be biased though and will play fair with this list.  When Indiana Jones was first thought of in the mind of George Lucas, he wanted to create a movie based on the 1950's serials he grew to love.  With those thoughts and a director who was wanting to direct a James Bond picture, Spielberg and Lucas joined forces to create a character named after the family dog, carried a whip, and wore a fedora.  Indiana Jones was re-released in 82 and 83 and is soon due to come out in IMAX for two weeks in September, coinciding with its release to blu-ray.  The film has garnered three sequels with a possible fifth in the works, of course most would probably like to forget the last one in the franchise.  The film is still considered the consequential adventure film of all time, who would deny that?

  Alright, I know that it seems as though I'm showing favoritism towards Steven Spielberg, due to the fact that he's been on this list three out of the four movies posted.  Who are we too deny though that he practically ruled the summer in the 80's and 90's?  Jurassic Park is the first time we actually got to see dinosaurs walk the earth the way they might of done so 65 million years ago.  Any film released prior to Jurassic Park with a dinosaur in it was nothing compared to what audiences witnessed in 1993.  It was the first film I seen twice in theaters and it still looks great on screen.  The special effects used were still experimental but they still hold up to what comes out presently.  Jurassic Park has had two sequels, both being successful with a fourth in the works.  Next year it will be re-released in 3D, and what a treat that will be for whoever remembers the massive force of a footstep that audiences felt before the T-Rex first made its appearance on screen.

Spider-man does seem to be a little out of the ordinary from what I've put on this list previously, but we have to realize that when the year 2000 arrived, so did the dawn of the superhero era.  Spider-man is the first film to reach over $100 million dollars at the box office in its opening weekend.  It went on too gross over $400 million dollars and helped create a franchise that's still successful today.  Looking back at the film, with its great score by Danny Elfman and wonderful direction from Sam Raimi, it finally showed us the hero we have read about for several decades.  Spider-man isn't the oldest character to grace this list, nor is he the most popular, he is probably the nicest and most generous of the superheroes.  Defending a city that considers him a threat but always protects the one girl he can never be without.  The take on the hero was a little campy, but the charm of the film and its characters outweighed the bad and gave us a summer blockbuster that audiences fell in love with.

The second superhero to grace this list and probably the most popular of all of them.  He first graced the screen in 1989 with Micheal Keaton (great article with Keaton about Batman here.)behind the cowl.  We lost all hope for the character in 1997 with Batman and Robin, but in 2005 we witnessed what it takes to be more than just a man, but a symbol that everyone can stand behind.  In 2008 though, Batman reached new heights and praise that no one thought was imaginable.  The Dark Knight was released several months after one of its main stars died, creating a shadow over promoting the film.  In some cases though, most believed that the success of the film came from the tragedy.  I'd like to believe that the film deserved all of the success it received.  The Dark Knight has gone on to become on of the greatest superheroes films of all time and too some, on of the greatest films to be made.  It was a critical success as well, and even received an Oscar for best supporting actor for Heath Ledger's role as the Joker.  The film sits with only three others to ever cross the $500 million dollar mark.

The last movie on this list and also the latest to be released.  The Avengers, the highly anticipated film that most had been waiting for since the release of Iron Man in 2008.  The film has grossed over $600 million dollars domestically, the third film to ever do so and is also the first film to cross the $200 million mark in just three days.  In reality, its the fifth most popular in terms of adjusted box office.  Even so though, its rare to see a movie nowadays even cross the $600 million mark.  Most of our favorite Marvel superheroes team up in this gem of a film to fight the villian Loki from world domination.  A sequel is in the works with a release date being in 2015, to long of a wait if you ask me.  Our favorite heroes though will still come to visit us with the release of Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World next year, along with Captain America: The Winter Solder in 2014.  Josh Whedon is set to helm The Avengers along with the original cast coming back for more, with maybe a few new faces to join them along the way.

Alright so, after all of that and seven movies to choose from.  What would you consider to be the greatest summer blockbuster of all time?  This is of course my opinion, and no you don't have to agree with my choices.  In the end I would have to choose Star Wars, not because of how much money its made or how many fans its accumulated over the years, but because of how long its been around.  For a film to still be as popular today as it was back in 1977 is something that can't be ignored.  Of course there are films on here that are just as memorable but Star Wars hasn't lost its traction and is still considered a great film to new and old generations. 

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