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2008 Blockbusters with the Best Buzz

2007 saw 28 movies earn $100 million or more (or much much more), and 7 of them scored an Oscar nomination of some sort (American Gangster, The Bourne Ultimatum, Enchanted, Juno, Ratatouille, Transformers, and Pirates of the Caribbean: Please God, Make This World End). Clearly the typical blockbuster is not Oscar bait — and doesn’t need to care that it’s not. But thanks to popcorn movies and the big bucks they rake in, studios can afford to hand out $30 million here and there for the projects that may barely break even, but sustain the higher artistic aspirations of the industry.

We all wish blockbusters were better cinema — and every year a half-dozen of them surprise us and deliver a experience that transcends the thrills. Even the ones that don’t can usually be counted on to dazzle with their technical wizardry. The big-budget blockbuster filmmakers want to entertain us. We want them to succeed in that goal. Here’s a list of this year’s candidates (I’m sure I’ve left some out, and equally sure you’ll let me know about it). Vote for the 5 most promising. The 5 blockbusters most likely to knock you out at mindless afternoon matin√©e — and try to include a couple you hope will have the substance to make them worth seeing again and again.

(We’re close to 5000 votes on yesterday’s poll of potential Best Picture contenders. Please vote if you haven’t yet. The bigger the sample size, the better the results.)