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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.)

34 Comments on this Post

  1. “…and Pirates of the Caribbean: Please God, Make This World End”

    Agreed.

  2. Angels and Demons doesn’t come out until the summer of 2009

  3. elessar

    Here were mine, listed alphabetically:

    The Dark Knight
    The Incredible Hulk
    Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
    Iron Man
    Wall-E

  4. Mr. Gittes

    The Dark Knight WILL. BE. HUGE.

  5. elessar

    I should add that each of the five I mentioned, particularly The Dark Knight and Wall-E, are the ones I think will have the best substance as well. I hope each of them warrants a second, and maybe a third viewing.

  6. Star Trek got pushed back to 2009.

  7. I’m most excited about:

    The Dark Night
    Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
    The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
    Quantum of Solace (Bond 22)
    Wall-E
    The Incredible Hulk
    Iron Man
    Speed Racer
    Wanted

  8. Dark Knight, Wall-E and Indie will be the biggest, imo.

  9. alftuba

    I hate to be the one to bring up this sad fact, but….

    Make that EIGHT $100 mil+ movies that got oscar nommed: oh god, do I really have to type it? Now that it comes to it, I don’t think I can say it….oh, here goes…….

    …..eeeehhhhhhhh……

    (norbit)

    *whew*

  10. I really wanted to vote for X-Files but I couldn’t because there are five on there that are all but guaranteed 100+: Indy, Dark Knight, Wall-E, Potter, and Bond.

    I also think with solid reviews some movies could be pushed into a big box office (The Happening, Iron Man, Narnia), while solid reviews may not be enough to help others (10000 BC, The Ruins, Hulk, etc.).

  11. Paul Outlaw

    The Dark Knight, Indiana Jones 4, Iron Man, Bond 22, X-Files 2

  12. Ryan Adams

    Added The Forbidden Kingdom

    Jackie Chan
    Jet Li

    “An American teenager who is obsessed with Hong Kong cinema and kung-fu classics makes an extraordinary discovery in a Chinatown pawnshop: the legendary stick weapon of the Chinese sage and warrior, the Monkey King. With the lost relic in hand, the teenager unexpectedly finds himself traveling back to ancient China to join a crew of warriors from martial arts lore on a dangerous quest to free the imprisoned Monkey King.

    You had me at “imprisoned Monkey King.”

  13. K Trout

    Amusing to think that the lowest-rated movie is Will Smith’s next. I’ll remember that after it passes $200-mil…

  14. Walt Gamble

    Indy, Dark Night, Wall-E , QoS and Hancock. Agreed with KTrout here, even though ithe film doesn’t look like much at the moment, Will Smith is the No. 1 film star today.

  15. RichardA

    Diablo Cody just got served in SNL!

  16. Ryan Adams

    Diablo Cody and Miley Cyrus both, RichardA.

    so it took Ellen Page exactly 6 days to cut the umbilicalshizzle and publicly pee on the pregnancy strip(per)?

  17. lol Ryan!

    God I love SNL.

  18. I didn’t vote for Indiana 4 because, if it is anything like the trailer, its going to suck, big time. Will do amazing business first 2 weeks, and then fall. I call it -february 2008

    That said:

    Angels & Demons
    The Joker
    Harry Potter 6
    Bond
    Wall-E

  19. Ryan Adams

    oh noooo…
    Indiana Jones and the Curse of the Cranky Tufas

    ;-)

    We all recall what you did to “Elizabeth: The Fancy Embroidery ‘n’ Stuff but Historically Inaccurate Age” last year, Tufas. It’s a fearsome power you command, truly.

    I could say unequivocally that Angels & Demons is a far superior novel than The Duh Vinci Code. But then I’d have to admit that I read both, and I’m not in the mood to be ridiculed.

  20. Hey Ryan =)

    Well, i voted for Angels solely on the bankability of Da Vinci Code and Tom Hanks, though it is not a sure thing. If they hit the trailer properly, considering the subject matter, it can be huge (only 2 books by Dan Brown I read)

    The Dark Knight because it is mainly a Joker vehicle, no matter how Batman-centered Nolan’s movie wants to be. The Joker is the real deal. And add to that, Ledger’s passing…

    Potter is closing in to the big finale… no need to think it will flunk now.

    Bond might do 200 million, might not…

    Wall-E might be the best Pixar yet, but so was Ratatouille and that didnt help it do Nemo business…

    Still, those are my votes. Iron Man and Indy will do great business on first weekend, though. And I really hope I am wrong about Indy

    Its been a great weekend so far. Stayed home (terrible weather) and just saw, back to back, 5 Almodovar movies. He truly is a master. And I just want to eat Javier Bardem, Liberto Rabal (Live Flesh) and Garcia Benal (Bad Education) all up!

    Cheers
    T

  21. Alexander

    It’s funny you mention The Dark Knight being a Joker vehicle, Tufas, because I’ve been quietly hoping for about a year now, since around the time that film went into production, that it wouldn’t solely be a Joker vehicle. If Nolan can continue the dramatic saga of Batman/Bruce Wayne that he started so well with Batman Begins *and* pour the Joker all over it, too, I’d be most pleased.

    The three I’m looking forward to the most happen to be the ones I tend to think will be the biggest awards magnets or at least nominations magnets–Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, The Dark Knight and Wall-E.

    As for box office, those three will all be huge. So will Hancock and Iron Man and that next Narnia movie.

    Wanted looks like a cheesy remake of The Matrix (1999) and some other good films whose image it may mar, haha.

    Quantum of Solace will do very well (though one has to wonder if that darned title might be a little too esoteric for many moviegoers).

  22. I have heard Nolan say this NOT a Joker movie and that he just kind of moves through the film.. I wonder if we have seen most of his scenes in the trailer? That being said in order of how I think they will do, my top 5 are:
    1. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
    2. Wall-E
    3. The Dark Knight
    4.Bond 22
    5. Ironman
    And anyone who thinks Hancock won’t be at least a 200 mill grosser is kidding themselves.

  23. They changed the title of the next James Bond Movie from James Bond 22 to Quantum of Solace

  24. Dark Knight is gonna be HUGE! If it’s half as good as the trailer promises, it’s gonna make more money this year than anything else. That said, I’d also anticipate big things from Wall-E, Bond, and Prince Caspian.

  25. elessar

    Right on, Alexander. While I’m not sure about awards, I think Iron Man will help cement Robert Downey Jr’s comeback and boost his profile in THE SOLOIST later this year.

    From the minute I saw the WANTED trailer, I immediately hoped that it wouldn’t sink James McAvoy’s career. He has a lot of promise, and I would like to see him–once the lawsuits are settled–play Bilbo Baggins in THE HOBBIT (not my idea, the credit goes to a blogger at Oscar Igloo). Hopefully, this won’t be too big a stain.

    While I have faith in Daniel Craig and Marc Forster, I also agree that Quantum of Solace is a little too esoteric.

  26. Alexander

    “From the minute I saw the WANTED trailer, I immediately hoped that it wouldn’t sink James McAvoy’s career.”

    Ouch…

    Come to think of it, I had a similar thought.

    Oh well, guess he needed a big paycheck.

    The fact that The Soloist has Robert Downey, Jr. in it makes me more excited about it than the other big components (Foxx and Wright).

  27. Daniel

    I dunno which will be the best movies in terms of quality, but I think Indy (Seriously, the first of one of the biggest money-making series in how many years?), Harry Potter (No stopping this franchise), the Dark Night (partially because of Ledger’s passing, but who doesn’t love batman?), Angels and Demons (fueled by the Da Vinci controversy) and Iron Man (Marvel Comics, enough said) will be the biggest money-makers, followed closely by Wall-E, Narnia and Bond.

    I’m predicting that the Hulk bombs since the the other Hulk movie was so bad.

  28. Where is Mamma Mia! ?

    the last Summer movie Meryl Streep starred in was projected to earn around 14-15 million in it’s opening weekend, and go down from there. It ended up grossing over 300 million worldwide. A little movie call The Devil Wears Prada.

    I don’t think you should underestimate Ms. Streep. Especially when starring in a film based on a world famous musical :)

  29. Daniel

    “the last Summer movie Meryl Streep starred in was projected to earn around 14-15 million in it’s opening weekend…A little movie call The Devil Wears Prada.”

    Wasn’t the last movie she starred in “Rendition”? And I recall hearing that it was terrible (though I never actually saw it).

  30. Rendidtion was released last October….I am talking about Meryl Streep’s last SUMMER Movie. The Devil Wears Prada was released in June of 2006

  31. Daniel

    whoops I didn’t read what you write properly. And I even quoted it in my post.
    Sorry Zak.

  32. No freaking way. I’m absolutely disagreeing. Next time when you post something think about reaction of readers.

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