If you have read the entertainment headlines, it is interesting to note how Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest has made over 320 million in the box office after three weeks. I have seen the film and I for one enjoyed it all the way through. However, one of the things I have discussed with some folks is that there is a bit of a brain drain in Hollywood. Television shows are seemingly being crushed left and right because they are not instantly getting the rating everyone expects them to. Remember the show Girl’s Club? I just remember three hot chicks on the screen, nothing else.
So I did a little checking. In looking at the top grossing films, 1997 saw the rise of one big film which got a lot of people into the movie theater. The film: Titanic, the undisputed champion. It is going to take a BIG movie to unseat this film from the number one slot. I took it upon myself to look at all the films that were in the original top ten before 1997 and the new big budget films which have since taken over much of the top grossing films. So here is the list before Titanic led the charge.
1. Star Wars: $460,998,007
2. E.T.: $435,110,554
3. Jurassic Park: $357,067,947
4. Forrest Gump: $329,694,499
5. The Lion King: $328,541,776
6. Return of the Jedi: $309,306,177
7. Independence Day: $306,169,268
8. Empire Strikes Back: $290,475,067
9. Home Alone: $285,761,243
10. Jaws: $260,000,000
Certainly, these are some very impressive numbers to consider and shows how good the films were when they were originally released. For me, I think films have lost a certain edge to them. Since there seems to be only a few good movies out there, I really think a good filmmaker could do a lot with certain types of films. Take these for example:
Cortez’s conquest of Mexico
Sir Francis Drake
Henry Morgan’s plundering of Panama
A mini series on the life of Washington, adapted from the book Citizen Washington
Granted, these are just a couple of ideas. Interestingly enough, if you go into history, it is worth exploring how so many events could easily be made into films. If you just keep the facts and try not to add subtle little things dealing with current politics, you can get some great films. In addition to this, I think it would be great if maybe some theaters re-release some older films for people to see in the theater. I know that DVD and such makes that idea not too feasible in terms of cost, but as it is often pointed out to me, there is nothing like the movie theater experience. Imagine Gone with the Wind, Casablanca, Citizen Kane, or any other films brought back into the theater.
Also, check out TCM and AMC. There are some older films that are really good to watch,. If you want quality acting and some good scenery shots, check out the film Day of Wrath. Filmed in 1943 during the Nazi occupation of Denmark, this film looks at a minister’s wife who is accused of being a witch. Another film worth checking out if you can find it is Hitler’s Children. Also filmed in 1943, this film looks at an American school in Nazi Germany and the struggles of a professor trying to save two of his star pupils from the Nazis.
As for me, the oldest film I have ever seen is 1902’s Voyage to the Moon. Adapted from Jules Verne’s story of the same title, this film was only 14 minutes long and very interesting. Another old film to look at is the original Ben Hur. With only two scenes shot in color, the feeling was people would not like colorized films because they would give people headaches. Funny how that didn’t work out.