This series highlights the best opening weekends since 1980… with 10 movies you don’t want to slip/through the cracks.
This Weekend in History features one of Disney’s best animated adventures, 3 smash hit (so-called) chick flicks, Stephen King done right, and 5 Cult Classics.
November had a lot of franchise sequels, but the last weekend of the month gives some solo movies a shot at the tops. Wait a sec – these are all from the 90s or 80s?! Looks like the Thanksgiving holiday weekend used to be a destination release date. Highlighted movies are selected from the Top 200 List. If you are interested in a completely different set of films make sure to check out the 2D Companion Piece.
- note: box office figures are domestic and are not adjusted for inflation
ALADDIN – 1992
OPENING WEEKEND: $19 million // BOX OFFICE TOTAL: $217 million
Here’s one of my favourite Disney movies ever – and one of the last best hand-drawn features (24 frames a second?!). I remember seeing this in theaters when I was younger. It was that age where I was thinking I was too cool for cartoons. ALADDIN stands apart from earlier Disney features. It was just as funny for adults as it was for children. Robin Williams voiced one of the best Disney characters ever. His limited appearance steals the show and is entirely quotable. This crowd-pleaser made tons of money for the 90s (before inflation) and established a framework future animate movies would adopt.
MY GIRL – 1991
OPENING: $12 million // TOTAL: $59 million
If you grew up in the 90s, chances are this small personal movie has a special place in your heart. This character piece focuses on a young friendship coming-of-age. Macauly Caulkin (HOME ALONE) was impressive in his dramatic role, indicating a talented future ahead. While emotional, this tearful story is worth-watching.
THE BODYGUARD – 1992
OPENING: $17 million // TOTAL: $122 million
Kevin Costner established himself as a star with a string of successful movies in the 90s. This thrilling drama co-starred chart-topping singer Whitney Houston. The soundtrack was just as popular as the movie. Yes. This movie is responsible for “I Will Always Love You.” The romance was mixed well with the drama and excitement making the film a cross-over hit.
THREE MEN AND A BABY – 1987
OPENING: $10 million // TOTAL: $168 million
At the time, this movie was a big deal. The debut may not seem all that, but check out that total. People slowly got infected by this one. The sitcom scenario was actually quite charming and filled with laughs. This comedy is also a sign of the era, with the 80s fully represented by that guy from MAGNUM PI (Tom Selleck), that guy from CHEERS (Ted Danson), and that guy from POLICE ACADEMY (?) (Steve Guttenberg). Actually… their chemistry lit up the screen – unfortunately leading to a less than fabulous sequel, THREE MEN AND A LITTLE LADY.
MISERY – 1990
OPENING: $10 million // TOTAL: $61 million
The 90s were filled with serious adaptations of Stephen King novels. James Caan starred as an author who got in a car accident. His “biggest fan” happens to be his saviour, caring for him, and tending to his wounds… and keeping him captive… restrained to a bed. Yeah. The usual. Kathy Bates burst onto the scene with her scene-stealing villain – one of the best of screen history.
The Number 1 movie This Weekend in History is FROZEN with $67 million. This animated fairy tale was a gigantic hit with families bringing in a total of $401 million at the box office in 2013. The success of this female-led adventure will definitely lead to more in the future.
ALIEN: RESURRECTION – 1997
OPENING: $16 million // TOTAL: $48 million
Joss Whedon (yes, that Joss Whedon) wrote the 4th in the ALIEN franchise. Mad scientist / Visionary illusionist Jean-Pierre Jeunet directed this astoundingly beautiful horror flick. With Whedon writing, you already know the dialogue crackles, too bad the story can’t hold a spark. Convoluted with cloning sub-plots, the movie is hindered overall. That said we do get an interesting turn from Winona Ryder and a bad-ass Ron Perlman. This sequel began a nearly 10 year drought for a “true” ALIEN sequel. So, this one… fanboys only.
NINJA ASSASSIN – 2009
OPENING: $13 million // TOTAL: $38 million
Hyper-stylized and ultra-violent like a live action anime, this crazy ninja flick is soaked in blood. Produced by everything-Asian fans the Wachowskis, this martial arts film is beautifully photographed with incredible fight sequences. Action fans will get what they expect – and then some.
LOVE & OTHER DRUGS – 2010
OPENING: $10 million // TOTAL: $32 million
Ed Zwick (GLORY) directs a relationship drama/comedy with great success. This underrated hidden gem stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway as a couple in constant conflict with themselves. While the story isn’t anything new, the character arcs are quite compelling. Despite some heavy themes, their is a lot of fun to be had… if you like black comedy.
END OF DAYS – 1999
OPENING: $21 million // TOTAL: $67 million
Arnold Schwarzenegger was beginning to lose his clout in Hollywood. Our ageless muscleman was getting old. His action roles would have to change. Arnold switched it up and dabbled in the horror genre with this one – supernatural apocalyptic horror. There are some good moments (some creepy ones too) that make this worth watching for 90s action fans.
ALEXANDER – 2004
OPENING: $14 million // TOTAL: $34 million
Oliver Stone’s historical stinker was attacked from all angles. While uneven at best, I quite enjoyed this story of Alexander. Admittedly, there are some strange casting choices (like Angelina Jolie as Alexander’s mother – a.k.a. Colin Farrell), but there’s also some good ones, like Rosario Dawson. The intended opus was theatrically over-the-top at moments, but it also had some epic cinematography and truly visual feasts to behold. The director’s cut is longer, but it painted a bigger picture. If you weren’t completely annoyed by a blonde Farrell as Alexander, or Oliver Stone’s flamboyant brush-strokes, I recommend watching the longer version.
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Check out the 2D Companion Piece for a tasty new menu of juicy flicks.
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