With 2016 already a third of the way gone (where does the time go?), it’s time to take a look at the movies that have raked in the cash across the globe in the first four months. There are some surprising entries, and the top spot is held by a movie which may well breach the billion mark by the year’s end – which will be an amazing achievement and completely unexpected. Half are sequels, one is a remake, which leaves just four movies that are original – if that isn’t a sad reflection on the make up of movies released so far this year then nothing will be. All have made over $150m at the international box office, but whether they’ll still be in the Top 10 at year’s end (or even in another four months) remains to be seen. So here they are: the movies we’ve gone out of our way to see at the box office, whether we live in Hollywood or Hunan Province. See how many you can guess in advance.
NOTE: All figures are courtesy of the good folks at boxofficemojo.com.
10 – London Has Fallen – $191,295,451
London Has Fallen seems to have made its money off the back of a residual fondness for its US based predecessor. That a movie as poorly constructed and flaky as this can make as much money as it has is both worrying and oddly comforting – worrying because audiences will flock to a movie even when it’s clearly a case of stupid is as stupid does, and oddly comforting because there’s always room for movies that wear their stupidity like a badge of honour.
9 – The Monkey King 2 – $193,677,158
The second sequel on the list was released back in February and shows just how important the international markets, and particularly China, are now when determining the box office success of foreign language movies. The Monkey King 2 tanked in the US, earning only $709,982, but its performance overseas is a salutary reminder that Hollywood can’t have it all – and that’s a good thing.
8 – Captain America: Civil War – $261,600,000
Captain America: Civil War doesn’t open in the US until tomorrow – what’s the betting it’s as successful on its home turf as it has been abroad? (Don’t bother to answer that.) Marvel have another potential billion dollar movie on their hands, and if it can rake this much in in just one week then the sky’s the limit. It’s also proved itself as yet another critic-proof behemoth; a good job then that it’s as good as everyone hoped.
7 – Monster Hunt – $385,274,702
The second foreign language movie on the list, Monster Hunt‘s total haul is yet another snub to the US market, which allowed it to play for just one week back in January and make a massive $32,766. It may not be the best example of Chinese fantasy movie making, but international audiences have taken it to their hearts, and in the end that’s all that matters.
6 – Kung Fu Panda 3 – $508,538,424
And now we reach the big guns. A massive leap in ticket sales takes us to the third outing for lovable Po, irascible Master Shifu, and the Famous Five. Well on the way to emulating both its predecessors’ haul of over $600m, Kung Fu Panda 3 is the latest in a series that has quietly earned its success without appearing to do too much in the process. Both sequels have built on what’s gone before, and this instalment is a testament to the way in which a simple formula can be enriched and expanded and keep drawing audiences back.
5 – The Mermaid (Mei ren yu) – $552,521,248
The third (and final) foreign language movie on the list, Stephen Chow’s fantasy drama is yet further proof that the US box office, once regarded as the main arbiter of a movie’s success, doesn’t occupy that role as comprehensively as it used to. In comparison with The Monkey King 2 and Monster Hunt, The Mermaid performed respectably in the US, earning $3,232,685, which makes its international haul all the more impressive. Perhaps there’ll come a time when foreign language movies will bypass the US box office altogether; after all, how much profit can they be making in such a suffocating market?
4 – The Jungle Book – $725,233,678
With brand-name recognition and an impressive promotional push by the House of Mouse, The Jungle Book was always going to be on this list somewhere, but for a movie that was only released over a few weeks ago it’s put an equally impressive number of bums on seats in a relatively short space of time. Will it break the billion dollar mark? Possibly, but the point here is that the movie is a triumph of expectation and promotion that has performed exceptionally well around the world, and without really bringing anything special to its audiences.
3 – Deadpool – $761,707,675
Deadpool has proved to be a runaway, unabashed success story at the box office, and all despite its raunchy, coarse, crude, hyper-violent excesses (or is it because of all those things?). It’s great to see such an unapologetically adult movie do so well, and find itself outperforming so many family friendly (and demographically targeted) movies. With this amount of money taken at the box office, there should be no excuse for the sequel to be anything other than as raunchy etc as its forebear.
2 – Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – $864,255,044
It had to be near the top, what with the high levels of fanboy expectation and the overwhelming promotional barrage we were subjected to from the moment the movie was announced. But with the movie itself proving less than stellar, this is the perfect example of a movie earning a shed load of money while not actually offering an experience that justifies people shelling out for it in the first place. Go figure!
1 – Zootopia – $933,713,976
If you said to yourself at the beginning of this post, I bet Zootopia is the number one movie, then give yourself a pat on the back (you sly old fox you). A complete surprise that it’s unlikely Disney themselves could have predicted, this reaffirms the notion that a genuinely good movie will win out if given the chance. That audiences have taken to Zootopia so completely and unreservedly is another positive that shouldn’t be ignored, and of all the movies released so far in 2016, its success should be celebrated for what it is: truly deserved.