Ghosts of Box Office Past: Suspense, Thrills, Oscar Nods And The Rock Is A Daddy

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One-hundred-plus years of filmmaking provides a long, rich, and deep history to look back on. Retro reviews and analysis of old films are practically necessary full-time specialties. Month after month, films release, vying to make as much money and attention as possible. Some rise, some fall, but regardless of financial success, it’s never a sign of a lasting effect. A great example is the little-mentioned 2012 film released just eight years ago. 2012 made nearly 800 million dollars and effectively vanished off the face of the earth.

So, where does that leave past box office champs? Let’s take a look back ten, twenty, and thirty years ago at the biggest movies released in September.

Fatal Attraction

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Thirty years ago the movie landscape was radically different. Adults were the primary group to hit the cineplex and the movies reflected that. Fatal Attraction is a perfect example. The thriller featured Michael Douglas as Dan Gallagher, a married Manhattan lawyer who has a weekend fling with Alex Forrest played by Glenn Close. Though the two agree it’s just a fling, Alex cannot let it end and continues to pursue Dan.

As our own Larry Taylor puts it, Fatal Attraction gave birth to the “Yuppie Thriller.” Fatal Attraction was a rare mix of commercial and critical success, even receiving Oscar nominations among other awards and accolades.

LA Confidential

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It’s 1953, and the L.A. police force is brutal and corrupt. Along comes Sergeant Edmund “Ed” Exley who is seeking to live up to the legacy of his law enforcement father and plays by the rules. The other cops don’t like the new guy. Ed doesn’t help himself by taking a case regarding corrupt police officers. However, Ed doesn’t care; he wants to be a great cop. LA Confidential features a richly layered story with an old school feel and a lot of twists and turns that keep the momentum going.

Looking back on LA Confidential, the cast alone is something out of this world. Kevin Spacey, Guy Pearce, Russel Crowe, Danny DeVito, Kim Basinger and James Cromwell. A lot of acting power met with a tightly-written film directed with noir deft by Curtis Hanson. LA Confidential is a film that isn’t talked about often but exists in a very timeless state that works just as well today as then.

The Game Plan

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Umm, yeah, The Rock is a star quarterback who finds out he has a daughter. The Rock is always charming, and the film was a commercial success in regards to the return on investment. Otherwise, it’s hard to even remember this movie at all. It likely plays on some random channel here and there on a Saturday afternoon when no one is watching.

In September 2017 we predict …

Normally we post this monthly piece during the first few days of the month. Unfortunately, delays and a massive hurricane pushed it back to today. So, our prediction is less that and more of pointing out the obvious. The new version of Stephen King’s IT made more than 100 million dollars in its opening weekend. The only thing that could even remotely contest It at this point is, well, nothing. Kingsman: The Golden Circle will make great money and Mother! Seems on pace to be an influential film. However, IT had the nostalgia backing, absolutely perfect trailers, and a box office opening that doesn’t usually happen this time of year.

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Ruben Diaz
Writer, film-fanatic, geek, gamer, info junkie & consummate Devil's advocate who has been fascinated by Earth since 1976. Classically trained in the ways of the future.