Movies, being the big business that they are, are often all about the money. If you follow the movie news, you hear all the time about which movie won the weekend box office, or which big budget bonanza earned enough to score a sequel, or how fast Captain Marvel made more than The Dark Knight.
So I decided to take the biggest money making movies…and pit them against each other in a tournament to the death!
I looked up the box office winners (US domestic gross, because that’s what I found most easily) for each of the last 32 years, divided them into two conferences (odd numbered years and even numbered years) and then seeded them according to their Rotten Tomatoes scores (when there were ties, I went to Metacritic to break them), and will now pit them against each other, tournament style!
The winners of each contest will be decided by a best of three votes from a distinguished panel of judges. I’ve actually found a total of six judges, because none of us have actually seen all 32 of the movies. But only three of us will vote each time. The film that wins will advance to the next round, with the losers will be eliminated, until we arrive at a single, undisputed champion!
Here are the movies, by Conference, and in seeded position:
Odd-Numbered Years Conference
1. Toy Story (1995)
2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (2011)
3. Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (2003)
4. Terminator 2 (1991)
5. Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (2015)
6. Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (2017)
7. Jurassic Park (1993)
8. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)
9. Titanic (1997)
10. Avatar (2009)
11. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005)
12. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (aka Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone) (2001)
13. Three Men and a Baby (1987)
14. Batman (1989)
15. Spider-Man 3 (2007)
16. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999)
Even-Numbered Years Conference
1. Toy-Story 3 (2010)
2. Black Panther (2018)
3. Aladdin (1992)
4. The Dark Knight (2008)
5. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
6. The Avengers (2012)
7. Spider-Man (2002)
8. Shrek 2 (2004)
9. Rain Man (1988)
10. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)
11. Forrest Gump (1994)
12. American Sniper (2014)
13. Home Alone (1990)
14. Independence Day (1996)
15. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006)
16. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
Remember, each of these movies was the US domestic box-office champ of its year. The rankings come from their Rotten Tomatoes scores, and in case of a tie, their Metacritic scores.
Now, I already know from looking at this that I’d probably choose The Dark Knight as my favorite movie on the list, but my preference might not be enough to give that film the top spot, even though I am one of the judges. There are five others, and only three of us will vote in each contest.
Let’s meet our judges:
Ben is an American who has lived in Australia for the last two decades or more, working in Christian missions. He is firmly ensconced within Generation X, and is married with three kids. He has a special love for filmmaking and storytelling. His favorite movie is Singin’ in the Rain, and his favorite Japanese time-travel slapstick comedy is Summer Time Machine Blues.
Box-Office Blockbuster that he’s hoping will win: The Dark Knight, as I said above (because this is me)
Bruce is born and raised in the U.S, and is four years deep in the journey with Jesus and his family in missions. He and his wife have three children and recently moved back to Hawaii to help other families take those first steps into missions as well. The day his Dad bought their first VHS machine was when he fell in love with the art of film. If he could pick just one to watch with his Dad again it would be The Wild Bunch by Sam Peckinpah. But the greatest stories are the ones where he finds God moving in peoples lives.
Box-Office Blockbuster that he’s hoping will win: He can’t decide, but he’s narrowed it down to Terminator 2, Toy Story, Aladdin, Saving Private Ryan, The Dark Knight, Avatar, or American Sniper.
Josh L is a true blue Aussie with a love for making and watching films. He has a background in stage acting, loves a great performance and has a best for sci-fi. He has a wife and a 10 month old son and used to be a primary school teacher. His favorite movies include The Matrix, although the Indian film 3 Idiots is on the same level.
Box-Office Blockbuster that he’s hoping will win: Forrest Gump
Josh M is a lifelong resident of the Northeastern United States, currently settled in Vermont. In the midst of ministerial studies, he spends much of his free time writing — especially about comic books and Catholic social teaching. He has a hard time narrowing down his favorite movie, but admits to a fondness for screwball comedies.
Box-Office Blockbuster that he’s hoping will win: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Peter is a Tasmanian in his early twenties who has grown up with a passion for film. He is currently studying Media at University, which has given him a platform to expand his storytelling skills. He enjoys seeking out interesting foreign films to watch, his favourite of which being 8 1/2 by Federico Fellini.
Box-Office Blockbuster that he’s hoping will win: Spider-Man 3, not because the film has any merit (he says it doesn’t), but because he feels like it needs a win after being trashed for a decade. He hopes it wins so he can stop feeling bad about it.
Rod, or as known on Ben’s blog “My Friend Rod,” was an American a long time ago, and now not so sure what he is. He is not really a movie buff, but has experienced enough American and international films so as to have an informed opinion. A random list of some movies he loves: Barry Gordy’s Last Dragon, Control (Ian Curtis Bio), Transformers the Movie (the 80s one), Mad Max Fury Road, Dead Poets Society, and The Natural.
Box-Office Blockbuster that he’s hoping will win: After some consideration, The Dark Knight. With Toy Story, Terminator 2 and possibly Jurassic Park coming in second, third and fourth, in that order.
So that’s the summary of what we’re doing, the list of films involved, and the judges who will be making the decisions. First up will be the Odd-Numbered Conference, Round One–coming soon!