Formerly the domain of the nerds of the world, science fiction movies have become all the rage of late. Hollywood, of course, is ever-ready to cash in on whatever niche they can. It’s a broad church, granted – there are a lot of movies that are fictitious with some element of science within them. Some perform fantastically at the box office, others not so much. We’re dealing with the former today.
Smelling the potential for profits within the genre, the producers of the flicks we’ve shortlisted have had some tremendous budgets to play with. Fortunately for them, thanks to strong plots, casting, special effects, and brand awareness, they managed to see massive returns on their original investments. In fact, this brand awareness has opened up the opportunity for huge financial spinoffs in terms of merchandise, interactive games and even online slot machine games as reviewed by NodepositKings.com.
These are without doubt some of the heaviest box office hitters around. They’re the top science fiction movies, by the numbers.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)
Director Gareth Edwards’ take on the Star Wars universe divides opinion amongst true fans. Being sandwiched between other titles, some felt it was over-kill having so much intergalactic action thrown their way in such a short period of time.
The positioning of the narrative also seemed off. I mean, we already know what happened to the Empire shortly after the events of Rogue One. It seemed odd to join the plot just weeks before. That said, having those two four letter words within the title is practically a golden ticket these days. Thanks to the immense popularity of the original franchise, it was hard to imagine Rogue One being a complete flop. Of course, it wasn’t. It ended up taking just over half a billion dollars at the box office.
Props must go out to the team behind Rogue One for their epic portrayal of Vader in what is essentially the movie’s finale. The brutal battle between the dark lord and a roomful of rebels at the end is savagely violent and without doubt, the finest sequence within the film – even if his outfit was a little tackier than fans are used to. There was also a clear effort to include a strong female character in Rogue One. Jyn is a straight badass, and another highlight of what will never go down as the finest in the franchise but at least netted the production company a healthy packet.
The Avengers (2012)
Alternatively-titled Avengers Assemble after the elite superhero squad’s famous catchphrase, The Avengers sees earth’s mightiest unite in the face of an alien threat. Joss Whedon takes directing duties, and the movie gives screen time to some of the brightest stars in Hollywood. Robert Downey Jr. takes the role of Iron Man, Chris Evans plays Captain America, and Scarlett Johansson is the dark seductive femme fatale Natasha Romanova, aka, the Black Widow. These are joined by Thor, Hawkeye, and possibly the finest portrayal of the Hulk going. Lost creator Damon Lindelof went as far as to Tweet that Mark Ruffalo provided the “Hulk we have been waiting for” following an advanced preview of the movie. Bruce Banner’s mean, green alter ego provides many of the funniest moments in The Avengers and is also integral to a good portion of the many gripping action sequences.
The movie did exceptionally well for the producers. Whilst it’s hard to imagine any Marvel film of such pedigree performing poorly, The Avengers took a whopping lifetime gross figure of $623,357,910, making it the best of the bunch. At the time, it set several North American records. These included the highest grossing film of 2012.
Jurassic World (2015)
The much-anticipated fourth instalment of the franchise which began in the 1990s really could have gone either way. It was never going to be too difficult to better the second or third movie, but the original? Good luck with that one…
Fortunately, for super-fans of all things prehistoric, Jurassic World does a reasonable job of continuing the tale of Dr John Hammond’s amusement park gone wrong. The raptors which were such a part in the original movie make a return, as does the original T-Rex (fun fact: the Tyrannosaurus is meant to be the same female from the first movie who runs amok in the visitor’s centre. She even has the scars from that very encounter). However, this time, she’s not the villain of the piece, and nor are the “six-foot turkeys” that I still imagine ambushing me every time I venture into the kitchen at night. That role is filled by the supercharged Indominus Rex – yet another faux pas by the team of scientists who once again insist on playing god.
In terms of figures, Jurassic World performed fantastically. It grossed just higher than The Avengers with lifetime takings of $652,270,625. It’s hardly surprising though. Many of the kids who grew up obsessed with dinosaurs through the 1990s will have dragged their own young families down to the cinema to relieve such an important part of their youth. Oh, and John Williams’ frankly amazing score from the original title features. Talk about goose bumps!
Before you even sit down to watch Avatar, you just know it’s going to be a cracker. The action is set on an alien planet called Pandora. It’s a magical place with living fauna and trees that glitter in the light. If the plant life didn’t capture your imagination, the weird blue creatures inhabiting the world certainly will.
There’s a strong ecological theme that runs through the movie. For a twenty-first century audience, it feels highly topical. The plot focuses around the destruction of ecosystems and humanity’s incessant impulse to destroy the places we live. The race of creatures living on Pandora are at one with the world they live in. Of course, it’s not long before a group of humans arrive with other plans for the lush, vibrant landscape. The movie was inspired by Pocahontas. Apparently, director James Cameron got the idea after watching the Disney classic. When you compare the two movie’s plots, it’s obvious really. The humans want to colonise the world. They have absolutely no respect for the ecosystem there. That is, until one of them falls in love with a native, female Na’vi creature. It takes such an interaction on an emotional level for him to realise the folly of the colonisation he’s involved with. The rest is formulaic.
Director James Cameron made the stellar choice of casting Sigourney Weaver in the movie. Of course, they were part of the team who created the legendary sci-fi franchise Alien. This, plus the dazzling special effects throughout, excellent topical plot, and enthralling action sequences made for one of the most memorable movies of the decade. Not only that but it delivered in terms of figures too. Avatar grossed $760,507,625, making it the second most successful science fiction title of all time.
Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens (2015)
We’re back in that galaxy far far away for our number one performing sci-fi movie. This time it’s 30 years after the defeat of Darth Vader and the rest of his Empirical cohort. However, another military dictatorship now keeps the people in servitude. The New Order is led by Kylo Ren, a Darth Vader fanatic, who also happens to be Han Solo and Princess Leia’s estranged son.
There’s another strong female lead in The Force Awakens. Here, it’s a young girl named Rey. She unites with Finn, a defector or the New Order. Together, and with the help of a cuter, modern version of C3PO called BB8, they’ve got to take the power back from their evil overlords. There’s a strong fascist theme that runs through this instalment. The emphatic speeches of General Hux, the red and black colour scheme adopted by the New Order, and their commitment to “remove disorder from existence” all combine to create a strongly dictatorial feel. In this way it emulates shifts in current global politics to either end of the spectrum.
The Force Awakens performed incredibly at the box office. Well, of course it did. It is a Star Wars film after all. The actual figures make it the highest grossing science fiction movie of all time. Raking in some $936,662,225, it will have certainly have delighted the production team as much as it did fans of the franchise.
One of the best cliff-hangers in the movie is the fact that we’re given no indication who Rey’s parents are. Speculation is rife, and of course, fans have come up with various theories. Perhaps we’ll find out in The Last Jedi or maybe George Lucas will string it out over a few more movies seeing as the franchise is as popular as ever.