Here’s another list for you to digest as we approach the end of the decade. Jason Kottke recently took a look at the list of highest-grossing films from 2000-2009 courtesy of Wikipedia, and makes the observation that only one movie in the top 20 is based on an original screenplay. The rest of the movies are all adaptations of books or sequels to existing franchises.
Now, it’s pretty easy to jump on this list and whine and moan about how it means there is nothing original in Hollywood anymore. While I agree that there is a problem with studios valuing brand over concept, don’t forget, we are talking about the movies that made the most money here. OF COURSE familiar characters and titles are going to attract more viewers than strange and unfamiliar ones… doesn’t that make sense? A lot of people don’t even see movies at the theatre, so they don’t discover something until it hits TV or DVD. The first installment is the one that introduces the concept, attracts a following and then builds the franchise. Even the first movie from an existing property needs to build an audience — notice that Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and Spider-Man are the only movies on this list that are the first in their series?
Anyway, I’m not saying it’s good, but it’s certainly not surprising. Unfortunately it’s this trend that has also resulted in the whole toy and board game movie debacle. Maybe we need a few brand-based movies to fail so that people realize that good stories are also important. Check out the top 20 grossing movies of the decade after the jump. What do you think, is it depressing or deserving?
1. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
2. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
3. The Dark Knight
4. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
5. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End
6. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
7. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
8. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
9. Shrek 2
10. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
11. Spider-Man 3
12. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
13. Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs
14. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
15. Finding Nemo
16. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
17. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
19. Shrek the Third
20. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban