With home cinema systems becoming cheaper, and with the advent of BluRay and 4K, watching films at home has come to replace a night at the movies. For the following five flicks, the term blockbuster is an understatement; between them, they shifted close to 9 million Blu-ray discs in 2013. Let’s recall just why that was.
At number 5 is…
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2
which sold 1,253,554 BluRays and made $829,685,377 at the Box Office.
Vampyric romance fantasy and the conclusion of 2011’s Part 1, Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2 sees the star crossed lovers from the previous movies having to gather other vampire clans to fight for them and protect their half-breed newborn.
Over 5000 actors auditioned for the lead role of Edward Cullen, losing out ultimately to 21 year old Robert Pattinson. Though Pattinson has since implied in interviews that he’s far from a Twihard (the official term for Twilight fans), and has even mocked Twilight Author Stephenie Meyer; speculating that she might be in love with her characters.
Meyer can’t be attributed every plot point in the film though, the epic battle between the Cullen family and the Volturi in the climax of the movie wasn’t even in any of the books, and was added to the script for dramatic effect. Can you imagine the film without it?
Interestingly the censors required that the wolves on screen have no genitalia at all, although the character of head werewolf Jacob Black, allowed actor Taylor Lautner to land himself the Best Shirtless Performance MTV Movie Award. These are just some of the factors that made this film the highest grossing of the whole franchise, and sell enough units to become fifth best movie enjoyed at home in 2013.
At number 4 is…
which sold 1,258,540 BluRays and made $425,368,238 at the Box Office.
Another masterpiece from Quentin Tarantino, this pre-Civil War Spaghetti Western (or ‘Southern’ according to the prolific director) blew away audiences last year, at home and at the movie theatres, with its horribly funny, yet poignant and compelling underdog story of violent retribution.
Can you believe Tarantino had had another actor in mind for the role of Django, as he wrote the script? We very nearly might have witnessed an entirely different spectacle if the originally intended Will Smith had been strutting his stuff on the screen, kitted out in Foxx’s unmistakable Gainsborough Blue Boy outfit.
Massive inevitable controversy obviously arose as a result of the subject matter, and hard not to understand why considering the N word is used over a hundred times, not to mention the scene in the movie known as the ‘Mandingo fight’- you should watch out in that bit for villain Calvin Candie using Red Apple Tobacco; Red Apple Cigarettes are one of Tarantino’s director trademarks and can be spotted in his other films.
One can only imagine how much levity the crew had to allow themselves between takes on a project so heavy. While filming in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Tarantino reportedly rented out a local theatre to screen Samurai and Western films from his personal collection. Someone else who brought his own stuff was Jamie Foxx; who brought his own horse, Cheetah, to play Django’s horse. Apparently Cheetah was quite the diva, refusing to drink anything but spring water flown in from Sri Lanka. Apparently you can lead a horse to tap water but you can’t make it drink.
At number 3 is…
which sold 1,734,413 BluRays and made $471,222,889 at the Box Office.
The 52nd animated Disney feature, and nostalgic family comedy, finally dropped in 2013 after brewing in the studios since the 1980’s when it originally started development under the moniker ‘High Score’. The tale entertained kids and parents equally with loveable titular character and anti-hero Wreck-it Ralph, voiced by comic star John C. Reilly.
There were innumerable references to aspects of real life culture from the past several decades littered throughout the film, not limited to myriad Street Fighter characters appearing, graffiti paying homage to games Final Fantasy VII and Zero Wing, Skrillex DJing a party, Bowser from the Super Mario world, Sonic The Hedgehog, even Pacman!
In fact the movie ended up containing over 180 characters from across the Disney and Nintendo universe, voiced in most part by their original actors. All except Mario and Luigi, who I’m imagining were out of even Disney’s galactic price-range. Keep a close eye out for Mickey Mouse though, who makes a sneaky appearance more than once…
At number 2 is…
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
which sold 2,255,991 BluRays and made $1,017,003,568 at the Box Office.
Epic adventure and first instalment of what will be a three part film adaptation, The Hobbit rocked audiences around the planet, and was especially important to home cinema in being the first 48 frames per second feature film.
In addition to achieving second place on this list, it was also the number one most pirated movie of the year. Even with all that business lost, Peter Jackson still became the third director ever to have made 2 films that grossed over a billion dollars worldwide, after Christopher Nolan and James Cameron.
Despite several hiccups and obstacles during production, The Hobbit franchise so far has made more money than the entire Lord of The Rings trilogy; actor Ian McKellen got so frustrated with having to so often address greenscreens during filming, that he burst into tears on set, and had to be cheered up with gifts by the crew. Another thing that will have been no advantage to Jackson and his team is when all of the gold paint in New Zealand was depleted preparing The Dragon Smaug’s lair.
All of these films however, seem to pale in comparison to the number one home movie film of 2013, the highest grossing film in the UK, the highest grossing film in its series, the 8th highest grossing film of all time…
At number 1 is…
which sold 2,299,722 BluRays and made $1,108,561,013 at the Box Office.
Grossing $100million it its first week, and winning all kinds of Oscars, BAFTAs, and Golden Globes, the 23rd Bond Film, Skyfall, was released on the 50th anniversary of the 1st Bond Film, Dr. No.
The producers toyed with various name options, including ‘A Killing Moon’, ‘Silver Bullet’, and ‘Once Upon a Spy’, and almost didn’t make the movie at all until Heineken provided $45million. No wonder Daniel Craig gets drunk more than any previous Bond. Clearly that level of capital was necessitated though; in weapons training alone the cast went through 200,000 round of ammo.
- The second Bond film to have 007 appear with a beard at some point.
- The second Bond film where Bond openly cries.
- The first Bond film in which the villain completes his main objective (no spoilers).
- The first Bond film in 50 years to have our hero sustain a gunshot wound.
- The first Bond film where the traditional Bond car, The Aston Martin DB5, explodes.
One can only imagine what treats 2014 will deliver to our home cinema screens. With any luck, half of these monolithic movies will get sequels…
Written by Peter Hall