“Baby Driver” Marked Edgar Wright’s Biggest U.S. Hit
Patty Jenkins’ Trailblazing “Wonder Woman”
“Girls Trip” Earned Over $100 Million Domestically
Greta Gerwig’s “Lady Bird” Is an Indie Blockbuster
“It” Set the Box Office Bar for Horror Films
Jordan Peele Made History With “Get Out”
Steven Soderbergh Returned to the Big Screen
Dee Rees Had the Largest Sundance Deal
Christopher Nolan Continues to Push Narrative Boundaries
The Academy Invited a Record Number of Minority Members
Paramount Released A Movie Like “mother!”
Women Are Finally Being Heard
“Logan” Proved R-Rated Superhero Movies Are Here to Stay
Studio Ghibli Reopened For Production
“Moonlight” Won Best Picture
Marvel Let Taika Waititi Make a Taika Waititi Movie
Paul Thomas Anderson and Daniel Day-Lewis Reunited
Guillermo del Toro Won Mexico Its First Golden Lion
“The Big Sick” Was a Big Crossover Success
Sofia Coppola Entered the History Books at Cannes
The box office may be drastically down, but there are still a ton of reasons movie lovers should be thankful for 2017. After all, any year where Patty Jenkins, Jordan Peele, Barry Jenkins, Greta Gerwig, and Edgar Wright are setting records is a damn great one in our books.
Click through the gallery for 20 reasons every movie lover should be thankful for 2017.
Edgar Wright has always been a critical favorite, but his films haven’t always set the domestic box office on fire. “Baby Driver” was both a critical and commercial breakthrough for the cult favorite director. The action-crime movie ended its run with $107 million, becoming Wright’s biggest earner in the U.S. and proving originality is far from dead in Hollywood.
The term “instant classic” gets thrown around a bunch, but these words certainly do “Wonder Woman” justice. The film took the pop culture zeitgeist by storm over the summer, grossing $821.8 million worldwide. Any Hollywood executive who ever doubted a female director was capable of delivering an exhilarating tentpole was silenced. “Wonder Women” set the records for biggest domestic opening for a film directed by a woman, highest-grossing live-action film directed by a woman, and highest-grossing superhero origin film.
It’s been a tough year at the box office for studio comedies, and the only major bright spot was Malcolm D. Lee’s “Girls Trip,” which has the distinction of being the only 2017 comedy to gross over $100 million at the box office. The comedy also turned the brilliant Tiffany Haddish into an overnight comedic superstar, and we should all be thankful for that.
Not only does Greta Gerwig’s solo directorial debut have a rare 100% on Rotten Tomatoes through 150 reviews, but it’s also tearing up the box office. In its first weekend, “Lady Bird” became the year’s biggest indie opener and earned Gerwig the biggest speciality debut in film history for a female-directed title. A week later, the coming-of-age comedy broke into the top 10 with $1.7 million in just 37 theaters. “Lady Bird” is on its way to becoming a crossover hit and has guaranteed Gerwig a big future behind the camera.
“It” was always going to be huge (the first trailer holds the record for most watched preview in its first 24 hours), but no one could’ve predicted what a cultural phenomenon it turned out to be. Andy Muschietti’s first installment in the two-part “It” franchise earned strong reviews and massive box office, becoming the highest-grossing horror movie ever released (adjusted for inflation) with $685 million worldwide.
“Get Out” was only made for $4.5 million but rode stellar reviews and insanely positive word of mouth to a final $175 million final domestic gross, breaking records in the process. When the movie jumped the $100 million mark, Jordan Peele became the first African-American writer-director to have a debut film enter six-figure territory. The director notched another record when “Get Out” passed $140 million, becoming the highest grossing debut film from a writer-director based on an original screenplay.
Retirement didn’t last long for Steven Soderbergh. Four years after announcing “Side Effects” would be his final theatrical project, the director returned to the big screen with “Logan Lucky” over the summer and reminded critics and audiences why the movies need him. “Logan Lucky” didn’t set the box office on fire, but it has reignited Soderbergh’s love for moviemaking. The director will be back next year with the secret iPhone-shot horror film “Unsane.”
Not only did Dee Rees’ “Mudbound” earn some of the strongest acclaim at Sundance at the beginning of 2017, but it also become the biggest seller in Park City when Netflix picked up worldwide distribution rights for a whopping $12.5 million. That dollar amount makes “Mudbound” one of the biggest Sundance purchases in history. Pretty incredible for a director whose previous theatrical effort, “Pariah,” made just under $1 million at the box office.
It’s not surprising “Dunkirk” ended up being a box office hit considering Christopher Nolan is one of the most beloved and respected studio filmmakers working today. But the final product turned out to be one of the more ambitious studio releases in decades. Eschewing a traditional narrative in favor of three semi-interlocking stories all taking place at different times, Nolan crafted a montage-driven war epic that felt more at home with experimental cinema than generic blockbuster filmmaking.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Scientists made a huge push for inclusion by inviting a record 774 new members this year, including Barry Jenkins, Gal Gadot, Rinko Kikuchi, and more. 39% percent of the invited members were women, while people of color represented 30% of the new class. Seven individual branches even invited more women than men. These numbers are hardly the solution, but they’re a step in the right direction.
Hate it or love it (and, let’s face it, a majority of people truly despise it), “mother!” is the kind of batshit crazy risk only Darren Aronofsky would even dare to dream of making into a movie. Paramount Pictures gets a standing ovation for the willingness to produce and distribute such a radical, challenging, and fiercely polarizing vision.
The sexual harassment and abuse allegations plaguing Hollywood have been hard to read over the past couple months, but if there are silver linings to the news cycle it’s that Hollywood is finally paying attention to the stories of women and that women finally feel a safe space is being created where they can come forward and speak openly without the fear of industry and career-ending consequences.
“Deadpool” turned heads in Hollywood when it became the highest-grossing R-rated release of all time. Anyone who thought the masses wouldn’t turn up for a superhero movie with a NSFW edge was proven wrong, and “Logan” showed that “Deadpool” was no one-hit-wonder earlier this year. The Wolverine movie earned some of the best reviews ever for an “X-Men” film and conquered the box office, proving a diversification in tone is what audiences are craving for most from superhero films these days.
The animation studio officially reopened its production department in August to begin work on Hayao Miyazaki’s first feature since 2013. The company stopped production on all films and shorts in August 2013, just after Miyazaki confirmed his retirement. Fortunately, both the filmmaker and studio are back and currently at work on a top secret new movie.
“Moonlight” winning Best Picture was a monumental achievement, and no gaffe in which “La La Land” was originally named the winner can ruin the importance of such a moment. Never before had a movie directed by an African-American filmmaker and starring an entirely black cast won the Best Picture Oscar. Made for just $1.5 million, “Moonlight” also became the cheapest Best Picture winner in history. The victory was a major breakthrough for both inclusion and indie film.
One of the biggest questions ahead of “Thor: Ragnarok” debuting in theaters was whether or not Marvel would actually let Taika Waititi make a Taika Waititi movie. After all, the New Zealand director’s trademark quirk and vibrant directing style is worlds away from anything the studio has done before on the big screen. While “Ragnarok” suffers from the mandated universe-building that bogs down most tentpoles these days, it succeeds largely because it wears Waititi’s infectious and lovable energy on its sleeve. This is a blockbuster that is loudly and proudly a Waititi movie, and it’s one that made $122.7 million on opening weekend.
Any year where cinephiles get to see a new Paul Thomas Anderson or Daniel Day-Lewis movie is a special one, which makes 2017 a once-in-a-blue-moon year since the two have decided to reunite for the first time since “There Will Be Blood” ten years ago. “Phantom Thread” stars Day-Lewis as a renowned dressmaker whose life gets upended when he obsessively falls for a younger woman.
The Venice Film Festival is the oldest festival in the world, and yet Mexico never took home top honors in 73 years. Guillermo del Toro bucked the trend when he was awarded the Golden Lion for “The Shape of Water” at the 74th Venice Film Festival earlier this year. Now the filmmaker is a major contender for the Oscar.
Just when you thought the romantic-comedy genre was on its very last legs, Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon delivered “The Big Sick.” The Sundance darling became a major box office hit over the summer by turning the screenwriters’ real-life love story into one of the most authentic and deeply-felt rom-coms in recent memory.
When Cannes Jury President Pedro Almodovar announced the Best Director prize was going to “The Beguiled” helmer Sofia Coppola, she became only the second female director in the festival’s 70-year history to claim the prize. The last woman to win Best Director was Soviet filmmaker Yuliya Solntseva in 1961 for “The Chronicle of Flaming Years.”