A lot has happened since 2012 – the supposed end of the world as prophesied by the Mayan Calendar, one of the largest hurricanes on record to make landfall, and a cutthroat presidential election. 2012 was the beginning and end of film franchises that defined a generation of fans of superheroes, sexy vampires, video game movies, and the young adult boom.
These are some of the biggest films to hit the box office in a year packed with too many to narrow down. Whether these movies feel ancient, or like they just hit theaters yesterday, these are some of the biggest films to hit the box office in a year packed with too many to narrow down.
Twilight: Breaking Dawn Pt. 2nd
The fifth and final adaptation of Stephanie Meyers’ Twilight right, Breaking Dawn Part 2 hit theaters on November 12, 2012. It continued the trend of bloating the final book into two feature films, preceded by The Deathly Hallows Part 2 a year prior. The movie followed the second half of the story after Bella (Kristen Stewart) wakes up as a newborn vampire and kickstarts a battle for her daughter’s right to survive against the Volturi.
Though the Twilight film series reached its end, the era of sexy vampires (and supernatural creatures at large) continued on. Meyers has since released Midnight Sunwhich follows Twilight from Edward’s perspective, and it looks like the door has closed on any potential adaptation, especially with any cast members reprising their roles.
The Hunger Games
As the Twilight Saga debuted its last entry, the era of the YA Dystopia had begun. The adaptation of the first of Susan Collins’ trilogy about reluctant revolutionary Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) pitted against the victims of corrupt politician’s thirst for unethical entertainment and oppression of the masses hit theaters on March 23, 2012. Remarkably faithful to the book compared to its contemporaries and predecessors, The Hunger Games was a box office boon.
In the ten years since its release, The Hunger Games saw three more feature film adaptations of the series and its’ prequel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is in production for a triumphant return of the franchise to theaters. The movie kicked off the short-lived reign of the YA Dystopia genre, with divergent, The Maze Runner, The 5th Wave, The Giver, and The Host among others.
Disney’s Wreck it Ralph hit theaters October 29th, 2012, posing the notion that “just because you are a bad guy, does not mean you are a bad guy” The movie follows video game villain Ralph (John C. Reilly) on a mission to obtain a medal that only heroes and good guys are meant to win. He crashes into the racing game, “Sugar Rush,” and teams up with glitch Vanellope (Sarah Silverman) to best the odds and the scripts they must follow.
Since its debut, Wreck-it Ralph has seen one sequel, Ralph Breaks the Internet in 2018, following the trend of films heavily centered on the gimmick of social media and the world inside phones and computers and largely departed from the original’s poignant themes and messages about identity.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
The first of three adaptations of JRR Tolkien’s children’s book, An Unexpected Journey served as part of a prequel series to the critically acclaimed Lord of the Rings trilogy It hit theaters on December 6th, 2012. Arguably the best of the trilogy, An Unexpected Journey follows Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) and thirteen Dwarves on a quest to take back their home under the Lonely Mountain from the dragon Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch).
The Hobbit trilogy wrapped up in 2014 with Battle of the Five Armies and Tolkien’s works have since seen renewed revival with Amazon’s Ring of Power currently in production that would serve as a prequel’s prequel to the Lord of the Rings Trilogyset all the way back in the Second Age.
On May 4th, 2012, The Avengers showed how sweet payoff could feel, bringing together four years’ worth of solo films and teases that was only the beginning of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe. Since then, the MCU is deep into Phase 4 with many faces from the original Avengers team having passed the torch onto their successors. The movie follows the first tease of Thanos’ (Josh Brolin) war to come, as he sends Loki (Tom Hiddleston) to wreak havoc on New York City with an army of Chitauri soldiers.
The “Avengers” as fans knew it wrapped up with the end of the Infinity Saga with Endgame in 2019, one of the most highly anticipated films of all time. The team has come a long way since the battle of New York and the MCU shows no signs of slowing down.
The Dark Knight Rises
The sequel to one of the best Batman films four years earlier, The Dark Knight Rises hit theaters on July 20th, 2012, the finale to Christopher Nolan’s gritty Batman trilogy. Pitting Batman (Christian Bale) against Bane (Tom Hardy), the movie also sees Catwoman (Anne Hathaway) and an homage to Robin (Joseph Gordon-Levitt). It serves as a sendoff to Batman’s character, though he wouldn’t be gone for long.
since The Dark Knight Rises debuted, Batman has made his return in other incarnations in Batman vs. Superman and Justice League(Ben Affleck) and most recently in The Batman (Robert Pattinson), he’s seen changes to his costume, personality, and identity. Nolan’s trilogy spawned an era of the gritty and grungy DC films, The Batman only the latest.
The Amazing Spider-Man
The second incarnation of a live-action Spider-Man franchise hit theaters on July 3rd, 2012, starring Andrew Garfield as the titular webslinger. Up against Sam Raimi’s trilogy and not yet inducted into the MCU, The Amazing Spider-Man had big shoes to fill and to many fans, it didn’t quite stick the landing. It brought The Lizard (Rhys Ifans) and a fresh-faced to the big screen, both met with mixed reviews.
Followed by disappointing The Amazing Spider-Man 2The Garfield’s trilogy was never brought to fruition. soon after, Tom Holland became the face of Spider-Man in the MCU, leaving The Amazing Spider-Man as the awkward middle child until Spider-Man: No Way Home brought both Garfield and Toby Maguire back to the cinema for a celebration of the legacy of the character.
Disney’s Brave hit theaters June 22nd, 2012, one of the first Disney Princess films not based on a preexisting fairytale or fable. Brave follows Merida (Kelly Macdonald) who, after casting a wish to change her fate, accidentally transforms her mother into a bear, and must find a way to reverse the curse. Predating Moana and Elsa, Merida is the first Disney Princess to eschew a love interest.
Since its debut, Brave Has not seen any sequels or tv adaptations and Merida herself has appeared as a cameo in Ralph Breaks the Internet and little else. The film shows what a strong female character can be and that it hasn’t defined a larger legacy for itself is an opportunity missed.
The adaptation of the beloved musical set out to make a movie like none before. It debuted on December 25th, 2012, and would go on to win Academy Awards for Best Actress (Anne Hathaway), makeup and sound design. Les Miserables took on the challenge of live recording every musical number on set, resulting in performances that, though acted well, mostly pale in comparison to those from the traditional stage productions.
Les Miserables was a feat nonetheless that showed what live-recorded movie musicals could be with the stellar performances by Eddie Redmayne, Amanda Seyfriedand Samantha Barks playing Marius, Cosette, and Éponine, respectively. Director Tom Hooper went on to bring cat to the big screen in 2019, which was waived in part for the unca special effects in place of traditional stage costumes.
Of the 27 James Bond films, skyfall ranks 5th on Rotten Tomatoes and is the 3rd highest grossing Bond movie to date. Daniel Craig’s third outing as the character, skyfall sees the tried-and-true story of the compromised spy network and the exposure of undercover agents around the world. Javier Bardem as Silva pushes Bond to his limits as one the better Bond villains and Adele‘s “Skyfall” is as dramatic as the movie itself.
Since its debut on November 9th, Craig has reprized his role in Specter (2015) and No Time To Die (2021). The James Bond franchise spans seven decades with new villains and new Bonds to keep fans coming back for more. One of the most successful film franchises of all time, no matter the actor, Bond films are here to stay.
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