The Action Genre has given rise to many blockbuster movies. The Highest Grossing Action Movies from the year 200 to 2009 represent the life and times of Hollywood when CGI was only beginning to take a foot-hold. Here’s a list of the highest earning action movies that we all absolutely fell in love with back in the days.
2000 – Mission Impossible 2: $550 Million
The second Mission Impossible movie really brought in huge numbers for Paramount. Tom Cruise starred as the lead character Ethan Hunt for a second time. There was a lot more action and a lot more adventure. New characters entered the fray and the Mission Impossible Universe exploded into a whole new mythos. Mission Impossible 2 is considered by many as the last true action blockbuster of Hollywood. The stunts were real and there was minimal usage of CGI in the movie. The sequel out-did its predecessor by a huge margin both domestically and internationally. Moreover the movie was actually the highest grosser of the year, raking in north of 550 Million US Dollars.
2001 – Pearl Harbor: $450 Million
The term Bayhem was coined to address the style of Michael Bay movies. His movies generally tend to go for style over substance. There will be a lots of explosions and lots of bullets flying. But the plot is almost always paper-thin and there is little to no character depth. Critics gave the same lukewarm response to Pearl Harbor. It got a 24 per cent rating in Rotten Tomatoes. But that did not stop the viewers from coming in flocks to watch the Second World War movie. Pearl Harbor was the sixth highest grossing movie of that year. 2001 saw a lot of fantasy and heist movies make their mark. But that does not mean pearl Harbor was any lesser then them.
2002 – Spider-Man: $821 Million
Marvel sold the rights to Spider-Man, the X-Men, and the Fantastic Four to different rival studios. Sony roped in Sam Raimi to direct the first live-action movie featuring the friendly neighborhood wall-crawler under their banner. The X-Men movies proved that the superhero genre had potential. And with Spider-Man, they proved that they were right about it. Spider-Man grossed more than 820 Million US Dollars. Sony then went ahead with the plans for a Spider-Man trilogy series seeing just how successful the first movie was. A movie of the fantasy genre was the only one that made more money than Spider-Man that year.
2003 – The Matrix Reloaded: $738 Million
After The Matrix, the Wachowski Brothers came with The Matrix Reloaded. And boy did it launch things for the Matrix-Verse. The second movie was not as critically successful as the first. Many claimed that the Matrix was starting to turn into a commercial franchise model. It lacked the spirit and originality of the first movie. Fans could not care less. They still went in to watch the movie in theaters. The Matrix Reloaded later gave birth to The Matrix Revolutions. It proved that the critics were right. The third Matrix movie was not at all up to the mark.
2004: Spider-Man 2 – $794 Million
Spider-Man 2 is one of the rare examples where a sequel is better than the original. Many would agree when we say that the second Sam Raimi movie was better than the first even though it made less money than the first Spider-Man movie. It lost to its predecessor by an amount of 27 Million Dollars. The movie saw Spider-Man battle Doctor Octopus. Shrek 2 was the only movie that out-grossed Spider-Man 2 in the year of 2002.
2005: Mr & Mrs Smith: $486 Million
The year of 2005 saw a slump in action movies. The year remained dominated by the fantasy and science fiction genre. Many movies like Harry Potter, the Chronicles of Narnia, War of the Worlds, Star Wars, and the animated Madagascar movie dominated the Box Office that year. The only action movie memorable enough to make a dent was the Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie starrer Mr & Mrs Smith. The movie featured the two famous actors playing a couple who are secretly secret hit-men working for rival organizations.
2006: Casino Royale: $594 Million
When news came that a new James Bond movie is coming in 2006, everyone was skeptical. With the last James Bond movies featuring Pierce Brosnan, the world believed that the James Bond franchise is officially dead. Daniel Craig portrayed the new James Bond in Casino Royale. The movie brought James Bond back to its roots, featuring signature James Bond action and adventure tropes. Casino Royale grossed more than 590 Million Dollars because the movie stayed true to the James Bond mythos. The same cannot be said for the James Bond movies featuring Craig that came after it.
2007 – Spider-Man 3: $894 Million
For almost a decade, the Spider-Man trilogy pioneered the superhero genre as the X-Men movies kept falling short. Spider-Man was a blast. Spider-Man 2 was epic. But Spider-Man 3 was where Sam Raimi really screwed up. The studio kept meddling and made additions to a concrete and air-tight plot. There were too many characters the movie could not properly juggle. The movie did not look right. It looked muddy (No there was no dirt in our eyes). The movie was panned but it was still a massive Box office success. In fact it was the highest grossing Sam Raimi Spider-Man movie. It did that just by piggy-backing on the success of the last two films. Harry Potter and Pirates of the Caribbean were the ones that occupied the top spot.
2008 – The Dark Knight: $1.01 Billion
Christopher Nolan’s vision for the Batman bore fruit with Batman Begins. Christian Bale returned to play the Caped Crusader again in The Dark Knight. The movie featured Heath Ledger as the Joker (God Rest His Soul). Gotham was turned into a battle field. Anarchy ruled the streets. The Joker was the maestro that created Batman’s darkest symphony in The Dark Knight. The movie proved that the superhero genre is more than capable of entering the coveted Billion Dollar Club.
2009 – Revenge of the Fallen: $836 Million
Michael Bay came up with the sequel to The Transformers. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen had the same high octane action and robotic adventures. Revenge of the Fallen remains some of the most critically panned Transformers movie. It still managed to earn 100 Million Dollars more than the original Michael Bay Classic. The next two transformers movies that came after Revenge of the Fallen made well over the 1 Billion Dollar mark. Despite earning less than them, it remained the highest grossing action movie of that year. The top spot for 2009 went to James Cameron’s Avatar.