The 2021 Box Office stats have been recorded, but are the movies represented actually deserving of top Box Office honors? The top-grossing movie of the year right now is Marvel Studio’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, followed by Venom: Let There Be Carnage, and Black Widow.
According to boxofficemojo.com, Shang-Chi’s total gross stands at $224,000, with Venom following at $211,000, and Black Widow at $183,000.
Now, it would be unfair to say that these movies are examples of “bad filmmaking”, considering their astronomically high expenses pay for high-quality production, acting, and story-making–they are genuinely entertaining, and are intended to attract a lot of attention. But, other films from this year seem to better fit the top-honor title.
A few mainstream, highly-anticipated films might change this list with their December releases, including The Matrix Resurrections and Spider-Man: No Way Home.
My personal top three movies from this year are Dune, Spencer, and The French Dispatch. Surprisingly, these movies are significantly further down on the list, ranking at 13th, 67th, and 49th place respectively. However, the iconic scores and soundtracks, cinematography, artistic expression, and deeper meanings of these three films warrant a much higher rating.
Both Dune and Spencer received an 83% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and The French Dispatch was given a 75% rating.
Dune, starring Timothee Chalamet, Oscar Isaac, Rebecca Ferguson, Zendaya, and more, was directed by French-Canadian filmmaker Denis Villeneuve, and is nominated for multiple People’s Choice and Satellite awards. The score was composed by Hans Zimmer, and is nominated for Best Score for Visual Media at the 2022 Grammys. Similarly, Spencer, a psychological thriller starring Kristen Stewart and directed by Pablo Larrain, is nominated for Best Motion Picture and Best Director recognitions, according to awardswatch.com. The French Dispatch, directed by 7-time Oscar winner Wes Anderson, has a star-studded cast, and is expected to do particularly well in potential nomination categories as well.
When I watched these films, I was physically and emotionally impacted, whether it was from Dune’s stirring soundtrack, Spencer’s chilling story that fictionally recounted the events leading up to Princess Diana’s decision to leave the Royal Family, or the unique and lovable style of Anderson’s directing. Additionally, judging by the ratings and nomination predictions, it is clear that these films are recognized and appreciated for their artistic expression, deeper themes, and overall quality.
The Box Office’s top 3 movies were shown in over 4,200 theaters across the US and Canada, while my choices were shown between 175 and 3,075 fewer theaters. This could explain why the Box Office records are so much higher, and why the amount of attention a film attracts is so important to its overall success.
So, the next time there is another multi-million dollar budget action movie with the same repetitive storyline, consider saving your time and money on a movie theater ticket, and spending it on other, more memorable films that will be more worthwhile.