2015 is almost over and it has been a terrific film year - not only have we been treated to some great movies, but many of them have also enjoyed huge box office success. 2015 has been a bumper year for the billion-dollar film with four reaching that great milestone and joining and exclusive club.
So which box office hits have you been enjoying? We take a look at some of the films that have been bringing in the bucks in the last twelve months.
- Jurassic World - $1,668,912,312
Jurassic World was one of the most talked about and anticipated films of 2015 as it marked the return of the popular dinosaur franchise. This was the first film since Jurassic Park III back in 2001 - yes, we really have had to wait fourteen years - and saw Colin Trevorrow step into this franchise for the first time.
Jurassic World was only the second feature film of Trevorrow's directing career and came three years after he made his debut with Safety Not Guaranteed. As well as being in the director's chair, Trevorrow also teamed up with Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, and Derek Connolly to pen the film's screenplay.
The movie took audiences back to Isla Nublar and is set twenty years after the events of Jurassic Park. John Hammond's dream of a dinosaur theme park has been realised and has been turned into a star attraction. However, with attendance numbers falling, a hybrid dinosaur is designed to boost the numbers - however, things don't go to plan when the dinosaur escapes and is running wild on the island.
Jurassic World was another big blockbuster film for Chris Pratt, who took on the role of Owen Grady, just a year after he had huge success with Guardians of the Galaxy. Bryce Dallas Howard, Vincent D'Onofrio, Ty Simpkins, Omar Sy, B.D. Wong, and Irrfan Khan were just some of the other names that were on board.
From the moment Jurassic World hit the big screen it was a monster smash and blasted through the billion-dollar barrier in just twelve days - breaking the record set by Fast & Furious 7 earlier in the year. Jurassic World is currently the highest grossing film of 2015 and the third highest grossing film of all time - behind Avatar and Titanic.
- Fast & Furious 7 - $1,514,827,481
It is rare for a franchise to get more and more successful as it goes along… but that is exactly what has happened with the Fast & Furious series. Fast & Furious 6 was the most successful film in the franchise so far but the seventh film looked set to be even bigger.
However, it was a film release that was tinged with sadness, as it was to be the final time that we would see Paul Walker on the big screen - the actor died while filming was under way - as he reprised the role of Bryan O'Conner. The movie saw Walker reunite with Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Jordana Brewster, and Chris Bridges. There were some big new additions to the cast list as Jason Statham, Kurt Russell, Natalie Emmanuel, Tony Jaa, and Djimon Hounsou were also on board.
There was also a new face in the director's chair as James Wan took over the helm of the franchise for the first time. Wan is no stranger to the director's chair with the likes of The Conjuring, Insidious, and Saw under his belt. However, this was his first big budget blockbuster and the biggest film of his career to date.
Fast & Furious 7 was both a critical and commercial hit upon release as fans flocked to cinemas to watch Walker for one last time. After his death, the filming was delayed to rewrite the script and Walker's brothers Caleb and Cody were used to help film the final scenes featuring the actor. The film paid a moving tribute to the actor in the film's final scene as story of Bryan O'Connor was brought to a close.
This was the highest grossing film in the Fast & Furious franchise and it was the first film in the series to gross over $1 billion at the global box office. The movie reached the $1 billion mark in just seventeen days - breaking the previous record of nineteen days, which was held by Avatar, Avengers Assemble and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. However, this record was to be broken by Jurassic World a few weeks later.
Fast & Furious 7 is the second highest grossing movie of the year and is the fifth highest grossing film of all time. The franchise looks set to continue as an eighth film is already in the pipeline.
- Avengers: Age of Ultron - $1,405,035,767
Avengers: Age of Ultron was the first of two Marvel films to hit the big screen this year and was one of the summer blockbusters that I was looking forward to the most. Avengers: Age of Ultron may not quite have lived up to my lofty expectations but it was another box office smash for Marvel.
Age of Ultron was the second Avengers film and came three years after the success of Avengers: Assemble - which remains the highest grossing Marvel film. The film saw Joss Whedon back on writing and directing duties while Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, and Jeremy Renner were back as Iron Man, Captain America, Black Widow, Thor, Hulk, and Hawkeye. Elizabeth Olsen, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Paul Bettany, and James Spader were the big new additions to the cast list.
The movie is set after the demise of S.H.I.E.L.D. in Captain America: Civil War and sees the Avengers working out of Stark tower. The earth is put in peril when Tony Stark and Bruce Banner try to jump-start a peacekeeping program known as Ultron… when Ultron turns on the Avengers they must come together to protect the planet.
Avengers: Age of Ultron was the first Marvel film to gross over $1 billion since Iron Man back in 2013 and was the third Marvel film to reach this milestone at the box office. While it did gross over $1.4 billion at the box office, it failed to match the $1.519 billion grossed by Avengers Assemble.
Avengers: Age of Ultron is the third highest grossing film of the year and sixth highest grossing movie of all time.
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens - $1.161 billion
To say that Star Wars: The Force Awakens has been the most anticipated film of 2015 would be a bit of an understatement… it really has been one of the most anticipated and talked about movies in recent years. I am thrilled to say that the very long wait was worth it and J.J. Abrams delivered everything that we were expecting and so much more.
It has been ten years since a Star Wars film last hit the big screen and The Force Awakens really has got this much-loved franchise back on track as Abrams took over at the helm for the very first time. Not only has the film been winning over critics and audiences, but it has been a massive smash at the box office - as we all knew that it would.
The Force Awakens has become the fifth film to gross over $1 billion in 2015 and it has done it in a record twelve days; beating the record of thirteen days set by Jurassic World earlier this year. The movie is currently the fourth highest grossing film of the year but I don't think it is going to stay there for very long. Whether the movie will overtake Jurassic World as the highest grossing film of the year remains to be seen.
The new film sees many familiar faces return to the franchise as Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, and Carrie Fisher reprise their iconic roles as Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, and Leia. However, the film has made stars out its new leads actors Daisy Ridley and John Boyega - who take on the roles of Rey and Finn in the film. They are joined on the cast list by Adam Driver, Andy Serkis, Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson, and Gwendoline Christie.
The script for Episode VIII is already written and we will see Rian Johnson - who brought us Looper - take over the director's chair from Abrams. Sadly, we will not see this film hit the big screen until 2017.
- Minions - $1,157,094,892
2015 has been a great year if you are an animation film fan as there has been plenty to enjoy. This summer saw the popular Minions to star in their first solo film and the first time that we have seen them on the big screen since Despicable Me 2 back in 2013. It has gone on to be the most successful animation film of the year.
Pierre Coffin, who has already brought us Despicable Me and Despicable Me 2, returned to the director's chair as he teamed up with Kyle Balda for the first time. Minions is the second feature film of Balda's career and comes three years since he made his debut with The Lorax.
Set before the minions meet Gru in Despicable Me, the film follows Stuart, Kevin and Scarlet Overkill, a super-villain who, alongside her inventor husband Herb, hatches a plot to take over the world, recruits Bob. Sandra Bullock brought the character of Scarlet Overkill to life, while Jon Hamm, Michael Keaton, Allison Janney and Steve Coogan also lent their voices to the film.
The minions have been a hit with film fans ever since we were introduced them back in 2010 and they have been as big a hit as ever. Minions became the fourth film to gross over $1 billion and was the only animation film to reach this mark this year. Minions is currently the second highest animation film of all time - second only to Disney's Frozen - and is the tenth highest grossing film of all time.
- Inside Out - $851,602,426
When it comes to animation movies, Pixar are one of the best in the business and Inside Out has been one of the most critically acclaimed films of the year- it is also one of the best films that Pixar have ever brought to the big screen.
Inside Out saw Pete Docter in the director's chair for his first Pixar movie since Up - he has also brought us Monsters, Inc. This was one of the most adventurous films for Pixar as it followed the emotions inside the head of a young girl; Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Bill Hader, Lewis Black, and Mindy Kaling brought the emotions of Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger, and Disgust to life. Richard Kind, Kaitlyn Dias, Diane Lane and Kyle MacLachlan completed an impressive voice cast.
Inside Out was met with critical acclaim when it was released earlier this year and is the hot favourite to scoop that Best Animated Feature Film at next year's Oscars - the movie could also find itself in the Best Picture race as well. Could it be the first animated film to win that major award? I guess we are going to have to wait and see.
The movie grossed over $851 million at the global box office and is the second highest grossing animation film of 2015 - second only to Minions. It is also the third highest grossing Pixar film of all time - Toy Story 3 still wears that crown with $1.063 billion worldwide.
2015 has been another big year for Pixar as it is the first time that they have released two movies in one year - The Good Dinosaur has also found success this autumn.
- Spectre - $752,595,343
There have been some great British films hit the big screen this year, but there was none more anticipated than Spectre, which was the first Bond film since the billion-dollar success of Skyfall back in 2012.
Spectre saw Sam Mendes return to the director's chair for his second consecutive Bond film and this was the fourth time that we saw Daniel Craig take on the role of 007 - it remains to be seen if it will be the last time that we see him take on this iconic role. There has been a lot of speculation this year about who will replace Craig in the role - Idris Elba, Damien Lewis, and Tom Hardy being just some of the names tossed about - but it is all still all quiet on the front. I think that we may see him return for one final film.
Ben Whishaw, Ralph Fiennes, and Naomie Harris were also back as Q, M, and Eve Moneypenny, while Dave Bautista, Monica Bellucci, Andrew Scott, Lea Seydoux, and double Oscar winner Christoph Waltz were the big new additions to the cast list. A cryptic message from Bond's past sends him on a trail to uncover a sinister organisation known as Spectre. M is also in a battle as he fights to keep the secret service alive.
While Spectre is one of the highest grossing movies of the year, it didn't quite live up to Skyfall commercially or with the critics - for me, it was actually quite disappointing. Spectre broke plenty of UK box office records, including best opening day and the highest record for the first-week opening.
Other movies that have also performed well this year include Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation, The Martian, Fifty Shades of Grey and Cinderella.