(WHNT) — Some of the 21st century’s most famous films are celebrating a big birthday in 2022.
From blockbusters like “The Avengers” and “The Hunger Games” to Oscar-winning masterpieces like “Life of Pi” and “Lincoln,” the movies of 2012 are turning 10 this year.
The Motion Picture Association (MPA) shows just under $35 billion in revenue from movies in 2012 — so clearly, it was a big year for film. In the United States and Canada alone, movies brought in $10.8 billion.
Nexstar’s WHNT compiled a list of the best films turning 10 this year. See the selections below:
‘The Hunger Games’
- Release date: May 23, 2012
- Director: Gary Ross
- Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland
Did Jennifer Lawrence already have an established career and an Oscar nod under her belt before “The Hunger Games” hit theaters? Sure. Did this movie also turn her into a household name? Absolutely.
Based on the novel of the same name, “The Hunger Games” is set in the dystopia of Panem, a collection of districts made up of the former United States. In this new world, a boy and girl from each of the 12 districts are chosen to compete in the titular Hunger Games — a televised fight to the death.
“The Hunger Games” turned out almost 10 times its $78 million budget, earning more than $694 million worldwide. It was followed by three sequels, “Catching Fire” in 2013 and “Mockingjay” parts one and two in 2014 and 2015, respectively.
- Release date: Nov. 9, 2012
- Director: Sam Mendes
- Starring: Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Berenice Marlohe, Albert Finney, Judi Dench
“Skyfall” was the third James Bond film to star Daniel Craig in the lead role. He was cast alongside Javier Bardem as the villainous Raoul Silva and Dame Judi Dench as M. It is the 23rd James Bond film overall — a cinematic saga that began in 1962 with “Dr. No.”
In the movie, Bond investigates an attack on his agency MI6 that leads to revelations that Bardem’s Silva, a former agent, is planning to discredit the agency and kill its leader.
“Skyfall” brought in $1.1 billion when it was released in November 2012. The film was accompanied by an Oscar-winning song from Adele that shares the same name as the film.
- Release date: Sept. 14, 2012
- Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
- Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams
Director Paul Thomas Anderson often says “The Master” is the best film he’s made.
The story follows a World War II veteran struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder who meets a cult leader, allegedly inspired by Scientology’s L. Ron Hubbard. Joaquin Phoenix stars as veteran Freddie Quell, while the late Philip Seymour Hoffman stars as the titular Master, also known as Lancaster Dodd.
While the film’s box office returns didn’t quite match its budget, it was a hit among critics.
“The Master” received three Oscar nominations, all in the acting categories. It also earned the top spot on several year-end lists, including those from Rolling Stone, The A.V. Club and The Guardian.
- Release date: Dec. 25, 2012
- Director: Quentin Tarantino
- Starring: Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington, Samuel L. Jackson, Walton Goggins, Dennis Christopher, James Remar, Michael Parks, Don Johnson
“Django Unchained,” a revisionist tribute to spaghetti western films, stars Jamie Foxx as the titular Django, a Black slave who trains under a bounty hunter to reunite with his long-lost wife.
While somewhat controversial, the film brought in loads of cash at the box office.
Against a $100 million budget, Tarantino’s film earned $425.4 million after debuting on Christmas Day in 2012. It was Tarantino’s highest-grossing film to date, a feat not even overcome by 2019’s “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood.”
“Django” won two of its five nominations at the 85th Academy Awards. Christoph Waltz won for Best Supporting Actor and Tarantino won for Best Original Screenplay.
- Release date: Nov. 9, 2012
- Director: Steven Spielberg
- Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, David Straitharn, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, James Spader, Hal Holbrook, Tommy Lee Jones
Daniel Day-Lewis stars as America’s 16th president in “Lincoln.”
The big-budget take on Lincoln’s story follows the commander-in-chief across four months in 1865. It begins with his efforts to abolish slavery and lasts until his unfortunate assassination at the hands of John Wilkes Boothe on April 14, 1865, at Ford’s Theatre. The film draws from the 2005 novel “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln.”
“Lincoln” earned Day-Lewis his third Best Actor statue at the Oscars as well as 11 other nominations. The movie was also a commercial success, earning $275 million at the box office.
- Release date: May 4, 2012
- Director: Joss Whedon
- Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston, Clark Gregg, Cobie Smulders, Stellan Skarsgard, Samuel L. Jackson
The first culmination of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) came in 2012’s “The Avengers.”
The story unites all of the familiar heroes, including Iron Man, the Hulk, Thor, Black Widow, Hawkeye and Captain America, against a common foe, the Asgardian Loki and his alien army.
“The Avengers” was the highest-grossing film of 2012 and ranks among the highest-grossing films ever. It spawned multiple sequels, including 2015’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” 2018’s “Avengers: Infinity War” and 2019’s “Avengers: Endgame.”
The film now sits at No. 9 on the list of highest-grossing films ever, beaten by both “Infinity War” at No. 5 and “Endgame” at No. 2.
‘Life of Pi’
- Release date: Nov. 21, 2012
- Director: Ang Lee
- Starring: Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan, Rafe Spall, Tabu, Adil Hussain, Gerard Depardieu
Based on the 2001 novel of the same name, “Life of Pi” follows a 16-year-old boy stranded at sea with a group of animals after a shipwreck, and most notably among the beasts is a Bengal tiger.
“Life of Pi” was a critical and commercial success, earning $609 million at the box office against a $120 million budget and earning nominations for 11 Academy Awards. The film won four Oscars, including Best Director for Ang Lee, Best Original Score, Best Cinematography, and Best Visual Effects.
‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’
- Release date: Dec. 14, 2012
- Director: Peter Jackson
- Starring: Ian McKellan, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, James Nesbitt, Ken Stott, Cate Blanchett, Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving, Elijah Wood, Andy Serkis
Peter Jackson struck gold in the early 2000s with the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, based on the J.R.R. Tolkien series of the same name. He tried once again with Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” beginning in 2012 — and received mixed results.
The new series starred Martin Freeman as hobbit Bilbo Baggins, a humanoid creature convinced to go on a quest with a wizard and 13 dwarves seeking to reclaim their home, the Lonely Mountain.
“The Hobbit” films, including 2012’s “An Unexpected Journey” blew up the box office, earning over $1 billion. However, critical reception was not nearly as warm as Jackson’s first trilogy.
- Release date: May 25, 2012
- Director: Wes Anderson
- Starring: Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Jason Schwartzmann, Bob Balaban
“Moonrise Kingdom” brought director Wes Anderson together with a host of his typical collaborators for one of his most critically acclaimed films.
The story is set on the fictional island of New Penzance and follows an orphan who escapes scouting camp to unite with his pen pal. Meanwhile, the island’s police captain tries to find those runaways.
The film was praised for its expressive color palette, symmetry, and score by Alexandre Desplat. It was nominated for Best Original Screenplay at the 2012 Oscars.
‘The Dark Knight Rises’
- Release date: July 20, 2012
- Director: Christopher Nolan
- Starring: Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Morgan Freeman
“The Dark Knight Rises” brought about a conclusion to Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy — one that somewhat divided its fans.
Drawing inspiration from 1993’s “Knightfall” comic, Nolan crafted a story featuring a broken Batman, played by Christian Bale, returning to his role as The Dark Knight to stop Gotham City from Bane (Tom Hardy) and a nuclear disaster.
The film earned just over $1 billion at the box office. It was praised for its action, direction and emotional depth, but wasn’t nearly as acclaimed as its predecessor, 2008’s “The Dark Knight.”