[dropcap size=small]T[/dropcap]his year was a big year for movies.
Now that most of the studios’ big blockbusters have come and gone, and with 2015 just around the corner, here are the highest-grossing domestic releases of 2014.
10. 22 Jump Street (June 13, 2014)
Total Domestic Gross: $191,059,924
Starting us off at number 10 is 22 Jump Street, the action/comedy follow-up to 2012’s 21 Jump Street. This sequel to a reboot of a television show received generally favorable reviews due in part to the on-screen chemistry between stars Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill, as well as the fact that the film never takes itself too seriously.
After making their way through high school, Officer Schmidt and Officer Jenko must now go deep undercover to infiltrate a local college. Not only do they have to crack a new case, but their relationship as partners is put to the test.
Starring: Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Peter Stormare, Wyatt Russell, Amber Stevens, and Ice Cube
Directed by: Phil Lord & Christopher Miller
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 84% (Certified Fresh)
9. Godzilla (May 16, 2014)
Total Domestic Gross: $200,676,069
Stomping its way into the number 9 spot is Warner Bros.’ Godzilla. The creature feature/disaster movie hybrid promised to be the Godzilla flick fans have been yearning for since Roland Emmerich’s 1998 effort (if you can even call that an “effort”). This film was received with overall praise from critics, but left some fans divided; at times the movie was as slow and cumbersome as the King of the Lizards himself.
The stage is set for a showdown between the legendary monster Godzilla and two malevolent creatures who threaten to destroy mankind whilst leaving chaos and destruction in their wake.
Starring: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Bryan Cranston, Ken Watanabe, Elizabeth Olsen, and Carson Bolde
Directed By: Gareth Edwards
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 73% (Certified Fresh)
8. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (May 2, 2014)
Total Domestic Gross: $202,853,933
The second installment of Sony’s Spider-Man reboot swings in at number 8. This film boasts a much darker tone than its predecessor, and features crucial events in the Spider-Man mythos. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 sets the stage for the future of the franchise, as well as the hinted at Sinister Six spin-off. Still, the film fell flat upon release, but that’s not stopping Sony from cashing some pretty fat checks.
Peter Parker’s relationships are pushed to the brink as he must bear the burden of protecting New York City from an onslaught of new villains who want Spider-Man dead. Peter will soon learn that with great power comes great tragedy.
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, Dane Dehaan, and Sally Field
Directed by: Marc Webb
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 53% (Rotten)
7. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (July 11, 2014)
Total Domestic Gross: $207,604,640
2014 was the year for part-two’s! Yet another sequel makes the list, this time in the form of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. With some absolutely stunning visuals and thrilling suspense, this movie shouldn’t feel out of place on the list. In a time where there’s no shortage of reboots, remakes, sequels, and other derivative materials, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes succeeds in the rare feat of hitting its mark.
Ape survivors of a disease that ravaged the globe go to all-out war with a group of human survivors and a traitor determined to destroy humans and apes alike.
Starring: Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, and Toby Kebbell
Directed by: Matt Reeves
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 90% (Certified Fresh)
6. X-Men: Days of Future Past (May 23, 2014)
Total Domestic Gross: $233,893,992
In at number 6 is X-Men: Days of Future Past. Arguably one of the best X-men films to date, this movie satisfied critics and fans alike, and helped reinvigorate the franchise. On the heels of the success of X-Men: First Class, X-Men: Days of Future Past solidified the series’ spot in the big leagues with other superhero flick contenders.
Characters from the original X-Men film trilogy join forces with their younger selves from the past, X-Men: First Class, in order to change a major historical event and fight in an epic battle for the preservation of mutantkind.
Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, and Hugh Jackman
Directed by: Bryan Singer
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 91% (Certified Fresh)
5. Maleficent (May 30, 2014)
Total Domestic Gross: $240,366,802
Disney’s dark retelling of the Sleeping Beauty story takes the middle spot for the highest-grossing films of 2014. This film continues the trend of live-action renditions of classic Disney animated films, but with a more mature bend. Unfortunately, critics found this particular feature to be as rotten as the lead character.
A vengeful fairy places a curse on an infant princess, only to later discover that the child may be the only person who can restore peace to the land.
Starring: Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Sharlto Copley, Lesley Manville, Imelda Staunton, and Juno Temple
Directed by: Robert Stromberg
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 48% (Rotten)
4. Transformers: Age of Extinction (June 27, 2014)
Total Domestic Gross: $245,370,666
Yes, you read that correctly. The fourth installment in the Transformers franchise broke the top 5, putting it in the number 4 spot. In fact, in terms of total gross worldwide, Transformers: Age of Extinction took the top spot, raking in a whopping $1,080.9 billion. Action movies tend to do extremely well overseas due to the fact that they rely more on fancy explosions, with dialogue having little importance…which was exactly what Transformers: Age of Extinction had.
A mechanic and his family join the Autobots as they are targeted by a bounty hunter from another world.
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, Kelsey Grammer, Nicola Peltz, Jack Reynor, and Titus Welliver
Directed by: Michael Bay
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 18% (Rotten)
3. The LEGO Movie (February 7, 2014)
Total Domestic Gross: $257,760,692
Everything is awesome for The LEGO Movie. Perhaps what is the “little movie that could” of the list nabs the number 3 spot for domestic earnings. Surprisingly thoughtful, this film is deserving of the high marks it received. That means that in the battle of the toys at the box office, a bunch of LEGOS beat out a bunch of Transformers. How about that?
An ordinary Lego construction worker, thought to be the prophesied ‘Special’, is recruited to join a quest to stop an evil tyrant from gluing the Lego universe into eternal stasis.
Starring: Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Morgan Freeman, and Charlie Day.
Directed By: Phil Lord & Christopher Miller
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 95% (Certified Fresh)
2. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (April 4, 2014)
Total Domestic Gross: $259,766,572
What a good year for Marvel Studios. In at number 2 is the second installment for the Captain America series. Captain America: The Winter Soldier went on to outperform 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger ($176,654,505). The flick held on tight to the number one spot until the Guardians of the Galaxy came along and bumped ol’ Cap to second fiddle.
Steve Rogers hardly has time to acclimate to his role in the modern era when he must lead an assault on a friend turned rival known as the Winter Soldier, while also dealing with S.H.I.E.L.D. being subverted by enemy forces.
Starring: Chris Evans, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, and Robert Redford
Directed by: Anthony Russo & Joe Russo
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 89% (Certified Fresh)
1. Guardians of the Galaxy (August 1, 2014)
Total Domestic Gross: $319,169,216
No big surprise here. Prior to the film’s release, hardly anyone aside from hardcore Marvel Comics fans really knew who the heck the Guardians of the Galaxy were. Now, just about everyone and their mother’s mother has seen this movie. Its irresistible charm, great story, memorable characters, and even more memorable soundtrack lands Guardians of the Galaxy as the highest-earning movie of 2014. Baby Groot is dancing all the way to the bank.
Peter Quill, better known as Star-Lord (or maybe not better known), is joined by a rag-tag group of intergalactic scoundrels to try and stop a power-hungry fanatic from destroying the galaxy.
Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, and Lee Pace
Directed by: James Gunn
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 92% (Certified Fresh)