Timeline of Greatest Film
Milestones and Turning Points
in Film History


The Year 1996

Timeline of Greatest Film History Milestones and Turning Points
(by decade and year)
Introduction | Pre-1900s | 1900s | 1910s | 1920s | 1930s | 1940s | 1950s
1960s | 1970s | 1980s | 1990s | 2000s | 2010s
1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999

The Year 1996
Year
Event and Significance
1996
Planet Hollywood, a restaurant chain (noted for its collection of movie & TV memorabilia) with backing and celebrity investments by movie stars (including Sly Stallone, Bruce Willis, Demi Moore and Arnold Schwarzenegger), went public. Its stock skyrocketed initially, but in just two years, it lost its appeal and many of the restaurants would be closed by the turn of the century.
1996
Kenneth Branagh's excellent, opulent Hamlet (1996), set in 19th century England, was the first unabridged, 'full-length' cinematic version in film history of William Shakespeare's penultimate work. It was also the first British film to be shot in 70-mm. in over 25 years (and the first 70-mm. film since director Ron Howard's Far and Away (1992). Also as of the winter of 2005 it was the last film to have been shot entirely with 70-mm. film), and one of the few films in history to exceed a four hour running time (with an intermission at the 2:40 mark.)
1996
After Disney's spectacular success with animated features The Little Mermaid (1989), Beauty and the Beast (1991), and The Lion King (1994), the studio was disappointed with the results of the much darker and adult-oriented The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996), inspired by Victor Hugo's classic novel. It grossed (domestically) just over $100.1 million - one of the lower totals of modern Disney animated features during its "Disney Renaissance" (a ten year period from 1989-1999).
1996
The Coen Brothers' Fargo (1996), an off-beat, absurdist morality tale from the creative and original producing/writing/directing collaborative team of Joel and Ethan Coen, was very unlike many of their previous films, with a straight-forward, realistic narrative devoid of their typically quirky and bizarre sequences. From its seven Academy Awards nominations (including Best Picture), it won for Best Original Screenplay (Joel and Ethan Coen), and Best Actress (Frances McDormand, Joel Coen's real-life wife). Frances McDormand became the first actress to win the Best Actress Oscar in a film directed by her nominated husband.
1996
The infamous and satirical black comedy, The Cable Guy (1996), which starred comic Jim Carrey as the malevolent and pathological cable installer (an atypical character for him), was directed by comic Ben Stiller. The film was universally criticized, under-appreciated by audiences, and did poor box-office at the time of its release, but it was significant because it was the first film to break the $20 million salary barrier for an actor.
1996
Director Cameron Crowe's most quotable script was for Jerry Maguire (1996), a romantic comedy and sports-related film known for its catchphrases: "Show me the money!" "You complete me" and "You had me at hello!" The film was a breakout film for Renee Zellweger, won Best Supporting Actor honors for Cuba Gooding, Jr., and received nominations for Best Actor (Tom Cruise), Best Screenplay, and Best Picture. With a domestic gross revenue of almost $154 million (and $273.5 million worldwide), it was the 4th ranking hit of the year, surpassed by Cruise's own Mission: Impossible (1996), Twister (1996), and the # 1 hit of the year Independence Day (1996) at $306 million (domestic).
1996
Dancer, film actor, singer, director and choreographer Gene Kelly died at the age of 83. He was noted for his energetic and athletic dancing style, in contrast to Fred Astaire. Kelly was best known as the dancing star of Singin' in the Rain (1952), but he had been in numerous other musicals in the 40s and 50s, including For Me and My Gal (1942) opposite Judy Garland, Anchors Aweigh (1945), Take Me Out to the Ball Game (1949), On the Town (1949), and An American in Paris (1951). In 1952 (at the ceremony honoring 1951's films), Kelly received an Honorary Academy Award "in appreciation of his versatility as an actor, singer, director and dancer, and specifically for his brilliant achievements in the art of choreography on film."
1996
Irish crime reporter Veronica Guerin was shot and killed in her car on June 26, 1996 in Dublin, Ireland by drug dealers she had reported on. Her life story was portrayed in director Joel Schumacher's crime biopic Veronica Guerin (2003), with Cate Blanchett in the lead role.
1996
The genre of 'teen slasher' and horror films was revitalized by the tongue-in-cheek, self-reverential horror film Scream (1996) from famed horror director Wes Craven. The sleeper hit grossed $6 million in its opening weekend, and went on to make $103 million (domestic). The half-parody and half-tribute film (with nods to Hitchcock's films, Friday the 13th (1980) and Halloween (1978), among others) gave rise to three sequels (1997, 2000, and 2011) and other copycat films (i.e., I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997), Urban Legend (1998), and The Faculty (1999)), including the silly feature-length Scary Movie franchise (2000, 2001, 2003, and 2006). Scream 2 (1997) made $101 million (domestic), while Scream 3 (2000) made $89 million (domestic). The first three Scream films amassed more than half a billion dollars (worldwide).
1996
In the US, Jan de Bont's disaster thriller about tornados, Twister (1996) was rated PG-13 for "intense depiction of very bad weather." It was the second-highest grossing film of 1996. Twister was also the first Hollywood feature film to be commercially released on DVD. Twister opened on May 10, 1996 and racked up $242 million (domestic) - setting a trend that eventually (by 2002) moved the opening of summer movie blockbusters back to the first weekend in May.
1996
Shinji Ra Munita (Jp.) was the first film to be commercially released on DVD-Video disc.
1996
Another technological advancement, still currently being developed and tweaked, was the introduction of HDTV - the first public HDTV broadcast in the United States occurred in 1996. HDTV resulted in higher resolution (an increase in the number of horizontal lines on a video screen), and improved the sharpness and detail of the image. Now, feature films projected at home on HDTV screens, with theatre-quality audio as well, have come closer to the image and sound found in projected widescreen films in commercial theatres.
1996
CARIcature software was first used by Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) for the state-of-the-art digital animation in the 10th century fantasy fable Dragonheart (1996). It was used to create the very complex CGI or digital film character of a talking dragon named Draco (with realistic facial animation and expressions, and voice provided by Sean Connery) - an 18 ft. tall, 43 foot long creature. The highly-realistic aliens in Tim Burton's science-fiction comedy Mars Attacks! (1996) were all-digital, CGI animated creations, rather than stop-motion puppets - also created with CARI software by ILM.
1996
About six weeks after celebrating his 100th birthday, comedian George Burns died. His long career had spanned vaudeville, radio, TV, and film. He was best known for his frequent collaborations with wife Gracie Allen in their radio and TV shows, and over a dozen films with her (including the Big Broadcast films in the 1930s). Cigar-loving Burns won an Academy Award (his sole win) for his supporting role in The Sunshine Boys (1975), and was well-loved for his appearances in the hit film Oh, God! (1977) and its two sequels in 1980 and 1984.
1996
The sci-fi action disaster film Independence Day (1996) debuted in the summer on the weekend of its namesake July 4th, earning over $50 million on its opening weekend. It was the top earning domestic film of the year at $306 million, followed by Twister (1996) in second place with $241.7 million and the film adaptation Mission: Impossible (1996) from the popular TV show in third place with $181 million. It inaugurated Will Smith's streak of major July hits - Men in Black (1997), Bad Boys II (2003), I, Robot (2004), and Hancock (2008).
1996
Disney debuted 101 Dalmatians (1996), the second live-action remake of one of its earlier animated features, One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961). [The first was The Jungle Book (1994).] Some of the real dalmatian puppies were combined with computer-generated animation (from ILM) and animatronic dogs from Jim Henson's Creature Shop, but none of the animals talked in the live version as they did in the animated version.
1996
Eddie Murphy scored with a hefty box-office take of $128.8 million (domestic) for his fat-suit film The Nutty Professor (1996). Its sequel also did well, The Nutty Professor II: The Klumps (2000) with $123.3 million (domestic).


Previous Page Next Page