Timeline of Greatest Film
Milestones and Turning Points
in Film History


The Year 1997

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 1997
Year
Event and Significance
1997
Marvin the Martian in the Third Dimension (aka Marvin the Martian in 3D), a 12-minute Warner Bros film, opened as a feature of the Warner Bros.' theme park "Movie World" in Australia. It was the first computer-animated CG film that was to be viewed with 3-D glasses. It combined the experience of watching a fully CGI film with polarized/anaglyphic glasses.
1997
James Cameron's Titanic (1997), the most expensive film of all time at the time of its release, also soon became the highest grossing and most successful film of all-time in Hollywood history (at $600.8 million domestic gross box-office receipts, and $1.8 billion total worldwide gross), surpassing the all-time box-office (domestic) record of Star Wars (1977). (Titanic remained at the top until Cameron's own Avatar (2009) surpassed it 12 years later at $760.5 million (domestic).) It was the first film with a budget of $200 million, and it was the first movie to gross $1 billion (worldwide). When adjusted for inflation, however, Cleopatra (1963) had the highest budget of any film, and Gone with the Wind (1939) remained the highest grossing.

Delays during production and a budget of $200 million threatened to 'sink' the film, but didn't affect its overall success. Repeated theatrical viewings by young teens (enthralled by the romance between Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet) were partly responsible for the film's high returns. The bulk of the state-of-the-art visual effects (CGI and miniature models) were provided by Cameron's own company, Digital Domain. And the film was backed or co-produced by two studios in order to foot the bill -- Fox and Paramount.
1997
The blockbuster film Titanic (1997) had a record-tying fourteen nominations and won a record-tying eleven Academy Awards (duplicating the feat of All About Eve (1950)). That made it the second of only two films to receive 14 Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture. It was also the second film to win 11 Academy Awards, including Best Picture - it tied Ben-Hur (1959) with eleven Oscar wins - the most Oscar wins of any film in Academy Awards history. [The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) would equal the feat in six years with 11 wins.]
1997
The 18th official Bond film, Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) was the first film in cinematic history to have the largest product placement deal ever, covering its entire production budget of $110 million. The film was largely marketed through the film's promotional partners. Sponsoring companies included BMW, Ericsson cellphones, Bollinger champagne, Omega watches, Dunhill, Brioni clothing, Avis rental cars, Golden Wonder potato chips, L'Oréal cosmetics, VISA, and Heineken beer. Some joked that the Bond films had now become the "Licence to Sell."
1997
The first time product placement appeared in an animated picture was Chanel perfume in Anastasia (1997).
1997
Due to its opening against James Cameron's blockbuster Titanic (1997), Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) was the first (and only) Pierce Brosnan Bond film to not open as the # 1 film at the box-office.
1997
Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt won Best Actor and Best Actress Oscars for As Good As It Gets (1997). This was the seventh time in 70 years that the leading actor and actress from the same film received the Oscars.
1997
Slim DVDs (Digital Versatile Discs), the new generation of optical disc storage technology, began to be sold to consumers. By 2003, there were over 250 million DVD playback devices worldwide, one of the most successful consumer electronics products of all time. It was destined to replace the laser disc, videotape (bulky VHS), and videogame cartridges. In mid-2003, DVD rentals first topped those of VHS.
1997
Writer/director Paul Thomas' Boogie Nights (1997) was a significant film for authentically portraying the Southern California pornography industry in the late 1970s and early 1980s, through the character of Eddie Adams (Mark Wahlberg) - based upon the life of porn actor John C. Holmes, who became well-endowed porn star Dirk Diggler.
1997
Hong Kong film director Wong Kar-Wai's haunting and melancholy film Happy Together (1997, HK) (aka Cheun Gwong Tsa Sit) about a gay couple, was released. The film's cinematographer used multiple film speeds and color film stock. It was controversial for its graphic portrayal of Chinese male homosexuality and was banned in Singapore, among other places.
1997
George Lucas released re-vamped Special Editions of the Star Wars Trilogy. Episodes IV, V, and VI were remastered and re-released for theatrical showings. Most of the changes were cosmetic - various scenes or images were cleaned up or restored, but some changes were made to the films as well. For example, in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977), there was a new CGI version of Jabba the Hutt (originally a latex puppet), and a modified "Cantina Scene" in which Greedo shot first.
1997
Star Wars (1977) was the first film to earn more than $400 million domestically. It reached this mark in February 1997 after the re-release or re-issue of its 20th anniversary edition.
1997
The British comedy film The Full Monty (1997) was an unexpected sleeper hit, although American audiences were unfamiliar with the slang term "the full monty" (complete nudity during a striptease).
1997
In June 1997, J.K. Rowling's first novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, was published in the UK. It would become the first in a franchise series of Harry Potter films, beginning with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001)
1997
Sleepy-eyed actor Robert Mitchum died at the age of 79 of lung cancer. He was active as an actor, often as a "macho" anti-hero, from the 1940s to 1990s, appearing in such favorites as The Story of GI Joe (1945) (earning his sole Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor), the noirish Out of the Past (1947), director Charles Laughton's The Night of the Hunter (1955), and Cape Fear (1962). Other roles included Pursued (1947), Crossfire (1947), Angel Face (1952), Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (1957), The Red Pony (1959), The Sundowners (1960), El Dorado (1967), and the remake of The Big Sleep (1978).
1997
One day after the death of fellow actor Robert Mitchum, American film actor James Stewart died at the age of 89, also from lung cancer. One of the finest actors ever, he appeared in dozens of classic films, and was nominated for five Best Actor Academy Awards for: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), The Philadelphia Story (1940) (win), It's a Wonderful Life (1946), Harvey (1950), and Anatomy of a Murder (1959). Other notable Stewart films for Alfred Hitchcock included: Rear Window (1954), Rope (1948), The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956), and Vertigo (1958).
1997
Founded in 1994, DreamWorks SKG's first feature film release was The Peacemaker (1997), starring George Clooney and Nicole Kidman. A year later, the studio released their first animated film Antz (1998).


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