Timeline of Greatest Film
Milestones and Turning Points
in Film History


The Year 1999

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 1999
Year
Event and Significance
1999
The first of three prequels (released from 1999-2005), George Lucas' highly-anticipated Star Wars: Episode I -The Phantom Menace (1999), opened and became the top grossing film of its year. It made a record $28.5 million in box-office in its first day of showing, and passed the $100 million level in a record five days. It eventually grossed $431 million, and was the top-grossing (domestic) film of the year 1999, besting second-place The Sixth Sense (1999) at $293.5 million. It was the first film with a Dolby Digital Surround EX soundtrack. This film undoubtedly contained more computer animation and special effects than any previous film - over 90%. It also featured a completely CGI-generated (all digital), fully-articulated main humanoid character named Jar Jar Binks (voice of Ahmed Best), a widely-derided aspect of the feature film.
1999
The pseudo-documentary, low-budget (budgeted at about $60,000), media-savvy cult horror film The Blair Witch Project (1999), grossed $140.5 million (domestic) and $249 million (worldwide), making it the most profitable film in Hollywood history (with a record budget/box office ratio). Low-cost Internet advertising (suggesting that the story was true) and video production contributed to its financial success for the small-time distributor (Artisan Films) - making it the first independent blockbuster. The surprise hit and media sensation, a precursor of reality TV, was mostly shot with Hi-8 camcorders and looked like a home-made film with no-name actors.
1999
The World Is Not Enough (1999) featured the 17th and final appearance of Desmond Llewelyn as "Q" - the longest-running cast member and character - who retired in the film itself (with an ingenious "escape plan"), and was grooming a "young fellow" (John Cleese, called "R" by Bond) as his successor. He had been in 17 of the 19 films, from 1963 to 1999 (spanning 36 years). He appeared in every film except Dr. No (1962) (the character was named Major Boothroyd and played by Peter Burton) and Live and Let Die (1973)..
1999
This was the debut year of the popular TiVo device, a personal digital video recorder (PVR or DVR) -- also dubbed a hard-disc recorder (HDR), with the capability of recording movies and episodes of favorite programs, quickly skipping past the commercials and even pausing and rewinding live TV. Within a few years, a broadband-connected TiVo DVR offered a vast library of video-on-demand choices from a who's-who list of online entertainment partners.
1999
Pokemon: The First Movie (released in Japan in 1998 and in the US in 1999) became the most successful foreign animated film at the box office in U.S. history, at $88.7 million (domestic).
1999
Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut (1999) was threatened with an NC-17 rating for its most talked-about sequence - an upper-class masked, choreographed orgy function which began with incantations by a high-priest, a circle of cloaked figures, and many naturally-endowed, almost-nude, G-stringed, masked females in an inner circle who were there to ritualistically service the masked men in anonymity and isolation. The sequence included tracking shots of tuxedoed, caped, and masked doctor Harford (Tom Cruise) roaming through the ornate mansion's rooms filled with emotionless, loveless copulating couples (in a 69 sexual position, in a lesbian three-some, and other mechanical stances of intercourse). These scenes were heavily digitally edited (or digitally censored, obscured and obstructed in various releases to prevent an NC-17 rating). In some instances, computer-generated people were placed over explicit sexual images in order to secure the R-rating.
1999
The American Film Institute (AFI) released the first list in its continuing series, 100 Years...100 Stars, to recognize the top 50 Greatest Screen Legends (25 male and 25 female) in American cinematic history. Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn was honored as the top choices.
1999
Director Stanley Kubrick died at the age of 70, four months before the opening of his final film Eyes Wide Shut (1999). He was best known for his science-fiction space classic 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), for which he won his sole Oscar for Best Visual Effects. Other memorable films included the war film Paths of Glory (1957), the Roman slave epic Spartacus (1960), Lolita (1962), the Cold War satire Dr. Strangelove (1964), the violent A Clockwork Orange (1971), Barry Lyndon (1975), the horror film The Shining (1980), and Full Metal Jacket (1987).
1999
The writing/directing team of the Wachowski Brothers released the hugely-successful, profound and influential sci-fi thriller The Matrix (1999) with amazing action and digital effects sequences. The Matrix (1999) was the fifth highest-grossing (domestic) film of 1999, at $171.5 million. Its popularity led to a trilogy of films: The Matrix Reloaded (2003) and The Matrix Revolutions (2003). The first film in the series made reference to prototypical elements of the 21st century high-tech culture, such as hacking and virtual reality, and included bullet-dodging (digital effects dubbed "flow-mo" and "bullet time" - slowed-down rotating action - were created with suspending actors on wires, and filming segments with multiple still cameras from multiple angles), cyber-punk chic, time-freezing, shoot-outs, wall-scaling, virtual backgrounds, and airborne kung fu. These tremendous visual effects were combined with Eastern world-denying philosophy, metaphysical Zen statements, Japanese anime, neo-Cartesian plot twists, film noir, and Lewis Carroll references. Actor Keanu Reeves earned $10 million upfront (reportedly), plus $25 million for his cut of the final gross.
1999
South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (1999), an animated comedy feature film (by producers Trey Parker and Matt Stone) was filled with political satire (and based on the hit TV show South Park). It was originally rated NC-17 (for its foul-mouthed profanity and obscenity), and then reduced to an R-rating after being edited down. The notorious film was notable for having the most profanity of any animated film (with 140 F-words).
1999
On April 20, 1999, teenaged gunmen Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold used homemade explosives and numerous firearms in an assault on Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, killing 12 students and one teacher and wounding at least two dozen others before committing suicide. The deadly school-shooting rampage led to heated debates about violence in films, gun control, and safety/security in the nation's schools.
1999
M. Night Shyamalan's ghost story and psychological thriller The Sixth Sense (1999) - with the catchphrase: "I see dead people" - was his first major film with his trademark plot-shifting twist revealed by the film's conclusion - and it came to be known as the "Shyamalan twist." Star Bruce Willis reportedly earned up to $100 million (including both his salary, and a percentage of ticket and video sales).
1999
The longest Oscars awards ceremony ever held was this year's March 21, 1999 ABC-TV broadcast, at 4 hours and 2 minutes. It was the 71st annual Academy Awards show, hosted by Whoopi Goldberg. It also marked the first time that the ceremony was held on a Sunday.
1999
The popular and influential film review TV show Siskel & Ebert lasted until 1999, when 53 year-old Gene Siskel died from a brain tumor on February 20, 1999, and the show was renamed Roger Ebert & the Movies for one year. After 1999, the show featured a rotating series of guest critics, including Elvis Mitchell, Kenneth Turan and Janet Maslin. In the year 2000, after a long try-out period of guest critics, Ebert chose fellow Chicago Sun-Times columnist Richard Roeper as his permanent co-host, for a show retitled Ebert & Roeper and the Movies, shortened in 2001 to Ebert & Roeper.
Decade
According to Film Facts, the busiest Hollywood actor during the decade of the 1990s was Samuel L. Jackson with 36 films. Whoopi Goldberg headed the female list with 29 films.


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