Timeline of Greatest Film
Milestones and Turning Points
in Film History


The Year 2003

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
2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009

The Year 2003
Year
Event and Significance
2003
By 2003, film studio revenues from home entertainment (i.e., the video market) were much more lucrative than from theatrical, box-office returns.
2003
By mid-March of 2003, DVD rentals first topped those of VHS videotape rental revenues. Many of the studios stopped creating VHS versions of their films, and major retail stores stopped selling VHS versions or releases.
2003
Sofia Coppola was nominated as Best Director for her Best Picture-nominated Lost in Translation (2003), becoming the first American woman nominated for Best Director and only the third woman ever to be nominated for Best Director.
2003
Finding Nemo (2003), produced by Pixar for The Walt Disney Company, bypassed The Lion King (1994) as the highest-grossing animated film of all time, at $340 million (domestic). It received the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film (awarded in 2004). Pixar's $340-million, computer-animated blockbuster was the year's highest-grossing film, and thought at one time to be a possible Best Picture nominee. As of January 2005, it was the bestselling DVD of all time in the world - with 22 million copies sold. It was the highest-grossing (domestic) G-rated film of all time (until the PG-rated Shrek 2 (2004) surpassed it as the highest-grossing animation of all time in 2004).
2003
Disney announced that it would no longer be producing traditionally-hand-drawn animated feature films, but switching to the 3-D, full-CGI style originally popularized by Pixar. It announced that its feature-length theatrical film animation Brother Bear (2003) was to be the studio's last 2-D animated film. However, Disney's last release in the traditional 2-D animation style was Home on the Range (2004).
2003
Walt Disney Pictures' Ghosts of the Abyss (2003), a James Cameron documentary and Disney's first 3-D picture, was the first full-length 3-D IMAX feature. The film's initial release was limited to big-screen IMAX theaters and movie houses specially equipped to show 3-D features. It was filmed with the Reality Camera System.
2003
Miramax's (and boss Harvey Weinstein's) 11-year run (from 1992-2002) of having at least one Best Picture contender each year ended this year, when Cold Mountain (2003) lacked a Best Picture nomination. This was the longest streak for any studio since the Academy limited the number of Best Picture nominees to five in 1944.
2003
The Terminator character (in the same year that Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003) was released), Austrian-born actor Arnold Schwarzenegger succeeded in his first bid for elected office when he beat Governor Gray Davis in California's gubernatorial race (a special recall election) on October 7, 2003, and was sworn in as California's 38th governor on November 17, 2003. He served the remainder of Davis' term and two additional terms, finally leaving office on January 3, 2011. Then it was discovered that he had engaged in an adulterous affair and fathered a son 14 years earlier with personal employee Mildred Baena, leading to his separation from journalist and author Maria Shriver, a Catholic and member of the extended Kennedy family.
2003
The # 1 highest-grossing (domestic) film of the year was The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) at $377 million, followed by Finding Nemo (2003) at $340 million in the # 2 slot, and the first of many to follow -- Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003) at $305.4 million.
2003
The last in The Lord of the Rings trilogy of Tolkein's literary fantasy, The Return of the King (2003), won Best Picture and Best Director Oscars (awarded in 2004), as well as nine other awards (it won all eleven of its nominations), for New Line Cinema and New Zealander Peter Jackson, among others. With its eleven Oscars, it tied with Ben-Hur (1959) and Titanic (1997) for the most Oscars ever won by a single film. It also broke the previous record for a sweep (9 wins out of 9 nominations) set by Gigi (1958) and The Last Emperor (1987). Like them, LOTR: The Return of the King lacked nominations in the acting categories. It was the first fantasy film to ever win the top Oscar prize. The film grossed $1 billion in just 9 weeks and 4 days, a new record. In total, the entire LOTR trilogy won 17 Oscars (out of 30 nominations), a $3 billion box-office gross worldwide (they were among the highest grossing films of all time), and some new superstars: virtual Gollum (Andy Serkis), Orlando Bloom and Elijah Wood.
2003
Director Bernardo Bertolucci's explicitly-rated NC-17 film of sexual discovery and intimacy The Dreamers (2003) was the first NC-17 rated film in 6 years, after the release of the NC-17 rated independent film Orgazmo (1997), Bent (1997, UK) and Cronenberg's Crash (1997).
2003
At the end of the previous decade (in 2000), actor Sylvester Stallone won the Golden Raspberry (Razzie) Award as "The Worst Actor of the Century." By the year 2003, Stallone had compiled a record number of nominations (30) and wins (10) - the actor with the largest number of Razzie nominations and wins.
2003
The American Film Institute (AFI) released the sixth list in its continuing series, 100 Heroes and Villains, to recognize the top 100 movie characters that were heroes or villains (with 50 for each category). The top hero chosen was Atticus Finch (portrayed by Gregory Peck) in To Kill a Mockingbird (1962), and the top villain was Hannibal Lecter (portrayed by Anthony Hopkins) in The Silence of the Lambs (1991).
2003
Renowned music songwriter and producer Phil Spector pleaded not guilty on November 20, 2003, after being indicted for the February 3, 2003 murder of actress and model Lana Clarkson. [She had starred in a number of cult science fiction and fantasy films, including Deathstalker (1983) and Barbarian Queen (1985), two Roger Corman-produced works.] Although Spector's first trial resulted in a mistrial-hung jury in September of 2007, he was convicted of the crime of second-degree murder in April of 2009 and sentenced to 19 years in prison.
2003
One of the worst films ever made and a major box-office flop, writer/director Martin Brest's romantic comedy Gigli (2003) was closely scrutinized due to the coupling of its celebrity stars during the film's shoot. The big-budget film was quickly removed after about 3 weeks from circulation in theatres due to its poor reception. It was the first film in the history of the Golden Raspberry (Razzie) Awards to win in its five major categories - a "grand slam sweep": Worst Picture, Worst Actor (Ben Affleck), Worst Actress (Jennifer Lopez), Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay -- and it also won 'Worst Screen Couple', for a total of six wins. It was also honored in 2005 as the 'Worst Comedy' in the first 25 years of the Razzie Awards. Tabloids were addicted to the 'supercouple,' dubbed by the name-blend "Bennifer" (a combination of Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez).
2003
A new generation of comic male actors, dubbed the 'Frat Pack' or 'Slacker Pack' (Jack Black, Will Ferrell, Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, and Owen and Luke Wilson) emerged in the 2000s, and appeared together in many films, including Old School (2003), actor/director/producer Stiller's own Zoolander (2001), Dodgeball (2004) and Tropic Thunder (2008).
2003
The New York Times reported that five months after the start of the Iraq War, the special operations department of the Pentagon held an informational screening in late August, 2003 of director Gillo Pontecorvo's controversial The Battle of Algiers (1966) about terrorist insurgency, to acquire strategic insight from French operations and challenges during the Algerian War (1954-1962). The Pentagon's blurb stated: "How to win a battle against terrorism and lose the war of ideas. ... Children shoot soldiers at point blank range. Women plant bombs in cafes. Soon the entire Arab population builds to a mad fervor. Sound familiar? The French have a plan. It succeeds tactically, but fails strategically. To understand why, come to a rare showing of this film."
2003
Actor Gregory Peck died at the age of 87 on June 12, 2003. He had won an Academy Award for Best Actor for To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) and had received four other Best Actor nominations, for The Keys of the Kingdom (1945), The Yearling (1946), Gentleman's Agreement (1947), and Twelve O'clock High (1949).
2003
Top female legend and actress Katharine Hepburn, four-time Academy Award winner for Best Actress, died at the age of 96 on June 29, 2003. During her long career of 62 years, she had received a total of 12 Oscar nominations, and was the only performer in Academy history to have won four Academy Awards for acting.


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