Timeline of Greatest Film
Milestones and Turning Points
in Film History


The Year 2008

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 2008
Year
Event and Significance
2008
Forbes reported that 23 year-old actress Keira Knightley became the second highest-paid Hollywood actress with earnings of $32 million in 2007 for her roles in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (2007) and Atonement (2007), behind Cameron Diaz with earnings of $50 million for her roles in the Shrek films and What Happens in Vegas (2008). Will Smith was the highest-paid Hollywood actor earning $80 million, while second place went to Johnny Depp with earnings of $72 million. Will Smith was the first actor to have eight straight movies take in more than $100 million at the box office.
2008
As a result of the Disney's Channel wildly popular and wholesome telepic High School Musical (2006) that was popular with a new demographic of 'tweens' or 'tweenagers' (early teens between childhood and pubescence), a spinoff was released titled High School Musical 3: Senior Year (2008) - the first 'High School Musical' to open in cinemas.
2008
High School Musical 3: Senior Year (2008) broke the U.S. record for the highest-scoring musical opening (at $42 million domestic), due mostly to its 75% female audiences.
2008
Slumdog Millionaire (2008) received eight of the ten Oscars for which it was nominated.
2008
The Wachowski Brothers' live-action cartoon Speed Racer (2008), an adaptation of the Japanese anime of the same name, was a big flop, with a total domestic gross of only $43.9 million (and $93.9 million worldwide), way below expectations since the film's production costs were over $120 million.
2008
Actor Will Smith scored his eighth straight $100 million hit movie (his fifth for a July 4th release), with the release of Hancock (2008). He became the only actor in history to have eight consecutive films gross over $100 million in the domestic box office.
2008
Jada Pinkett-Smith had the most consecutive $100 million gross movies for an actress: 4 films. Her seven $100+ million films included: The Nutty Professor (1996), Scream 2 (1997), The Matrix Reloaded (2003), The Matrix Revolutions (2003), Collateral (2004), Madagascar (2005), and Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (2008).
2008
The American Film Institute (AFI) another list in its continuing series, 100 Years...100 Movies, this one titled AFI's 10 Top 10, to recognize the top 10 greatest American films in cinematic history in ten major film genres.
2008
Established film-maker, writer/director Joss Whedon's independent short film Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog (2008), a supervillain musical, was released exclusively for online viewing, in three 14-minute episodes or segments. The inexpensive short online film was conceived and produced during the writer's strike. After debuting in July of 2008, it became a cult hit -- and the series reached # 1 on the iTunes' video chart, with 2.2 million downloads a week. When it was successful, an iTunes soundtrack (of 14 songs), CD and DVD were also created and made available. This development was the next evolutionary step from Will Ferrell's pioneering "Funny or Die".com site established the previous year.
2008
28 year-old Heath Ledger, found dead of a drug overdose in late January 2008, was the second performer to win a posthumous acting Oscar, for his Best Supporting role as The Joker in The Dark Knight (2008).
2008
The Dark Knight (2008) made box office records in its first weekend, making it the biggest three-day opening weekend of all time with $158.4 million, beating the previous year's Spider-Man 3 (2007) at $151 million. [This record was topped by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 (2011) at $169.2 million, and then by The Avengers (2012) at $207.4 million.] The movie set a new record for the biggest opening day gross at the box office with $67.1 million. [This record was topped by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 (2011) at $91 million.] It also had the biggest number of opening theaters when it appeared on 4,336 screens, as well as setting a new mark for money earned from midnight showings when it grossed $18.5 million.

Eventually, The Dark Knight succeeded in attaining worldwide grosses of just over $1 billion. It was easily the highest grossing (domestic) film of 2008, at $533.3 million, way ahead of the # 2 film Iron Man (2008) at $318 million. Most impressively, The Dark Knight became only the second movie in history to break the $500 million barrier in domestic box-office (at $533 million), the first being James Cameron's Titanic (1997) with a domestic gross of $601 million. And the latest 'Batman' film hit the $500 million mark in just over 6 weeks (45 days) -- less than half the time it took Titanic to reach the same milestone (at 98 days). The Dark Knight became the decade's top-grossing film (domestic), supplanting Shrek 2 (2004) at $441 million.
2008
According to the top 100 Celebrity List on Forbes, film producer Jerry Bruckheimer's earnings of $145 million for the year put him in 4th place, one step ahead of Steven Spielberg (at $130 million). The prolific producer's ranking was partially due to Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (2007), the third and final installment in the series that was the top-grossing movie in 2007.
2008
With the recessionary decline of revenue by newspapers and magazines, full-time professional film reviewers and columnists (at Time, Newsweek, The LA Times, Newsday, and The Village Voice, plus others) lost their positions, as the activity of film criticism moved from print form to online. In all, almost 30 reviewers left, were bought out, contracted, or fired during a two year period. That meant the ascendancy and explosion of online film criticism (and personal opinion) on blogs, Amazon, Metacritic, Rotten Tomatoes, and other sites.
2008
Summer of 2008 (defined as the first Friday in May through Labor Day Weekend) was a record-setting, box-office season, with $4.2 billion in US box-office. Super-heroes contributed about 30% of the $4.2 billion gross. The top five films of the entire year, with plots about comic-book and other super-heroes or other-worldly figures, were all released in the summer. They included: The Dark Knight (2008) (at $533.3 million) (opening in July, 2008), Iron Man (at $318.4 million) (opening in May, 2008), Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) (at $317.1 million) (opening in May, 2008), Hancock (at $228 million) (opening in July, 2008), and WALL*E (at $224 million) (opening in June, 2008).
2008
Director Spike Lee's Miracle at St. Anna (2008) was the first Hollywood feature film about African-American soldiers (portrayed by four black actors) who fought during World War II in the US Army (the all-black 92nd Infantry Division of Buffalo Soldiers) in the European theater.
2008
The romantic comedy Sex and the City (2008), based upon HBO's 1998-2004 cable TV series, was the biggest 'chick flick' on record at $153 million (domestic) and $415 million (worldwide).
2008
The gory series of Saw films, including Saw (2004), Saw II (2005), Saw III (2006), Saw IV (2007), and Saw V (2008), surpassed the Friday the 13th series of 11 films (with a total domestic gross of $315.6 million), as the highest-grossing horror series in film history, at $342.5 million (domestic). This would change, however, in the next year, with the release of Friday the 13th (2009).
2008
Female director Catherine Hardwicke's vampire romance Twilight (2008) earned $70.6 million in its opening weekend box-office, breaking the record for the biggest opening for a female director, previously held by Mimi Leder for Deep Impact (1998) at $41.1 million. At the time, it was the highest-grossing film (domestic) by a female director, at $193 million (domestic) and $385 million (worldwide), soon to be surpassed by its own sequel The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009), with $143 million in its opening weekend, and grossing $297 million (domestic) and $709.8 million (worldwide). The success of the Twilight films was attributable to the vastly female audiences that attended the showings. Catherine Hardwicke became the only female director to launch a successful franchise - so far. Demographically, 75 percent of the movie’s audience were female - and half were under 25, indicating that box-office success was due to this new fan-girl contingent of young "tweens."
2008
A record was established with Phyllida Lloyd’s Mamma Mia! (2008) - highest-grossing film (worldwide) directed by a woman, at $609.8 million (worldwide), yet only $144 million (domestic). This record would be surpassed in 2011.
2008
Film director, producer, and actor Sydney Pollack, who received two Oscars (including Best Director) for Best Picture winner Out of Africa (1985) and four other Academy Award nominations, died on May 26, 2008 at the age of 73 in Los Angeles, California. During his career, his films received a total of 48 Academy Awards nominations and won 11 Oscars.
2008
Actor, director, entrepreneur, and humanitarian Paul Newman died on September 26, 2008 at the age of 83 at his home in Westport, Connecticut. His sole Best Actor Oscar win (from eight Best Actor nominations) was for Martin Scorsese's The Color of Money (1986), with Newman reprising his role from the earlier film, The Hustler (1961). He was also nominated as Best Supporting Actor for Road to Perdition (2002).
2008
The 22nd official Bond film Quantum of Solace (2008) reached the $100 million mark faster than any other film in the 47 year-old 007 franchise - in only 9 days. (Die Another Day (2002) took 10 days to reach $100 million.) With its opening weekend of $67.5 million (domestic), it also shattered the previous best opening in the Bond franchise held by Die Another Day (2002) at $47.1 million. Quantum of Solace became the highest-grossing (domestic) Bond film ever at $168.3 million, besting Casino Royale (2006) at $167.4 million.
2008
Waltz with Bashir (2008, Israel) was the first animated film to be nominated in the Best Foreign Film Oscar category. Functioning partially as an oral-history documentary, the introspective, dream-like anti-war polemic was a confessional account of director Ari Folman's devastating and traumatic experience as a young Israeli soldier during his country's 1982 invasion of Lebanon, and its massacre of Palestinian refugees. It took two years to animate, and was completed by a team of artists who based their drawings on staged and videotaped interviews. The results were thick-lined, near-monochromatic animated images frequently seen in strange yellowish light.
2008
20th Century Fox announced that it would produce a sequel to its hit film Wall Street (1987), with both Oliver Stone back as director and Best Actor-winning Michael Douglas reprising his role as greedy Gordon Gekko. It was speculated it would be titled Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps (2010). The announcement occurred in October of 2008 during the country's major financial crisis, a week after the Dow suffered its worst weekly drop ever - a five-day 1,874-point decline (or 18% of its value), ending at a new five-year low of 8,451.19.
2008
From 1986 to 2008, actor Tom Cruise appeared in the most $100 million dollar-grossing films (15 blockbusters), making him the most 'over-paid' actor in big-budget movies. [Top Gun (1986), Rain Main (1988), A Few Good Men (1992), The Firm (1993), Interview with the Vampire (1994), Mission Impossible (1996), Jerry Maguire (1996), Mission: Impossible II (2000), Vanilla Sky (2001), Minority Report (2002), The Last Samurai (2003), Collateral (2004), War of the Worlds (2005), Mission: Impossible III (2006), and Valkyrie (2008).]
2008-2009
DreamWorks, which had been acquired by Viacom's Paramount in 2005, ended its troubled 2 1/2 year partnership with the studio in late 2008. A few months later in early 2009, DreamWorks realized its intentions to reinvent itself as an independent company. It signed a long-term, 30-picture distribution deal with the Disney Company for five-years. Future films would be released by Disney's Touchstone Pictures division.


Previous Page Next Page