Timeline of Greatest Film
Milestones and Turning Points
in Film History


The Year 2012

Timeline of Greatest Film History Milestones and Turning Points
(by decade and year)
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2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015

The Year 2012
Year
Event and Significance
2012
Pixar's 13th animated feature, the medieval fantasy epic Brave (2012) was the first in the studio's 25 year history to have a female lead character. It was also the studio's first fairy-tale film, and the studio's first period picture. The Scotland-set Disney-Pixar movie surpassed DreamWorks' Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted (2012) to become the summer's highest-grossing animated film (based on domestic box-office). The feisty, red-headed teenaged female star was archery expert and Scottish princess Merida, voiced by Kelly Macdonald. She was the daughter of King Fergus (Billy Connolly) and Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson), who sought for her to marry a local suitor, although she resisted and sought assistance from a witch (Julie Walters).
2012
According to the Guinness Book of Records, the most-portrayed characters in the movies were: the Devil (544), Santa (303), the Grim Reaper (290), Jesus (239), and God (231). The most-portrayed literary characters on screen were: Dracula (155), and Sherlock Holmes (147).
2012
Two bills before Congress, the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), were halted. The proposed anti-piracy legislation was designed by supporters in Hollywood (including the Motion Picture Association of America) to crack down on foreign websites that distribute bootleg movies and TV shows, and reportedly cost the entertainment industry billions of dollars annually. A counter-attack was successfully launched by a strong Internet and tech industry lobby with a well-publicized shutdown or "blackout" on Wednesday, January 18, 2012 of key Internet sites, including Wikipedia, Google (which blacked out its logo on its search page) and BoingBoing.net.
2012
The very successful R-rated chick-flick comedy and cultural phenomenon, Paul Feig-directed Bridesmaids (2011) written by Kristen Wiig and produced by Judd Apatow, was one of the primary influential forces to encourage more risque, female-driven comedies and independent films in coming years.
2012
Two of the oldest film studios celebrated their 100th year anniversaries (both were founded in 1912): the oldest (by one month), Paramount Pictures (now owned by media conglomerate Viacom, but founded as Famous Players Studios) and also the last major film studio still headquartered in Hollywood, and Universal Pictures (founded by Carl Laemmle originally, and now controlled by General Electric, the parent of NBC), with production studios in Universal City, CA.
2012
Disney's animated classic Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) celebrated its 75th year anniversary. It was the first animated feature-length film.
2012
The first in the long-running James Bond series of films, Dr. No (1962), celebrated its 50th year anniversary. As of 2012, 23 official James Bond films had been released, including the latest addition, Skyfall (2012), the third film with Daniel Craig as 007. It had the biggest opening weekend in the history of the entire 50-year franchise, with $88.4 million (domestic), and soon became the highest-grossing (domestic) film of the series. It was the first-ever billion-dollar (worldwide) Bond film.
2012
Four of the biggest box-office hits ever made were re-released in 3-D: Beauty and the Beast (1991), Star Wars: Episode 1: The Phantom Menace (1999), Titanic (1997), and Finding Nemo (2003).
2012
In early March of 2012, California's Hearst Castle hosted a screening of Orson Welles' Citizen Kane (1941), 71 years after its original release. It was part of the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival. One of Hollywood's most famous behind-the-scenes battles occurred over the making of the film, when William Randolph Hearst banned coverage of the film in his newspapers, and tried to curtail its success. He accused the film of wrongly portraying him as a ruthless, publishing tycoon who died alone in the castle. Steve Hearst, VP of the Hearst Corporation, who allowed the screening, believed that it would highlight the fictional elements in the movie, and "correct the record." Proceeds from the screening raised money for upkeep of the estate's extensive art collection.
2012
'Found-footage' films became extremely popular, even more than 10 years after the breakthrough The Blair Witch Project (1999) that kick-started the sub-genre, possibly due to the influence of home-made YouTube videos and reality TV. [Actually, one of the earliest "found-footage" films was the controversially banned Cannibal Holocaust (1980, It.) by director Ruggero Deodato.] In 2012, the small-budgeted, profitable, shakily hand-held films without star power included the superhero sci-fi thriller Chronicle (2012), the horror thriller The Devil Inside (2012), and the high school party comedy Project X (2012). Other 'found-footage' video-camcorder films in previous years that were unbelievably successful smash hits included J.J. Abrams' monster film Cloverfield (2008) and director Oren Peli's Paranormal Activity (2009) (and its sequels).
2012
The top debuting Dr. Seuss film was the 3-D animated Dr. Seuss' The Lorax (2012) (at $70.2 million), easily surpassing opening weekend domestic totals for How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) (at $55 million). It was virtually tied as the biggest opening ever for a non-sequel animated film with The Incredibles (2004) (at $70.5 million).
2012
Controversy arose over the ratings to be given to the good-intentioned documentary Bully (2012), a timely and insightful film about the eye-opening social issue of bullying and teen cruelty. The MPAA was accused of being a 'bully' itself for slapping the film with an R-rating (for its use of profanity a half-dozen times - the F-word), thereby effectively making it difficult for teenagers to see the film and be helped and/or affected by it. The harrowing film was thereby released by the Weinstein Company as un-rated, while Weinstein's attorneys painted the MPAA as antiquated, punitive and arbitrary.
2012
The tremendous success of PG-13 rated The Hunger Games (2012) portended that it would become one of the more successful films of all-time, and would blossom into a new series or franchise. The film was based upon the best-selling book by Suzanne Collins. It set a record for the largest opening night box-office revenue for a non-sequel. It also had the fourth-biggest opening weekend in cinematic history (at $152.5 million (domestic)), just behind the # 1 film The Avengers (2012), the # 2 film Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 (2011), the # 3 film The Dark Knight Rises (2012), and # 4 The Dark Knight (2008). Star Jennifer Lawrence became the highest-grossing action heroine ever when Games earned $408 million (domestic).
2012
James Cameron's blockbuster epic Titanic (1997) was re-released in 3-D, a conversion that cost $18 million and took 60 weeks of intensive labor. The date of its re-release on April 4th coincided with the 100th anniversary of the real-life sinking of the Titanic, on April 14th in 1912. The story of the ill-fated and tragic journey of the White Star liner was captured on a number of disaster films, including Titanic (1953) starring Barbara Stanwyck and Clifton Webb, and the J. Arthur Rank production of A Night to Remember (1958), based on Walter Lord's best-selling book. Other Titanic-related films included Atlantic (1929), Cavalcade (1933), History is Made at Night (1937), The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1964), S.O.S. Titanic (1979) - a made-for-TV movie, the box-office flop Raise the Titanic (1980), bits of Time Bandits (1981) and Ghostbusters II (1989), and the two-part CBS-TV movie Titanic (1996) starring George C. Scott.
2012
Board Game-based movies made a comeback with the blockbuster Battleship (2012), from Comcast Corp.'s Universal Pictures, with a reported production budget of $200 million. The Hasbro toymaker's search-and-destroy game was the first adaptation of a popular naval board game since Clue (1985), which was a major flop. Hollywood proved once again that it was betting on toy-based games, after the success of three Transformers films and the recent G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009). The film industry was relying on a familiar storyline, as it had often done with sequels, prequels, reboots, remakes, and adapted novels or comics. If successful, other future-planned Hasbro-game-adaptations included Universal's Ouija (2013), Sony Corp's Risk and Candy Land, and Relativity's Stretch Armstrong (2014).
2012
J.R.R. Tolkien's classic tale The Hobbit, about Bilbo Baggins' epic adventures in Middle-Earth, was first published in Sept. 21, 1937 - 75 years ago. It has inspired many other fantasy tales, including the author's own The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Director Peter Jackson's film adaptation, the LOTR's prequel The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012), the first of a three part epic film series, was released on December, 2012. It was filmed with new technology that used 48 images (or frames) for every second of footage rather than the traditional 24 frames per second rate, thereby enhancing clarity and smoothness for 3-D viewing (reducing eye strain). It was the first major theatrical movie that was not 24 fps, to produce a more immersive and vivid cinematic world (without strobing, motion blur, or flicker). Warner Bros. became the first studio to release a major Hollywood movie in 48 frames a second.
2012
The 3-D superhero tale Marvel's The Avengers (2012), produced by Disney-owned Marvel Studios, set an unprecedented $207.4 million for its opening weekend, knocking off the previous all-time weekend record set by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 (2011) last summer (at $169.2 million). It also took other all-time honors: the fastest movie ever to reach $100 million, $150 million, and $200 million, and new records for Saturday ($69.6 million) and Sunday ($57.1 million) grosses, and the highest per-theater average ever for a nationwide release with $47,698. The Avengers made this the first summer since 2003 (with Finding Nemo) when the top grossing movie was not a true sequel (although there were four Marvel superhero prequels before this one (Iron Man, the Incredible Hulk, Thor, and Captain America). Its worldwide totals made it the all-time top film not directed by James Cameron.
2012
A Cry in the Dark (1988) was an Australian film about a mother (Oscar-nominated Meryl Streep) who protested that her child was taken by a dingo (indigenous wild dog) in the outback of the Northern Territory ("The dingo took my baby"). The story was based upon a real-life incident, occurring on August 17, 1980 when 9 week-old Azaria Chamberlain disappeared from the family's campsite in Ayers Rock (Australia). The prime suspect was the mother, Lindy Chamberlain, who faced decades of trumped-up charges against her, and a ruling convicting her of murder in 1982. [Lindy's conviction was overturned in 1986 and she was released from prison when some of the child's clothing was found near a dingo den.] In June of 2012, almost 30 years later during the fourth and hopefully final inquest into the baby's death, an Australian coroner ruled that Azaria was in fact killed in a dingo attack.
2012
2012 marked the 30th anniversary of Steven Spielberg's E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) about a loveable alien creature, which forever memorialized Reese's Pieces and boosted young Drew Barrymore's career. A sequel was never made, although on the 20th anniversary of the film, Spielberg digitally removed guns from the policemen's hands and changed the Halloween scene's line "You are not going as a terrorist!" to "You are not going as a hippie!"
2012
As a result of the movie theatre shooting massacre in Aurora, Colorado during the midnight showing of the final installment of the Batman saga The Dark Knight Rises (2012), Hollywood movie studios decided that they would not report the film's weekend ticket sales out of respect for the victims - it was a modern-day first for the film industry. Some considered the Christopher Nolan superhero trilogy tragically cursed, after actor Heath Ledger (portraying the Joker in the second film The Dark Knight (2008)) died of an accidental drug overdose just before the film premiered. Later, The Dark Knight Rises (2012) became the highest-grossing Batman movie ever, and one of only a small group of films to reach $1 billion worldwide.
2012
The comics character of Batman starred in eight full-length live-action movies from 1966 to 2012. It was a record for the most movie adaptations of a comic character.
2012
2012 marked the 50th anniversary of the character of Spider-Man, who first appeared in the August 1962 issue of the Amazing Fantasy (#15) comic book. Spidey (Peter Parker) would go on to become the iconic face of Marvel Comics and next to Superman, probably the most popular comic-book character ever created.
2012
As of the end of 2012, Stan Lee's comics had been adapted into Hollywood movies 16 times - a record for the most movies from the work of a comic book creator. X-Men (5 films), Spider-Man (4 films), the Hulk (2 films), Iron Man (2 films), Fantastic Four (2 films), Marvel's The Avengers (1 film).
2012
The French comedy The Intouchables (2012, Fr.) earned enough revenue to become the top grossing foreign-language film of the year.
2012
2012 marked the 15th anniversary of the original release of James Cameron's Titanic (1997), and it also marked the 100th anniversary of the epic sinking of the Titanic (on April 14, 1912). The film was re-released in 3-D in April of the year.
2012
The year 2012 marked the 100th anniversary of the character of Tarzan, an Edgar Rice Burroughs creation. Tarzan first appeared in the novel Tarzan of the Apes - A Romance of the Jungle (first published in The All-Story pulp magazine in October 1912, and again published as a novel in 1914). The first Tarzan film was Tarzan of the Apes (1918), with Elmo Lincoln in the lead role.
2012
The summer's top three non-animated blockbusters, taking into account worldwide box-office totals, were all based on comic-book super-heroes: Marvel's The Avengers (2012), The Dark Knight Rises (2012), and The Amazing Spider-Man (2012).
2012
Three of the top ten summer hits (based upon domestic grosses) were animated films: Pixar's Brave (2012), DreamWorks' Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted (2012), and Fox/Blue Sky's Ice Age: Continental Drift (2012). Three other animated titles also did extremely well during the year -- Illumination's Dr. Seuss' The Lorax (2012), Disney Animation's Wreck-It Ralph (2012), and Sony Pictures Animation's Hotel Transylvania (2012). It was interesting to note that all six films came from different animation houses.
2012
Films with political themes or tie-ins, usually poor performers at the box-office, did very well during 2012 - a contentious election year. Lincoln (2012) at $134.2 million (at year's end), Argo (2012) at $108.7 million (at year's end), and the Will Ferrell-Zach Galifianakis comedy The Campaign (2012) at $86.9 million (one of the biggest comedy hits of the year). The controversial documentary 2016: Obama's America (2012) was the second-highest-grossing political documentary ever with $33.5 million (domestic).
2012
Disney purchased San Francisco-based Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion, with approximately half in cash and half in shares of Disney stock. The negotiations were between founder George Lucas and Disney CEO Robert Iger. [This was the third major purchase for Disney in 6 years. In 2009, they acquired Marvel for $3.96 billion, and in 2006 purchased Pixar Animation Studios for $7.6 billion.] Disney also announced that it would begin releasing new live-action Star Wars films, the first in 2015 (tentatively titled Episode 7), and two additional films, released biannually, to complete a third trilogy. In addition, Disney's purchase gave it ownership of special-effects company Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), sound company Skywalker Sound and video game publisher LucasArts.
2012
The last (fifth) film in the 7 year-long franchise of Twilight films was released - The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2 (2012). With its strong opening, Twilight became the first franchise ever to have three movies earn over $130 million in their first three days. Its studio, Lionsgate/Summit, passed the $1 billion mark at ($1.26 billion) for the first time in the company's history. [Lionsgate/Summit's other lucrative film was The Hunger Games (2012) - it ranked third at the domestic box office with an incredible $408 million.] The entire vampire franchise, based upon Stephenie Meyer's vampire novels featuring the tortured love affair of Edward and Bella (Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart), was very influential in creating a crazed interest in the world of the paranormal. And it showed that the main audience for the films, young adults - teen girls and their mothers (and bloggers), were a hot and powerful influence.
2012
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2 (2012) was 'honored' with 10 Razzie Awards nominations - a nomination in every single category. In early 2013, it was awarded with seven Razzies, including Worst Picture, Worst Actress (Kristen Stewart), Worst Supporting Actor (Taylor Lautner), Worst Screen Couple (Mackenzie Foy and Taylor Lautner), Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-off or Sequel, Worst Director (Bill Condon), and Worst Screen Ensemble (entire cast).
2012
Bucking the trend that the biggest films would be planned for release in the summer, at least three films disproved the theory: Dr. Seuss' The Lorax (2012) (released in early March earned $214 million domestic), 21 Jump Street (2012) (released in mid-March earned $138.5 million domestic), and The Hunger Games (2012) (released in late March earned $408 million domestic).
2012
An often-neglected demographic - movie-going adults over 50, demonstrated that there were some appealing movie choices for them in 2012: Hope Springs (2012) (at $64 million domestic), and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2012) (at $46 million domestic).
2012
After seven years of declining home entertainment revenue (due to decreased standard DVD sales), US home audiences in 2012 spent more money watching movies at home than they did in 2011. [Note: It must be noted that spending on high-definition Blu-ray discs did rise 10% in 2012, generating larger profits for studios than standard DVD sales.] The increase in home entertainment revenues was due, in part, to increased downloading and streaming of movies from digital sources and the Internet (through devices including smartphones, tablets, and SMART TVs), including buying and renting from digital services (such as Netflix Inc., Apple Inc.'s iTunes and Amazon.com Inc.). As an incentive to prospective digital purchasers, studios are also accelerating their offerings of movies for sale online before they can be bought on disc. A coming trend will involve a new technology dubbed Ultraviolet that will allow consumers to store digital copies of movies in the cloud.
2012
Worldwide spending on movies rose more than 2% in 2012 to $62.4 billion. (This followed years of little or no growth, or decline). It was expected that this trend would continue for the forseeable future. Spending on movie tickets increased 7% to $33.4 billion as more people visited theaters in every region of the world. In particular, spending in China, Japan, and India was a major contributor to the growth.
2012
According to a study (conducted by the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University) regarding female employment in the movie industry, women were vastly under-represented. They comprised just 18 percent of all directors, executive producers, producers, writers, cinematographers, and editors working on the top 250 grossing films of 2012. The alarming statistic in the so-called "Celluloid Ceiling" study showed no change from 2011 and an increase of only one percent since 1998. It stated that women usually direct only romantic comedies, while the Hollywood 'boys-club' regularly employ men to make the bigger blockbusters comprised of action and super-hero films.
2012
A documentary titled Room 237 (2012) speculated that Kubrick's film The Shining (1980) was possibly a veiled and hidden film about the Holocaust, and/or about the genocide of Native Americans. It also made the outlandish claim that Kubrick may have directed the 'fake footage' of the Apollo moon landings (a favorite theory of conspiracy believers).
2012
One of the major box-office trends of 2012 was that Hollywood films were beginning to earn more internationally than domestically, with China poised as the fastest-growing worldwide market. China was becoming a significant and lucrative film market - in second place behind the US North American market. In 2012, China's total box-office revenue increased 36% to $2.7 billion, and it was predicted to overtake US box-office revenue in 2017. To increase revenue shares even more and make US films more appealing to Chinese audiences, some film studios were adapting or creating Chinese versions of major films - with bonus footage.
2012
By the end of 2012, the number of domestic 3-D screens increased to almost 15,000, more than four times the count in 2009.


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