Milestones and Turning Points
in Film History
The Year 2013
(by decade and year)
Introduction | Pre-1900s | 1900s | 1910s | 1920s | 1930s | 1940s | 1950s
1960s | 1970s | 1980s | 1990s | 2000s | 2010s
|Event and Significance|
|Hollywood celebrated over the year 2013 -- it was a record-setting
year at the box office, with domestic revenues hitting close to $11 billion
for the first time - the largest annual take ever. [Note: Analysts surmised
that this was due to higher ticket prices, not actual attendance (which
remained flat). The actual number of tickets sold domestically in 2013
remained about the same as the previous year's 1.36 billion (down from
the all-time high of 1.57 billion admissions in 2002).] This milestone
was a remarkable feat, considering the number of high-profile flops (i.e., The
Lone Ranger (2013), R.I.P.D. (2013), Turbo (2013), Jack the Giant Slayer
(2013) and After Earth (2013)), although those disasters were
counteracted by other strong showings (i.e., Iron Man 3 (2013), The
Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013), Gravity (2013), and Fast
& Furious 6 (2013)).
In many cases, films that flopped or performed less well in the US did much better overseas: some examples include Pacific Rim (2013), The Wolverine (2013), Elysium (2013), Turbo (2013), The Hangover Part III (2013), A Good Day to Die Hard (2013), Oblivion (2013), Escape Plan (2013), and Epic (2013).
|Paramount Pictures has become the first major studio to stop releasing movies on film in the US - its Will Ferrell comedy Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (2013) was their last film released on 35 mm film. And their first major all-digital release was Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street (2013). It is possible that by the end of 2014, the phase-out from 35 mm to digital will be complete for the motion picture industry. This milestone decision may have some impact on box-office revenue -- not all US movie theater screens are equipped to show movies only on film - about 8% of US theaters still show movies in film only. About 1,000 independent theaters have not transitioned to digital. However, 92% of 40,045 screens in the US have converted to digital, according to the National Association of Theatre Owners. In response to this problem, Paramount committed itself to exhibitors by helping to replace film projectors with digital systems (at a cost of $70,000 each), or to install satellite systems to receive digitally-beamed movies. The reasons for the change were financial -- this would substantially reduce the cost of delivering movie prints to theaters.|
|The shoot-em-up action film Bullet to the Head (2013) was 67 year-old Sylvester Stallone's worst debut ever for a film playing in more than 1,000 theatres. There were many other action film flops at the same time that did poor domestic box-office: Broken City (2013), Taylor Hackford's Parker (2013) with Jennifer Lopez, 66 year-old Arnold Schwarzenegger's (return from politics) R-rated action film The Last Stand (2013), and the sequel A Good Day to Die Hard (2013) with Bruce Willis. Later in the year, the aging 80s action duo Schwarzenegger and Stallone teamed up for the action thriller Escape Plan (2013), budgeted at $50 million. It fared well overseas (with $98.2 million in foreign only revenue), although domestically, it took in only $24.9 million.|
|The most successful film of the year in the first quarter was Buena Vista's expensive remake of the classic 1939 film, Oz: the Great and Powerful (2013) with $235 million (domestic) and $493.3 million (worldwide). The first big test of box-office revenue was in May, when four major sequels hit theaters: Iron Man 3 (2013), Star Trek Into Darkness (2013), Fast & Furious 6 (2013), and The Hangover: Part 3 (2013).|
|Two legendary stars, who became prominent after their
appearances in Best Picture-winning films, passed away:
(1) 96 year-old Joan Fontaine (1917-2013) - the younger sister of two-time Oscar winner Olivia de Havilland, her life-long rival. Fontaine was nominated as Best Actress three times (with one win), for Hitchcock's Rebecca (1940) and Suspicion (1941) (her sole win), and The Constant Nymph (1943). She was the only performer to ever win an Academy Award in a film directed by Hitchcock. Fontaine and Olivia de Havilland are the only set of siblings who have won lead acting Academy Awards. Her film career was notable for playing opposite Orson Welles in Jane Eyre (1943), and Louis Jourdan in Max Ophuls' Letter From an Unknown Woman (1948).
(2) 81 year-old Peter O'Toole (1932-2013) - a stage thespian who played the role of British adventurer T.E. Lawrence in David Lean's Lawrence of Arabia (1962). As Lawrence the title character, O'Toole received his first of eight Oscar nominations, without ever winning - an Academy Award record. His other nominations were for Becket (1964), The Lion in Winter (1968), Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1969), The Ruling Class (1972), The Stunt Man (1980), My Favorite Year (1982) and Venus (2006). However, he did receive an Honorary Lifetime Achievement Academy Award in 2003.
|The visual-effects industry reached a crisis stage as many of the VFX houses struggled to survive or closed. In late 2012, Digital Domain (co-founded by James Cameron) declared bankruptcy and its assets were sold to new Indian and Chinese owners. And in early 2013, Rhythm & Hues also filed for Chapter 11 and laid off 250 workers, and was soon acquired by an affiliate of Prana Studios. (Shortly afterwards, Rhythm & Hues won an Oscar for its work on director Ang Lee's acclaimed Life of Pi (2012)). A glut of VFX houses, lack of work (and fewer films), expensive overhead costs with tiny profit margins, non-unionized VFX workers, and competition from cheaper labor overseas were some of the factors for the growing problem.|
|Django Unchained (2013) became the highest-grossing film in director Quentin Tarantino's career. It paid homage to the 91 minute Sergio Corbucci violent spaghetti-western classic Django (1966) with Italian actor Franco Nero in the lead role. Django was a gun-slinging drifter known for dragging behind him a coffin with a large machine gun, and confronting bad guys in a muddy ghost town. [Note: Django also referred to the renowned jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt with a crippled hand.]|
|With his debut feature film Evil Dead (2013), director Fede Alvarez remade Sam Raimi's cabin-in-the-woods horror cult classic Evil Dead (1981), affectionately recreating the over-the-top gore, blood, and slapstick.|
|The surprise hit Instructions Not Included (2013), director Eugenio Derbez's father-daughter dramedy, became the highest-grossing Spanish-language film ever in the U.S. The family comedy took in $44.5 million (domestic) since Labor Day. According to the MPAA's 2012 theatrical market report, Hispanics made up only 17% of the population, but 26% of frequent moviegoers. However, there were very few movies made each year specifically targeted towards Hispanics.|
|Films with various milestone anniversaries:
50th: Alfred Hitchcock's eco-horror thriller The Birds (1963), the expensive lengthy epic Cleopatra (1963), the classic POW drama The Great Escape (1963), and the cameo-filled comedy It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963) about a frantic scavenger hunt for treasure.
30th: the high-school comedy satire Risky Business (1983) with a young Tom Cruise, the last film in the original trilogy Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983), the glorified music video Flashdance (1983), and the holiday movie classic A Christmas Story (1983).
25th: the original Die Hard (1988) with action-hero Bruce Willis, Best Picture-winning Rain Man (1988), and the contemporary remake of Dickens' A Christmas Carol titled Scrooged (1988) with Bill Murray.
20th: writer/director Nora Ephron's romantic comedy Sleepless in Seattle (1993) with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks reworking An Affair to Remember (1957), Spielberg's Best Picture-winning historical Holocaust drama Schindler's List (1993), and the Capra-esque Groundhog Day (1993).
|Legendary film critic Roger Ebert died at the age of 70 after a long battle with thyroid cancer. He had come to major prominence as a co-host with Chicago Tribune writer Gene Siskel on Siskel and Ebert and the Movies, a long-running TV review show beginning in 1986. Although he drew some scorn from other critics for his thumbs-up and thumbs-down ratings that they claimed trivialized film criticism, it became a trademark, well-known standard of judgment. Ebert became the first film critic to win a Pulitzer Prize in 1975 for his Chicago Sun-Times reviews. His columns were syndicated to more than 200 newspapers in the United States and abroad, and he wrote more than 15 books, many by reissuing his columns. In 2005, he became the first film critic to be honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.|
|70 year-old Annette Funicello passed away from complications related to her multiple sclerosis. She began her career as a Mousketeer child star on Disney's The Mickey Mouse Club TV-show in the mid-1950s, and soon was its most popular star. Later, she appeared in a number of wholesome Disney productions (the 1957 TV series Zorro, and movies including The Shaggy Dog (1959), Babes in Toyland (1961) and The Monkey's Uncle (1965)), and also teamed with teen idol-singer Frankie Avalon for a series of 1960s fun-on-the-beach films, including Beach Party (1963), Muscle Beach Party (1964), Bikini Beach (1964), Beach Blanket Bingo (1965) and How to Stuff a Wild Bikini (1965).|
|On its 20th anniversary, director Steven Spielberg's blockbuster mega-hit sci-fi adventure film Jurassic Park (1993), a ground-breaking technological adaptation of Michael Crichton's book, was re-released in 3-D and IMAX.|
|Writer/director Tyler Perry's Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor (2013) was a significant milestone for the consistently successful film-maker, star and director. He became one of only three directors (with Steven Spielberg and Robert Zemeckis) who had, in their careers, at least 9 movies that opened to more than $20 million. In its first week of release, Temptation took in $21.6 million at the box-office (on opening weekend). It was the best start ever for a non-Madea, non-sequel Tyler Perry movie. However, another Perry film - Tyler Perry Presents Peeples (2013) bombed - possibly because Perry only produced rather than appeared in or directed the film.|
|Johnny Depp (from the Pirates of the Caribbean series) was reunited with director Gore Verbinski and producer Jerry Bruckheimer in Disney's big-budget The Lone Ranger (2013), promising to be the most expensive Hollywood western ever made. It told the age-old story of a lawman-turned-masked-vigilante (Armie Hammer) and his partner, a Native American warrior named Tonto (Johnny Depp). The revisionist western that remade the 1950's TV show was cooly received and was a major box-office flop, partly due to the backlash over its portrayal of Tonto. Budgeted at $215 million, the film earned only $89.3 million, and Disney reportedly took a $190 million write-down..|
|The summer super-hero blockbuster Iron Man 3 (2013) from Walt Disney Studios became only the 16th film to gross more than $1 billion worldwide, and the first in Marvel Studios' Tony Stark trilogy to pass that milestone. The other two films in the franchise did lesser box-office: Iron Man 2 (2010) at $623.9 million (worldwide), and Iron Man (2008) at $585.2 million (worldwide).|
|The prequel Monsters University (2013) marked the 14th consecutive film to open at No. 1 in the US, in Pixar's 18-year history. Since its first animated release in 1995, Pixar has seen every one of its 14 films debut at # 1. Monsters University had the second-highest opening ever for the Northern California-based company at $82 million (the three-day total), behind the $110.3 million launch of Toy Story 3 (2010). It eventually went on to take in $744 million globally (and $268.5 domestically).|
|The year marked the 25th anniversary of the murderous, wise-cracking doll character Chucky, a toy possessed by the spirit of a serial killer, who first appeared in the surprise hit horror movie Child's Play (1988). The original film spawned four sequels (1990, 1991, 1998, and 2004), and a fifth sequel in the franchise, titled Curse of Chucky (2013) appeared in the fall in digital video format (rather than theatrically).|
|This was the 50th anniversary of funnyman Jerry Lewis' best comedy - The Nutty Professor (1963), a parody of Robert Louis Stevenson's tale of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The bucktoothed, absent-minded university chemistry professor Dr. Julius Kelp (Lewis) drank serum and was turned into the confident, extroverted, night-club singing hipster Buddy Love - reportedly a parody of Lewis’s former partner Dean Martin. The film was remade by Eddie Murphy in 1996, with the same title (and a sequel in the year 2000).|
|Zombie films continue to intrigue and spark interest
among film-makers (and film-goers). AMC's episodic series The
the romantic zombie comedy Warm Bodies (2013), and Marc Forster's
big-budget zombie apocalypse film World War Z (2013) with Brad
Pitt provided strong proof. Two recent 2012 zombie films (both released
in mid-2013), the high-school horror-comedy Detention
of the Dead (2012) and
the bizarrely-themed low-budget comedy Cockneys vs. Zombies (2012) were
The rights to remake George Romero's 1985 zombie classic, Day of the Dead (1985), were bought by two of the executive producers of the rebooted Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013). The producers expected to release their remake, budgeted at between $10-20 million, in theaters in 2014. They also stated that they would honor Romero's original film, about military personnel and scientists hiding from the undead in a bunker.
|The remake of Brian DePalma's original horror film (a Stephen King classic) about a telekinetic teenager, Carrie (2013), was the only pre-Halloween-timed feature film - the only new horror film in October. [Note: 2013 was the first October since 2004 without a Saw or Paranormal Activity movie.] It just barely surpassed its $30 million budget with $35.3 million (domestic) revenue and $78.6 million (worldwide).|
|The highest grossing movies of the summer (and year) of
2013 were Iron Man 3 (2013), Despicable Me 2 (2013), Man of
Steel (2013), and Disney's/Pixar's Monsters University (2013).
But many of the most high-profile, highly-tauted, special effects-laden,
expensive films were tremendous flops, including Will Smith's and Sony
Pictures' $130 million sci-fi epic After Earth (2013), Warners'
comedy The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (2013), Guillermo del Toro's
robot-creature fantasy feature Pacific Rim (2013) (a major flop
domestically but not internationally), Johnny Depp's and Walt Disney's
western remake The Lone Ranger (2013), the DC action picture White
House Down (2013) with Channing Tatum, DreamWorks' Turbo (2013), Bryan
Singer's Jack The Giant Slayer (2013), R.I.P.D. (2013) (aka Rest in
Peace Department), and The Smurfs 2 (2013).
R.I.P.D. (2013) was a prime example - it took in $33.6 million (domestic) and $78 million (worldwide) - less than half its production budget of $130 million. The Smurfs 2 (2013) was lucky - it was saved by more than $150 million in corporate tie-ins. And Pacific Rim (2013), budgeted at $190 million, barely cleared $100 million in domestic revenue ($101.8 million), but took in more than that total in China alone, and offset most of its expenses with foreign (only) revenue of $305.8 million.
Because many lesser, lower-budgeted films did quite well during the same time frame, a new trend may have been established - fewer $100 million + big-budget blockbusters scheduled during the summer months.
|Much more modest, low-budget B-films (comedies, cheaply-made animations and horror pictures) fared much better than expensive blockbusters, such as Adam Sandler's crude comedy Grown Ups 2 (2013), the R-rated Jennifer Aniston-Jason Sudeikis pot comedy We're the Millers (2013), and the female cop comedy The Heat (2013) with Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock. Seth Rogen's and Evan Goldberg's directorial debut film, a modestly-budgeted, R-rated summer comedy titled This Is the End (2013) also did very well. It told about young stars (as themselves) partying during the apocalypse - due to strong word of mouth, it went on to revenues of $101.5 million (domestic). Likewise, horror films performed extremely well all year - all opened at over $25 million and closed over $55 million (domestic). Examples included: Mama (2013), Sony's gory supernatural remake Evil Dead (2013), The Purge (2013), Insidious Chapter 2 (2013), and the very profitable paranormal horror film The Conjuring (2013).|
|Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock starred in the year's highest grossing comedy and the year's biggest R-rated movie - Paul Fieg's buddy-cop comedy romp The Heat (2013). It brought in $159.6 million domestically and $230 million worldwide for Fox.|
|One of the most highly-anticipated, praised, and successful films of the year was a second hit for Sandra Bullock - Alfonso Cuaron's 3D space epic and disaster thriller Gravity (2013), with opening weekend totals of $55.8 million. Since then, it has rocketed to more than $650 million worldwide (and more than $255 million domestically).|
|Sony was hoping that the next young-adult franchise-blockbuster (after the successes of Harry Potter, the Twilight films and The Hunger Games) would follow after the opening of The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (2013), budgeted at $60 million. However, low box-office returns ($31.2 million domestic, and $80.2 million worldwide) doomed the book series, written by Cassandra Clare, although a sequel was already greenlit -- The Mortal Instruments: City of Ashes (2014). Another disappointing, dismal and failed attempt at a teen-oriented film was the sci-fi thriller The Host (2013), with a production budget of $40 million. It was based on a young adult series written by Twilight author Stephenie Meyer, but took in only $26.6 million (domestic) and $48.2 million (worldwide). Another failed effort was Richard LaGravenese’s young adult fantasy adaptation Beautiful Creatures (2013).|
|The average cost of a US movie theatre ticket, at $8.38 per ticket, was recorded as the highest on record (although adjusted for inflation, was less than 40 years ago when the average was $1.76). The surge, up from $7.96 a year ago, was mostly due to the $3-$5 surcharge on 3-D and IMAX tickets (for films such as The Great Gatsby (2013) and Iron Man 3 (2013)). Revenues were slightly improving, although audience attendance was definitely shrinking at a faster pace - down 3%.|
|The latest Superman sequel Man of Steel (2013) starring Henry Cavill, with a production budget of $225 million, took in box-office gross receipts of $291+ million (domestic) and $662.8+ million (worldwide). Its success boded well - it set the stage for the upcoming Warner Bros.' Batman-Superman movie and, presumably, a Justice League franchise.|
|Universal's ultra-violent teen film sequel Kick Ass 2 (2013), with a production budget of $28 million, starred 11 year-old actress Chloe Moretz, controversially noted for extreme levels of profanity and violence. After the Sandy Hook school shootings which claimed the lives of 20 children and six adults in December 2012, star Jim Carrey (as masked vigilante Colonel Stars and Stripes) withdrew his support for the comic book film - citing its 'level of violence.' The film was released in August of 2013, ultimately taking in $28.8 million (domestic) and $59.6 million (worldwide).|
|Although consumers were continuing to spend less on DVD purchases, total spending for home movies actually grew 2% in the first half of 2013 (to $8.63 billion). Purchases included accessing and/or owning electronic-digital copies of movies, DVDs and Blu-rays (slightly more expensive), and subscriptions to streaming services (such as Netflix). The main businesses to benefit included Amazon.com, Apple's iTunes, Best Buy's CinemaNow, Google Play, and Wal-Mart's Vudu. Ultraviolet, an online storage service for consumers' purchased digital content, also increased its business. Businesses that were declining included the rental spending sector (but not VOD) and video rental kiosks (such as Redbox).|
|Entertainment dollars earned from attendance at the local multiplex were being threatened by numerous portable devices, advanced home theater systems, and video-on-demand (VOD) services which offered original premium programming and feature films the same day as their theatrical release.|
|Film studios took advantage of the proliferation and use of social media to produce positive word-of-mouth and boost sales. Twitter and other services provided a powerful marketing tool for the film industry.|
|By 2013, the golden age or craze for 3-D films had hit some lows - fewer and fewer 3-D ticket sales (usually averaging $3.50 more per ticket) were seriously declining. Consistently, shares of 3-D grosses were below 40% of total grosses. Many reasons were given to assess the problem, including fatigue with inferior 3-D products, and unnecessary post-conversions of films to 3-D. Despite these troubling numbers, Hollywood remained committed to at least five dozen 3-D movies through 2016.|
|Two of the biggest low-budget horror films of the summer, both originals, were the haunted-house chiller The Conjuring (2013) and The Purge (2013), about a deadly home invasion by masked intruders.|
|The fourth and latest installment in the Jackass franchise (budgeted at $15 million) was MTV Films and Paramount's R-rated comedy Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa (2013), featuring Johnny Knoxville as foul-mouthed 86-year-old Irving Zisman terrorizing innocent bystanders in hidden camera stunts. It did surprisingly well, taking in over $100 million at the domestic box-office. The entire franchise has grossed over $355 million (domestic). The Jackass TV show began on MTV in 2000, followed quickly by big-screen feature films in 2002, 2006, 2010, and 2013 - improving (or holding steady) with each outing.|
|Young pop star Selena Gomez struggled to break into big-time feature films with two mediocre efforts: writer/director Harmony Korine's controversial Spring Breakers (2013) at $14.1 million (domestic), and the late-summer thriller-dud Getaway (2013) at $10.5 million.|
|The timely Dreamworks/Disney biopic The Fifth Estate (2013) was a major financial flop in the US and abroad. Bill Condon's film dramatized the 'ripped-from-the-headlines' story of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange (Benedict Cumberbatch portrayed the Australian activist). The real-life Assange, seeking asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden to face questioning about a sexual assault charge, disowned the film before it opened when he criticized the film's script. WikiLeaks labeled the film "irresponsible, counterproductive and harmful." Assange's ex-right-hand partner, Daniel Domscheit-Berg (portrayed by James McAvoy) wrote the book Inside WikiLeaks: My Time With Julian Assange At The World's Most Dangerous Website which partially served as the basis for the biopic. Ultimately, the $28 million dollar film took in only $3.2 million (domestic) and $8.5 million (worldwide).|
|The Wizard of Oz (1939) was released for an exclusive, one-week run on IMAX screens in a 3-D version from Warner Brothers. This mini-release was designed to promote a 5-disc home video set, which included a version playable on 3-D televisions. It was part of an IMAX strategy intended to create unusual large-screen events during the late summer and early fall weeks after the blockbuster business had subsided.|
|Studios began to expand their definition of "opening weekend," by premiering blockbusters (such as Iron Man 3 (2013), World War Z (2013), and White House Down (2013)) on Thursday evenings rather than at Thursday midnight screenings (Friday at 12:01 am). This caused a major shift in figuring out box-office totals, since Thursday grosses were now being added to traditional weekend totals.|
|The six highest-grossing films of the summer of 2013 were sequels, prequels, or reboots. The only two original titles in the top 10 were the female buddy-cop comedy The Heat (2013) and the low-budget horror film The Conjuring (2013). Four of this year's top 10 summer hits opened in May (rather than in July), compared to only two films last summer.|
|Animated films did very well in 2013 - especially Despicable Me 2 (2013) with $367.6 million (domestic) and $918.6 million (worldwide). However, originality was lacking since many animated films were franchise extensions, i.e., Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 (2013), The Smurfs 2 (2013), DisneyToon's Planes (2013) (similar to Pixar's Cars animations in 2006 and 2011), and Pixar's prequel Monsters University (2013). One exception was Disney's/Buena Vista's very original Frozen (2013) released around Thanksgiving. Frozen (2013) was the first animated feature in Disney's studio history to offer two princess heroines.|
|Fox's animated cave family film The Croods (2013) was a major overseas hit (foreign revenues totaled $400 million) - more than double its domestic revenue of $187.2 million. Its total worldwide take was $587.2 million.|
|Director Richard Linklater created a trilogy by further extending his look into the lives of Parisian female Celine (Julie Delpy) and American writer Jesse (Ethan Hawke), now in Greece, in Before Midnight (2013). Their realistic romance began in Before Sunrise (1995) (set in Vienna) and continued in Before Sunset (2004) (set in Paris).|
|89% of the over 40,000 US theatre screens were digital, up from 75% just one year earlier. This allowed exhibitors more flexibility in showtimes and number of showings per film, depending on demand and space.|
|Some of the most critically-praised films of the year explored the theme of civil rights and black struggles in America, including 42 (2013) about the breakthrough black baseball player Jackie Robinson, first-time director Ryan Coogler's Fruitvale Station (2013) - the Sundance Film Festival winner that told the true story of the fatal shooting of 22 year-old black Oscar Grant (Michael B. Jordan) by a white police officer on New Year's Eve in 2008, (Lee Daniels') The Butler (2013) about a White House butler (Forest Whitaker) who served eight Presidents, and director Steve McQueen's and Fox Searchlight's 12 Years a Slave (2013), the true-life story of free man Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor) who was kidnapped and returned to slavery in the pre-Civil War South ruled by the plantation aristocracy.|
|A study published in the journal titled Pediatrics noted that violence in films has more than doubled since 1950, and gun violence in PG-13 films (age 13+) has more than tripled since the PG-13 rating was first introduced in 1985. Since 2009, the amount of violence in PG-13 films has equaled or exceeded that found in R-rated (age 17+) films. Even if youth don't use guns, these findings suggested that they were exposed to increasing gun violence in top-selling films. The presence of weapons in films could amplify the effects of violent films on aggression.|
|Four Swedish cinemas and the Scandinavian cable TV channel Viasat Film incorporated a gender bias test into some of their ratings. A new rating was introduced to highlight gender bias (or lack of bias). They used the Swedish Bechdel test devised by graphic novelist Alison Bechdel (an American cartoonist, who introduced the test in 1985 in her comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For), to evaluate the presence and substantiality of female characters in fictional media. In order for a film to pass the test and receive an A rating, it had to meet the following three criteria: (1) it included at least two named females, (2) the two women had at least one conversation, (3) the conversation had to be about something other than a man or men. Critics felt that the focus on gender equality had gone too far, and that the rating did not reveal whether a movie was gender-balanced.|
|By the end of 2013, the highest grossing film was the superhero sequel Iron Man 3 (2013), at $1.21 billion worldwide (and $409 million domestic). It was the second-biggest superhero movie of all-time. Also, Thor: The Dark World (2013), Disney's second post-Avengers sequel, was on its way to $650 million at the worldwide box office. Both 'Marvel Cinematic Universe' films helped Disney post its best box-office year ever, with more than $4 billion globally. Two other sequels took the second and third slots: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013) and Illumination Entertainment's animated family film Despicable Me 2 (2013) - Universal's most profitable movie ever (at $367.6 million domestic, and $918.6 million worldwide).|
|In June, Amazon acquired Viacom (owner of MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, and other networks), previously aligned with Netflix. It was the online retailer's largest licensing deal to date. The result was that it could provide a slate of exclusive offerings on Amazon Prime.|
|Starring Vin Diesel and the late Paul Walker, Fast & Furious 6 (2013) became the franchise's most lucrative entry with $789 million worldwide (and $238.7 million domestic), and helped Universal to its best box-office year ever.|
|The latest X-Men franchise installment was The Wolverine (2013) - with mixed results. It had the lowest domestic opening of any movie in the X-Men franchise since the 2000 original film, at $53.1 million (domestic). It debuted a full 38% less than X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009), which opened at $85.1 million. However, it opened overseas with $86.5 million - the biggest international launch for any X-Men film. Of all the X-Men films, it had the lowest domestic revenue total (to date) at $132.6 million, but it also had the highest foreign (only) revenue total at $282.3 million.|
|12 Years A Slave (2013) won Best Picture, while Gravity (2013) took home the most honors with seven Oscars. 12 Years A Slave marked the first time in Oscar history that a movie directed by a black filmmaker (Steve McQueen) won Best Picture. 12 Years A Slave joined Argo (2012) and Crash (2005) as the only Best Picture winners in the last 30 years to win three or less Oscars. Interestingly, all three films won Best Picture without winning the Best Director Oscar. Gravity was the first film since Cabaret (1972) (with eight wins) to win seven or more Oscars and still not win Best Picture. Gravity's director Alfonso Cuaron became the first Mexican and Latino to win Best Director.|
|The Great Beauty (2013) was the 14th Italian film to win the Foreign Language Film Oscar. No other country has won more trophies.|
|South Korean director Joon-ho Bong's first English film, the sci-fi post-apocalyptic action thriller Snowpiercer (2013) was a co-production with American, European, and Asian movie stars. Although released in many parts of the world in 2013, it was mid-2014 before US audiences saw the film. The intriguing, futuristic dystopian film about class struggle on a train circling the Earth in the year 2031 was notable for its new distribution strategy. The Weinstein Company simultaneously released the film theatrically and on VOD. Their gamble came after they attempted to shorten (and recut) the 125 minute film for US audiences.|
|By winning the Best Animated Feature Oscar prize, Disney's hit musical Frozen (2013) became the first non-Pixar, Walt Disney Animation Studios film to win the Best Animated Feature prize since the category was created in 2001. By springtime of 2014, Disney's Frozen (2013), a loose retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale "The Snow Queen," became the highest-grossing animated movie of all time. It overtook Toy Story 3 (2010) (the first animated movie in history to cross the $1 billion mark) in the top spot, with its continually-growing estimated worldwide box-office haul of $1.274 billion.|
|Oscar nominations notables: Meryl Streep broke her own record of total number of nominations with 18, with a nod for her role in August: Osage County (2013). She remained the most nominated movie star in Academy history, with Katharine Hepburn and Jack Nicholson trailing behind with twelve nominations each. The actress has now racked up 15 Best Actress nominations (with two wins) and three supporting actress nominations (with one win). Woody Allen broke his own record with his 16th Best Original Screenplay nomination for Blue Jasmine (2013).|
According to the Center for the Study of Women in Television at San Diego State University and Film's 'Celluloid Ceiling' report, females accounted for only 16% of the directors, writers, ex. producers, producers, editors, and cinematographers working on the top (domestic) grossing 250 movies of the year. This figure represented a decrease of two percentage points from 2012 (and 2011), and a drop of 1% from 1998. And only 6% of the top films in 2013 were directed by women (this was down from 9% in 2012, but slightly higher than 2011's 5%). These were the notable exceptions for the year: co-director Jennifer Lee's animated Frozen (2013), co-producer Megan Ellison's Best Picture nominations for American Hustle (2013) and Her (2013), and the female co-produced blockbuster The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013).
In the Center's report concerning the 100 top-grossing films of 2013, they announced that females made up only 15% of protagonists, 29% of major characters and 30% of all speaking characters.