Timeline of Greatest Film
Milestones and Turning Points
in Film History


The Year 2019

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 | 2020s
2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019

The Year 2019
Year
Event and Significance
2019
American actor (and director) Peter Fonda passed away on August 16, 2019 at the age of 79. He came from a powerhouse Hollywood family. His father was Henry Fonda and his sister Jane Fonda. He was the father of actress Bridget Fonda. His most famous role was as a countercultural, dope-smoking biker named Wyatt (Captain America) in Easy Rider (1969), co-starring Dennis Hopper and Jack Nicholson. The first film that he directed was the western The Hired Hand (1971). The sole Oscar acting nomination he ever received was Best Actor for the indie film Ulee's Gold (1997) in which he played the part of a bee-keeper. He shared a second Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay for Easy Rider (1969). Fonda's debut film appearance was in Tammy and the Doctor (1963), while some of his other roles during a drug-fueled period were in The Wild Angels (1966) and The Trip (1967). Other notable films included Dirty Mary Crazy Larry (1974), Race With the Devil (1975), and 3:10 to Yuma (2007).
2019
After considerable controversy, Universal canceled the upcoming release of its satirical thriller The Hunt (2019) for late September 2019. It was one of many examples in which a studio delayed, re-edited the release of a potentially divisive, risky or insensitive movie after a public or national tragedy (for example, O (1999) after Columbine, Collateral Damage (2002) and Phone Booth (2002) at the time of 9/11, and The Interview (2014) in relation to North Korea). Pressure was exerted upon the studio by conservative media (President Trump, and Fox News) following a spate of mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio. Although the film's plot was similar to The Most Dangerous Game (1932) and The Hunger Games (2012-2015), its political context (the hunt by wealthy and liberal elites for "deplorables") was decried.
2019
Beginning in 1994, one of Disney's marketing strategies was to produce live action animation-remakes or reimaginings, starting with The Jungle Book (1994), 101 Dalmatians (1996), and 102 Dalmatians (2000). The decade of the 2010s produced a flurry of live-action reimaginings (with five in the year 2019 alone): Alice in Wonderland (2010), Oz the Great and Powerful (2013), Maleficent (2014), Cinderella (2015), The Jungle Book (2016), Alice Through the Looking Glass (2016), Pete's Dragon (2016), Beauty and the Beast (2017), Dumbo (2019), Aladdin (2019), The Lion King (2019), Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (2019), and Lady and the Tramp (2019).
2019
Disney's The Lion King (2019) was the first fully CGI "live action" movie. It attained grosses of $543.6 million (domestic) and $1.657 million (worldwide).
2019
Warner Bros. crime thriller Joker (2019) became the highest-grossing R-rated film of all time (worldwide), surpassing both Deadpool (2016) and Deadpool 2 (2018) with a gross of over $1 billion (worldwide). It became the first R-rated movie to ever cross the billion-dollar mark.
2019
At the end of August, Disney became a record-holder as the first studio to have five $1 billion movies (measured in worldwide revenue) in a single year - the five films were: Avengers: Endgame (2019), The Lion King (2019), Captain Marvel (2019), Aladdin (2019), and the animated Pixar film Toy Story 4 (2019). All crossed the $1 billion mark this year. (And then a sixth film from another studio crossed the $1 billion mark - Sony Pictures' Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)). Later in 2019, Disney's Frozen 2 (2019) and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) brought that count to seven titles.

At the time, The Disney studio also already broke its own industry record of $7.61 billion that it had achieved in 2016. Toy Story 4 (2019) was the fourth Pixar film to make $1 billion, joining Incredibles 2 (2018), Finding Dory (2016) and Toy Story 3 (2010). The achievement was remarkable since the domestic box office for 2019 was down roughly 6.5% compared to the same time in 2018. By the end of 2019, Disney became the first studio to earn $10 billion at the box office in a single year.
2019
Toy Story 4 (2019), the winner of the Best Animated Feature Film Oscar, was only the second sequel ever to win Best Animated Feature Film; the first was Toy Story 3 (2010). With this win, Pixar's Toy Story franchise became the first movie franchise to win Best Animated Feature twice. Toy Story 4 (2019) became the highest-grossing G-rated animation of all time at $434 million.
2019
Disney's record-breaking year also included the launch of Disney+ - a new streaming service that would launch in mid-November, at $6.99 a month. It could prove to be a formidable competitor to Netflix, especially since the studio had acquired much of 21st Century Fox's assets, providing them with more programs and intellectual property for the streaming service's content. And at $6.99/month, the cost was roughly half the price of a standard Netflix subscription. Disney+'s streaming content planned to include Marvel, Star Wars, Disney Animation and Pixar content, plus some original programs. Part of the plan to acquire more subscribers was to bundle Hulu and ESPN+ with Disney+ for a higher monthly rate.
2019
At its peak in 2004, Blockbuster video rental stores boasted having 9,000 locations. However, due to intense competition from Netflix, Redbox automated kiosks, and VOD (video on demand) services, Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy protection in 2010. In 2011, the company (with 1,700 remaining stores) was purchased by satellite provider Dish Network, and within about five years, most of the stores were closed. By April 2017, only 10 stores still existed across the entire US, and then by late summer of 2019, only one Blockbuster store was left - located in Bend, Oregon.
2019
In late 2018 after two years of providing a unique streaming service (a joint venture of Turner Classic Movies and the Criterion Collection), WarnerMedia's Filmstruck ended. The niche service was one of the few ways to watch examples of classic Hollywood films, arthouse cult movies, foreign pictures, and repertory cinema. To fill the void, The Criterion Collection launched its own standalone streaming service in spring 2019.
2019
In a polling of the top 100 milestones in 20th century cinematography, the ASC (The American Society of Cinematographers) named Lawrence of Arabia (1962) as the # 1 film - lauding Freddie Young's filming of David Lean’s Oscar-winning epic. The next two films on the list included: Ridley Scott's Blade Runner (1982) (cinematographer Jordan Cronenweth), and Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now (1979) (cinematographer Vittorio Storaro).
2019
Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019), based upon the Pokeman franchise and the 2016 video game , became the highest-grossing video game film adaptation in North America, surpassing Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001). It was also the first live-action Pokémon film.
2019
Negative blacklash arose from movie fans, industry folks and some Hollywood stars when it was announced that beloved icon James Dean was being digitally resurrected for a new movie. British Columbia-based VFX company Image Engine Design would be using CGI generated from old footage and photos of actor James Dean, and placing the dead actor into a new film. Magic City Films, a Hollywood production company, had obtained the rights to digitally recreate the likeness of James Dean (from Rebel Without a Cause (1955)), and digitally put him into an upcoming Vietnam War-era drama - a live-action feature-length independent film known as Finding Jack (2020). The film was an adaptation of Gareth Crocker’s 2011 novel of the same name about the abandonment of 10,000 military dogs at the end of the Vietnam War. There were precedents for this digital fakery: deceased Carrie Fisher (as a younger Princess Leia) and Peter Cushing (as Grand Moff Tarkin) were prominently featured in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016). Audrey Hepburn was digitally reconstructed in a Dove Chocolate commercial in 2014, and Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly, and Marlene Dietrich were briefly featured in a Dior commercial in 2011. Paul Walker's face was digitally superimposed in Furious 7 (2015), and also VFX were used for the portrayal of Oliver Reed in Gladiator (2000). It has been reported that some actors have saved digital 3-D replicas of themselves for posterity.

Writer/director Ari Folman's live-action/animated hybrid The Congress (2014) postulated a dystopic future in which an aging Hollywood actress (Robin Wright) agreed to have her body and expressions modeled and scanned so that an eternally young, virtual and digitally-animated version of herself could be digitally-replicated for years. Other films that touched on the same controversial subject were Looker (1981) and S1m0ne (2002).
2019
With the release of the Disney+ extremely-popular streaming service also came criticism and controversy for the studio's decision to place cautionary disclaimers on many of its classic films to neutralize their negative impact: "This program is presented as originally created. It may contain outdated cultural depictions." Instead of its desired effect to caution against ethnic, sexist and racial stereotypes, it actually had the reverse effect of ruining the viewing experience by over-emphasizing certain portions of each film. Examples of 'offensive material' included the two Siamese cats in Lady and the Tramp (1955), a blackface "Jim Crow" in Dumbo (1941), and Native Americans in Peter Pan (1953).
2019
There has been a growing trend to produce films that pander to a perceived audience of 'Progressives'. Political agendas and ideas have been injected onto the big screen, to espouse beliefs of the 'woke' or #MeToo movements, or to support social justice and the diversity and inclusion agendas against gender disparity and sexism. A Hollywood axiom soon began to circulate: "Get woke, go broke," and a number of films have decisively proven that 'woke films' can be box-office poison, especially when the top priority was mainly 'woke politics' rather than entertainment value and artistic merit. The main issue with 'woke' films have been that they were often little more than remakes of male movies with female characters, sprinkled with virtue signaling.

Two films in particular clearly illustrated the notion that audiences weren't interested in preaching, vapid propaganda and slanted views in their entertainment choices. For example, the most recent (sixth) installment of the aging Terminator franchise, already suffering from franchise fatigue, Terminator: Dark Fate (2019) was a major flop for Paramount, Skydance and Disney, with a debut of only $29 million, on a production budget of $185 million. It was predicted that it might lose $100 million theatrically. Bringing back stars Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger, and James Cameron as one of the producers, plus its emphasis on strong and tough feminist #MeToo Terminators didn't resonate. In addition, the director Tim Miller stoked outrage by labeling critics of the film "misogynists" - especially in regards to the film's star Mackenzie Davis.

Another film that was a major bomb was the 'girl power' reboot of Charlie's Angels (2019). It opened with only $8.6 million in box-office, lower than predicted box-office estimates. Writer/director Elizabeth Banks had made some brash statements about the female-action film, declaring it a feminist enterprise filled with "sneaky feminist ideas," but then denied accountability for its failure to produce an audience, even among females. Its main star, Kristen Stewart (and relative unknowns Naomi Scott and Ella Balinski) explicitly called the disaster a "woke version." It was very clear that the movie-going public wasn't buying Hollywood's latest attempt to cash in on cultural trends.
2019
Movie box-office ticket sales in the US and Canada (North America) totaled $11.4 billion for the year, a 4.1% decrease from 2018's record of $11.9 billion. The average ticket price increased to $9.16. There was an astounding number of franchise films: 58 in total this year, that took up 82% of the worldwide Hollywood box office. The biggest demographic jump in North American moviegoing was in the under-10 group, increasing from a 6.1% share to 7.5% of the total box office. The biggest decline was in the 35-44 age demographic, dropping from a 16.1% share to 14.5%. Also, US movie admissions (or ticket sales) numbered 1.24 billion, down 4.6% from 1.30 billion the previous year.
2019
By the end of the year, Disney Studios had seven of the top 10 highest-grossing films of 2019 worldwide: (1) Avengers: Endgame (2019), (2) The Lion King (2019), (3) Frozen II (2019), (5) Captain Marvel (2019), (6) Toy Story 4 (2019), (8) Aladdin (2019), and (9) Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker (2019). Avengers: Endgame (2019) took over the top spot from Avatar (2009), becoming the top-grossing film of all time (worldwide) with $2.79 billion. The studio also accounted for more than 35% of domestic market share for the year, and occupied 7 of the top 10 highest-grossing (domestic) films of 2019 - with the same titles as in the worldwide revenue lineup.
2019
In the Golden Globes nominations for 2019 films, for the first time ever, not a single TV show from a broadcast network (ABC, CBS, the CW, Fox, NBC) was nominated for a Golden Globe. BBC America, FX, and USA were the lone non-premium cable channels whose shows picked up nominations. Otherwise, all of the nominations were for streaming services.
2019
The highest-grossing (worldwide and domestic) film of 2019 was Disney's Avengers: Endgame (2019). It became the fifth film to gross $2 billion worldwide.
2019
The 11 Academy Award nominations for Joker (2019) were the most nominations for a comic book-based superhero movie in Academy history. It was also only the second comic book movie in history to earn a Best-Picture nomination, following the previous year's Black Panther (2018) (with six nominations and three wins). In addition, the film was the highest-grossing movie nominated for Best Picture this year, with over $1 billion revenue (worldwide), and $334 million (domestic) at the time of the nominations. After its release, it became the top-grossing R-rated film of all time (worldwide).
2019
The South Korean film Parasite (2019), with a nomination for Best Picture among its six nominations, was the first Best Picture nomination for a South Korean film in the Academy's history. It was only the 10th foreign-language film to be nominated for Best Picture. With six nominations and four Oscar wins - Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best International Feature Film, and Best Picture, it was the first non-English language film to ever win the top honor. It was also the first nomination and win in the category of Best International Feature Film for a South Korean film. To date, it was one of only 12 films that won Best Picture without receiving a single acting nomination. The Best Original Screenplay Oscar awarded to Parasite was the first writing win for an entirely Foreign-Language film since Talk to Her (2002, Sp.), and it was the first time Asian writers had ever won an Oscar. Director Bong Joon Ho was only the second Asian director ever to win a directing Oscar, following two-time champ Ang Lee (for Brokeback Mountain (2005) and Life of Pi (2012)).
2019
The 2010s was the first decade since the 1960s with zero female writing Oscar winners.
2019
Joaquin Phoenix's Best Actor Oscar win for Joker (2019) made Academy history. It was only the second time that two actors won Oscars for playing the same character. Heath Ledger had previously won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar (posthumously) for his version of the Joker in The Dark Knight (2008). The first instance was when Marlon Brando won for playing Don Corleone in The Godfather (1972) and Robert De Niro won for the same role in The Godfather, Part II (1974).
2019
With his ninth career Best Director nomination for The Irishman (2019), 77 year-old Martin Scorsese became the most-nominated living director in Academy history. He surpassed Billy Wilder (with eight career directorial nominations), although still trailed the 12 nominations held by William Wyler. He became the second most-nominated director in history.
2019
During Oscars season, streaming giant Netflix led the studios with 24 nominations, the most of any entertainment company, including Best Picture nominations for Marriage Story (2019) and The Irishman (2019). Ultimately, Netflix won only two Oscars: Best Documentary Feature (American Factory (2019)) and Laura Dern's Best Supporting Actress award for Marriage Story (2019).


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