The 10 Biggest Movies From 2001 - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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The 10 Biggest Movies From 2001

What was your favourite film from 2001? And did it make the end of year top 10? Find out below...
2001 was a significant year in film, especially when looked back upon with hindsight as to what was to come over the next two decades. Among the actors who would go on to become household names, 2001 saw Dwayne Johnson, Bradley Cooper, Anne Hathaway and Seth Rogan all make their cinematic debuts, in The Mummy Returns (as The Rock), Wet Hot American Summer, The Princess Diaries, and Donnie Darko respectively. It was also the year of Daniel Radcliffe's first cinematic role, although it wasn't in a Harry Potter film as he played Mark Pendel in The Tailor of Panama which premiered six months before The Philosopher's Stone.

As for the movies themselves, only one of the films that make up the ten biggest films of 2001, when compiled by worldwide gross, turned out to be a standalone picture. All of the others were either sequels or the first installment of a franchise. And what a year for franchises it was, with the first films from the Harry Potter, Fast & Furious, Shrek, The Lord of the Rings and Ocean's Eleven franchises. 2001 also marked the first time that two films released in the same year grossed more than $800 million at the box office. What were they? And what other eight movies make up the top ten biggest films of 2001? All will be revealed below...

10. Hannibal
The 2001 sequel to the 1991 film The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal was adapted from the 1999 novel by Thomas Harris. Anthony Hopkins reprised his role as the cannibalistic serial killer Hannibal Lecter, but Silence of the Lambs director Jonathan Demme and star Jodie Foster all declined to be involved in the adaptation, finding the novel too lurid. Instead, Julianne Moore stepped into the role of FBI Special Agent Clarice Starling, with the legendary Ridley Scott directing.

Set ten years after The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal follows Starling's attempts to apprehend Lecter in Italy before his surviving victim, Mason Verger, captures him. Despite mixed reviews Hannibal broke box office records in the United States, Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom when released in February 2001, and went on to make a worldwide total of $351,692,268 from an $87 million budget.

9. Planet of the Apes
A polarising release/remake/update/reimagining/whatever you want to call it, Planet of the Apes received very few positive reviews when released in the summer of 2001. Tim Burton's lavish production cost $100 million, but that's not including the umpteen millions spent during the years of development hell it took to bring this film to the screen.

Development for a Planet of the Apes remake started as far back as 1988. An original treatment titled Return of the Apes would have starred Arnold Schwarzenegger, under the direction of Phillip Noyce, before it was cancelled in pre-production. Oliver Stone, was set to produce at one time, and everyone from Chris Columbus, James Cameron, Peter Jackson, and the Hughes brothers later became involved as potential directors. When Burton finnaly took the helm he cast Mark Wahlberg in the title role and snuck in a nice cameo for Charlton Heston and Linda Harrison (the original George Taylor and Nova, respectively). Audiences dug the monkey business and shelled out a decent $362,211,740 between them, but that wasn't enough for FOX to greenlight the proposed sequel, and it was back to another decade of development hell before a new Apes trilogy became both a critical and commercial success.
8. Jurassic Park III
Without wanting to sound like a stuck record, Jurassic Park III did not find a lot of love from reviewers upon release. It was the first film in the franchise to not be directed by Steven Spielberg, who served as executive producer instead, rather Joe Johnston was behind the camera for the shortest Jurassic feature to date.

Running at just 92 minutes, Johnston and crew began filming without a script; the director having thrown the original one out days before principal photography started. The finished product is not without merit, and a $368,780,809 worldwide gross will attest to that, but despite the return of Sam Neill as Dr Alan Grant many movie goers left wanting a bit more bite than this sequel could offer.
7. The Mummy Returns
As well as being the cinematic debut of Dwayne Johnson, who was going by his wrestling persona of 'The Rock' at the time, The Mummy Returns was the sequel to the 1999 film The Mummy, bringing back director Stephen Sommers, along with stars Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, and John Hannah.

Despite mixed reviews (again with the mixed reviews!), The Mummy Returns generated $433,013,274 at the worldwide box office, from a $98 million budget, leading to more Mummy movies in the form of the 2002 prequel film The Scorpion King, set 5,000 years prior and again starring The Rock, and the 2008 sequel The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.
6. Pearl Harbor
The only film in this top 10 which isn't the start of a franchise or a new installment/sequel from one (although it wasn't the first film to depict the events of of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7th 1941), directed by Michael Bay, Pearl Harbor took the Titanic approach to storytelling, mixing up a love story with an historical event to put bums on seats to the tune of $449,220,945!

Like everything that went before it on this countdown, the World War II drama received generally negative reviews upon release in May 2001, many criticising the three hour plus runtime. Proving them all wrong, Pearl Harbor was nominated for four Academy Awards, winning in the category of Best Sound Editing. However, it was also nominated for six Golden Raspberry Awards, including Worst Picture, Worst Actor for Ben Affleck, and Worst Screen Couple for both Affleck & Kate Beckinsale, and Beckinsale & Josh Hartnett. This marked the first occurrence of a Worst Picture-nominated film winning an Academy Award.
5. Ocean's Eleven
Followed by Twelve, Thirteen and then Eight, the start of the Ocean's franchise began with this remake of the Rat-Pack original from 1960. Steven Soderbergh's heist comedy film featured an ensemble cast, including George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Andy García, Bernie Mac and Julia Roberts, and followed friends Danny Ocean (Clooney) and Rusty Ryan (Pitt), who plan a heist of $160 million from casino owner Terry Benedict (García), the lover of Ocean's ex-wife Tess (Roberts).

At last! A film that was both a huge hit with critics and audiences alike, a rarity in 2001 it seems, Ocean's Eleven took a cool $450,717,150 on a modest, given the combined box-office talent assembled, $85 million budget.
4. Shrek
Shrek pretty much single hadidly saved the animation side of DreamWorks. After initial success with Antz and the lucrative niche audience for The Price of Egypt, their next picture The Road to El Dorado proved a huge box-office bomb. Then along came this twisted fairy tale with man of the moment Mike Myers voicing the anti-social and highly territorial green ogre who loves the solitude of his swamp. With Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz and John Lithgow in supporting roles, Shrek proved a huge crossover hit for both children and adults alike. Ending with a worldwide take of $487,853,320 from a $60 million budget, and guaranting a run of sequels.

And it was the first of those sequels, 2004s Shrek 2, which really put money in the bank for DreamWorks, making a huge $920 million! So don't be surprised when talk of yet another Shrek film comes around, as it does from time to time, as Shrek 2 still remains within the worldwide top 50 highest grossing films of all time.
3. Monsters, Inc.
After going head-to-head with DreamWorks Antz when they released A Bugs Life in 1998, Pixar avoided another animation battle in 2001. Shrek opened in the Spring and Monsters, Inc. in the Autumn. The latter proved the more successful box-office wise, to the tune of $528,773,250 and bringing Pixar their second franchise after Toy Story, with Monsters University, a prequel, arriving in 2013.

Featuring the voices of John Goodman, Billy Crystal, Steve Buscemi, James Coburn, Mary Gibbs and Jennifer Tilly, the film was directed by Pete Docter (Up, Inside Out, Soul) in his directorial debut, Monsters, Inc. centers on two monsters — James P. "Sulley" Sullivan (Goodman) and his one-eyed partner and best friend Mike Wazowski (Crystal) – employed at the titular energy-producing factory which generates power by scaring human children. However, the monster world believes that the children are toxic, and when one sneaks into the factory, Sulley and Mike must return her home before it is too late.
2. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Based on the 1954 novel The Fellowship of the Ring, the first volume of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, Peter Jackson's cinematic masterpiece began in 2001. Featuring an ensemble cast including Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Astin, Cate Blanchett, John Rhys-Davies, Billy Boyd, Dominic Monaghan, Orlando Bloom, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving, Sean Bean, Ian Holm, and Andy Serkis. Set in Middle-earth, the story tells of the Dark Lord Sauron, who seeks the One Ring. The Ring has found its way to the young hobbit Frodo Baggins. The fate of Middle-earth hangs in the balance as Frodo and eight companions (who form the Fellowship of the Ring) begin their journey to Mount Doom in the land of Mordor, the only place where the Ring can be destroyed.

Astounding audiences and critics alike, The Fellowship of the Ring is still idely regarded as one of the greatest and most influential films ever made. It received numerous accolades; at the 74th Academy Awards, it was nominated for thirteen awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor for McKellen, Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing, Best Original Song for "May It Be" and Best Sound, winning four: Best Cinematography, Best Makeup, Best Original Score and Best Visual Effects. The final worldwide box-office take was an astounding $883,726,270 (which if adjusted for inflation in 2021 would be $1,322,478,888), meaning it would take something quite magical to beat it to the top of the year chart...
1. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
Based on J. K. Rowling's 1997 novel of the same name (which had been released in America under the title Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, a name which remained for the US release of this film), and directed by Chris Coumbus, The Philosopher's Stone follows Harry Potter's first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry as he discovers that he is a famous wizard and begins his education. But you knew that, right?

Staring Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter, with Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley, and Emma Watson as Hermione Granger, the Harry Potter films also included a plethora of British acting talent, with this first chapter featuring John Cleese, Robbie Coltrane, Warwick Davis, Richard Griffiths, Richard Harris, Ian Hart, John Hurt, Alan Rickman, Fiona Shaw, Maggie Smith and Julie Walters. The Philosopher's Stone  was the most successful movie released in 2001, taking a mighty $1,008,529,658 at the worldwide box office ($974 million during its initial run, the rest in a later re-release), and remained the highest-grossing film in the Harry Potter franchise until the eighth and final one, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, surpassed it in 2011.

And there you have it, the ten highest grossing movies of 2001. How many of them did you go and see at the cinema?

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