10. Prometheus ($169 million) — You may be genuinely surprised to know that Prometheus was actually the first Alien movie to break $100 million. In fact, Alien 3 and Alien Resurrection only mustered $55 million and $47 million, respectively. No, Prometheus was not the best in the series (in fact, it was probably third), but is the first truly huge blockbuster.
9. The Bourne Legacy ($176 million) — The fact that Matt Damon didn’t return to the franchise hurt the box-office of Legacy, but the series still has plenty of fans. The fact that Jeremy Renner surprised many of us and kicked a fair amount of ass certainly helped it cross the $175 million mark.
8. Hunger Games: ($210 million) — Over $210 million may not sound like a lot for a movie that had so much hype coming in, but remember this: Hunger Games does not have as big a following as Harry Potter and Hunger Games opened in March (where it had the second highest March opening of all time). It was certainly enough to expand the fanbase and ensure a sequel.
7. MIB 3 ( $212 million) — What a sh*tshow. The level of incoherence was nothing short of astounding, and easily the worst movie of Will Smith’s career since Wild Wild West. Of course, it did well: Audiences love Will Smith, but the drubbing the movie took from critics, as well as departing moviegoers, was enough to ensure we probably won’t see MIB IV at least for another decade, long after the sour taste from the third installment has left our mouths.
6. The Avengers: ($260 million) — It didn’t scale the heights of the Iron Man franchise, but it beat out both Captain America and Thor, and amassed a tidy little sum for a series that has reached a certain level of fatigue. Joss Whedon brought a spark to it, but it still felt somewhat generic and with so many characters involved, it was muddled and overly complicated.
5. Brave ($302 million) — After a relatively pitiful showing in 2011 with Cars 2 ($191 million), the Pixar Brand bounced back with its third highest grossing movie of all time, and one of those films that will compete with Toy Story 2, Finding Nemo, and The Incredibles in people’s minds as the best Pixar film to date.
4. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn (Part Two) ($316 million) — It’s over. That’s all that matters, people. It’s finally over. We will never have to speak of a Twilight film again.
3. The Hobbit (Part I) ($356 million) — The Hobbit performed about on par with Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movies, and while the movie received overall solid reviews, some were displeased with the additions Jackson made to the original book, and I don’t think that Evangeline Lilly will ever live down her role.
2. The Amazing Spider-man ($368 million) — We all knew exactly what we were getting. There were very little surprises, but that’s why Hollywood continues to churn out these films. Audiences love the familiar. That said, Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone were surprisingly great in what was yet another generic origins story.
1. The Dark Knight Rises ($700 million) — Holy shitballs. Yes, it fell short of Avatar’s all-time record, but it did shatter every opening weekend record in the books, as well as becoming the fastest to reach $500 million. The increased prices, the addition of a lot of IMAX screenings, and the repeat business (because so many returned to decipher what Tom Hardy’s Bane was saying) certainly helped, but the third film in Nolan’s trilogy deserved every penny. That was one ballsy goddamn film, and one that may resonate for years to come. Can you believe that f*ckijng ending? My brain is still rattling.
(See Also: The Biggest Box-Office Flops of 2012)