Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Top Ten Box Office Hits of 1986

The year was 1986.
In World News: Spain and Portugal joined the European Economic Community, Haitian President Jean-Claude Duvalier fled to France, President Ferdinand Marcos fled the Philippines, a major nuclear accident at Soviet Union's Chernobyl power station alarmed the world, ex-Navy analyst Jonathan Jay Pollard was found guilty as a spy for Israel, and the World Court ruled the US broke international law by mining in the Nicaraguan waters.
In US News: The Space Shuttle Challenger exploded after its launch at Cape Canaveral, Florida which killed all seven aboard, the US Supreme Court reaffirmed abortion rights, the house voted on the arms appropriations bill rejecting the Administration's "Star Wars" policy, and the secret initiative to send arms to Iran was revealed.  This brought about two things: President Reagan denied exchanging arms for hostages and halted arms sales, and the diversion of funds from arms sales to Nicaraguan Contras was revealed.
In Sports: Chicago defeated New England 46-10 at the Super Bowl, the New York Mets defeated the Boston Red Sox 4 games to 3 at the World Series, and Boston defeated Houston 4 games to 2 in the NBA Championship.
In Entertainment News: Barry Diller (head of News Corp.) created the Fox Network which became the fourth television network offering 10 hours of prime-time programming per week, the Oprah Winfrey Show hit national television, the Academic American Encyclopedia became available on CD-ROM (the first reference published in this medium, and Nintendo Video Games were introduced in the US.
At the Box Office were film releases such as "The Hitcher", "Highlander", "Quicksilver", "Haunted Honeymoon", "Lucas", Prince's "Under the Cherry Moon", "Big Trouble in Little China", "Legend", "Howard the Duck", "Flight of the Navigator", "A Room with a View", "Iron Eagle", "Wild Cats", "Soul Man", "Hoosiers", "Jumpin' Jack Flash", "Hannah and Her Sisters", "Little Shop of Horrors", "Three Amigos", "The Fly", "Pretty in Pink", "Short Circuit", "An American Tail", "Cobra", and "Stand by Me".
So... what were the Top Ten Box Office Hits of 1986?  Well, I'm glad you asked.  I wondered the same thing myself and decided... you know, just for fun... to come up with the following countdown...
A high school wise guy is determined to have a day off from school, despite of what the principal thinks of that.  Directed by John Hughes, Matthew Broderick received a Golden Globe nomination for his performance as Ferris in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off".  Along with Matthew in the film were fellow actors Alan Ruck, Mia Sara, Jeffrey Jones, Jennifer Grey and co-stars Cindy Pickett, Lyman Ward, and Edie McClurg.  At the Box Office, this fun comedy laughed up over $70.1 million.
A couple, cheated by a vile businessman, kidnap his wife in retaliation, without knowing that their enemy is delighted they did.  Directed by Jim Abrahams and David and Jerry Zucker, Danny DeVito was nominated for a Golden Globe for his performance as Sam Stone, a married man who can't wait to get rid of his wife.  Along with Danny were stars Bette Midler, Judge Reinhold, Helen Slater, Anita Morris, and Bill Pullman (this was Bill's film debut).  Yet another comedy with memorable performances, this film earned over $71.6 million.
A private detective specializing in missing children is charged with the task of finding a special child that dark forces want to eliminate.  In the 80s, you couldn't go wrong with anything Eddie Murphy was in.  "The Golden Child" is one of those films.  This comedic adventure starred Eddie Murphy, Charles Dance, Charlotte Lewis, and J.L Reate and co-starred Victor Wong, Randall "Tex" Cobb, and James Hong.  At the Box Office, it grossed over $79.8 million.
In this long-awaited sequel to the sensational 1979 sci-fi hit "Alien", the planet of where the whole story began has been colonized.  When contact is lost, a rescue team lands on the planet to find out what went wrong.  They have Ellen Ripley and they have impressive firepower, but will it be enough?  Directed by James Cameron, "Aliens" won 2 of its 7 Academy Award nominations for Best Visual Effects and Best Sound Effects Editing.  The film was also nominated for 4 BAFTAs (winning for Special Visual Effects) and Sigourney Weaver was nominated for a Golden Globe.  Sigourney Weaver reprised her role as Ripley and is joined with actors Michael Biehn, Paul Reiser, Lance Henriksen, Bill Paxton, and young Carrie Henn (her first and only film).  Audiences thronged to 1,454 theaters which helped this film bring in over $85.1 million at the Box Office.
To help his discouraged son get through college, a funloving and obnoxious rich businessman decides to enter the school as a student himself.  "Back to School" starred the ever-hilarious Rodney Dangerfield, Sally Kellerman, Burt Young, Keith Gordon, and Robert Downey, Jr. and co-starred Paxton Whitehead, Terry Farrell, M. Emmet Walsh, and Adrienne Barbeau (also look for Ned Beatty and almost-always-yelling Sam Kinison).  At the Box Office, this film chuckled in over $91.2 million.
To save Earth from an alien probe, Admiral Kirk and his fugitive crew go back in time to 20th century Earth to retrieve the only beings who can communicate with it: Humpback whales.  The adventure continues in the multi-Oscar nominated "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home" with the return of actors William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy (who also directed the film), DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, George Takei, Walter Koenig, and Nichelle Nichols.  Also look for legendary Jane Wyatt... well known her many appearances in both film and television, this film was her 86th production.  At the Box Office, this third sequel in the franchise beamed up over $109.7 million.
Daniel accompanies his mentor to Okinawa who is off to see his dying father and confront his old rival, while Daniel inadvertently makes an enemy of his own.  "The Karate Kid II" was nominated for an Oscar as well as a Golden Globe for its theme song, "Glory of Love."  The sequel to its 1984 predecessor, this film had both Pat Morita and Ralph Macchio reprising their roles.  At the Box Office, it kicked in more than $115.1 million.
A young recruit in Vietnam faces a moral crisis when confronted with the horrors of war and the duality of man.  Directed by Oliver Stone, "Platoon" was nominated for eight Academy Awards and won four, two of them being for Best Director and Best Picture of the year.  It was also nominated for three BAFTAs (winning for Best Direction and Best Editing) and won three of its four Golden Globe nominations (Best Supporting Actor for Tom Berenger, Best Director, and Best Picture in the Drama category).  This film starred Tom Berenger (also Oscar-nominated), Willem Dafoe (who received an Oscar nod as well), Charlie Sheen and John C. McGinley and co-starred Francesco Quinn, Kevin Dillon, Reggie Johnson, Mark Moses, Corey Glover, and big names Forest Whitaker and Johnny Depp.  This crowd-pleaser earned over $138.5 million at the Box Office.
An American reporter goes to the Australian outback to meet an eccentric crocodile poacher and invites him to New York City.  Directed by Peter Faiman (his directorial debut for a feature film), "Crocodile Dundee" was nominated for an Academy Award for its Original Screenplay.  It was also nominated for two BAFTAs (Best Original Screenplay and Best Actor nod to Paul Hogan) as well three Golden Globes (the only win going again to Paul Hogan).  Along with Paul Hogan were Linda Kozlowski and co-stars John Meillon, David Gulpilil, and Ritchie Singer.  It would seem as though this was the underdog-type of film that surprised its viewers as it was not only the feature film debut for its director, but it was also the feature film debut for actors Paul, Linda, and Ritchie.  At the Box Office, it crocked in over $174.8 million.
As students at the Navy's elite fighter weapons school compete to be best in the class, one daring young flyer learns a few things from a civilian instructor that are not taught in the classroom.  Directed by Tony Scott, "Top Gun" was nominated for four Oscars, but only won for its Original Song, "Take My Breath Away" which also won a Golden Globe.  This film starred Tom Cruise, Kelly McGillis, Val Kilmer, Anthony Edwards, Tom Skerritt and Michael Ironside.  With something for everyone, this exciting film edged past "Crocodile Dundee" by earning over $176.7 million at the Box Office.
And now you know.
1986 was a great year for Paramount Studios as 5 of the Top Ten Box Office Hits belonged to them: "Ferris Bueller's Day Off", "The Golden Child", "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home", "Crocodile Dundee", and "Top Gun".  It's also interesting to know that "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home" fell to #5 as it was released to more theaters than all of them (1,956).  "Top Gun" was released to 1,531 theaters.  Also, "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home" grossed over $16.8 million on its opening weekend.  "Top Gun", on its opening weekend, grossed more than $8.1 million.
Still young and early at blogging about behind-the-scenes info on 80s movies as I started this past spring (2013), I have a long way to go.  However, I have blogged about "Pretty in Pink" and "Ferris Bueller's Day Off", and am currently working on a blog for "Top Gun".  You can find the first two in the column to the right of this page.
Until next time... Cheers!

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