It's been a good summer to stay indoors. From reality-bending assassins to non-verbal robots, cosmopolitan singles to gothic heroes, this has been a movie season to remember. The box office totals for this year are nearly equal to this time last year -- $6.7 billion to date -- but both critics and audiences have been much more positive about this season's titles than in 2007.
Here is the countdown of the top 10 films of the summer, from the first of May to through August 24th (figures provided by BoxOfficeMojo).
1. THE DARK KNIGHT - $489.4 million
Batman Begins was the well-received reinvention of a tarnished film franchise that grossed a respectable $205M in the summer of '05. The follow-up, "The Dark Knight," out-grossed that number in only six days. Why did the second film do so astonishingly well? Several reasons: the first found a much bigger audience on DVD, fan excitement had been stoked for months with eye-popping trailers, and, of course, the buzz that surrounded the late Heath Ledger's electrifying performance as the Joker. All this has made "The Dark Knight" not only the top film of the summer, but the second-highest grossing movie of all time.
Photo by Warner Bros. Pictures
2. IRON MAN - $317.5 million
A well-respected actor who had never had a huge hit. A director known more for comedy than action. And a second-tier comic book character unfamiliar to most movie fans. It seemed like "Iron Man" had a lot stacked against it. But exciting trailers, positive reviews, and excellent word-of-mouth made the Marvel Comics adaptation a smash, with a $102M opening. The first big movie of the summer, "Iron Man" looked like it would be the champion of the season, until another masked hero swooped in.
Photo by Marvel/Paramount
3. INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL - $315.3 million
Nineteen years is a long time to wait for a sequel. Most of the teenage moviegoing population hadn't even been born when Dr. Jones last hit the big screen. Still, "Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" ended up as the highest grossing Indiana Jones movie. However, if you adjust for inflation, 1981's Raiders of the Lost Ark nearly doubles the take of this installment.
Photo by Paramount Pictures
4. HANCOCK - $226.3 million
There's a reason Will Smith refers to the 4th of July holiday as "Big Willie Weekend." At turns broadly comedic and surprisingly dramatic, "Hancock" was his fifth movie to open at #1 over the long Independence Day weekend. It went on to become Smith's fourth-highest earning movie, behind Independence Day, Men in Black, and last year's I Am Legend.
Photo by Columbia Pictures
5. WALL-E - $216.2 million
If any movie was going to break Pixar's 13-year streak of hits, it would've been "WALL-E." It had no big celebrity voices, a story that couldn't be summarized in a sentence, and a hero who could barely even speak. But even with those challenges, "WALL-E" opened at #1 with a $63M weekend, and went on to earn $10M more than Pixar's release from last summer, the Oscar-winning Ratatouille.
Photo by Disney/Pixar
6. KUNG FU PANDA - $212.6 million
It's a formula so brilliant in its simplicity you wonder why no one thought of it before: take cute, cuddly, fuzzy animals and have them beat each other up. With a star-studded voice cast and kinetic action, "Kung Fu Panda" attracted audience of all ages, making it DreamWorks Animation's biggest non-Shrek movie ever.
Photo by DreamWorks Animation
7. SEX AND THE CITY - $152.3 million
Four years after the show ended its run on HBO, the buzz around the first big screen outing for Carrie and company was intense. Moviegoers across the nation made an event out of going to the movie, some even dressing up as their favorite character. But the excitement was warranted, with "Sex and the City" becoming the top grossing R-rated film of the year so far.
Photo by New Line Cinema
8. THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: PRINCE CASPIAN - $141.5 million
Most films would be pleased as punch with a $55M opening and a $140+ total, but that's not the case here. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, opened in December '05 with $10M more, but went on to gross more than double what "Prince Caspian" did. Coming out in the summer meant this one faced tougher competition, but it does raise questions if "Voyage of the Dawn Treader," the third movie scheduled for 2010, will float or sink.
Photo by Walt Disney Pictures
9. THE INCREDIBLE HULK - $134.4 million
Naturally, this new version of Marvel Comics' green gargantuan would beg comparisons to the disappointing 2003 movie. And while this one brought in a lower opening number -- $55M to the previous film's $62M -- its positive reviews and fan reaction gave it more legs, bringing its total to $2M more than the first one.
Photo by Marvel/Universal
10. WANTED - $133.7 million
Freely adapted from a little-known comic book, "Wanted" got people talking with trailers showing off some wildly inventive gunplay and Angelina Jolie sporting even more tattoos than usual. It exceeded expectations with its $51M opening, but still came in second that weekend behind "WALL-E."
Photo by Universal Pictures
Source: Yahoo! Movies