Top Film Industry Stories of 2015:
#6 Nostalgia Rules

By Kim Hollis

January 20, 2016

2016's best movie couple?

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As Halloween approached, fans of the children’s book series Goosebumps were treated to a theatrical adaptation of the series featuring Jack Black as the writer R.L. Stine. Once again, we were looking at a situation where people who grew up with the stories are now parents in their late 20s and 30s who could take their kids out for a fun day at the movies. You might be surprised to know that the film earned $79.6 million domestically, easily surpassing its budget well before international and home video numbers added to the tally.

But perhaps the purest version of childhood nostalgia came in November when the first Peanuts feature film in 35 years was released to theaters. This time around, the characters were CGI, but the creators of the film treated Charles M. Schulz’s comic source material with such reverence and care that audiences couldn’t help but be enchanted. Co-written by Schulz’s son and grandson, the movie gave audiences exactly what they were looking for - a simple story that revisited the timeless events in the daily life of Charlie Brown and his beagle Snoopy. The producers and distributor of the movie were rewarded for their careful handling of the property with a $44.2 million opening and a current domestic box office total of $129.5 million.

We Love the ‘80s

Nostalgia wasn’t only reserved for child-friendly titles, though. Although both franchises officially got their start in the 1970s, both Mad Max and Rocky were franchises that flourished throughout the 1980s, adapting and changing with the times. For Mad Max, Beyond Thunderdome brought pop star Tina Turner into the mix, while Rocky IV was a product of the Cold War, complete with a vicious villain from the USSR. Both franchises returned in 2015 and were received with delight.


Director George Miller was responsible for all three of the original films in the series, and he returned to helm Mad Max: Fury Road, a film with updated moralistic sensibilities and amazing effects. Although box office might not have been quite as high as Warner Bros. would have anticipated ($45.4 million debut, $153.6 million domestic, $222 internationally), it has become clear that the studio’s $150 million investment was a sound one. With nine Academy Award nominations including Best Picture and Best Director, the film is now poised to clean up on home video as anyone who made the mistake of skipping it in theaters now has the easy opportunity to seek it out. Once again, Miller treated his own source material with great care, presenting a final product that was rapturously received throughout the film industry.

Creed didn’t quite get the awards accolades that Mad Max did (though it does have a nomination for Sylvester Stallone as Supporting Actor), but people were clearly ready for a “Rocky” film that kept the original character involved in the story, but passed the torch to a new generation. Audiences responded positively to the story as the film’s word-of-mouth and critical notices were strong, and the film has so far earned $109 million domestically (from a small $35 million budget).

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