TOP TEN JULY 4TH MOVIES (List) – At least in the United States, the 4th of July weekend has been a blockbuster haven. It is where Hollywood serves up it’s popcorn movies and actors like Will Smith make their names. I have come up with a list of the top ten movies to premiere on the 4th of July weekend. This list is not about what made more money, it is what stood out at the box office when it premiered. If you don’t like the order or think I left out a movie, just let me know in the comments at the bottom of the page (i.e. I bet a lot of people will wonder why Transformers didn’t make the list.)
10. DIE HARD 2: DIE HARDER
Bruce Willis made what is probably the best cop-trapped-in-a-skyscraper-with-German-terriorist movie ever when he made Die Hard. Unfortunately for the list, Die Hard was released July 15th, 1988 and therefore not eligible. However, the sequel Die Hard 2: Die Harder was released two years later on July, 4th 1990. Although not as great as the original, Die Hard 2 still has enough fun to make it at number 10 on my list.
9. A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN
Tom Hanks stars as a manager in the first female professional baseball league in A League of Their Own. The team is headlined by Madonna, Rosie O’Donnell, Geena Davis and Lori Petty. With Big‘s director Penny Marshall reuniting with Hanks, July 4th finally had a movie that audiences could enjoy without the heavy use of special effects and action.
8. MEN IN BLACK
After proving his star-power a year before on the 4th of July, Will Smith was back with the extraterrestrial cop movie, Men in Black. Not only did Smith have another number 1 hit on his hands in the theater but also with his song, “The Men in Black”. Tommy Lee Jones co-starred in this Barry Sonnenfeld directed flick.
Before Michael Bay was destroying cities with transforming robots, he was trying to destroy the earth with an asteroid the size of Texas in Armageddon. Ben Affleck, Steve Buscemi, Owen Wilson, Michael Clarke Duncan, Bruce Willis and a bunch of other people star in this mega blockbuster. Even the love story between Affleck and Liv Tyler is entertaining minus Ben playing with animal crackers on Liv’s stomach awkwardly.
6. APOLLO 13
For the second time on the list, Tom Hanks makes an appearance. In the Ron Howard directed true-story movie Apollo 13, Hanks, Kevin Bacon and Bill Paxton all play astronauts on the doomed moon-bound mission. The fact that it is a true story makes it earn a spot ahead of Armageddon. When you compare the severe trouble the astronauts had to face to Bruce Willis nuking an asteroid, it’s no contest really.
5. SPIDER-MAN 2
Probably the second greatest superhero movie behind The Dark Knight, Spider-Man 2 showed us that a comic book movie could have heart along with action.
4. T2: JUDGEMENT DAY
Arnold Schwarznegger said “I’ll Be Back” and he meant it. After having huge hit with Terminator in 1984, director James Cameron re-teamed up with the future governor to make Terminator 2: Judgement Day in 1991. The movie set the standard in movie visual effects and became Arnold’s most signature movie.
Surely Airplane! cannot be third on our list. Yes it can and don’t call me Shirley! The most quotable movie in history (even more quotes than Anchorman) has kept audiences laughing since it premiered July 2, 1980. Even though he was not the lead, Leslie Nielsen made the most of his screen time and made sure Airplane! would reign as the best 4th of July comedy ever.
2. BACK TO THE FUTURE
Family Ties star Michael J. Fox will always be known best as Marty McFly from Back to the Future. This risky movie for it’s time became much more than a hit, it became a classic. Robert Zemeckis directed this movie and Steven Spielberg produced.
1. INDEPENDENCE DAY
There were many great movies to choose from when I looked back at what movies opened 4th of July weekend. Independence Day won the number 1 spot because how can you not pick a movie called Independence Day. The title, date, star power and action combined to make the best example of what a popcorn movie could be. Will Smith made a statement with the movie that he was more than just a TV star. He was an A-list movie star. Plus the effects in the movie were amazing for it’s time.
WORST FOURTH OF JULY WEEKEND MOVIE
1. WILD, WILD WEST
The TV show-turned-movie, Wild, Wild West was a huge disaster. From the mechanical spider tank to Kevin Kline dressing as a woman, the movie had no structure. Trying to keep the 4th of July success streak alive, Will Smith agreed to take the role of Jim West. The only problem is that he had to turn down another role he was offered at the time. The role of Neo in The Matrix.
See the list in poster form below (Click the posters to see them full size):