2008 in film

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The year 2008 involved many major movie events. The Dark Knight was the year's highest-grossing film, while Slumdog Millionaire won the Academy Award for Best Picture. This would also be the last year in which no films grossed at least $1 billion at the box office until 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic prevented multiple theatrically released films.

Evaluation of the year[edit]

2008 has been widely considered to be a very significant year for cinema.

The entertainment agency website IGN described 2008 as "one of the biggest years ever for movies." It stated, "2008 was the year when the comic book movie genre not only hits its zenith, but also gained critical respectability thanks to The Dark Knight. Animated films also proved a huge draw for filmgoers, with Pixar's WALL-E becoming not only the highest grossing toon but also the most lauded. Things got off on the right foot with the monster movie madness of Cloverfield. Marvel got down to business laying the groundwork for their superhero team-up The Avengers with the blockbuster hit Iron Man and their respectable attempt at rebooting The Incredible Hulk. The games-to-film genre took a hit this year, with only Max Payne proving to be a worthy adaptation of the source material. We also saw the highly anticipated big-screen returns of iconic characters like Batman, James Bond, and Indiana Jones – some were more successful than others."[1]

The film industry and review website IndieWire described 2008 as "a stellar year for movies" that "gave us tons of unforgettable classics" such as The Wrestler, 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days and Che.[2]

Highest-grossing films[edit]

The top 10 films released in 2008 by worldwide gross are as follows:[3]

Highest-grossing films of 2008
Rank Title Distributor Worldwide gross
1 The Dark Knight Warner Bros. $997,000,000[4]
2 Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull Paramount $790,653,942
3 Kung Fu Panda Paramount / DreamWorks $631,744,560
4 Hancock Sony Pictures / Columbia $629,443,428
5 Mamma Mia! Universal $609,841,637
6 Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa Paramount / DreamWorks $603,900,354
7 Quantum of Solace Sony Pictures / Columbia / MGM $589,580,482
8 Iron Man Paramount $585,796,247
9 WALL-E Disney $521,311,860
10 The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian $419,665,568

On August 4, The Dark Knight reached a $400 million domestic gross in a record time of 18 days. The previous record was held by Shrek 2, which reached it in 43 days.[5] On August 31, after 45 days in release, The Dark Knight reached $500 million domestically, becoming only the second film in history after Titanic to cross the half-billion-dollar domestic milestone, as well as the first film of the 2000s decade. Worldwide, it grossed $997 million on its initial release,[4] and an IMAX reissue[6] in 2009 saw it become the fourth film to gross $1 billion at the global box office.[7][8] For 2008, the top ten films consisted of three superhero films, three animated films, three action films and one musical film. Mamma Mia! became the highest-grossing film in UK history until it was surpassed by Avatar in 2010. In the domestic box office, 2008 came very close in passing 2007 as the highest-grossing year, falling short by just $30 million.

Events[edit]

Month Day Event
January 7 Due to the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America Strike, NBC and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association scrap plans to hold its 65th Golden Globe Awards ceremony and instead hold a press conference announcing the winners
13 The 65th Golden Globe Awards winners were announced.
16 The 61st BAFTA Awards nominations were announced with Atonement the leading film with 14 nominations closely followed by No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood, both with 7 nominations
17 – 27 The 26th Sundance Film Festival is opened with the world premiere of Martin McDonagh's In Bruges and screens over 120 films. The Grand Jury and Audience Award prizes are awarded to Frozen River and The Wackness, respectively. The festival is closed by the world premiere of Bernard Shakey's CSNY/Déjà Vu
22 The 80th Academy Awards nominations were announced with No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood the leading films with 8 nominations each, closely followed by Atonement and Michael Clayton, both with 7
The Oscar-nominated actor Heath Ledger, 28, is found dead at his home in Manhattan, New York City, from an accidental prescription pills overdose.
23 – 3 The 37th Rotterdam International Film Festival is opened with the world premiere of Lucía Cedrón's narrative feature-film debut Lamb of God (Cordero de Dios).
26 The 60th Directors Guild of America Award dinner is held in the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza, Los Angeles. The Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film prize is awarded to Joel and Ethan Coen
27 The 14th Screen Actors Guild Awards ceremony is held in the Shrine Exposition Center, Los Angeles.
February 7 – 17 The 58th Berlin International Film Festival is opened with the world premiere of Martin Scorsese's Shine a Light and screens over 350 films. The Golden Bear prize is awarded to Elite Squad. The Silver Bear prizes are awarded to Paul Thomas Anderson, Best Director, Reza Naji, Best Actor and Sally Hawkins, Best Actress. The festival is closed by the international premiere of Michel Gondry's Be Kind Rewind
8 The 35th Annie Awards ceremony is held in the UCLA's Royce Hall, Los Angeles. The Best Animated Feature prize is awarded to Ratatouille
9 The 60th Writers Guild of America Awards are announced in a brief statement. The Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Original Screenplay prizes are awarded to Joel and Ethan Coen (No Country for Old Men) and Diablo Cody (Juno), respectively
10 The 61st BAFTA Awards ceremony is held in the Royal Opera House, London. Anthony Hopkins is honoured with the Academy Fellowship.
12 The members of the WGA agree a three-year deal with the AMPTP and vote to end the 3-month 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America Strike
23 The 28th Golden Raspberry Awards ceremony is held in Santa Monica, California.
The 23rd Independent Spirit Awards ceremony is broadcast. The Best Film award is given to Juno. The Best Actor and Best Actress awards are given to Philip Seymour Hoffman and Elliot Page respectively
24 The 80th Academy Awards ceremony is held in the Kodak Theater, Hollywood.
March 3 The 28th Genie Awards
9 The 13th Empire Awards is held in the Grosvenor House Hotel in London, England.
13 – 21 7th Tiburon International Film Festival
April 4 – 13 10th Sarasota Film Festival
23 – 4 7th Tribeca Film Festival
24 – 8 51st San Francisco International Film Festival
May ? – ? 8th Silver Lake Film Festival
14 – 25 Entre les murs wins the Palme d'Or while Gomorrah receives the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival.
22 – 15 34th Seattle International Film Festival
26 Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull earns $126 million in the United States and Canada, becoming the highest-grossing debut of 2008 and the second-highest-grossing for a Memorial Day weekend debut behind Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End.
June 1 The 2008 MTV Movie Awards winners were announced
A massive fire destroys portions of facilities at Universal Studios in Universal City near Los Angeles, California.
14 – 22 11th Shanghai International Film Festival
18 Iron Man becomes the first movie of 2008 to earn $300 million in the United States and Canada.
18 – 29 62nd Edinburgh International Film Festival. The festival launches a new sidebar celebrating the spirit of discovery, including selections Bigga than Ben, Blood Car, Crack Willow, Spike, Strange Girls, and The Third Pint.[9]
July 17 – 26 8th Era New Horizons Film Festival
August 4 The Dark Knight reached $400 million in record time at 18 days. The previous record was held by Shrek 2, which reached it in 43 days.[5]
6 – 16 61st Locarno International Film Festival
21 – 1 32nd Montreal World Film Festival
27 – 6 65th Venice International Film Festival
September 4 – 13 33rd Toronto International Film Festival
15 – 20 33rd Polish Film Festival in Gdynia
18 – 27 56th San Sebastián International Film Festival
23 – 30 6th Bangkok International Film Festival
October 1 – 12 16th Raindance Film Festival
15 – 30 52nd London Film Festival
18 – 26 21st Tokyo International Film Festival
November 18 – 28 32nd Cairo International Film Festival
December 5 – 14 10th Jakarta International Film Festival
4 – 14 23rd Mar del Plata International Film Festival

Awards[edit]

Category/Organization 14th Critics' Choice Awards
January 8, 2009
66th Golden Globe Awards
January 11, 2009
Producers, Directors, Screen Actors, and Writers Guild Awards 62nd BAFTA Awards
February 8, 2009
81st Academy Awards
February 22, 2009
Drama Musical or Comedy
Best Film Slumdog Millionaire Vicky Cristina Barcelona Slumdog Millionaire
Best Director Danny Boyle
Slumdog Millionaire
Best Actor Sean Penn
Milk
Mickey Rourke
The Wrestler
Colin Farrell
In Bruges
Sean Penn
Milk
Mickey Rourke
The Wrestler
Sean Penn
Milk
Best Actress Anne Hathaway
Rachel Getting Married
Meryl Streep
Doubt
Kate Winslet
Revolutionary Road
Sally Hawkins
Happy-Go-Lucky
Meryl Streep
Doubt
Kate Winslet
The Reader
Best Supporting Actor Heath Ledger
The Dark Knight
Best Supporting Actress Kate Winslet
The Reader
Penélope Cruz
Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Best Screenplay, Adapted Simon Beaufoy
Slumdog Millionaire
Simon Beaufoy
Slumdog Millionaire
Best Screenplay, Original Dustin Lance Black
Milk
Martin McDonagh
In Bruges
Dustin Lance Black
Milk
Best Animated Film WALL-E
Best Original Score Slumdog Millionaire
A. R. Rahman
N/A Slumdog Millionaire
A. R. Rahman
Best Original Song "The Wrestler"
The Wrestler
N/A N/A "Jai Ho"
Slumdog Millionaire
Best Foreign Language Film Waltz with Bashir N/A I've Loved You So Long Departures

2008 films[edit]

The list of films released in 2008, arranged by country, are as follows:

Notable births[edit]

Notable deaths[edit]

Month Date Name Age Country Profession Notable films
January 1 Peter Caffrey 58 UK Actor
2 George MacDonald Fraser 82 UK Screenwriter
2 Brice Mack 90 US Background Artist
10 Vampira 86 US Actress
15 Brad Renfro 25 US Actor
18 Lois Nettleton 80 US Actress
19 Suzanne Pleshette 70 US Actress
22 Heath Ledger 28 Australia Actor
22 Kevin Stoney 87 UK Actor
25 Christopher Allport 60 US Actor
25 Louisa Horton 87 US Actress
February 2 Barry Morse 89 Canada Actor
3 Charles Fawcett 92 UK Actor
4 Augusta Dabney 89 US Actress
6 John Alvin 59 US Poster Artist
7 Tamara Desni 94 Germany-UK Actress
8 Eva Dahlbeck 87 Sweden Actress
8 Jane Lumb 65 UK Actress
9 Robert DoQui 73 US Actor
10 Roy Scheider 75 US Actor
11 James Quinn 88 UK Producer
12 Oscar Brodney 100 US Screenwriter
12 David Groh 68 US Actor
13 Kon Ichikawa 92 Japan Director
13 Lionel Mark Smith 62 US Actor
14 Perry Lopez 76 US Actor
19 Mary Barclay 91 UK Actress
19 David Watkin 82 UK Cinematographer
22 Dennis Letts 73 US Actor
28 John Bliss 77 US Actor
29 Gayne Rescher 83 US Cinematographer
March 4 Leonard Rosenman 83 US Composer
6 Alex Sharp 86 US Stuntman, Actor
7 Kay Callard 84 Canada Actress
16 Ivan Dixon 76 US Actor, Director
18 Anthony Minghella 54 UK Director, Screenwriter, Producer
19 Arthur C. Clarke 90 Sri Lanka Writer, Actor
19 Paul Scofield 86 UK Actor
24 Rafael Azcona 81 Spain Screenwriter
24 Richard Widmark 93 US Actor
25 Art Aragon 80 US Actor
25 Tony Church 77 UK Actor
25 Abby Mann 80 US Screenwriter
31 Jules Dassin 96 US Director
April 1 Floyd Simmons 84 US Actor
5 Charlton Heston 84 US Actor
8 Stanley Kamel 65 US Actor
11 Willoughby Goddard 81 UK Actor
14 Ollie Johnston 95 US Animator
14 June Travis 93 US Actress
15 Hazel Court 93 UK Actress
18 Kay Linaker 94 US Actress
18 Joy Page 83 US Actress
23 Dave Atkins 67 UK Actor
24 Tristram Cary 82 UK Composer
29 Julie Ege 64 Norway Actress
May 1 Bernard Archard 91 UK Actor
1 Terry Duggan 76 UK Actor, Wrangler
2 Beverlee McKinsey 72 US Actress
4 Fred Haines 72 US Screenwriter, Director
12 Robert Russell 71 UK Actor
12 Claudio Undari 73 Italy Actor
13 Jill Adams 77 UK Actress
13 John Phillip Law 70 US Actor
14 John Forbes-Robertson 80 UK Actor
15 Alexander Courage 88 US Composer, Orchestrator
16 Sandy Howard 80 US Director, Producer
18 Joseph Pevney 96 US Director
22 Harry Lange 77 Germany Production Designer
24 Dick Martin 86 US Actor
26 Sydney Pollack 73 US Actor, Director, Producer
28 Earle Hagen 88 US Composer, Orchestrator
29 Harvey Korman 81 US Actor
June 2 Bo Diddley 79 US Actor, Musician
2 Mel Ferrer 90 US Actor, Director
7 Dino Risi 91 Italy Director, Writer
11 Jean Desailly 87 France Actor
15 Stan Winston 62 US Makeup Artist
17 Henry Beckman 86 Spain Actor
17 Cyd Charisse 86 US Actress, Dancer
18 Jean Delannoy 100 France Director
22 George Carlin 71 US Actor, Comedian
22 Dody Goodman 93 US Actress
23 John Furlong 75 US Actor
24 William Vince 45 Canada Producer
26 Lilyan Chauvin 82 France Actress
29 Don S. Davis 67 US Actor
July 2 Elizabeth Spriggs 78 UK Actress
4 Evelyn Keyes 91 US Actress
6 Nonna Mordyukova 82 Russia Actress
7 Bruce Conner 74 US Director
9 Charles H. Joffe 78 US Producer
22 Patrick Connor 81 UK Actor
22 Estelle Getty 84 US Actress
27 Youssef Chahine 82 Egypt Director
27 Marisa Merlini 84 Italy Actress
29 Luther Davis 91 US Screenwriter
August 1 Gertan Klauber 76 UK Actor
7 Bernie Brillstein 77 US Producer
9 Bernie Mac 50 US Actor
10 Isaac Hayes 65 US Actor, Songwriter
11 George Furth 75 US Actor
11 Terence Rigby 71 UK Actor
15 Molly McClure 89 US Actress
24 Peter Sutton 65 British Sound Mixer
25 Marpessa Dawn 74 US Actor
25 Rita Quigley 85 US Actress
31 Ken Campbell 66 UK Actor, Writer
31 Jerry Reed 71 US Actor, Singer, Songwriter
September 1 Michael Pate 88 Australia Actor, Director
2 Bill Melendez 91 Mexico Animator, Director
6 Anita Page 98 US Actress
8 Celia Gregory 58 UK Actress
18 Florestano Vancini 82 Italy Director, Writer
19 David Jones 74 UK Director
20 William Fox 97 UK Actor
26 Paul Newman 83 US Actor, Director
29 Louis Guss 90 US Actor
October 1 Robert Arthur 87 US Actor
5 Kim Chan 90 US Actor, Producer
5 Ken Ogata 71 Japan Actor
7 Peter Copley 93 UK Actor
8 Bob Friend 70 UK Actor
8 Eileen Herlie 90 UK Actress
11 Neal Hefti 85 US Composer
11 Mark Shivas 70 UK Producer
11 Gil Stratton 86 US Actor
13 Guillaume Depardieu 37 France Actor
15 Edie Adams 81 US Actress
15 Nathan Davis 91 US Actor
18 Xie Jin 84 China Director
19 Rudy Ray Moore 81 US Actor
24 Milton Katselas 75 US Director
27 Roy Stewart 83 UK Actor
31 Jonathan Bates 68 UK Supervising Sound Editor
31 John Daly 71 UK Producer
November 1 Yma Sumac 85 Peru Singer, Actress
5 Michael Crichton 66 US Writer, Director
5 Michael Higgins 88 US Actor
17 Ennio de Concini 84 Italy Screenwriter
19 John Michael Hayes 89 US Screenwriter
20 June Vincent 89 US Actress
26 De'Angelo Wilson 29 US Actor
December 1 Paul Benedict 70 US Actor
5 Nina Foch 84 Netherlands–US Actress
5 Beverly Garland 82 US Actress
8 Robert Prosky 77 US Actor
8 Bob Spiers 63 UK Director, Producer
12 Van Johnson 92 US Actor
16 Sam Bottoms 53 US Actor, Producer, Soundtrack
16 Richard Coleman 78 France Actor
18 Majel Barrett-Roddenberry 76 US Actress
18 John Costelloe 47 US Actor
18 Jack Douglas 81 UK Actor
20 Robert Mulligan 83 US Director
24 Harold Pinter 78 UK Writer, Actor, Director
25 Eartha Kitt 81 US Actress, Singer
25 Ann Savage 87 US Actress
30 Bernie Hamilton 80 US Actor
31 Brad Sullivan 77 US Actor
31 Donald E. Westlake 75 Mexico Writer

Film debuts[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Movies 2008 Year in Review
  2. ^ 10 Best Films of 2008
  3. ^ "2008 Worldwide Box Office". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved March 7, 2020.
  4. ^ a b "Warner Bros. Entertainment Wraps Record-Breaking Year" (Press release). Warner Bros. January 8, 2009. Archived from the original on August 23, 2016.
  5. ^ a b "The Dark Knight Breaks $400 Million in Record Time". 2008-08-05. Retrieved 2008-08-06.
  6. ^ "The Dark Knight Re-Release IMAX Locations". ComingSoon.net. CraveOnline. January 22, 2009. Retrieved January 30, 2014.
  7. ^ Gray, Brandon (February 20, 2009). "Billion Dollar Batman". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved June 7, 2014.
  8. ^ "All Time Worldwide Box Office". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on February 28, 2009.
  9. ^ Adam Dawtrey (2008-04-28). "Edinburgh Launches Cult Film Sidebar". Variety. Retrieved 2010-04-14.