ThatShelf.com is kicking old school with an at-home summer blockbuster retrospective. Looking at the list of the 50 best summer blockbusters, it’s apparent how much Hollywood has shifted during the prime summer months. Superhero movies and sequels define the 2010s, while standalone summer dramas are a novelty the further one gets in the timeline.
We determined the best of the best summer blockbusters using fairly simple criteria. A “summer blockbuster” was any film that opened theatrically between May and August and grossed $100 million domestically. Anything from Avengers: Endgame to Fahrenheit 9/11 was therefore eligible, which yielded an eclectic round of ballots. Some exceptions were made for April releases that had legs and dominated the summer box office, a strategy notably used by the Marvel movies, which began opening earlier year by year. (A protest vote for Battleship—a bomb domestically that had less of a b.o. problem overseas—was also accepted to negligible effect.)
Ten That Shelf contributors ranked their top 30 films with 30 points allotted to the top choice, 29 points to the second, etc. Over 100 films received votes in the survey with some franchises and directors scoring a generous amount of enthusiasm. Other series split the vote between entries. From surveying the list though, it’s clear that Shelf contributors have a few favourite things: car chases, Christopher Nolan movies, and Tom Cruise. Animation is also well represented here alongside a recent array of genre films. The top film, however, won the poll by a considerable margin after a neck and neck race in the first few ballots.
So without further ado, let’s pass the popcorn and celebrate the best summer blockbusters! Here’s hoping that we can all enjoy summer movie escapism on the big screen soon.
Read our full ranking on ThatShelf.com