In honor of the World Cup and summer movie season, we staged a bracket battle to choose the greatest summer blockbuster of all time.
Ever since Jaws swept audiences (and their wallets) away in the summer of 1975, Hollywood has zeroed in on the hottest months of the year to release their biggest, baddest, most epic films. The best blockbuster is a summer event, reeling in casual moviegoers and serious film critics alike -- much like the World Cup, every four years, suddenly makes everyone a soccer fan.
To establish our bracket, we selected an initial list of 32 films (beginning with 1975's Jaws and ending with 2012's Marvel's The Avengers). To qualify, a film must have been one of the top grossing films of its year, have lasting staying power (aka the "Rewatchability Factor"), and must have made a cultural impact. We tried to limit ourselves to one movie per year, though some years warranted no entries while others warranted two. Seeding was based on the total domestic box office gross of the film when adjusted for inflation (though these figures also included any re-releases these films may have had). By those numbers, Star Wars is our #1 seed (with $1,417,832,000 adjusted earnings).
Every tournament should be infused with libations, and for ours we chose the Brazilian national drink (hey, World Cup), the Caipirinha (hey, summer). Breezy and sleazy--it goes down easy. Nothing says summer like sugar cane. Here's how to make our version:
1 tsp granulated sugar
1 lime, quartered
10 mint leaves, whole
2 oz. cachaça
Muddle the mint leaves with two lime quarters in a tall, sturdy glass. Add the remaining lime quarters and the sugar, and muddle some more. Add the cachaça. Stir and enjoy.
Our first round matchups and winners are listed below. Have a listen to the podcast to see which of these movies made it past the Sweet 16 to be crowned our Greatest Summer Blockbuster of All Time Ever in History!
ROUND ONE (Winners in bold)
#1: Star Wars (1977) vs. #32: Die Hard (1988)
#16: Spider-man 2 (2004) vs. #17: Back to the Future (1985)
#9: Marvel's The Avengers (2012) vs. #24: Transformers (2007)
#8: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) vs. #25: Armageddon (1998)
#4: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) vs. #29: Inception (2010)
#13: Independence Day (1996) vs. #20: The Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
#12: Spider-man (2002) vs. #21: The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)
#5: Return of the Jedi (1983) vs. #28: Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1986)
#2: E.T. the Extra Terrestrial (1982) vs. #31: True Lies (1994)
#15: Batman (1989) vs. #18: Twister (1996)
#10: The Dark Knight (2008) vs. #23: Top Gun (1986)
#7: Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999) vs. #26: Batman Forever (1995)
#3: Jaws (1975) vs. #30: War of the Worlds (2005)
#14: The Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006) vs. #19: Men in Black (1997)
#11: Ghostbusters (1984) vs. #22: Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
#6: Jurassic Park (1993) vs. #27: Batman Returns (1992)