Steven Spielberg Still Delivers Blockbusters
Steven Spielberg is seen here arriving at the premiere of Warner Bros. Pictures’ “Ready Player One’ at the Chinese Theatre on March 26, 2018 in Los Angeles, California – Source: Kevin Winter/Getty Images North America.
Steven Spielberg enjoyed his best opening in a decade with Ready Player One.
The virtual reality fantasy by Steven Spielberg released with a healthy $53 million at the North American box office and picked up an additional $128 million overseas, bringing its global total to $181.2 million. That was enough to land the director of Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Jurassic Park his biggest debut since Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull launched in 2008 with $100 million.
As for last popcorn movie of Steven Spielberg, that wasn’t already part of a multi-million dollar franchise? That would be another novel-turned-big screen event, 2005’s War of the Worlds, which premiered with $64 million. That alien invasion flick got a boost from Tom Cruise’s star power (though his Oprah couch jumping did lead to some unwelcome pre-release publicity).
Recent projects have highlighted a different side of Steven Spielberg, with the Oscar-winning filmmaker devoting much of his energy to historical dramas geared toward adults, such as The Post, Lincoln, and War Horse. And while his movies aren’t breaking records like they once did with Jaws, Jurassic Park, and E.T., as of now, Spielberg seems to be in good shape after a couple of embarrassing box office bombs.
Spielberg’s last few big-budget films — 2016’s The BFG and 2011’s The Adventures of Tintin — didn’t land with moviegoers, but analysts point to Ready Player One as a reaffirmation of the commercial credentials of a man whose name is synonymous with the modern day blockbuster. After all, he practically created the concept of the summer escapist fantasy with 1974’s Jaws.
“It put Spielberg right back in his sweet spot,” Paul Dergarabedian, an analyst at comScore, said. “He was one of the architects of the summer movie season. It shows that when Spielberg goes back to what people loved about him in the first place, it really pays off big.”
Ready Player One plays like something of an ’80s’ greatest hits compilation. Its virtual reality setting allows Spielberg to stuff the film with cameos from and nods to such Reagan era staples as Back to the Future and Nightmare on Elm Street. Much like the nostalgia-driven film, audiences themselves are hungry for what could be considered Spielberg’s bread and butter — the family oriented sci-fi epic.