Los Angeles-based Cutting Room Music has released a study on how the popularity and box office success of movie genres changed over the course of several decades.
It’s no secret that the Hollywood formula has changed many times over the years, but so has the audience’s preference. Cutting Room Music recently released a study on how the popularity of certain movie genres changed over the course of several decades. They came across some really interesting results, and even created an interactive video that showcases how much money each genre has made worldwide from 1980 to 2020. It explores the evolution of all the popular movie genres and how much they made at the box office, over a span of 40 years.
Up until the early 2000s, comedy and drama flicks ruled the box office. In the 80s, for example, comedies earned a total of $20 billion at the box office. Then, during the 90s, comedy flicks earned $32 billion, while during the 2000s, they made a total of $73 billion. During this time, movies like Ghostbusters, Beverly Hills Cop, The Big Lebowski, The Truman Show and Groundhog Day packed cinemas worldwide and made millions of people laugh, while also making millions of dollars at the box office.
Dramas, on the other hand, made around $16 billion in the 80s, $42 billion in the 90s, and $75 billion in the 2000s. Movies like Titanic, The Breakfast Club, Dead Poets Society, Dirty Dancing, Forrest Gump, or Good Will Hunting were massive hits during the 80s, 90s and 2000s, and are still considered classics to this day. Although highly popular in the 80’s, romance movies gradually lost their appeal to audiences, and by 2020, the genre was among the least popular.
Between 2010 and 2020, Action and Adventure movies earned over $300 billion, combined
Before 2000, people mostly enjoyed comedies and dramas, but action and adventure movies were also very popular before the turn of the century. Titles like Indiana Jones, Die Hard, Top Gun and The Terminator paved the way for what was to come after the mid-2000s. The new James Bond movies, the Mission Impossible series, the Bourneseries, as well as the Fast & Furious series made these two movie genres more and more popular.
As technology evolved, the 2000s also marked the start of many action-packed superhero movies. In 2000, 20th Century Fox released the first X-Men movie, and the series went on to span across a total of 13 movies until 2020. Sony also found huge success with Spider-Man flicks for many years, while Marvel Studios and Disney created an incredible cinematic universe with the MCU, releasing 23 movies in just 11 years. DC Comics and Warner Brothers Studios also kept busy with Christopher Nolan’s Batman Trilogy and Zack Snyder’s Watchmen, as well as with the DC Extended Universe movies.
As a result, adventure and action movies made around $26 billion and $29 billion, respectively, during the 90s, and by the end of 2010, these genres were miles ahead of the competition. Action movies grossed $149 billion from 2010 to 2020, while adventure movies earned $164 billion in the same time span. The two genres combined earned over $300 billion between 2010 and 2020.
Technology pushes boundaries when it comes to Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Animation
As technology continued to evolve, CGI and special effects in movies became increasingly better between 2010 and 2020. Inception, Interstellar, Ad Astra and Blade Runner 2049 are just a few sci-fi marvels released in the past decade that did incredibly well at the box office. Studios like Pixar, Dreamworks Animation and Walt Disney Studios pioneered when it came to unique animated movies, and pushed the genre forward. The fantasy genre, however, outshined both sci-fi and animations during the 2000s, due to the immense success of the Lord of the Rings movie series and Harry Potter series.
During the 2000s, sci-fi, fantasy and animation movies grossed $29 billion, $49 billion and $24 billion, respectively. From 2010 to 2020, sci-fi films earned $90 billion at the box office, fantasy movies grossed $87 billion, and animation movies $51 billion worldwide.
People’s new-found obsession with true crime opened new doors for the Thriller, Crime, and Horror genres
David Fincher, Stanley Kubrick, David Lynch, Darren Aronofsky, Guy Ritchie, James Wan, Guillermo del Toro and many, many others blended and pushed the horror, thriller and crime genres forward in the past decades. Their incredible, and sometimes twisted, work continues to impress and leave audiences in awe, shock, and disbelief after finishing their movies.
In the past decade, thriller movies grossed $73 billion at the box office, while crime and horror films earned $33 billion and $18 billion, respectively. The three genres gradually grew at the box office each decade, and their influence on pop culture is undeniable.