Flashback 30 years ago: The Top 10 Box Office Movies of 1989
By John Roberts
Los Angeles, California
February 17, 2019 6:46am CST
Several things leap out from this list of 30 years ago. Only nine movies topped the $100 million mark with just one over $200 million. Once upon a time such diversity and quality. Movies for adults. Not an animated movie in the top 10. Here is a shocker: Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” was only #22. Today, “The Little Mermaid” would have grossed 10 times the amount and be close to the top. How audience tastes have changed. Some things do not change. There are four sequels and another three that spawned sequels. “Dead Poet’s Society” ($95,860,116): Much admired film to this day. Robin Williams’ performance as the prep school English teacher is considered his finest. Seize the day! “Parenthood” ($100,047,830): Ron Howard directed this family comedy with an ensemble cast led by Steve Martin. Inspired a TV series. “Back to the Future II” ($103,826,836): The further adventures of Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly in the time traveling DeLorean. Another sequel followed. “Ghostbusters II” ($112,494,738): Not as good as the original but who you gonna call? “Look Who’s Talking” ($120,409,476): Somebody thought Bruce Willis voicing a talking baby was funny. John Travolta was in this. There were two sequels and a TV series. “Rain Man” ($125,649,560): Best Picture Oscar winner stars Tom Cruise discovering an autistic brother in Dustin Hoffman who won the Best Actor Oscar. “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” ($130,724,172): Family comedy fun that does not seem to be produced anymore. Followed by a sequel and TV series. “Lethal Weapon 2” ($147,253,986): Mel Gibson and Danny Glover return as cops Riggs and Murtaugh in this violent buddy buddy dramedy. One more sequel then a TV series. “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” ($197,171,816): Third Indy movie introduces Sean Connery as Harrison Ford’s dad. “Batman” ($251,188,924): The movie launching the dark reinvention of the caped crusader. Michael Keaton was a controversial choice to play Bruce Wayne. Jack Nicholson tore it up as the Riddler. Music by Prince. Some even better movies bubbled in the second 10. The unforgettable “When Harry Met Sally” (#11). Hilarious “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” (#14). Baseball classic “Field of Dreams” (#15). Al Pacino thriller “Sea of Love” (#16). Ultimate chick flick “Beaches” (#19). “Working Girl” was also 1989. How many have you seen? Any favorites?
17 people like this
• United States
I saw Rainman in a theater in Texas, Indiana Jones in a theatre in Ontario, Canada, Back to the Future II in a theater in California, and Look Who's Talking with German voice-overs in Germany the summer of 1990...I really got around back in those days!
I've seen five of the top 10, Ghostbusters 2, Back to the Future II (neither as good as the first), Lethal Weapon 2, Batman (Jack Nicholson was actually the Joker) and Indiana Jones (so, four sequels). Of the others, I think I've seen Working Girl.
I watched Back to the Future, Ghostbusters and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids when I was young and I love them all. I just missed those days that I can sit in front of the television and watch them without worrying anything. It is impossible foe me to do it now.
• Green Bay, Wisconsin
Of this list, I've seen Back to the Future - all of them, Ghostbusters - both, Honey I Shrunk the Kids, Look Who's Talking - not a favorite, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade - I've seen most of the Indiana Jones movies. Batman - I agree, Jack Nicholson killed it as the Joker. I didn't think he was the Riddler.