Movies have become the most entertaining form of art. And this is in thanks to technological advancement, great scriptwriters, movie consultants, directors, and the rise of cinemas; all of which, have played a role in the transition of films from a technological novelty to the most popular form of entertainment. But this achievement did not happen overnight as there were many advances and history-making moments along the way.
Some of these moments were 1) the incorporation of sounds into movies in 1926. The first animated feature film in 1937. 2) The arrival of the first motion picture in 1889; 3) The use of computer-generated imagery (CGI) in films in 1973; 4) The first movie that was shown on an airplane in 1925 and to mention these few.
This article compiles a list of eleven movies, from the 1990s to recent, which were the first to make history in categories like the use of a new technology; best director; biggest box office opening movie; and movies that broke cultural barriers to mention this few.
1) Toy Story (1996)
Toy story was the brainchild of Pixar in collaboration with the owner, Steve Jobs. The partnership: the computer genius of Steve Jobs and the creative ingenuity of Pixar employees, especially John Lasseter, led to the creation of an innovative movie made entirely of CGI.
Casper, the movie that preceded Toy Story by six months, had the first CGI lead character, but toy story was the first feature-full length computer-animated movie after attempts were made on the movie, Tin Toy. This was a significant step as it would usher in a new decade of CGI blockbusters and animated films.
2) Titanic (1998)
Titanic, a James Cameron movie, is one of the most popular movies ever made. The movie was considered a huge gamble by many, but it went on to smash the box office records, winning 11 Oscars along the way.
Titanic was the first film that broke the billion-dollar ($2.516 Billion to date) mark at the worldwide box office; the movie would herald in a new era with many blockbuster movies breaking the billion dollar mark.
Some school of thoughts, however, believe that “Gone with the wind (USA 1939),” if adjusted for inflation, was actually the first movie to make the Billion dollar mark (~$3.44 Billion).
3) O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)
O Brother, Where Art Thou? is probably a forgotten gem to many. The movie, from the creative minds of the Coen Brother, won many academy awards. But, what most folks might not know about the movies is that it was also the first feature film that was entirely color corrected by digital means. Before then, most films colors were relatively adjusted using film emulsion alchemy.
4) Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001)
The movie “Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within” was another significant milestone in the history of cinema, it was the first photorealistic movie to be done by computer animation. It is also the most expensive video game inspired movie ever done. The movie did, however, flop at the box office.
5) Russian Ark( 2002)
Russian ark may have been forgotten by the world. But the Alexander Sukurov film may be remembered as the first feature filmed shot entirely using uncompressed high definition video. The movie was also the first to be shot in a single unedited take.
6) The polar express ( 2004)
The polar express took a novel approach to the cinematic craft. The Tom Hanks polar express movie was the first to combine both CGI and motion capture to the entirety of the movie.
7) Avatar (2008)
Avatar, another James Cameron movie, was a popular and an award-winning movie. The movie was delayed until movie making was technologically advanced enough for it to be made. The movie, on release, did extremely well, being the first to crack 2 billion dollars at the Box office (3.020 Billion dollars to date).
But again, adjusting for inflation, gone with the wind movie still remains a contender for the title.
8) Sex drive (2008)
Sex drive is probably another forgotten B-List comedy movie from 2008. The movie, however, would be remembered because it was the first time someone was shown texting on the big screen.
9) The Hurt Locker ( 2008)
The Hurt Locker was a milestone movie when it comes to female empowerment. This is because it was the first time, in the history of the Oscars, that a female director won the best director’s category. It was a momentous day for Kathryn Bigelow.
10) Black Panther (2018)
This black characters dominated movie is blazing a couple of trails. The movie was the first to be shown in Saudi Arabia after 35 years of movie ban. The movie was also the highest grossing superhero movie in the USA, but I am pretty sure that title has been taken by the movie, Avengers: Infinity War.
11) Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
This recently released blockbuster has already made history. The movie is currently the highest grossing movie to debut in any movie category ($105.967m). It is also the highest weekend opening grossing movie ($255m-$257m).