Box Office Flashback: October – A Morbid Mark, Wacky Parents, And Jackasses

Thirty years ago, the box office sizzled with actions, ten years later, it was laughing its way to the bank, and ten years after that, it was laughing again from a kick to the nuts.

October is the month of Halloween and is perhaps no month better represents movies. After all, actors, directors, and the rest of the filmmaking industry are professionals at playing pretend. You’d think, though, that a month celebrating enjoying the macabre would produce nothing but horror hits. However, our look at the box office over the past 30 years and the films that earned the most money reveals that horror is hardly the only thing people watch this month.

So, who took the box office crowns in our analysis this month? Let’s take a look back ten, twenty, and thirty years ago at the biggest movies released in October.

1990 Marked For Death 46 million

marked for death-steven seagal-film

In a year of Ghost, Pretty Woman, and Home Alone, love stories and a kid comedy, along comes Marked For Death, an action movie from hot star Steven Seagal. Marked For Death was Seagal’s third film after stints as a stunt coordinator and martial arts instructor who reportedly broke Sean Connery’s wrist during filming. Marked For Death features the typical hard-boiled, steely-eyed protagonist that Seagal always seemed to play back then. Playing former DEA agent John Hatcher, Seagal tries to save his town from a gang of religious zealots determined to take over John’s hometown.

October of 1990 didn’t see too much excitement in films that left a longstanding pop culture impact. Memphis Belle, a fictionalized retelling of the last mission of an American Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress bomber, came in behind Marked For Death. A re-release of the acclaimed Disney animated film, Fantasia, earned the third spot. In fourth is Quigley Down Under, a film starring Tom Selleck as a sharpshooter fighting for Aborigines’ lives in Australia. In 1990, Kirstie Alley was hot stuff in Hollywood and starred in Sibling Rivalry, a star-studded comedy directed by Carl Reiner that included Sam Elliott, Jami Gertz, Bill Pullman, Carrie Fisher, and Scott Bakula.

2000 Meet The Parents 161.1 million

meet the parents-ben stiller-box office

Long ago, comedy legends Jerry Stiller and wife Anne Meara gave birth to comedy legend Ben Stiller who starred in a remake of 1992’s Meet The Parents and led it to the October box office crown of 2000. Director Jay Roach (Bombshell) and a stellar cast with the likes of Blythe Danner (Gweneth Paltrow’s mom) and Robert DeNiro created a film that spawned two sequels and several loose spin-offs. The film’s left a pop culture impression that includes the line “Are you a pothead, Focker?” uttered by DeNiro.

Two hot stars came together in 2000 for the film Bedazzled, about a man who makes a deal with the devil. Hollywood hunk Brendan Fraser played the man. To play the devil was sinfully gorgeous, Elizabeth Hurley. The late Harold Ramis directed the film. Behind Bedazzled is Pay It Forward, the feel-good film starring Haley Joel Osment, Helen Hunt, and Kevin Spacey. There’s no denying it made saying ‘pay it forward’ a common phrase. Following the super-success of Blair Witch, the filmmakers tried to make a ‘standard’ sequel, even ditching the found-footage vibe. Blair Witch 2: Book Of Shadows was a mild success that ended the franchise for the next 14 years. The Contender, a political drama starring (and co-produced by) Gary Oldman, snuck into the top five and received two Oscar nominations (Joan Allen, Jeff Bridges)

2010 Jackass 3D 177 million

jackass-movie-box office-october

On October 1st, 2000, MTV, the channel that played music videos at one point in time, released a bunch of lunatics onto the world. The show was called Jackass, and it featured Johnny Knoxville, Bam Margera, Steve-O, Wee-Man, and a host of other crazy characters performing some ridiculous stunts and acts of random stupidity. It’s the type of video common today in our social media world, but rare back in 2000 when it sometimes took minutes to even log on to the worldwide web. Ten years after the premiere of Jackass on MTV, the third film in the series released to massive success.

Speaking of the internet then and now, in second place is the acclaimed film from writer Aaron Sorkin and director David Fincher about Facebook’s rise. The Social Network starred pre-Lex Luthor Jesse Eisenberg and a pre-Spiderman Andrew Garfield. The film received many awards, including a Best Picture at the Golden Globes and eight Oscar nominations (winning three). RED, a movie about retired assassinations, starred Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, and more, and blasted its way the third spot. The sequel to Paranormal Activity landed in fourth, followed by Secretariat, a film about a horse that won a race.

October 2020 & Predictions

The box office is not a great place. Tenet is doing reasonably well considering the situation, but outside of that, it’s a wasteland. Several theater chains are closing shop for the foreseeable future after Disney announced delays to high-profile films like Black Widow until 2021. Who’s to know what the future holds for the silver screen. In the meantime, streaming services are cranking out content like there’s no tomorrow. So, at least we’ve all got something to watch. Maybe too much something, but that’s an article for another time.

Which of these films do you still watch today?
Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

Read more from Ruben R. Diaz!

There’s so much more on PopAxiom!


Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Part 4 | Date Announcement Teaser | Netflix

Her name is Sabrina Spellman, and she’ll never sign it away. The final chapter of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina premieres December 31, only on Netflix. SUBSCRIBE: About Netflix: Netflix is the world's leading streaming entertainment service with over 195 million paid memberships in over 190 countries enjoying TV series, documentaries and feature films across…

The Shop: Uninterrupted | President Obama Special Episode | Social Justice in Sports (Clip) | HBO

Former President Barack Obama discusses how WNBA and NBA players are setting the tone around social justice issues for their generation and generations to come. #HBO #TheShopHBO Subscribe to HBO on YouTube: In collaboration with LeBron James and Maverick Carter's Uninterrupted, HBO Sports presents unfiltered conversation and debate from the biggest names in sports…

What We Do in the Shadows | Huluween | FX on Hulu

You thought What We Do in the Shadows was a comedy? #huluween Subscribe now for more What We Do in the Shadows clips: What We Do in the Shadows follows four vampires who’ve “lived” together for hundreds of years. In Season 2, the vampires will try to find their way in a world of…

Raised by Wolves | New Trailer | HBO Max

Two androids are tasked with raising human children on a mysterious virgin planet. As the burgeoning colony of humans threatens to be torn apart by religious differences, the androids learn that controlling the beliefs of humans is a treacherous and difficult task. Stream all episodes of Raised By Wolves now on HBO Max. Subscribe:…

We Are Who We Are: Inside The Episode (Episode 7) | HBO

Inside episode 7. #HBO #WeAreWhoWeAre Subscribe to HBO on YouTube: From Luca Guadagnino, the director of Call Me By Your Name, We Are Who We Are follows a group of teens growing up on an American Army base outside of Venice, Italy struggling to find their own identities as they move into young-adulthood. Official…

His Dark Materials: Bringing Daemons and Bears to Life – Behind the Scenes Clip | HBO

See how the creatures in His Dark Materials are brought to life. #HBO #HisDarkMaterials Subscribe to HBO on YouTube: His Dark Materials stars Dafne Keen, James McAvoy, Ruth Wilson and Lin-Manuel Miranda. Adapting Philip Pullman’s award-winning trilogy of the same name, which is considered a modern masterpiece of imaginative fiction, the first season follows…

Addams Family Values With Yvie Oddly Trailer – Drag Me To The Movies

Looking for a low-calorie, high-camp treat this Halloween? Join Yvie Oddly - Season 11 winner of RuPaul's Drag Race - as she plays hostess for Drag Me To The Movies, which features a very special (and spooky!) screening of Addams Family Values. Stream Drag Me To The Movies: Addams Family Values with Yvie Oddly this…

The Undoing: Explore the many layers of Elena with Matilda De Angelis | HBO

The Undoing star Matilda De Angelis takes you deeper into her mysterious character at the center of the drama. #HBO #TheUndoing Subscribe to HBO on YouTube: Grace and Jonathan Fraser (Kidman and Hugh Grant) are living the only lives they ever wanted for themselves. Overnight a chasm opens in their lives: a violent death…
Ruben Diaz
Writer, film-fanatic, geek, gamer, info junkie & consummate Devil's advocate who has been fascinated by Earth since 1976. Classically trained in the ways of the future.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here