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Movies That Are Turning 10 In 2022

The year 2012 was an important one for cinema. Notably, it was the first time that two major Hollywood studios, Universal and Paramount, celebrated their 100 year anniversaries. But even as traditional film studios proclaimed their enduring relevance in the entertainment industry, the distant knock of digital streaming channels was growing steadily louder.

In terms of technology, 2012 saw the introduction of the Dolby Atmos sound format. It was also the year when filmmaker Peter Jackson kickstarted the use of higher frame rates in big-budget films with "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," making use of 48 frames per second (FPS) in place of the industry standard of 24 FPS. 

Elsewhere, the "James Bond" franchise celebrated its 50th anniversary, proving Hollywood's love affair with franchises was not going anywhere. But aside from the big-budget sequels and movies adapted from existing IP, a number of small- to mid-budget films proved that the industry was still capable of taking risks and was rewarded for the effort. Let us take a look at some significant movies from 2012 that will be celebrating their 10th anniversary this year.  

The Avengers

By the early 2010s, superhero movies had firmly established themselves as major event films that could turn into blockbusters. Movies like "The Amazing Spider-Man" and "The Dark Knight Rises" set cash registers ringing the world over, thanks to the immense popularity of Batman and Spider-Man.

But arguably, the biggest superhero movie of the year was "The Avengers." It was the first highly-ambitious attempt by Marvel Studios to have multiple leading superhero characters in the same movie instead of keeping each hero confined to their own franchise, which had been the tradition until then. The results were spectacular, as "The Avengers" grossed more than 1 billion dollars at the box office and earned praise from audiences and critics alike.

More than its individual success, the movie is responsible for Hollywood's newfound love for shared cinematic universes. Not only was every other studio now rushing to build their own versions of collective cinematic universes, but the film also made Marvel Studios go all-in on the idea of MCU heroes popping up in each other's movies. This new strategy culminated in 2019's "Avengers: Endgame," which set a new record for the highest-grossing movie of all time upon release. 

21 Jump Street

When "21 Jump Street" — starring Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum — was first announced, no one knew what to expect. The movie was a reboot of a cop drama show from the late 1980s, best known for being Johnny Depp's acting debut in a leading role. The film also marked the directorial debut of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, as well as a comedy debut of sorts for Tatum, who was best known for romantic and action roles at the time. 

Yet despite very little about the movie seeming to work on paper, "21 Jump Street" became one of the most successful comedies of the past two decades. The film took the central conceit of the show it was based on — cops pretending to be underage students to bust drug gangs — and ran with it in hilarious new directions. Tatum and Hill also unexpectedly turned out to be a dream comedy duo, sharing excellent chemistry that carries the whole movie.

"21 Jump Street" won rave reviews from critics and garnered a huge fan following. It also got a sequel in 2014, and there were even talks of a crossover with "Men in Black" (via Toronto Sun). While Hill and Tatum are busy with other projects at the moment, both have expressed interest in returning to the "Jump Street" franchise at some point — a sentiment that fans wholeheartedly support.   

Life of Pi

Even back in 2012, the idea of a movie like "Life of Pi" getting made would have seemed impossible. With a price tag of more than $100 million, the movie featured an unknown actor from New Delhi in the lead and told a desperate tale of survival on board a tiny boat lost at sea. The ambiguous ending also seems almost designed to leave viewers confused and dissatisfied.

And yet, Ang Lee's ambitious cinematic adaptation of Yann Martel's best-selling novel of the same name beat all odds to become a favorite amongst audiences and critics. "Life of Pi" tells the story of Piscine "Pi" Patel (Suraj Sharma), who is marooned on a boat at sea with a Bengal tiger following a shipwreck accident. The story is told by a grown-up Pi (Irrfan Khan) in flashbacks that make heavy use of the "unreliable narrator" trope. 

Many see "Life of Pi" as one of the last great big-budget auteur movies that Hollywood ever produced before shrinking box office numbers and competition from streaming services made Hollywood studios extremely reluctant to back non-franchise big-budget projects. Even a decade later, "Life of Pi" stands the test of time as a moving parable about death and loss made by a passionate team of expert artists at the top of their game. 

The Hunger Games

Hollywood is often accused of giving the short end of the stick to female-led action franchises, but the one spectacular exception remains the "Hunger Games" trilogy. Kickstarted in 2012 with a then-little-known female lead Jennifer Lawrence, the trilogy is based on the best-selling young adult series of books of the same name by Suzanne Collins.

Lawrence appears in the star-making lead role of Katniss Everdeen, a poor youth from an impoverished district in a post-apocalyptic world. Katniss is forced to participate in a brutal reality show where players from different districts attempt to kill each other until only one is left standing and is crowned the winner. Armed with nothing but a bow and arrow, Katniss must use her wits and form partnerships with her fellow players/captives in order to survive the ordeal. 

"The Hunger Games" was seen as the natural successor to the "Harry Potter" franchise. The film made stars out of Lawrence and her cast members and spawned four sequels that collectively made close to 3 billion dollars at the box office. As is Hollywood's habit, efforts are still being made to milk the franchise with a forthcoming prequel novel and movie adaptation


The world of horror movies has seen some interesting changes since the early 2000s. Found footage horror was going gangbusters thanks to the example set by "The Blair Witch Project" (1999), and "The Ring" (2002) opened Western horror up to the possibilities of borrowing horror tropes from other cultures. Elsewhere, James Wan managed to create an entire cinematic universe out of "The Conjuring" (2013).

One horror franchise that made a big impression before falling off the radar was the "Sinister" series. The first "Sinister" movie was released in 2012 and signaled the arrival of an important new voice in horror —its director and co-writer, Scott Derrickson. The movie is a suspenseful tale of a writer and family man who comes across a series of home movies, each depicting the grisly end of an entire family through horrific and elaborate traps. 

"Sinister" also gives audiences one of the most interesting new horror villains in the shape of Bughuul, an ancient pagan deity that likes to kill entire families through their youngest child before slowly feasting on their soul. Unfortunately, "Sinister 2" failed to live up to the standard set by the original, and it seems "Sinister 3" isn't coming any time soon.   

This Is 40

Remember when mid-budget dramedies could still release in theaters and do good business at the box office? Different times, man. "This Is 40" is one such low-key romantic drama by the king of low-key romantic dramas, Judd Apatow. It also stars Paul Rudd in the lead, back when he was still mainly known as a charming comedy actor and had not yet been swallowed up by the inexorable march of the MCU machine. 

The movie is a spinoff of the 2007 cult classic "Knocked Up" and puts the focus on Pete (Rudd) and Debbie (Leslie Mann). The married duo finds their various relationship issues percolating around their fast-approaching 40th birthdays. Also in the mix are an entertaining cast of supporting characters that includes a scene-stealing Melissa McCarthy and John Lithgow as Debbie's distant father. 

Despite being only 10 years old, "This Is 40" feels like it belongs to a different era — one when explosions and gratuitous CGI were not necessary to hold audiences' attention in the theater, and Rudd could go an entire movie without flashing six-pack-abs. The movie has developed a status as a cult classic over time, and it deserves to be counted alongside the likes of "Knocked Up" and "The 40-Year-Old Virgin."

Django Unchained

Only a few filmmakers have managed to avoid the growing schism between theatrical and streaming releases for their movies, and Quentin Tarantino is one such person. The acclaimed filmmaker continues to work with A-list talent on theatrically-released movies that make healthy profits at the box office without relying on CGI or franchise properties. 

"Django Unchained" was one such unicorn offering by Tarantino that saw the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, and Samuel L. Jackson coming together to tell the story of a freed slave in the Old West hunting down the men who had sold off his wife to a plantation. In typical Tarantino style, the movie tells a heavily revisionist history of the Old West that uses way more racial slurs than general audiences might be comfortable with.

The movie is Tarantino's highest-grossing film to date and was lavished with praise by critics for the main cast's performances. Particularly Waltz as Django's sidekick, a dentist-turned-bounty-hunter. It's also a treat to watch DiCaprio take a break from playing one of Martin Scorsese's tortured leading men to chew the scenery as the over-the-top villain — Calvin Candie — in a Tarantino flick.   

The Dictator

Few actors have had as explosive breakout roles as Sacha Baron Cohen in 2006's "Borat." The actor was hailed as a comedy genius unlike any other for the bizarre mockumentary feature that had him playing a foreign news reporter trying to make sense of American culture. Fans and critics were agog to see what Cohen would do in a proper film without the "mockumentary" angle, and the answer came with 2012's "The Dictator."

Cohen played the role of Admiral-General Haffaz Aladeen, the dictator of a fictional North African nation of the Republic of Wadiya. A botched assassination attempt leaves Aladeen alone and unaided on the streets of New York, where he must contend with the different cultural norms of the country, as well as the assassins who are still looking to take him down.

"The Dictator" proved that Cohen could play the leading man in a traditional comedy and still retain his unique sensibilities as a performer. Many scenes from the movie have since become the stuff of comedy legend. While Cohen was never quite able to climb the heights of stardom like a Jim Carrey or Adam Sandler, "The Dictator" remains a shining testament to the kind of weird, occasionally off-putting R-rated comedy gold he is so adept at creating onscreen.  

Silver Linings Playbook

There was a time in the early 2010s when Jennifer Lawrence seemed poised to be the new Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, and Julia Roberts all rolled into one. The actress' stratospheric ascent had partly to do with her lead in the blockbuster "The Hunger Games," but the same year, Lawrence also had all the critics falling in love with her character in "Silver Linings Playbook."

It was the first of Lawrence's many collaborations with filmmaker David O. Russell and arguably the most successful one. The movie tells the story of Pat (Bradley Cooper), a man with bipolar disorder who is trying to make a second attempt at regular life after a stint in rehab. Pat meets a young widow named Tiffany (Lawrence), who offers to help him get his life back together if he helps her win a dance competition. 

Bolstered by a compelling screenplay and an excellent supporting cast, "Silver Linings Playbook" was one of the most critically-acclaimed movies of 2012. Lawrence won the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role and became the second-youngest person to do so in the process. While Lawrence might have fallen off the radar in recent times, this movie is a good reminder of why she was dominating the Hollywood news streams just a few years ago.   


The 2010s were a time of great change for Mark Wahlberg. After almost two decades worth of dramatic and action roles, the actor surprised everyone with his chemistry with comedy legend Will Ferrell in 2010's "The Other Guys." Then, in 2012, Wahlberg followed that up with an even more unexpected comedy pairing in "Ted." 

In the movie, Seth MacFarlane voices a teddy bear that Wahlberg's character Johnny wished to life at a young age. Not only does the bear (named "Ted") come alive, but it also continues to live with Johnny as an adult. The bizarre premise of the movie is bolstered by the chemistry between Johnny and Ted (which is really just MacFarlane doing his "Peter Griffin" impression from "Family Guy").  

"Ted" manages to be extremely funny in parts thanks to MacFarlane's comedy chops and Wahlberg's willingness to go all-in on making his character a sympathetic man-child who still relies on his teddy bear to get through life. The movie was successful enough to get a sequel in 2015, although by then, it was clear that there was not much more mileage to be gotten out of the basic premise of the franchise beyond two films. 

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Teenage drama movies have always been a rare thing. Usually, films about young adults tend to skew towards action or comedy. But "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" manages to buck the trend with a surprisingly heartfelt look at high school life and the people who help you get through adolescence. 

The movie tells the story of Charlie (Logan Lerman), a high school freshman who suffers from clinical depression and dissociative amnesia. Shy and retiring, Charlie manages to make friends with Sam (Emma Watson) and her step-brother Patrick (Ezra Miller). In their company, Charlie tries to step out of his comfort zone, even as events from his past and present threaten to overwhelm him and ruin his chances of getting into his dream college.

Apart from proving that Watson was capable of playing a character other than Hermione Granger, "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" provided a breakout movie role for Miller and helped Lerman recover from the disappointing reception to his previous shot at big-budget stardom with the "Percy Jackson" franchise. Even today, "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" continues to be seen as one of the best coming-of-age movies of all time.   


After decades of waiting around to be rescued by their handsome princes, parents, magical MacGuffins, etc., the early 2010s saw Disney princesses start to take matters into their own hands. While Elsa from 2010's "Frozen" is deemed the vanguard of this movement, the more badass princess protagonist arguably belonged to 2012's "Brave." 

Princess Merida of the clan DunBroch in medieval Scotland does not have any magical ice powers to rely on in battle. Instead, she has an extremely headstrong nature and the best archery skills in all the land. After it is announced that Merida must be wed soon, she embarks on a plan to avoid her nuptials to a stranger with the help of an ancient witch's magic. Naturally, things go wrong, and Merida is left with a mother who has been transformed into a bear.

Perhaps because it was made by the Pixar wing of Disney rather than the main parent company, "Brave" is less interested in following the tropes of a typical "Disney Princess" movie with a charming prince and an eventual "happily ever after" for Merida through marriage. While fans would love to see a sequel to "Brave," don't count on one being made anytime soon, given that Pixar has a habit of creating standalone projects.    


"Chronicle" is an impressive achievement for a lot of reasons. It manages to combine the "found-footage" drama usually associated with horror movies with the sci-fi overtones of a gritty superhero origin movie. Made against a budget of $12 to $15 million, the movie made over $100 million at the global box office and turned first-time director Josh Trank into one of Hollywood's hottest up-and-coming talents. 

When a group of friends — Andrew (Dane DeHaan), Matt (Alex Russell), and Steve (Michael B. Jordan) — discover a glowing crystalline object in the woods, they are imbued with a range of abilities. Drunk on power, the trio takes increasingly bigger risks while exploring their abilities. Eventually, Andrew starts going down a dark path, and it is up to the other two to control their estranged friend before he takes things too far. 

While a well-made movie in its own right, today, "Chronicle" is generally seen as the lone bright spot in Josh Trank's increasingly troubled career in Hollywood (via Polygon). You also get to see Michael B. Jordan's early days as an actor back before he became an A-lister, and DeHaan's searing performance as the troubled Andrew gives impressive proof of why Metro once speculated that the actor could become "the new Leonardo DiCaprio." 

Project X

Another found-footage movie about teenagers that managed to do a $100 million box-office gross against a minimal budget, "Project X" almost feels like a companion piece to"Chronicle" that focuses on the dangers of growing up in the social media landscape where self-destructive behavior is put on display and celebrated. 

"Project X" follows a group of high-school students — Costa, J.B., and Thomas — who decide to throw a party at Thomas' house on his birthday in a bid to increase their popularity. The party starts out reasonably tame, but things escalate quickly after it transpires that Costa had run ads for the party on Craigslist and the radio in a bid to swell the number of guests. 

With a house full of strangers hopped up on drugs and alcohol, the party soon gets out of hand. Criminals, police officers, and the news media get involved as the party takes on the dimensions of a public riot event. The critical response to "Project X" was deeply mixed, with many critics blasting the reckless behavior of the main cast of characters toward drugs, alcohol, and each other. Despite the backlash, the movie managed to become a bonafide hit at the box office and found a second life as a cult classic on the internet.