Updated On: November 06, 2023 by   Miranne Khaled   Miranne Khaled  

The film industry has experienced a remarkable evolution over the years. While plots and character development have always played a crucial role in making a movie captivating, the addition of innovative elements has undoubtedly enhanced the overall cinematic experience. Among the most influential decades, the 90s stands out as a pivotal era for the film and TV industry. 

During this period, we witnessed a transformative shift from traditional films to the mesmerising world of CGI effects. Although classic films remained popular, rapid technological advancements became the driving force behind the industry’s remarkable progress. The nineties was almost the first era to bluntly offer a plethora of genres that cater to different tastes.

Besides, this decade was a transformative period in the world of technology, which highly impacted the film industry. Although we are now over two decades past the nineties, many of us, especially millennials, still retreat to these old movies for comfort and a sense of control for knowing how things will turn out. 

Besides, these 90s movies are a great way to connect with a past long gone, yet many of us still yearn for it. Let’s embark on a journey on how the nineties were a revolutionary period for the world of cinema while casting our minds back over some unforgettable movies.

4 Major Factors that Influenced Movie Watchability in the 90s 

In case you never heard, we ought to tell you that the 90s was known as the fairytale decade of Hollywood. The film industry was at its finest, brimming with unprecedented success. It was a time when advancements were taking over, yet innocence was easily found between the lines of each script. 

Despite their daily struggles, Everybody seemed happy and led a decent life. Although many of the 90s movies seem to be still popular over a couple of decades later, there were specific factors that played a pivotal role in making or breaking a film. 

1. Box Office Success

In the vibrant era of the nineties, the barometer of a movie’s popularity was defined by its dazzling box office success. It possessed an undeniable allure that deemed it a primary measure of a film’s watchability. Back then, the number of ticket sales was directly related to the success of the movies.

However, times have changed, and the influence of theatrical revenues has undergone a remarkable shift, especially in a post-pandemic world where everything went digital. Believe it or not, many of the 90s movies were neither considered box office bombs nor miraculously high-grossing but have astonishingly found their way among fervent fans in the present day.

2. Star Power

The 90s movies secured triumph by attaching familiar star faces in the film and writing their names boldly on the posters. It was one of the preeminent factors that massive productions relied on to ensure their project was marketed right. The debut of the Mission Impossible franchise back in 1996 is one of the most unforgettable, putting Tom Cruise under the spotlight. 

This is no longer the case 20 or 30 years later, yet you can still guarantee triumph with the release of a new film in the franchise. Don’t get us wrong, we would still love to see huge actors on the screen performing skilfully, but young and fresh faces are now more accepted than ever. 

In the era of social media dominance, the fans reeling behind actors or certain movies or series can be sufficient to deliver success. Social media has now become the most powerful marketing tactic employed by different industries, and the film industry is no exception.

3. Blockbuster Mentality

Blockbuster was a common factor that the film industry heavily relied on to ensure the delivery of the movie to success. It basically depended on reducing risk by opting for major film studios, broad distribution, and powerful marketing campaigns. Blockbuster movies also combined the advantage of most popular stars with well-known stories or books to guarantee enormous box office investments.

For example, Batman movies were deemed among the most popular blockbuster 90s movies. Not only was it based on a well-known character from comic books, but it also featured different actors to play the character. Other 90s movies that were synonymous with blockbusterism were Jurassic Park, Independence Day, Armageddon, and more. 

4. Advancements in CGI-technology

The introduction of CGI technology into the film and TV industry was quite mesmerising and impressive. People raced to watch movies that offered magnificent scenes that seemed pretty realistic. This technology was nearly the most substantial factor influencing the watchability and success of the 90s movies. 

The sufficient development of computer animation has significantly expanded, drawing the attention of movie buffs. Interestingly, Pixar’s Toy Story 2, which was released in 1999, was the first animated film to be entirely created and produced by CGI technology. Undoubtedly, the animated movie became one of the highest-grossing 90s movies, not only because of that advanced technology but also because of its beloved characters and polished script highly contributed. 

Top 8 Highest-Grossing 90s Movies that Are Still Watched Today

Today, we live to witness new technological advancements that have taken the film industry by storm. Movies are now produced with unprecedented quality and mind-blowing technologies, thanks to the revolutionary breakthroughs of AI engineering. However, the 90s movies remain holding a warm spot within our hearts despite using much less technological advancements. 

It’s time we take a nostalgic stroll down memory lane, where memories of your childhood or adolescence come flooding, and the waterworks begin. 

1. Titanic (1998)

Nothing hits as hard as the statement “based on a true story” that comes up at the beginning of the movie. Titanic was one of the most prominent 90s movies that’s well-known to be based on real-life events that took place in 1912 when the mighty ship broke apart and sank on its maiden voyage. Though the story was quite tragic, people were captivated by the on-screen chemistry between Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. 

The events of how the Titanic took the lives of thousands of passengers and crew on the ship were accurate and authentic, which makes the movie a hundred times sadder. However, the romantic relationship between Jack and Rose is entirely fictional, serving as compelling elements to keep the viewers entertained.

Besides the impactful story, the computer-animated effects were ahead of their time, creating an authentic experience for the viewers who literally sat at the edge of their seats during the tragic sinking of the mighty ship. It remained among the highest-grossing films in the 90s, especially for the director, James Cameron, until his 2010 Avatar movie.

2. Jurassic Park (1993)

Jurassic Park is undeniably among the most successful 90s movies that still ring loud bells today. Adapted from a novel of the same name, Steven Spielberg succeeded in leaving the audiences spellbound, not only by the very idea of dinosaurs but also by their graceful depiction on screen. This movie was the first ever to create a CGI-generated spectacle at the time. 

Although the story was considered simple, the direction of Steven Spielberg was highly provoking, engaging the audience in every scene. This movie was the highest-grossing film of Steven Spielberg and ever until Titanic came out in 1997. Even more, the movie is still quite popular; three decades later, it has various sequels, with the latest one released in 2022.

3. Forrest Gump (1994)

“Run, Forrest, Run” is among the movie quotes that are still as popular today as it was upon its first release. Forrest Gump is one of the most successful 90s movies and is still popular today for various reasons, topped with the breathtaking performance of our beloved Tom Hanks. The film grossed six Oscar nominations and topped the box office for weeks in 1994. 

Although the story was slightly altered from the original novel, the main plot points were preserved. Also, the film was way ahead of its time, revolving around the power of entrepreneurship, which is a primary principle in today’s world. It also focused on the importance of never losing hope while serving as a reminder of the value of family and friendship. All of which people today can relate to.

4. The Lion King (1994)

Disney’s animation films witnessed massive success during the 90s. In fact, that decade is said to be the best in the history of animated movies, especially Disney. Apart from being one of the best Disney movies ever, The Lion King also happens to be one of the highest-grossing 90s movies. 

Many animated films were produced in the 90s, yet none of them made it to the list of the top animations until the release of Toy Story 2 in 1999. One of the many reasons The Lion King was among the massively successful and popular movies in the 90s and even today is the touching story. 

Although it catered to children mainly, the film also captivated older audiences, given that the details were vivid and showed some dark moments. Being genuine and not all cartoonish was a necessary element, for it helped children and teenagers alike relate to the sense of difficulties in real life. 

5. Home Alone (1990)

It’s 2023, and yet Christmas is never complete without snuggling with a warm blanket and turning Home Alone on. Without mentioning this family-friendly film, you can never recall the best moments vicariously lived through the 90s movies. The movie set a beautiful balance between emotional drama and humour, making it suitable for all family members. 

It became one of the most successful 90s movies back then, for it appealed to young children who found Kevin’s tricks and traps hilarious. Yet, adults found the film equally entertaining, too. Today, the movie continues to be a masterpiece, for 90s babies still have an emotional attachment and memories that take them to a simpler time.

6. Clueless (1995)

Although the genre may have evolved over the years, chick flicks still hold a special place in the hearts of many girls and young women. While modern-day films have taken centre stage, there is an undeniable charm to the classics that continues to captivate audiences. One standout from the 90s movies that continues to lay a devoted fan base is Clueless

This film stands as a testament to its enduring appeal and relevance, not to mention the natural beauty of Alicia Silverstone and her sweetness that captivated the hearts of men and women alike. Clueless goes beyond the superficiality often associated with chick flicks and offers a refreshing take on the narrative surrounding women. It challenges and breaks free from the stereotype of the ditzy female protagonist, which appeals to the concept of women’s empowerment today.

7. The Matrix (1999)

Do we really need to state the various reasons that The Matrix was among the most significant 90s movies? This film assembled several factors that highly contributed to its massive success, including its groundbreaking visual effects, the combination of philosophy and action, and profound concepts—all of those mixed with the breathtaking performance of Keanu Reeves.

The movie topped the box office right upon its release in 1999. One of the many elements that worked as a driving force toward success was how the creative concept of the movie raised many questions among the audiences regarding our reality. It was and will still be one of the most innovative sci-fi trilogy in the history of cinema,

8. Face/Off (1997)

Though John Travolta and Nicolas Cage produced their fair share of successful films, their duet in Face/Off remains an unforgettable masterpiece. The main reason that movie hit big at the box office was its wild concept fused with the sci-fi of an experimental procedure where two swapped faces. Even today, with the rise of out-of-the-box ideas, this is one of the craziest 90s movies ever made.

Despite being initially implausible at the time, the story captured the attention of audiences all over the world. It was the most outstanding element of success, yet the exceptional duet of Travolta and Cage was another essential component that safely propelled the film towards unprecedented triumph.

As passionate cinema lovers, we relish the fantastic steps that the film industry continues to make. The abundance of extraordinary concepts and immense production scopes are not to be taken lightly. Yet, a special spot in our hearts for the 90s movies will always remain. Their influence was immeasurable against the overwhelming sense of simplicity that takes over when we revisit these films from our past. 

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