As 2016 begins, it only seems right to take a look back at a very successful year for the entertainment industry. The exceptional films and music ensure that the stars of 2015 certainly will not be forgotten.
With both feet in the new year we’d like to highlight some of the bests from 2015:
African American Culture
Selma (released in Canada in January, 2015) and Straight Outta Compton were both released last year, the same year that people in states such as Missouri and Maryland were participating in the #BlackLivesMatter movement, which began as response to the seeming devaluation of African-American lives through police violence. Both of these movies were able to portray the struggle and the rise of African-American figures in a society that shows a bias against them. Continuing on the topic of African-American culture, Kendrick Lamar’s album, To Pimp a Butterfly, brought to light many issues of slavery in the past and how the disturbing trend of discrimination is returning. Rolling Stone magazine and Billboard also ranked the album the best of the year, not only for the quality of the music, but for the message it spread.
The Return of Classics
Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Jurassic World and Mad Max: Fury Road, are all movies that are based in large franchises or are remakes of movies that were very popular in their prime. With the first Star Wars movie being released in 1977 and no sequel in that franchise released since 2005, the film is a rebirth that appealed greatly to people of all ages. Along with Star Wars, the Jurassic Park series, which had not released a new movie since 2001, attracted a very diverse age group. Mad Max: Fury Road was also another movie that had not seen the big screen since 1985. Each of these movies made every age group want to take a trip to the theaters over the course of 2015.
2015 was also an immensely successful year for the animated movie industry, with Minions, Home, and Inside Out all hitting the big screen. The Minions movie, a branch off of Despicable Me was extremely popular this year, hitting $1 billion at the world wide box office. Some of the entertainment world’s biggest stars teamed up with director Tim Johnson to work on what would become one of the most successful animated films of the year, as Jennifer Lopez and Rihanna starred in Home. Pairing popular artists with a great plot is always a recipe for success, and this time was no different. Finally, Inside Out captured the hearts of many with its important messages about emotional development and its touching story line. The film was rated at 98% on Rotten Tomatoes and grossed $90 million at the box office. Overall, the animated movie industry had a great year, with many big name movies gracing screens all over the world.
A Drive Down Memory Lane
The Fast and Furious franchise has captured the eye of car lovers and action lovers alike for many years now. However, the franchise took a big hit as tragedy struck when Paul Walker died in a horrific car accident in 2013. The cast and crew used this as motivation and continued filming the latest film, Furious 7, without one of its biggest stars. Furious 7 earned more box office success than any other film in the franchise; in fact, it earned more in less than two weeks than any other movie in the series ever made. In addition, the tragedy inspired artists Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth to produce a song that would go on to become a Billboard number one.
In terms of music, this year was the year that Canadian artists were really able to burst onto the scene. Justin Bieber and Drake are two huge Canadian artists who both had not released albums since 2012 and 2013 respectively. However, the long wait was well worth it, as the two artists released record breaking albums this year: Bieber’s Purpose and Drake’s If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late.
Many other Canadians also surprised the world, as The Weeknd’s popularity grew massively with his song “Earned It,” which was the feature song in 50 Shades of Grey, one of the best selling movies of the year, and Shawn Mendes released his first album Handwritten, which debuted at first on the Billboard 200.
Return of a Diva
After four years off the radar, Adele finally came back onto the scene, making quite the re-entrance. Adele’s big return caught everyone’s attention, from teenage girls to middle aged men. With her last album being released in 2011, it was a lengthy wait up until her album 25 hit the charts. According to Billboard, 25 is one of 11 albums to sell over five million copies since 2005: talk about a comeback!
Taylor Swift has always been the cute little country girl, but this year she changed things up. 2015 brought tremendous change to Taylor’s music, which resulted in immense success to her career. The Washington Post reported that her latest album 1989 sold 1.3 million copies within the first week, becoming the first platinum album of the year. Who knew turning a country star into a pop star would bring this much success?
Well there you have it, yet another incredible year for entertainment has passed us by. From the rebirth of pop stars, to the release of influential films, 2015 was filled with a variety of amazing moments.
Only time will tell what 2016 has in store for us, but the real question is: will it be able to top the success of 2015?
Art: Bailey Palmquist
Article: Mel Sauve and Mark Munro