We’ve had several instances of multiple franchise entries making the Final Four. But up until now, we never had two films from the same franchise facing off for the whole enchilada.
By a slim margin of six, it seems that people preferred the beginning to the end of Peter Jackson’s adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings saga — as 2001’s The Fellowship of the Ring edged out 2003’s The Return of the King.
Fellowship was the only installment of the trilogy that wasn’t a #1 seed, but it was the strongest #2 seed (or #5 overall). Bee Movie, Catch Me If You Can, Monsters Inc., Elf, The Incredibles. Indeed, it allowed none of those late-round heavy hitters to pass en route to the championship. It was a close one, though, as the respective victories over Monsters and Elf were the closest ones in those rounds.
Meanwhile, Return of the King had an arguably easier path to the final match — fending off Johnny Cash (Walk the Line), John Nash (A Beautiful Mind), Frank Lucas (American Gangster), Harry Potter (Chamber of Secrets) and, well, itself (The Two Towers).
Tournament season is going on a two-week break after this, for the Thanksgiving and just a bit of an early December breather. But we’ve still got the 2010s Fall Blockbuster Tournament —which will kick off on Monday, Dec. 7 and wrap up before Christmas. And we’ve got plenty more tournaments in store for 2021, too. More details to come on those, but as always; Thanks for having fun with us on these. We hope they’ve been a fun way to pass the time over the last few months and we’ll keep them rolling for the coming months.
Until then, here are some notes on the 2000s Fall Blockbuster Tournament — with a final bracket embedded at the bottom.
As (almost) always, every movie got at least one vote this time. But the comparatively less-loved from the first round (10 or fewer votes) included:
10 — Four Christmases (which is good because this movie is terrible; really, everybody — nicely done here)
9 — A Christmas Carol (2009)
6 — Alvin & the Chipmunks (2007)
4 — Bee Movie
4 — The Twilight Saga: New Moon
3 — Alvin & the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel
1 — Twilight
Five total votes for the Twilight franchise, eh? I think Team Squidward would have gotten more votes. Don’t worry. You’ll have more chances to not vote for Twilight in the upcoming 2010s Fall Blockbuster tournament.
Here are the largest percentages of victory in each of the four rounds:
- ROUND 1: Slumdog Millionaire with 99% of the vote against Twilight
- ROUND 2: Ocean’s Eleven with 97% of the vote against Ocean’s Twelve
- SWEET SIXTEEN: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King with 88% of the vote against American Gangster
- ELITE EIGHT: The Incredibles with 82% of the vote against Chicago
And now the closest matches in each of the first rounds.
- ROUND 1: How the Grinch Stole Christmas over Chicken Little by 37 to 33
- ROUND 2: Die Another Day over The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by 33 to 31
- SWEET SIXTEEN: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring over Monsters Inc. by 49 to 41
- ELITE EIGHT: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring over Elf by 46 to 43
After a 1990s tournament with only five first-round upsets, nearly a third of this tilt’s earliest matchups went to the underdogs. Not only did this wipe out the Twilight combatants but also both Alvin & the Chipmunks movies and The Blind Side. (Again, everyone: NICE. JOB. GOOD. WORK.) The first-round upsets were as follows:
- #15 Ocean’s Twelve over #2 The Twilight Saga: New Moon
- #14 Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon over #3 Meet the Fockers
- #13 American Gangster over #4 The Blind Side
- #13 The Departed over #4 I Am Legend
- #12 Cheaper by the Dozen over #5 Alvin & the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel
- #11 Gran Torino over #6 Alvin & the Chipmunks
- #11 Juno over #6 Sherlock Holmes
- #11 Slumdog Millionaire over #6 Twilight
- #10 Catch Me If You Can over #7 The Polar Express
- #10 Die Another Day over #7 What Women Want
- #9 Casino Royale over #8 National Treasure
There was pretty good parity across the decade in this one. The lowest from any given year? Five films, and there were three with that many (2001, 2003, 2005). The year with the most was 2008, with eight films in the field: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Four Christmases, Gran Torino, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, Marley & Me, Quantum of Solace, Slumdog Millionaire and Twilight. However, none of those movies made it any farther than Round 2.