Hollywood offered something for everyone in 2007, from the action film Spider-Man 3 to the musical Hairspray. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan takes a look back at some of the year's top films, for both audiences and critics.
For American movie fans, the top film of the year was the third installment in the Spider-Man franchise. Spider-Man 3 was the top earning film in the United States. Like the two earlier films, it features a young Peter Parker, played by Tobey Maguire, who tries to balance his personal life with his role as a super-hero who fights a succession of super-villains.
The second-highest earning film was the fantasy Shrek the Third, the latest episode in the tale of a lovable ogre and cast of animated animals and fairy tale characters.
The third-highest earning was the science fiction adventure Transformers, a story of battling robots starring Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox.
Another hit with audiences was Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, the latest film of the Disney adventure saga.
Rounding out the top five at the U.S. box office was yet another sequel, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Harry and his friends continue their training as wizards, as they battle evil forces.
Other top-earning films include the thriller The Bourne Ultimatum, the ancient war drama 300, and an animated film about a rat with gourmet tastes, Ratatouille.
For film critics, the list of the year's top films is very different. The British drama Atonement is at the top of many lists.
Based on a best-selling novel by Ian McEwan, Atonement is the story of a teenaged girl - an aspiring writer - who changes several lives when she wrongly accuses her sister's fiancé of a crime. She recounts the events in a work of fiction, which she describes in the film.
"It is about a young girl, a young and foolish girl who sees something from her bedroom window which she does not understand, but she thinks she does," she explains.
The oil-boom saga There Will Be Blood, starring Daniel Day-Lewis, also earned plaudits from the critics.
Other films well reviewed by the critics include the crime tales No Country for Old Men, Eastern Promises, and American Gangster, and the legal story Michael Clayton, with George Clooney as a corporate lawyer known for fixing problems.
This year saw two big -screen musicals, the tale of a murderous barber, Sweeney Todd, and the film adaptation of the Broadway hit Hairspray, a quirky comedy about teenagers in 1960s Baltimore.
A number of films have looked at the war on terrorism and the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. In the Valley of Elah from director Paul Haggis is a mystery about the search for a soldier who goes missing after returning from Iraq. The film stars Tommy Lee Jones and Susan Sarandon, and many critics have praised it, but the war films have generally not done well at the box office.
Producers of the Afghan-themed The Kite Runner, based on a popular novel, hope their film is an exception as it is released in international markets from December through early 2008.