A New Year means new pop culture anniversaries and Wonderwall.com isn't missing a chance to celebrate them all. Now that it's 2018, we're going all the way back two decades to see which films ruled the box office 20 years ago… starting with one of our favorite end-of-the-world dramas, "Armageddon." The romantic sci-fi adventure starring Liv Tyler featured Ben Affleck and Bruce Willis as part of a ragtag team of drillers hired by NASA to use their skills to embed a nuclear bomb in a massive asteroid headed on a collision course with Earth. The film was the biggest hit of the year, bringing in a worldwide total of nearly $554 million (it also earned three Oscar nominations). Want to see what other movies made the list? Keep reading for more…
"You've Got Mail"
One of our favorite romantic comedies of 1998, "You've Got Mail," paired up two '90s superstars, Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks. The movie's about a small-town bookstore owner who finds a romantic connection over the internet with a man who (unbeknownst to her) is her biggest rival. The lighthearted comedy pulled in nearly $251 million at the worldwide box office and was the last rom-com the duo starred in together.
RELATED: Meg Ryan's movie roles ranked
"Enemy of the State"
Who can forget the heart-stopping, nail-biting crime thriller "Enemy of the State" starring Will Smith and Gene Hackman? When Robert Clayton Dean (played by Will) uncovers evidence of a politically motivated assassination, he becomes the murderer's next target. After being framed for the killing, Robert goes on the run but won't stop until the true criminals are captured. The movie pulled in an impressive $250 million in worldwide sales.
RELATED: Will Smith's life in pictures
"There's Something About Mary"
Yes, even the hilarious comedy "There's Something About Mary" starring Cameron Diaz and Ben Stiller turns 20 years old in 2018. Featuring Ben as a former nerdy high schooler who manages to run a zipper through his man parts and Cameron as his ultimate school crush who grows up to be even more beautiful, minus a certain sticky hairdo, this enduring comedy became an instant classic. It was also the fourth-highest grossing film of 1998, pulling in nearly $370 million worldwide.
"The Man in the Iron Mask"
Fresh off the major success of 1997's "Titanic," Leonardo DiCaprio returned to the big screen in 1998 in the mysterious historical drama "The Man in the Iron Mask." The film, based in small part on an actual masked man kept in King Louis XIV's prison, tells the story of a vengeful musketeer who attempts to overthrow the king (played by Leo) by freeing his rumored twin brother from prison to claim the crown. The movie, which brought in $183 million in sales, didn't do as well as "Titanic" (which brought in over $2 billion) but still managed to become one of the top-performing films of 1998.
Although "Deep Impact" was awkwardly similar to "Armageddon" — it's about a giant comet hurtling toward Earth — it had the advantage of being released first. What's even cooler about this action-packed thriller is that it featured African-American star Morgan Freeman in the role of the U.S. president 10 years before America actually elected a black man, Barack Obama, to the White House. It was also the sixth-highest grossing film of 1998, bringing in nearly $350 million in worldwide sales.
Back in 1998, the Disney animated feature "Mulan" was the first of its kind — a powerful, cross-cultural epic featuring a female lead in a story about family, honor and war. Voiced by Chinese-American actress Ming-Na Wen, "Mulan" was a critically acclaimed success, garnering Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations and bringing in over $304 million in worldwide sales. Former "Once Upon a Time" actress Yifei Liu has been cast in the title role for the upcoming live-action remake, which is due in theaters in 2019.
"Shakespeare in Love"
Although Gwyneth Paltrow wasn't new to Hollywood when "Shakespeare in Love" premiered in limited release in December 1998, the film is largely considered her debut as a serious lead actress. Set in 1590, the historic romantic comedy featured Gwyneth as Viola de Lesseps and as Thomas Kent, a male disguise she used to audition for the theater alongside William Shakespeare, who ultimately falls in love with her. The film earned six Academy Awards (including a best actress Oscar for Gwyneth) and raked in an impressive $289 million in worldwide ticket sales.
There's little audiences love more than a giant monster destroying civilization — which is why the No. 3 movie of 1998 was "Godzilla" starring Matthew Broderick, Jean Reno and Maria Pitillo. The storyline was typical 'Zilla, with a destructive reptilian-like beast emerging from the depths of the earth, bringing together a team of unlikely heroes to save humanity. The plot might seem laughable, but dollar signs don't lie. The movie pulled in $379 million at the box office.
"Saving Private Ryan"
Much like Leonardo DiCaprio's success with "Titanic," Matt Damon was also riding a wave of fame after the 1997 release of his hit film "Good Will Hunting" when he appeared as the title character in the war drama "Saving Private Ryan." The film directed by Steven Spielberg co-starred heavy hitters like Tom Hanks, Tom Sizemore and a little-known actor by the name of Vin Diesel in a story inspired by real events: a team of U.S. soldiers who risked their lives to save a paratrooper who was the last remaining son in a family of fallen service members. The movie brought in nearly $482 million, making it the second-highest grossing film of 1998.
"Lethal Weapon 4"
Typically, sequels don't usually outperform the originals (unless we're talking "Star Wars" or "Toy Story"), but when it came to the "Lethal Weapon" franchise starring Danny Glover and Mel Gibson as two aging LAPD cops tasked with fighting Chinese mobsters, audiences couldn't get enough. Perhaps that's why "Lethal Weapon 4" was such a phenomenal hit of 1998, coming in as the No. 10 highest grossing film of the year. Although the slightly comedic crime thriller didn't pull in as much money as "Lethal Weapon 3" in 1992 (which made nearly $322 million), it still did serious damage at the box office with over $285 million in ticket sales.
In October 1998, DreamWorks released "Antz," an animated adventure focusing on the household pests we love to hate. Featuring the voices of Sharon Stone and Woody Allen, the movie was ultimately a classic tale about the geek who manages to both get the girl and save the day for everyone he loves. While the film was on the trailing side of box office hits for the year, it still managed to rake in a cool $171 million in worldwide sales.
"A Bug's Life"
Just one month after DreamWorks premiered "Antz," Disney released the equally adorable "A Bug's Life" featuring the voices of David Foley, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Hayden Panettiere. The animated comedy adventure was also about ants, in particular, one extremely klutzy ant whose mistake costs his colony their payment (which is food) to the ruthless grasshoppers who run a cartel using intimidation and violence to get what they want. To save his friends and family, he has to find an army of various insects to help him take down the grasshoppers once and for all. The fun family film brought in more than $363 million worldwide, squashing "Antz" (yeah, we went there).
"The Mask of Zorro"
Handsome Antonio Banderas could have starred in a movie about garbage in 1998 and it still would have been a hit, but alas, he did one better by starring as the hunky Zorro-in-training in "The Mask of Zorro." Also starring Anthony Hopkins and Catherine Zeta-Jones, the classic tale was born again in a story about revenge, legacies and romantic Spanish heroes with black masks and big, shiny swords. The dramatic rom-com was a hit, bringing in over $250 million at the box office.
If you were a kid who loved the comedy "Dr. Dolittle" starring Eddie Murphy, then it's safe to say you're officially getting old. The lighthearted remake of the classic story (based on the children's books by Hugh Lofting) featured Eddie in the title role as a doctor who suddenly finds he can hear animals talk, leading him on some wacky (and hilarious) adventures. The film earned nearly $295 million worldwide, making it the eighth-biggest hit of 1998.
Susan Sarandon and Julia Roberts starred in the emotional family drama "Stepmom," which arrived in theaters on Christmas Day in 1998. In the film, Susan plays a single mother and divorcée who finds out she's terminally ill. As her disease progresses, she has to find a way to accept her ex-husband's new wife (played by Julia) as the only mother her children will have. Audiences clearly love a good cry because the film brought in nearly $160 million and earned Susan a Golden Globe nomination.
One of the most heartwarming films of 1998 was "Patch Adams" starring beloved comedian Robin Williams in the title role. The semi-biographical story followed a doctor who discovered the healing power of humor and compassion and made it his mission to implement them into his medical practice. The movie received Golden Globe and Oscar nominations and managed to ring up more than $202 million in ticket sales.
What began as an enthralling TV series turned into a hit film in 1998 with the theatrical release of "The X-Files" starring Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny as FBI agents Dana Scully and Fox Mulder. As Dana and Fox try to solve a mysterious death, their investigation points to a massive government coverup of a dangerous alien virus. The movie earned more than $189 million at the box office and became the 20th most lucrative film of the year.
"The Truman Show"
If one film warped our sense of reality in 1998, it was undoubtedly "The Truman Show" starring Jim Carrey and Ed Harris. The sci-fi dramedy featured a young man named Truman (played by Jim) who finds out his entire life was nothing more than a TV show meant to entertain viewers. The unlikely hit earned multiple Academy Award nominations and won three Golden Globe Awards. It also managed to be the 11th most popular film of the year, bringing in more than $264 million at the box office.
1998 was also the year the world witnessed the comedic genius of martial arts legend Jackie Chan in a buddy-cop drama with funnyman Chris Tucker — "Rush Hour." The film, which was a cross-cultural journey of laughter, spawned two equally popular sequels and is about to be revived in 2018 when production of "Rush Hour 4" begins. The original raked in more than $244 million in worldwide sales and became the 15th most popular film of the year.
"The Prince of Egypt"
Banking on the Book of Exodus in 1998, DreamWorks released its first animated movie, "The Prince of Egypt," which told the biblical story of Moses. Featuring the voices of Val Kilmer and Ralph Fiennes and an amazing soundtrack (including a powerful duet from Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston, "If You Believe"), the movie earned nearly $219 million at the box office plus Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations.
Of the two films Adam Sandler released in 1998, the clear winner was his comedy "The Waterboy" co-starring Kathy Bates. The sport-driven storyline placed Adam in the competitive world of college football in a hilarious tale of overcoming the odds, even when you're really, really odd. The film earned $186 million in worldwide ticket sales. His other movie that year, "The Wedding Singer," didn't do so bad either, bringing in another $123 million at the box office.
"City of Angels"
Usually a rom-com starlet, Meg Ryan took a detour in 1998 to star alongside Nicolas Cage in the fantasy drama "City of Angels." In the film, Nicolas plays Seth, an angel of death who falls in love with Meg's doctor, who fights to keep her patients alive. Deciding to take the ultimate leap of faith, Seth abandons his angelic existence for a life of humanity to experience real love, in the flesh. The film was a hit, earning a Golden Globe nomination and close to $199 million at the box office.
"The Horse Whisperer"
While "The Horse Whisperer" might have inspired a thousand punchlines and spin-off titles, the actual film, starring Robert Redford and a young Scarlett Johansson, was a thing of beauty. When a girl named Grace suffers a traumatic accident while riding her horse, her only hope of healing comes from a man named Tom whose patience and talent for communicating with horses goes beyond the stables. The film earned two Golden Globe nominations and $187 million at the box office (and gave Cesar Millan, aka "The Dog Whisperer," a great TV show title).
"Six Days Seven Nights"
Last on our list is the romantic dramedy "Six Days Seven Nights" starring Harrison Ford and Anne Heche. When a cantankerous pilot and an uptight magazine editor find themselves stranded on a deserted island, the two have to work together to stay alive. Of course, as so often happens on deserted islands, the two also develop feelings for one another, which is only complicated by the fact that both are already in committed relationships. The film took in nearly $165 million and reminded us that Harrison was still a heartthrob, even in his mid-50s.