10 Famous Movies That Started Real World Trends


When a movie does its job, it makes the audience want more. Sometimes, that means sequels. Sometimes it means more movies like the ones that preceded it. And sometimes, movies create trends that take off in the real world, whether it’s a specific outfit, the right pair of sunglasses, or maybe even a breed of dog. Why? Because people want to look and feel like the characters from their favourite movies. Here are Screen Rant’s 10 Famous Movies That Started Real World Trends.

Finding Nemo and the popularity of clownfish

Finding Nemo was a box office juggernaut in 2003. It earned over $900 million and cemented Pixar’s position as the best creator of animated movies in Hollywood. Marlin and Nemo, two of the film’s main characters, are clownfish, a cute, orange-and-white species that can be found in coral reef systems around the world. When these two fish captured the imaginations of filmgoers, kids around the world begged their parents for Nemos of their own. Clownfish became one of the most in-demand pet fish species in the world. Unfortunately, this impacted the species in the wild, and they’re now actually extinct in parts of Southeast Asia. Oops!

Ray-Ban Wayfarers in Risky Business

Way before Tom Cruise was known for his, uh, eccentric behaviour, he was a bonafide, cool-as-heck movie star. But before that, he was just another awkward teen in Risky Business. That is, until he strapped on a pair of Ray-Ban wayfarers and made everyone look at him in a new light. Sure, everyone remembers the scene of Cruise dancing to “Old Time Rock’n’Roll” in his underwear, but we feel pretty confident in saying that it was the sunglasses that made him a movie star. Though Ray-Ban began manufacturing Wayfarers in the 1950s, Tom Cruise and Risky Business reignited their popularity for another generation, and in doing so created one of the most iconic looks of the ‘80s.

“Vote for Pedro” T-Shirts from Napoleon Dynamite

Think back to the summer of 2004, when an independent film with an unknown cast became an overnight sensation. That film was Napoleon Dynamite and it quickly entered into public consciousness thanks to the memorably deadpan performance of curly-haired Jon Heder. Among the other catchphrases sparked by the film (“Girls only want boyfriends who have great skills!”), the most memorable was probably “Vote for Pedro.” Originally emblazoned on Napoleon’s shirt while he performs a rather unique dance for the entire school, the phrase was immortalized by the millions of knock-off t-shirts produced in the film’s wake, as teenagers across the country expressed their intention to, indeed, vote for Pedro.

Gladiator and Sword and Sandal Epics

Back in the year 2000, ancient historical epics were old news. It had been decades seen Spartacus and Ben-Hur ruled the big screen and raked in the Oscars. But one movie brought swords and sandals back to popular consciousness in a big way. That movie was Ridley Scott’s Gladiator, starring Russell Crowe as Maximus Decimus Meridius, a general-turned-gladiator on a quest of vengeance against the Roman emperor. After Gladiator won big at the box office, and at the Oscars, Hollywood started churning out more sword-and-sandal epics. Some of these movies, like Troy or 300, were pretty good. Others, like Alexander or Immortals, failed to make much of an impression. Nevertheless, the genre is still running strong, with a remake of Ben-Hur hitting theatres this year/week.

X-Men and Superhero Movies

The Avengers and shared cinematic universes

Technically, the Marvel Cinematic Universe began with 2008’s Iron Man, starring Robert Downey, Jr. as the charming and arrogant Tony Stark. But Marvel Studios’ gamble didn’t really pay off until they made The Avengers, bringing together Iron Man, The Hulk, Captain America and Thor to do battle against Loki… and destroy New York in the process. Since then, everybody’s been getting in on the shared cinematic universe game. This year’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice pitted DC’s biggest superheroes against each other while the upcoming Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is set to expand the Star Wars universe beyond the Skywalker family. Meanwhile, Universal is creating a shared universe for their classic monsters like Frankenstein, Dracula and The Wolfman. The Marvel Cinematic Universe was a big gamble for Marvel, but the success of The Avengers changed the industry in a big way.