10 Movie Props That Ended Up Being More Famous Than the Movie
These are the items that ended up stealing the limelight, earning a spot in pop culture, and in some cases, selling for more at auction than the movies' box office earnings.
1. The Leg Lamp from "A Christmas Story" (1983)
Our first entry brings a whole new meaning to the phrase "getting a leg up." The infamous Leg Lamp from "A Christmas Story" has garnered more attention and giggles than the movie itself. Yes, you read that right! This kooky prop, deemed a "major award" by the Old Man, was so quirky that it somehow etched itself into pop culture. Audience reactions ranged from hilarity to bewilderment at the sight of the fishnet-clad leg lamp taking center stage in the Parker family living room.
Today, replica leg lamps are popular Christmas gifts, and they've even inspired a race in Cleveland where participants carry their own mini versions of the iconic lamp. Talk about lighting up a room!
2. The Soap from "Fight Club" (1999)
Who would've thought a bar of soap could become so famous? Well, it did in "Fight Club." This isn't your regular Dove or Dial; it's a symbol of rebellion and anti-consumerism that somehow garnered a fanbase of its own. Carved with the film's title, the pink soap is as iconic as Brad Pitt's abs in the movie. The soap was such a standout that it graced the film's poster and became a symbol associated with the movie's aggressive rejection of societal norms.
Despite the movie's lukewarm initial reception (Rotten Tomatoes score of 79%), the soap has made its way into the merchandise world, and you can buy your very own "Fight Club" soap today. Just remember: the first rule of Fight Club is... well, you know.
3. The Briefcase from "Pulp Fiction" (1994)
Quentin Tarantino's "Pulp Fiction" has a rather intriguing prop: a mysterious briefcase that glows when opened but whose contents are never revealed. This briefcase became a popular topic of discussion among audiences, with speculation running wild about what it contained. Some even suggested it held Marcellus Wallace's soul!
The curiosity around this prop led to numerous fan theories and discussions, making the briefcase more memorable than some scenes in the film. The film might have had a star-studded cast, but it was this unassuming briefcase that stole the show and continues to perplex audiences years later.
4. The Red Swingline Stapler from "Office Space" (1999)
This next prop is so famous that it led to a product line! In "Office Space," the character Milton is obsessively attached to his red Swingline stapler. The red stapler was not originally a product of Swingline but was created for the movie because it stood out better on film.
After the movie's release, Swingline received numerous requests for the red stapler, leading to the company launching a Rio Red model. Even though the film wasn't a box office hit, it gained a cult following, and the red stapler became a symbol of the office worker's struggle against the system.
5. The Mask from "V for Vendetta" (2005)
When it comes to movie props, few have had as significant an impact on society as the Guy Fawkes mask from "V for Vendetta." Worn by the film's revolutionary protagonist, V, this mask transcended the realm of cinema and became a symbol of rebellion, used in various real-world protests.
The film received mixed reviews, with a Rotten Tomatoes score of 72%, but the mask has continued to be an iconic symbol, seen everywhere from political protests to Comic-Con, showing that a movie's influence can extend far beyond the big screen.
6. Wilson from "Cast Away" (2000)
Who would think that a volleyball could outshine a whole movie and become one of the most recognized props in cinematic history? This is exactly what happened with Wilson, the volleyball from "Cast Away." Not just a volleyball, Wilson serves as Tom Hanks's only companion while he's stranded on an uninhabited island. This ordinary piece of sporting equipment was transformed into a character, with a face drawn in blood and a handful of feathers for hair.
Hanks' emotional attachment to the inanimate object struck a chord with audiences worldwide, and Wilson became a sensation. Despite the film's box office success and Hanks' exceptional performance, it was the volleyball that ended up making the biggest splash.
7. The Puzzle Box from "Hellraiser" (1987)
This isn't your average Rubik's cube. In "Hellraiser," the Lament Configuration, an intricately designed puzzle box, serves as a gateway to a hellish dimension of pain and suffering. The box became such an iconic symbol of the movie that it was featured prominently in the sequel titles and used in various marketing materials.
The movie itself achieved a cult status over the years, but the puzzle box has left its own mark in the horror genre, with replicas being sold to fans and collectors. Even though the film has a Rotten Tomatoes rating of just 73%, the puzzle box has arguably become more recognizable than the film it originated from.
8. The Oxygen Destroyer from "Godzilla" (1954)
If you're thinking of props that overshadowed their films, you can't ignore the Oxygen Destroyer from "Godzilla." This scientific device, designed to eliminate the King of Monsters, has become a cult item among the Godzilla fandom. This iconic prop symbolizes the destructive power of unchecked scientific advancements, echoing the nuclear anxieties of post-war Japan. Though "Godzilla" spawned numerous sequels and remakes, the Oxygen Destroyer is firmly entrenched in the memory of fans and has even made appearances in subsequent Godzilla films.
9. The Feathers from "Forrest Gump" (1994)
You may think it's odd to include a feather on this list, but the feathers in "Forrest Gump" hold a special place in cinematic history. The feather is seen floating at the beginning and end of the film, symbolizing the theme of destiny and chance that underpins Forrest's life journey. Despite the film's critical and commercial success, it's this feather that has left a lasting impression. It has been analyzed, discussed, and memed, making it one of the most iconic props in Hollywood history.
10. The Recorder from "Star Trek" (1966-1969)
Yes, a series rather than a movie, but the Tricorder from "Star Trek" deserves a mention. This futuristic device used for data sensing, analysis, and recording, became a symbol of the sci-fi genre's visionary imagination. Even though the original series was not an immediate success, the Tricorder has had an enduring impact. It has inspired real-world technological advancements and continues to be a beloved piece of Star Trek memorabilia.