Highest-grossing films of 1990
Rank Title Studio Worldwide gross
1 Ghost Paramount $505,702,588
2 Home Alone Fox $476,684,675
3 Pretty Woman Disney $463,406,268
4 Dances with Wolves Orion $424,208,848
5 Total Recall Sony / Carolco $261,317,921
6 Back to the Future Part III Universal $244,527,583
7 Die Hard 2 Fox $240,031,094
8 Presumed Innocent Warner Bros. $221,303,188
9 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles New Line $201,965,915
10 Kindergarten Cop Universal $201,957,688
Best-selling singles of 1990
No. Title Artist
1 “Unchained Melody” The Righteous Brothers
2 “Nothing Compares 2 U” Sinéad O’Connor
3 “Sacrifice”/”Healing Hands” Elton John
4 “Ice Ice Baby” Vanilla Ice
5 “Killer” Adamski
- January 1 – Glasgow begins its year as the European Capital of Culture.
- January 1 – The first Internet companies catering to commercial users, PSINet and EUnet begin selling Internet access to commercial customers
- January 13 – Liam Hemsworth, Australian actor
- January 21 – MTV’s Unplugged is broadcast for the first time, on cable television, with British band Squeeze.
- January 31 – The first McDonald’s in Moscow, Russian SFSR opens 8 months after construction began on May 3, 1989. 8 months later the first McDonald’s in Mainland China is opened in Shenzhen.
- February 2 – Apartheid: F. W. de Klerk announces the unbanning of the African National Congress and promises to release Nelson Mandela
- February 11 – Nelson Mandela is released from Victor Verster Prison, near Cape Town, South Africa, after 27 years behind bars.
- February 14 – The Pale Blue Dot photograph of Earth is sent back from the Voyager 1 probe after completing its primary mission, from around 5.6 billion kilometres (3.5 billion mi) away.
- March 8 – The Nintendo World Championships were held within the Fair Park’s Automobile Building, kickstarting an almost year-long gaming competition across 29 American cities.
- March 9 – Police seal off Brixton in South London after another night of protests against the poll tax.
- March 18 – Twelve paintings and a Shang dynasty vase, collectively worth $100 to $300 million, are stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, Massachusetts by two thieves posing as police officers. This is the largest art theft in US history, and the paintings (as of 2018) have not been recovered
- March 23 – Princess Eugenie of York, a British princess
- March 26 – The 62nd Academy Awards, hosted by Billy Crystal, are held at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles, California, with Driving Miss Daisy winning Best Picture.
- April 1 – The 1990 United States Census begins. There are 248,709,873 residents in the U.S. 331m now in 2020
- April 15 – Greta Garbo, Swedish-American actress (b. 1905)
- April 22 – The Muppets marked Earth Day with a two-hour special jam-packed with guest stars. The list is absurdly long, but I’ll give you a taste — the cast included Neil Patrick Harris, Carl Sagan, Dustin Hoffman, Tone-Loc, Will Smith, Dan Akroyd, Chevy Chase, Downtown Julie Brown, Candice Bergen, Danny DeVito, Rhea Perlman, Morgan Freeman, Queen Latifah, Jack Lemmon, Edward James Olmos, Christopher Lloyd, Rick Moranis, Martin Short, Meryl Streep, Alex Trebek, Robin Williams, and…wait for it…the casts of The Cosby Show, Cheers, Married With Children, and Golden Girls
- April 23 – Dev Patel, British actor
- April 28 – Liverpool F.C. win their 18th English Football League Title when they beat Queens Park Rangers 2–1 at Anfield thanks to goals from Ian Rush and John Barnes
- May 2 – In London, a man brandishing a knife robs a courier of bearer bonds worth £292 million (the second largest mugging to date).
- May 16 – Sammy Davis Jr., American actor, dancer, and singer (b. 1925)
- May 17 – The World Health Organization removes homosexuality from its list of diseases
- June – Joanne Rowling gets the idea for Harry Potter while on a train from Manchester to London Euston railway station. She begins writing Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone which will be completed in 1995 and published in 1997
- June 8 – The 1990 FIFA World Cup begins in Italy. This was the first broadcast of digital HDTV in history; Europe would not begin HDTV broadcasting en masse until 2004
- July 8 – 1990 FIFA World Cup Final (Association football): West Germany defeats Argentina 1–0 to win the 1990 FIFA World Cup.
- August 12 – “Sue”, the best-preserved Tyrannosaurus rex specimen ever found, is discovered near Faith, South Dakota by Sue Hendrickson.
- September 10 – The first Pizza Hut opens up in the Soviet Union
- September 11 – First Pizza Hut opens in the People’s Republic of China, nearly 3 years after the first KFC opened there in 1987
- September 17 – In what is now regarded as a landmark event in regards to women in journalism, reporter Lisa Olson was sexually harassed by multiple New England Patriots players while trying to conduct a locker room interview.
- October 3 – Cold War: East Germany and West Germany reunify into a single Germany.
- October 8 – The first McDonald’s restaurant is opened in Mainland China in Shenzhen, near Hong Kong
- October 15 – South Africa ends segregation of libraries, trains, buses, toilets, swimming pools, and other public facilities.
- November – The earliest known portable digital camera sold in the United States ships
- November 13 – The first known web page is written
- November 21 – The Super Nintendo Entertainment System was released in Japan.
- November 23 – Roald Dahl, British novelist, short-story writer, poet, screenwriter, and wartime fighter pilot (b. 1916)
- November 26 – Rita Ora, English singer
- December 1 – Channel Tunnel workers from the United Kingdom and France meet 40 metres beneath the English Channel seabed, establishing the first land connection between Great Britain and the mainland of Europe for around 8,000 years.
- December 24 – Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman marry.