25 Highest-Grossing Films Of All Time
29th July, 2021
25 Highest-Grossing Films Of All Time
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It takes more than being popular among fans to become the highest-grossing movie in Hollywood. So let’s find out if your favorite is one of them. Epic movies like Jurassic Park and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows make you feel anything else. Such projects require dedication, creative minds, the right target audience, and the perfect marketing strategy. And if the brew is just right, the film will potentially turn into one of the highest-grossing of all time. Here are 25 such high-ranking movies and their gross figures. We've also adjusted some of the oldies for inflation, just so you know where they stand today.
Black Panther (2018)
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Black Panther (2018)
The introduction of the Black Panther in Captain America: Civil War left fans wondering if the King of Wakanda would get his very own origin movie. But with Black Panther, Marvel ditched the conventional "origins" and jumped right into the character's follow-up story. The film was super-successful at the box office, with a gross of $1.3 billion at the worldwide box office. That's a massive difference from its production budget, which was just $200 million.

In the action-packed film, King T'Challa is on a mission to stop Killmonger (played brilliantly by Michael B. Jordan) from taking over his peaceful and hidden kingdom. Sadly, Chadwick Boseman, the lead who plays the panther, passed away in August 2020. We surely hope that the film's diverse cast can honor his legacy in the potential sequel. But the question remains: Who is worthy enough to bear the mantle of the Black Panther?

Aquaman (2018)
Warner Bros. Pictures
Aquaman (2018)
Jason Momoa plays the role of Arthur Curry: heir to the underwater kingdom of Atlantis. Aquaman depicts the half-Atlantean’s lack of interest in being a hero and the path he cannot avoid. After being dragged into the kingdom’s politics, Arthur has no choice but to embark on a quest for the throne or risk an all-out war between the people of the surface and the oceans. Aquaman was a much-awaited DCEU movie that got fans hyped since Momoa’s appearance in Justice League.

The creators of Aquaman made sure there were no other high-value releases nearby. So when the movie released in 2018, it grabbed all the attention it could get, even from regions like China, where the film became the fourth-highest grossing superhero movie of all time. The film grossed $335 million domestically and $1.14 billion at the worldwide box office. With a success streak like so, we can't wait to watch the anticipated sequel.

Incredibles 2 (2017)
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Incredibles 2 (2017)
Here's a movie that took about 14 years to make it to the big screens. But we're going to let it slide as we enjoyed every moment of the film and loved each character, old and new. The Incredibles 2 begins when the Parr family exits the stadium after cheering through Dash's controlled school race. Little did they know that their celebration was due to a visit from the Underminer, an evil villain with the intention of devastating planet Earth. Did we mention that Frozone's part of the Incredible crew too? The film took off exactly where it left off back in 2004, and it only gets interesting from there.

Incredibles 2 got so much traction that it paved the way for a gross of $1.2 billion worldwide in 2018. It also made the Disney-Pixar superhero film the seventh animated title and 36th film to ever blow past the milestone.

Frozen (2013)
Walt Disney Pictures | Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Frozen (2013)
Frozen is one of the most popular animated adventure films of all time. In 2014, it bagged two Oscars: one for the Best Animated Feature Film of the Year and the second for Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song. The film has also won three BAFTA awards in the same year. However, the animated comedy film's success was not just limited to awards. The film also soared high at the box office. What started with a production budget of just $150 million, Frozen accumulated a gross $1.26 billion worldwide. Also, the last time we checked, the film was the third highest-grossing animated movie of all time. The success of the film allowed its creators to produce the sequel, Frozen 2. The film is flooded with ample humor, music, and of course Olaf, all of which are just as infectious as its prequel.
The Fate of the Furious (2017)
Universal Pictures
The Fate of the Furious (2017)
The Fast saga has been the people's favorite as far as high-octane action is concerned. And with consistent leads like Vin Diesel, Jason Statham, and Dwayne Johnson at the helm, the eighth installments give the audience exactly what they're looking for. And that's an action-packed blockbuster. In The Fate of the Furious, the entire crew is left dumbstruck when Dom betrays the team and turns into a rogue agent. Now, the rest of the crew must find out what's really going on and dodge sticky situations thrown their way from Cuba right into the icy plains of the arctic Barents Sea.

Every Fast saga movie gets bigger and faster with its latest release, and that’s what brings in the numbers. The film's domestic gross leveled at $225.7 million. But worldwide, the film made a gross of $1.2 billion. Also, as of 2021, another sequel was added to the mix titled Fast & Furious 9.

Avengers – Age of Ultron (2015)
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Avengers – Age of Ultron (2015)
Remember when the team kicks Hydra butt in Sokovia and heads back to celebrate at Stark Tower? After an embarrassing attempt at lifting Thor's hammer, the team is interrupted by a disfigured robot who compares himself to a puppet free from strings. That was one creepy scene as far as villain entries go. Avengers: Age of Ultron sees Tony Stark and the rest of the Avengers teaming up a second time to fight the AI-based android Ultron, who is hellbent on destroying human life on Earth. Other than stopping Ultron, the Avengers are faced with two new out-of-control threats with enhanced abilities.

What was also out of control was how the film scored major box office mojo after its debut. Sure, Avengers: Age of Ultron was not the highest-grossing installment of this MCU series. But at the box office, the movie earned a whopping $459 million at the domestic market, followed by a cumulative gross of $1.4 billion worldwide.

Star Wars – The Force Awakens (2015)
Walt Disney Pictures | Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Star Wars – The Force Awakens (2015)
Set 30 years after Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, the 2015 release takes us to the time of the First Order, a brainchild of the Empire, whose ultimate goal is to bring the galaxy under the rule of the dark, destroy the New Republic, the Resistance, and Luke Skywalker. It's up to Rey, Finn, and Poe to find the MIA Jedi to help them fight against Kylo Renn and the First Order. The film also brings back Harrison Ford, aka Han Solo, among other influential cast members of the past. As far as direction goes, it looks like J.J. Abrahams heeded the critical advice from Star Wars fans who were disappointed with blunders of the past.

After accumulating revenues from the box office, Star Wars - The Force Awakens gross was over $2 billion worldwide. This was more than enough to compensate for the original production budget of $306 million. The massive figure makes it the highest-grossing installment of the entire franchise and the highest-grossing film of 2015.

Minions (2015)
Universal Pictures
Minions (2015)
If you enjoyed the Despicable Me movie franchise then you know that we had to see more of Gru’s hardworking army. Minions was a highly awaited film that puts our favorite ridiculously yellow, cute, and funny beings in the spotlight. But looks are deceiving, so as cuddly as they look, their sole purpose is to find a villainous master who could lead them. We don't know how it's going to go for the villain, but we know that the film dominated at the box office.

Minions grossed just $336 million domestically, while its cumulative worldwide box office gross was $1.1 billion. In fact, as of 2020, the film was the fourth-highest grossing animated film of all time and one of the highest-grossing non-Disney animated films. All things said, this movie would make a great addition for both adults and kids to enjoy over the weekend.

The Avengers (2012)
Walt Disney Pictures | Paramount Pictures | Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
The Avengers (2012)
There's no doubt that right from Iron Man, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has given the world a new perspective of their superheroes. And with The God of Mischief Loki himself invading the Earth, the Avengers banded up. It's up to this band of superheroes to stop him and his alien army, but not before they can sort out their differences. And if that doesn't work, we still have a Hulk to smash that puny God into the ground! Right?

The Avengers grossed about $623 million at the domestic box office and achieved a whopping $1.5 billion at the worldwide box office. The Avengers concluded the first phase of the MCU in 2012, and it opened up new doors that empowered the franchise to introduce a diverse set of characters in future films. Even Stan Lee himself was ecstatic to see his creations come to life on such a scale!

Iron Man 3 (2013)
Walt Disney Pictures | Paramount Pictures | Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Iron Man 3 (2013)
The third installment of Iron Man series came a year after the end of phase 1. The film is another MCU blockbuster, and one of the highest-grossing films as far as box office revenues go. Here's what the numbers say: the film production budget was a mere $200 million. But it made a fantastic sum of $175 million during its opening weekend, while it crossed the $408 million mark domestically. At the international box office, the film flew past $800 million. These figures amount to a gross of $1.2 billion worldwide.

Apart from the perfect script, crew, director, and producers, the film also owes its success to Robert Downey Jr. for making Iron Man such a big hero and setting the foundation for the MCU back in 2008. If you're wondering what happens in this movie, all we can tell you is that you're in for some fireworks!

Furious 7 (2015)
Universal Pictures
Furious 7 (2015)
From owing debts worth ten-second cars to running-point on top-secret government operations, there are waves of nostalgia triggered when someone brings up the Fast saga. And this goes especially for the seventh installment, where amidst production, the cast and the world were struck with the tragic news of Paul Walker's untimely demise. However, the loss only pushed the crew to work harder toward perfecting the film while honoring his memory. And when Furious 7 the film was released in 2015, its domestic gross was about $353 million, with a collective $1.5 billion at the worldwide box office.

For those curious about the plot, Furious 7 begins with the family returning to New York after being pardoned for their previous crimes. But the story soon takes a sharp turn when a special forces agent turned rogue assassin decides to uproot this newfound peace and rain hell on the crew.

Jurassic World (2015)
Universal Pictures
Jurassic World (2015)
Bringing dinosaurs to life in a film is one thing, but reviving a movie franchise that’s been dormant since the 90s is a challenge of a whole new level. The studio either understands the franchise and nails the plot perfectly, or they don't get it, in which case the franchise takes an unnecessary hit. So naturally, the reboot titled Jurassic World was facing a mountain of scrutiny as far as reputation is concerned. But to everyone's surprise, the results exceeded expectations.

The opening weekend itself recorded a gross of $208 million, with a cumulative worldwide gross of $1.67 billion. Apart from racking up big numbers, the storyline gives us a nostalgic feeling of the movie that started it all. The film features Chris Pratt (another reason for the film's success), who teams up with raptors to stop a genetically modified hybrid dinosaur called the Indominus Rex from running rampant.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011)
Warner Bros | FilmFlex | Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011)
When we think about the world of wizards, the best we can come up with is J.K. Rowling's novels-turned-movie franchise. The movie series featured actors like Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson, who had audiences embedded into their wizarding lives right from the time they met up at platform number 9 and 3/4 to the final frontier in this 2011 closer.

Getting to the money, as of 2021, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 has a gross of $1.3 billion at the worldwide box office. That's around 11 times the allocated production budget for the film. But wait, that's not all. In 2016, a spin-off film series, also written by J.K. Rowling., called Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them sent fans into a frenzy. The film has already seen a second installment, and both of them gave an interesting insight into older characters.

The Lord of the Rings – The Return of the King (2003)
New Line Cinema
The Lord of the Rings – The Return of the King (2003)
Did you know that Peter Jackson was originally supposed to sum up the franchise in two movies? Thank goodness he didn't. The third installment of the LOTR series was released in 2003. The franchise also created an amazing set of spin-off prequels since then. But none of them could match the box office success that The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King was able to garner.

Given the success of the first two installments, this film had a substantial production budget of $94 million. And with fan-favorite characters like Gandalf and Aragorn, among other prominent ones, the 2003 finale became the second film in history to cross a threshold of $1 billion at the worldwide box office. As of 2020, the film's speculated inflated gross would be about $1.75 billion. The film also won 11 Oscars at the 2004 Academy Awards, which says a lot about Jackson and the teams' dedication to the film’s success.

Avatar (2009)
20th Century Studios
Avatar (2009)
Directed by none other than James Cameron himself, Avatar has been nominated for a total of nine Academy Awards in 2010. Of these nominations, the film bagged three of them: one for Best Achievement in Cinematography, another for Best Achievement in Visual Effects, and a third for Best Achievement in Art Direction. Apart from being one of the highest-grossing movies in history, Avatar was a groundbreaking film that set a new benchmark of visual effects.

As far as the financials are concerned, the science fiction film's cumulative worldwide gross was $2.8 billion. Following such enormous success, Cameron announced a series of sequels in the works. Fans cannot wait for this series to continue, and patience is running thinner by the day. We hope someone's listening and answers our prayers soon enough. Also, with the growing competition and level of the technical prowess of sci-fi movies, we wish the sequel nothing but the best.

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
Universal Pictures
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
We know that it's a bit too Cliché to say this, but does anybody want some Reese's Pieces? E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial is not just one of the highest-grossing movies of all time but also one of those where the alien from outer space is the one you can be friends with. The plot revolves around a young, courageous boy who befriends E.T., subsequently trying to help travel back home.

Okay, the movie is beautiful, but here's something you may not know. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial gives life to the imaginary friend created by director Steven Spielberg following his parents’ divorce. What isn't imaginary is the money the family-oriented film made. Back in '82, the film accumulated a gross of $793 million worldwide. Based on modern-day inflation and re-releases in 1985, 2002, and 2020, the nostalgic film's gross is about $2.5 billion.

Jurassic Park (1993)
Universal Pictures
Jurassic Park (1993)
Dinosaurs looked dreary when we saw them in our textbooks. And then Steven Spielberg came along and brought them to life in a way we never thought was possible. With groundbreaking digital technology, a dedicated crew, and some bizarre imagination, he created the historic Jurassic Park. After its summer release in 1993, the sci-fi blockbuster set the box office ablaze by earning around $50 million on opening week and a gross of $404 million in the US alone.

Jurassic Park went on to accumulate a worldwide gross of more than $1 billion. And that was quite a lot of money for the 90s! If you took the effort of crunching these numbers in today’s money, the gross earning amounts to around $2 billion. Jurassic Park gave birth to a multi-billion-dollar franchise comprising not just movies but also comics, animated short films, and theme-park rides among other projects.

Titanic (1997)
20th Century Studios | Paramount Home Entertainment | Paramount Pictures
Titanic (1997)
Many will remember James Cameron's Titanic as the film responsible for blues for the rest of their day. Make no mistake. The movie did not underperform. It's because one of the best drama tragedies directed in the history of filmmaking. The film was so good that as of 2020, it still is the sixth highest-grossing film in the United States and third at the worldwide box office. The film's accumulated gross was more than $2 billion worldwide, and that's without accounting for inflation.

The success of Titanic resulted in three major releases: the first was its debut in 1997, the second was its 3D release in 2012, and the third was a re-release for the film's 20th anniversary. But if you are curious about the inflation results, as of 2020, we estimate a gross of $3.2 billion globally. With that kind of money, we wonder if we'd ever need to find the long-lost blue-diamond necklace.

Independence Day (1996)
20th Century Studios
Independence Day (1996)
Everyone appreciates an epic portrayal of the classic “nations of the world against an invading UFO army” formula. And just when we're on the brink of losing the war, Capt. Steven Hiller (Will Smith) and David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum) fly an alien fighter craft to infiltrate and nuke the mothership up from its very core. The explosion was so big that even the box office was ravaged by the nuke.

The production budget of Independence Day was modest $75 million, and the gross domestic sum was four-fold after hitting the silver screens. Worldwide, this 1996 smash hit collected more than $800 million. And $800 million in those days amounts to $1.65 billion in 2020. Also, in 2016, a sequel to the original was released. However, despite the fancy CGI and advanced technology, part two garnered just $389 million worldwide. This was not even close to what its big brother made back in the 90s.

The Sound of Music (1965)
20th Century Studios
The Sound of Music (1965)
The Sound of Music premiered at the Rivoli Theatre in New York, with an outstanding star cast of Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer among other greats. The film also stayed on the charts for almost five years after its first release on home video.

As for the financials, the film's production budget was estimated at $8.2 million, while the worldwide box office recorded a gross of roughly $158.6 million. Take that amount, adjust it for inflation, and the film's accumulative gross equals $2.8 billion as of 2021. But the numbers aren’t the only great part about this film, especially when the cast was so talented and the locations were picturesque, to say the least. The Sound of Music bagged five Oscars at the 38th Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Sound, Best Film Editing, and the Best Music, Scoring of Music, Adaptation, or Treatment.

Jaws (1975)
Universal Pictures
Jaws (1975)
Jaws is a classic thriller directed by Steven Spielberg. The film has bagged three Oscars: one for the Best Sound, another for Best Film Editing, and a third for Best Music, Original Dramatic Score, as well as a nomination for Best Picture. At the opening week in the United States in 1975, the thriller earned a massive sum of about $7 million. That may not look like much, but internationally, the film with the fish in the sea made approximately $470 million, and last we checked, the film's inflated gross was $2.1 billion.

Jaws was a huge success, but that only because of its thrilling plot. Its story hovers around a killer shark who wreaks havoc on a local beach. And it's up to law enforcement to stop the predator before things get out of hand. Do they succeed? You're going to have to watch the movie to find out.

Star Wars – Episode IV – A New Hope (1977)
20th Century Studios
Star Wars – Episode IV – A New Hope (1977)
Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope was the first film in the franchise that introduces Luke Skywalker, a budding Jedi who fights the Imperial forces of the Galactic Empire with the help of Princess Leia. The first movie, and fourth episode, of this epic series gave birth to a massive fan base. Needless to say, the blockbuster directed by George Lucas went on to win six Oscars a year after its release, including one for Best Music, Original Score, and Best Costume Design. The film also featured Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher, who went on to become a perfect cast in the series sequels.

The first film of the sci-fi saga made a cumulative worldwide gross of $775 million after its original release. That amount way past its production budget which was only $11 million. And since we're in the 21st century, you ought to know that the inflated worldwide gross would be about $3 billion.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
RKO Radio Pictures
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
Walt Disney stuck to his guns and stayed true to his vision against all odds to give the world its first-ever full-length animated movie. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was infamously dubbed "Disney's Folly" while the movie was still in production. But nothing could stop Disney, even when the finances of his studio were at risk. Skepticism arose from not only his critics and peers but his family too, the masses could never imagine sitting through an hour-and-a-half-long cartoon.

Production costs went up to $1.5 million, which was unheard of in the 30s. And when this movie was released in 1937, history was made with an initial collection was $8 million, i.e., around $140 million in today’s money. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was re-released in theaters three times since then, summing up its gross collection to around $185 million. At the 1939 Academy Awards, Walt Disney received an honorary Oscar for this movie in the form of one normal-sized Oscar and seven dwarf-sized ones.

Gone with the Wind (1939)
Loews Cineplex Entertainment
Gone with the Wind (1939)
No list of the highest-grossing movies of all time is complete without the inclusion Gone with the Wind. This movie is right up there owing to its colossal success that even movies of today can’t match up to. But in 2020, Gone with the Wind made headlines after nearly 80 years, but not in a good way. This all-time classic was temporarily taken off the HBO Max due to the insensitive depiction of slavery and stereotyping people of color.

When Gone with the Wind made its 1939 debut it grossed $189 million domestically and $402 million worldwide. The movie saw numerous re-releases, with its gross climbing higher. Last we checked, the film's inflated domestic gross stood at $3.5 billion and $7.4 billion at the international box office. The inflated gross proves that Gone with the Wind earned more than what an epic superhero movie like Avengers: Endgame did.

The Ten Commandments (1956)
Paramount Pictures Studios
The Ten Commandments (1956)
The Ten Commandments is a three-and-a-half-hour masterpiece that dominated the silver screens of Hollywood right from the 1950s and all the way to the early 1960s. And there's more than one reason for such a massive level of success. Audiences couldn’t help but be attracted to the Biblical narrative of the film. The Ten Commandments featured the legendary acting prowess of Charlton Heston as Moses and Yul Brynner as Rameses II. But the most important reason was that The Ten Commandments was the last film ever directed by Cecil B. DeMille—dubbed the founder of the Hollywood motion-picture industry.

These were just some of the highlights that empowered the movie to sell tickets worth 131 million during its run in those days. The sales also brought its domestic gross up to $65 million ($1.18 billion after inflation). As of 2020, the film's worldwide gross was about $2 billion.