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Some movies take off unexpectedly, while others are part of long-running series that consistently draw huge crowds. Still others garner dozens of awards but see that acclaim doesn’t translate to ticket sales. The movie world is a strange one, with multiple measures of success.
But for actors, producers and others in the film industry (and really any industry, if we’re being honest) money is king.
We’ve compiled a list of all the movies that have earned at least $1 billion in global box-office revenue, according to data from Box Office Mojo. That benchmark is much more common these days than it used to be but it’s still an incredible achievement. Here are the highest-grossing movies of all time.
39. ‘The Dark Knight’ (2008)
Total Box Office Revenue: $1.005 Billion
The first superhero movie to ever gross more than $1 billion at the global box office was this modern classic, the second chapter in director Christopher Nolan’s landmark Batman trilogy. Audiences and critics raved about it, especially Heath Ledger’s intense performance as the Joker, which won him an Oscar.
38. ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ (2012)
Total Box Office Revenue: $1.021 Billion
Audiences were clearly pumped to see director Peter Jackson return to Middle Earth for another epic adventure. “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” the first of a new prequel trilogy to The Lord of the Rings, ended up grossing more than all but one of the six movies made in the Middle Earth saga.
37. ‘Zootopia’ (2016)
Total Box Office Revenue: $1.024 Billion
“Zootopia” was one of those precious movies that was as big a hit with critics as it was with audiences. Great reviews across the board and a $1 billion gross? That’s all any studio could ask for, especially from an original story featuring all new characters.
36. ‘Alice in Wonderland’ (2010)
Total Box Office Revenue: $1.025 Billion
It’s easy to see why Disney decided to start remaking many of its beloved animated films as big-budget, live-action films after the success of “Alice in Wonderland.” Director Tim Burton’s 2010 version became one of Disney’s highest-grossing movies ever at the time it was released.
35. ‘Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace’ (1999)
Total Box Office Revenue: $1.027 Billion
The only Star Wars movie to crack $1 billion at the box office before Disney took over the franchise in 2012, this prequel doesn’t have the richest legacy with critics and fans but it certainly crushed the box office. “The Phantom Menace” went back to the origins of Anakin Skywalker, who would later become the evil Darth Vader, telling a story that predated the beloved, original Star Wars trilogy.
34. ‘Finding Dory’ (2016)
Total Box Office Revenue: $1.029 Billion
The long-awaited sequel to Pixar’s beloved “Finding Nemo” did even better than the original at the box office, which itself netted an impressive $940 million in 2003. Ellen DeGeneres and Albert Brooks were back as Dory and Marlin to the delight of audiences.
33. ‘Jurassic Park’ (1993)
Total gross revenue: $1.030 Billion
Hitting theaters in 1993, “Jurassic Park” was the first film to ever pass the $1 billion mark and is the oldest on the list by four years. This thrilling classic still stands as director Steven Spielberg’s highest-grossing movie ever, yet its total would be surpassed by two of its own sequels down the road.
32. ‘Despicable Me 3’ (2017)
Total Box Office Revenue: $1.035 Billion
The third movie in the “Despicable Me” franchise came out in the summer of 2017 and quickly became the highest-earning movie of the trilogy. Steve Carell was back as Gru, the former supervillain turned mostly good guy.
31. ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides’ (2011)
Total Box Office Revenue: $1.046 Billion
The fourth installment in Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean franchise bounced back from the relatively underwhelming numbers for 2007’s “At World’s End.” “On Stranger Tides” featured Johnny Depp in his now-iconic role as Capt. Jack Sparrow, as well as dramatic heavyweights like Penelope Cruz, Geoffrey Rush and Ian McShane. Audiences loved it.
30. ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ (2016)
Total Box Office Revenue: $1.056 Billion
Disney’s first spin-off movie since taking over the Star Wars franchise, “Rogue One” proved to be nearly as potent as the main banner films. As of May 2019, it stood as the third-highest-grossing movie in the whole Star Wars umbrella.
29. ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest’ (2006)
Total Box Office Revenue: $1.066 Billion
The second Pirates of the Caribbean film hit the $1 billion mark after three months in theaters, going on to become the highest-grossing movie in the franchise. Before the studio bought Star Wars and created the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Pirates series was Disney’s most lucrative live-action movie banner ever.
28. ‘Toy Story 3’ (2010)
Total Box Office Revenue: $1.067 Billion
“Toy Story 3” held the title of Pixar’s highest-grossing movie ever for the better part of a decade. Although it’s since been passed, it still stands as the studio’s best achievement if you ask many fans and critics. Unable to end the series with this incredible film, Disney and Pixar decided to make “Toy Story 4,” which is slated to hit theaters in 2019.
27. ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ (2012)
Total Box Office Revenue: $1.085 Billion
“The Dark Knight” may be the favorite among fans of Chris Nolan’s dark Batman trilogy, but “The Dark Knight Rises” was the series’ breadwinner. The final film in the “Dark Knight” trilogy features a whole crew Oscar nominees and winners, including Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway and Marion Cotillard.
26. ‘Transformers: Age of Extinction’ (2014)
Total Box Office Revenue: $1.104 Billion
The Transformers films are living proof that acclaim and popularity aren’t always related. The fourth movie in the CGI-robot franchise was made specifically to appeal to international audiences. Apparently it worked because almost a third of the movie’s total revenue came from China alone and a full 78 percent of its total gross came from overseas.
25. ‘Skyfall’ (2012)
Total Box Office Revenue: $1.109 Billion
Powered by Adele’s incredible title track, “Skyfall” became the only James Bond movie to ever crack the $1 billion ceiling. This dark, brooding entry in the 007 saga, starring Daniel Craig, Judi Dench and Javier Bardem, is still Sony’s highest-grossing film as a studio.
24. ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King’ (2003)
Total Box Office Revenue: $1.120 Billion
Director Peter Jackson’s sweeping finale to the epic The Lord of the Rings trilogy made $1 billion in just 10 weeks, then added the cherry on top by winning all 11 awards for which it was nominated at the Oscars. Those 11 Oscars tie it for the most wins of any movie in the ceremony’s long history.
23. ‘Transformers: Dark of the Moon’ (2011)
Total Box Office Revenue: $1.124 Billion
Similar to “Transformers: Age of Extinction,” nearly 70 percent of the money made by 2011’s “Dark of the Moon” came from overseas theaters. But that still leaves more than $350 million of American box-office revenue for this film, which is no small sum.
22. ‘Captain Marvel’ (2019)
Total Box Office Revenue: $1.127 Billion
It took more than 10 years but the Marvel Cinematic Universe finally used a woman as a lead character and she didn’t disappoint. “Captain Marvel,” starring Oscar winner Brie Larson, soared to more than $1.1 billion in global receipts in 2019, showing the title character as one of the MCU’s mightiest heroes.
21. ‘Aquaman’ (2018)
Total Box Office Revenue: $1.148 Billion
It’s been no secret that the movies produced by DC Comics have had a hard time keeping up with their rivals at Marvel, but “Aquaman” became the company’s biggest movie hit ever in 2018. Not even Wonder Woman, Superman or Batman have ever matched what Aquaman, played to perfection by Jason Momoa, was able to pull out of audiences’ wallets.
20. ‘Captain America: Civil War’ (2016)
Total Box Office Revenue: $1.153 Billion
This one had so many of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s stars in it that it may as well have had “Avengers” in its title. Audiences and critics loved this one — especially because it saw the MCU debuts of Spider-man and Black Panther.
19. ‘Minions’ (2015)
Total Box Office Revenue: $1.159 Billion
Not all of the top-grossing films are dark superhero epics. The cheerful, colorful prequel to “Despicable Me,” featuring the endearing yellow Minions, made more money than any of the “Despicable Me” films, which was a high bar to jump. It’s the highest-grossing animated movie ever that wasn’t released by Disney.
18. ‘Iron Man 3’ (2013)
Total Box Office Revenue: $1.215 Billion
The third time was the charm for Robert Downey Jr.’s irrepressible Tony Stark and his flying metallic suit. The final “Iron Man” film brought in $1 billion in just over three weeks and became the highest-grossing standalone movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe until 2018’s “Black Panther.”
17. ‘The Fate of the Furious’ (2017)
Total Box Office Revenue: $1.236 Billion
After 2015’s “Furious 7” launched the Fast and Furious series to new box-office heights, 2017’s “The Fate of the Furious” proved this action franchise still has plenty left in the tank. In 2019, we’ll see a spin-off movie called “Hobbs and Shaw,” starring Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham as their characters from the series.
16. ‘Incredibles 2’ (2018)
Total Box Office Revenue: $1.243 Billion
The biggest hit in Pixar history further proved that superheroes are the box office’s kings in the 2010s. “Incredibles 2” raked in nearly twice as much cash at the box office as the 2004 movie it was following. An amazing earning for a sequel that came so late.
15. ‘Beauty and the Beast’ (2017)
Total Box Office Revenue: $1.263 Billion
Disney has been going hog wild remaking its animated favorites into live-action form recently and 2017’s “Beauty and the Beast” has been the studio’s most successful retry yet. While the reviews weren’t as glowing as they were for the 1991 animated version, the box-office receipts were far brighter.
14. ‘Frozen’ (2013)
Total Box Office Revenue: $1.276 Billion
If you’ve got little ones at home, you might have watched this movie a time or two — and you might know all the words to “Let It Go.” You certainly wouldn’t be alone, as it became the highest-grossing animated movie of all time in 2013 — a record that it still hasn’t let go of. Its long-awaited sequel hits theaters in November 2019, so we’ll see if it can challenge its big sister for the throne.
13. ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ (2018)
Total Box Office Revenue: $1.309 Billion
The fifth installment in the Jurassic Park series was another huge hit, even if it fell more than $300 million shy of 2015’s “Jurassic World.” This one again saw Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard trying to survive a horde of escaped dinosaurs. Critics weren’t as thrilled as audiences, with “Fallen Kingdom” earning the franchise’s worst overall reviews.
12. ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ (2017)
Total Box Office Revenue: $1.332 Billion
Another massive hit for Disney since it took over the Star Wars franchise, 2017’s “The Last Jedi” was divisive among some fans but proved a hit with critics and audiences in general. Despite making an insane $1.3 billion, it fell about $700 million shy of 2015’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” making it a disappointment to some.
11. ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two’ (2011)
Total Box Office Revenue: $1.342 Billion
Continuing the trend of last films in franchises hitting the box-office jackpot, the emotional conclusion to the Harry Potter saga was the most profitable of all eight films. None of those movies were slouches but “Deathly Hallows 2” was the only one in the franchise to pass the $1 billion mark. In case you were wondering, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” was second with $975 million.
10. ‘Black Panther’ (2018)
Total Box Office Revenue: $1.347 Billion
The biggest hit in the history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe that didn’t include the word “Avengers” in its title, “Black Panther” became an instant cultural phenomenon when it hit theaters in 2018. Audiences and critics loved it for its epic settings, powerhouse characters, fantastic soundtrack and intense action, leading to more than $1.3 billion in box-office receipts.
9. ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ (2015)
Total Box Office Revenue: $1,405 Billion
The second cinematic adventure for the Avengers was actually the lowest grossing of the four they’d star in — but it still ranks in the top 10 earners ever. Only in a franchise this massive could a worldwide gross of $1.4 billion be considered anything close to a let down.
8. ‘Furious 7’ (2015)
Total Box Office Revenue: $1.516 Billion
Getting the family back together worked out well for the seventh installment of the Fast and Furious franchise, which brought in $1 billion in a very speedy 17 days. “Furious 7” was also the last movie to star Paul Walker, and ended with a touching tribute to the late actor.
7. ‘The Avengers’ (2012)
Total Box Office Revenue: $1.519 Billion
The superhero mashup that started a revolution. In 2012, “The Avengers” became a massive hit with critics and audiences, soaring to what was then the third-highest-grossing movie ever. This one saw the first time that Marvel Cinematic Universe heroes like Iron Man, Thor and Captain America all teamed up together on the big screen. Obviously, it wouldn’t be the last.
6. ‘Jurassic World’ (2015)
Total Box Office Revenue: $1.672 Billion
This fast-paced reboot of the beloved dinosaur franchise, starring Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard and some impossibly sturdy high heels, earned a whopping $1 billion in just 13 days. This movie continued the legacy of the Jurassic Park franchise as a sure thing for Universal Studios at the box office.
5. ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ (2018)
Total Box Office Revenue: $2.048 Billion
The first Marvel Cinematic Universe movie to pass the $2 billion mark was this 2018 epic, which brought together most of the franchise’s characters and left audiences baffled with its cruel ending. Turned out it was only setting up an even bigger box-office smash in 2019, which we’ll get to shortly.
4. ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ (2015)
Total Box Office Revenue: $2.068 Billion
It fell more than $700 million short of being the highest-grossing movie in worldwide box-office history — but “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” made its own impressive bit of history. The movie’s $936.7 million of domestic box-office revenue makes it by far the highest-grossing movie in American box-office history.
3. ‘Titanic’ (1997)
Total Box Office Revenue: $2.187 Billion
Yes, it’s still nearly the king of the world. More than 20 years after it first premiered and shot Leonardo DiCaprio to superstardom, this star-crossed love story still has a solid lock near the top of the all-time charts. When you consider the amount of money it made, plus the record-tying 11 Oscars it won, you could consider “Titanic” the most successful movie in history.
2. ‘Avengers: Endgame’ (2019)
Total Box Office Revenue: $2.683 Billion (As of May 28, 2019)
The second Marvel Cinematic Universe movie to pass the $2 billion milestone might eventually be able to claim its spot as the highest-grossing movie ever made. This epic blockbuster marked the end of the line for several superheroes that had been a part of the MCU since its beginning.
1. ‘Avatar’ (2009)
Total Box Office Revenue: $2.788 Billion
It’s been a decade since director James Cameron’s “Avatar” hit theaters and it still holds the all-time record for global box-office revenue (for now). This sci-fi epic still has multiple sequels in the pipeline, so only time will tell if those long-delayed followups can achieve a fraction of the theatrical success their predecessor did.