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Film: The Top 10 Money Making Movies of All Time

There are thousands of movies that have made their mark on mainstream culture. Most of these movies cost millions of dollars to produce, however surpassed that figure at the box office. These films often starred some of the biggest names in Hollywood or launched some of the biggest name’s careers. So what are the biggest grossing films of all time and how much did they make at the box office?

10. Jurassic Park, 1993, $920,100,000

At the time Jurassic Park was a movie unlike any other before it. The special effects and cinematography used had never been seen before and Sam Neill’s performance made sitting in the front row watching it on the big screen an experience unlike any other. Stephen Spielberg had the honour of adapting and directing the novel written by Michael Crichton. The name Spielberg alone increased the mad rush to the box office.

9. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, 1999, $924,288,297

The first Star Wars film since the early 80’s built massive anticipation and ultimately exhilaration amongst sci fi movie buffs in the lead up to the opening of the prequel Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Despite poor reviews from numerous magazines and newspapers, especially with regard to some of the acting, The Phantom Menace managed to draw the crowds and bring the cash and re-launch writer and producer George Lucas’ name as one of the greats.

8. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, 2002, $926,284,377

New Line Cinema will be extremely relieved that they decided to take a punt on Kiwi director/producer Peter Jackson and JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings saga. As will Elijah Wood whose career was catapulted as a result of the trilogy. The second installment in the movie trifecta bought the fans in there droves to view the highly anticipated The Two Towers which delivered on its promise of more action and even better special effects than The Fellowship of the Ring.

7. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, 2007, $938,468,864

From shy British teenager to superstar, Daniel Radcliffe went from unknown to every teenage girls dream when he was cast as the boy wizard Harry Potter for the first movie Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone. However it was the fourth film adaptation of JK Rowling’s boy wizard novels that proved to be the big money winner at the box office netting over 9 hundred million dollars.

6. Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End, 2007, $952,420,425

Johnny Depp and the rest of the all star cast returned to film the final Pirates of the Caribbean movie, At Worlds End. Walt Disney Pictures and its staff made mega bucks out of this film and it predecessor as you will soon find out. Most critics however believed it was far to hype as the film was extremely long and at times boring.

5. Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone, 2001, $976,457,891

The movie that made history by launching the careers of child actors Radcliffe (Harry Potter), Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley) and Emma Watson (Hermione Granger). In the first installment of the Harry Potter adaptations expectations were high and the movie didn’t disappoint bringing in a staggering $114.8 million at the box office in its first weekend.

4. The Dark Knight, 2008, $997,037,655

Heath Ledger immortalized this dark version of the Batman series playing a particularly disturbing Joker taking over from an already creepy Jack Nicholson as the best Joker of all time. His death sent the punters banging at the box office doors to see the part that killed of a budding actor in his prime. Oh, there were other draw cards to the movie including Christian Bale and a fantastically, all enveloping plot.

3. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Mans Chest, 2006, $1,065,659,812

The first film ever to crack the billion dollar mark was Dead Man’s Chest due in part to the wonderful success of the first and best of the trilogy, The Curse of the Black Pearl in 2004.

2. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, 2003, $1,133,027,325

The final film in the amazingly successful Lords of the Rings trilogy. Peter Jackson and his crew saved the best until last with this film gaining 11 Academy Awards and tying the record for awards with the number 1 grossing film of all time.

1. Titanic, 1997, $1,848,813,795

James Cameron’s epic story of the greatest ship ever built and its ill fated maiden voyage launched the careers of Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet and to date is the highest grossing film worldwide of all time. It reached a mind blowing $1.8 billion, 19 million on its first day and 28 million in its opening weekend.

There you have it; the top 10 grossing films worldwide. It will be interesting to see if anything can surpass 1997’s Titanic and move into the top spot not to mention cracking the 2 billion dollar mark.

For more film and movie reading:

Pulp Fiction: What in the World is in That Briefcase?

The Exorcist: Top Horror Film of All Time

The Most Hilarious Quotes From Channel 4 s Favourite News Anchor


All photos courtesy of en.wikipedia.org

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  1. Posted January 22, 2009 at 5:58 am

    Lol, we are talking for “huge” money! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Posted January 22, 2009 at 6:07 am

    I have to confess that I have seen none of these. My kids have, everyone I know has, but I am still a blockbuster virgin. Is there a support group for people like me? However I go to the movies a lot, but only to see what turns out to be minority interest stuff – how sad is that!

  3. Posted January 22, 2009 at 6:17 am

    among these 10,Titanic was the only one I was able to watch in a theater and it’s in rank number 1.

  4. hfj
    Posted January 22, 2009 at 6:56 am

    How rich is the lady who wrote the Harry Potter books. Four of the top ten of all time. To think at one time she was on public assistance. She could now buy England. Also, there has been at least ten different movies made of the sinking of the Titanic. Good job.

  5. Simon J R Holmes
    Posted January 22, 2009 at 7:08 am

    Nice work, though I prefer the list that adjusts for inflation – you may be surprised about the winner…

    I would also like to shamelessly link my article about what’s gone wrong with movies recently: http://tinyurl.com/88tvcw

  6. Posted January 22, 2009 at 10:32 am

    Notice (except for maybe Titanic) That all these have “cult” foolowings???

  7. Posted January 22, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    They were all good films, but wow all that cash! good article.

  8. Posted January 22, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    I was expecting stuff like Gone With The Wind or ET,I had no idea these movies pulled in that many dollars.Insane.

  9. Posted January 22, 2009 at 3:01 pm

    Wow…….. I really didn’t think it would’ve been Titanic – - great list and article!



    -Liane Schmidt.

  10. Posted January 22, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    Thanks everyone for the positive comments. Appreciate it. RJ

  11. Posted January 22, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    Well 1/10 aint bad as that is all I have seen so they haven’t had any of my money LOL.
    It is important to bear in mind that this list isnt the 10 best loved movies of all time but I have definitely learned something here RJ, Thanks!

  12. Posted January 22, 2009 at 4:18 pm

    Glad to see LOTR have a couple in the top ten! Nice interesting article. Thanks for posting this.

  13. Juancav
    Posted January 22, 2009 at 6:37 pm

    Interesting point of wiew ,top ten movies according to revenues.

  14. Posted January 22, 2009 at 7:19 pm

    I didn’t realise the Pirates of
    the Carribean is up there. Nice
    anthology, RJ! A bibliography,
    now I am impressed.
    Cheers mate – j

  15. Posted January 22, 2009 at 7:30 pm

    Titanic is my fave movie and it ranks as the top earner. The Lord of the Rings , Harry potter series and Pirates. I’ve seen them all, and they are great films. But my gosh, the dollars earned. the producers of these films really have a big pay check. really nice article.

  16. Posted January 22, 2009 at 8:26 pm

    Some of these movies i loved but didn’t realize they brought in so much money wow. Great article.

  17. Clay Hurtubise
    Posted January 22, 2009 at 8:40 pm

    Nice bit of research, thanks for sharing. It is kind of sad though, when one thinks of some the spectacular films that never make it big. Sigh… marketing!

  18. Posted January 22, 2009 at 8:48 pm

    I have seen all these movies – fantastic! But isn’t the first Harry Potter film entitled ‘The Sorcerer’s Stone’? Great list, thanks.

  19. Posted January 22, 2009 at 9:29 pm

    Whoa…these are huge amounts of money they earn…! Very nice article; I have seen almost all of the movies on this list.

  20. Posted January 22, 2009 at 9:46 pm

    Cheers everyone for the kind words.

    Melody – The British version of the book and movie is called The Philosophers Stone but the name was changed for the US versions. I think I am right in saying that the publishers thought The Sourcerers Stone would be easier for children to say and understand. Don’t quote me on that though.


  21. danheshe
    Posted January 22, 2009 at 9:50 pm

    wow i never knew that it was called philosopher’s stone outside the U.S. Also I was kinda surprised with the number 1.

  22. Posted January 23, 2009 at 10:27 pm

    I have seen about half of these movies and I agree they are outstanding. My favorites were, the Lord of The Rings,(all)and the Titanic,they were all amazing.

  23. Posted January 24, 2009 at 9:34 am

    I’m not a big fan of blockbusters, what the movie industry certainly needs them and most of them are very good entertainment.

  24. Posted January 24, 2009 at 10:44 am

    Dear me! you wonder what poor people could’ve done with all that money.

    Great article.

  25. Posted January 24, 2009 at 4:24 pm

    I love all of these except the Darl Knight. Don’t hate me, but I turned it off halfway through.

  26. Posted January 25, 2009 at 1:11 pm

    Nice article! Love movies!

  27. Posted January 27, 2009 at 9:21 am

    Great list!

  28. Unofre Pili
    Posted February 11, 2009 at 5:02 am

    Those are wonderful to watch. A nice article.

  29. Dizzle
    Posted March 21, 2009 at 10:34 pm

    The Titanic wasn’t that great of a ship, or it wouldn’t be in the ocean right now

  30. Toon
    Posted March 22, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    Loved the post! And the movies!
    Only problem, order of the phoenix is the fifth hp movie, not the fourth.

  31. Nouman Naseer
    Posted September 21, 2009 at 11:28 am

    well i luv that movie TITANIC ..people believe that its romantic movie but I must say that its tragic story . one who see this flim will not foreget it ever.
    This flim tells us the true meaning ov luv that how can one not get scared to die or to be killed for his luv, & how can rich & beautiful woman fall in luv with a poor boy who belongs to third class compartment ..this is the true power ov luv

  32. ryan
    Posted January 5, 2010 at 8:41 pm

    where is avatar

  33. Posted January 6, 2010 at 7:50 pm


    It’s up there. This article was published before its release. Read about it here:



  34. la la binf
    Posted February 8, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    this website is stupid

  35. Posted March 20, 2010 at 8:00 pm

    i am looking a financer for make a hindi movie

  36. Posted September 27, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    New film article you might like –

    Film: The Top Money Making Actress of 2010 (Photos)


  37. Posted May 29, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    Nice article.

  38. blowme
    Posted August 6, 2012 at 9:03 am

    this list needs to be updated, wheres avengers? what a lame website

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