“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is the No. 1 grossing movie in American history, according to producer Disney. In just 20 days, the seventh installment of the “Star Wars” franchise raked in more than $760 million. Worldwide, “The Force Awakens” grossed $1 billion in just 12 days.
Before the latest “Star Wars” installment, “Avatar”, which was released in 2009, was the top-grossing film with $760.5 million. Before that, “Titanic” had held the top spot since 1997, grossing a lifetime total of $658.7 million.
Although “Star Wars” now sits comfortably at the top of the North American box office, the top grossing film in one region may not be a reliable hit in another. In fact, industry analysts anticipate “Star Wars” may not overcome “Avatar’s” commanding position at the top of the world ranking. “The Force Awakens” would have to gross an additional $1.2 billion over the course of its theater life to match Avatar’s current record. Earnings from the upcoming release of “Star Wars” in China would have to be exceptionally high.
When a movie wins big, producers are often tempted to make more related movies, and with good reason — 20 of the top 25 grossing movies are parts of a franchise. Three of the five exceptions — “Finding Nemo,” “Frozen,” and “Avatar” — will soon join the ranks of blockbuster franchises.
Most notable among the franchise movie industry, “Star Wars” has four movies on the list, including the 1977 original, “A New Hope,” which still ranks eighth highest-grossing of all time at box office. In addition, movies based on comic books have done especially well. Both movies in the popular “Avengers” series, as well as the 2002 “Spider Man,” and the first two films in the latest “Batman” trilogy rank in the top 10.
To identify the top grossing films of all time, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed gross domestic movie theater ticket sales for U.S. films from movie ticket tracking website Box Office Mojo. Ticket prices are not inflation adjusted.
These are the top grossing films of all-time.