Special Report

25 Highest Grossing Films of All Time

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“Gone with the Wind” — one of the most famous movies in the history of cinema — earns the distinction of highest grossing movie of all time, bringing in a total of $1.74 billion since it was made in 1939. In fact, 14 of the 25 highest grossing films were released prior to 1980.

While a film’s primary release almost always grosses more money than subsequent releases, 17 of the top grossing films have been released more than once — either as reissues or special editions, or in new formats such as IMAX or 3-D. “Star Wars,” for example, grossed more than $307 million when it was first released in 1977. When the special edition trilogy was released in theaters in 1997, the film brought in another $138 million. Adjusted to today’s ticket prices, the first “Star Wars” movie might have grossed more than $1.5 billion, the second highest of all time.

Not all initial releases are the most profitable. Disney’s 1937 release of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” grossed just $66.6 million, while three subsequent releases after 1980 grossed the film an additional $118 million. In today’s ticket prices, the Disney classic might have made $940 million.

Click here to see the 25 highest grossing films of all time.

Creating multiple installments of popular franchises is another way studios can drive up revenues. After adjusting for ticket prices, five of the seven “Star Wars” movies land in the top 25 grossing films of all time. Additionally, the original “Jurassic Park,” as well as the 2015 revival, “Jurassic World,” both make the list. Disney classics, such as “The Lion King,” “101 Dalmatians,” “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” and “Fantasia,” are also among history’s top grossing films.

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 inflation adjusted to 2016 ticket prices.

These are the top-grossing films of all time.

 

1. Gone with the Wind
> Total adjusted sales:
$1.74 billion
> Year released: 1939
> Studio: MGM
>Parent corporation: MGM Holdings, Inc.

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2. Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope
> Total adjusted sales:
$1.53 billion
> Year released: 1977
> Studio: 20th Century Fox Film Corporation
>Parent corporation: Fox Entertainment Group

The Sound of Music
Source: Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

3. The Sound of Music
> Total adjusted sales:
$1.23 billion
> Year released: 1965
> Studio: 20th Century Fox Film Corporation
>Parent corporation: Fox Entertainment Group

ET the extra terrestrial
Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

4. E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial
> Total adjusted sales:
$1.22 billion
> Year released: 1982
> Studio: Universal
>Parent corporation: Comcast

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Titanic
Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

5. Titanic
> Total adjusted sales:
$1.17 billion
> Year released: 1997
> Studio: Paramount Pictures
>Parent corporation: Viacom

The Ten Commandments
Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

6. The Ten Commandments
> Total adjusted sales:
$1.13 billion
> Year released: 1956
> Studio: Paramount Pictures
>Parent corporation: Viacom

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Jaws
Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

7. Jaws
> Total adjusted sales:
$1.10 billion
> Year released: 1975
> Studio: Universal
>Parent corporation: Comcast

 

8. Doctor Zhivago
> Total adjusted sales:
$1.07 billion
> Year released: 1965
> Studio: MGM
>Parent corporation: MGM Holdings, Inc.

 

9. The Exorcist
> Total adjusted sales:
$952.3 million
> Year released: 1973
> Studio: Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
>Parent corporation: Time Warner

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Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Source: Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios

10. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
> Total adjusted sales:
$938.5 million
> Year released: 1937
> Studio: Walt Disney Pictures
>Parent corporation: Walt Disney Co.

101 Dalmatians
Source: Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios

11. 101 Dalmatians
> Total adjusted sales:
$860.3 million
> Year released: 1961
> Studio: Walt Disney Pictures
>Parent corporation: Walt Disney Co.

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The Empire Strikes Back
Source: Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

12. Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back
> Total adjusted sales:
$845.3 million
> Year released: 1980
> Studio: 20th Century Fox Film Corporation
>Parent corporation: Fox Entertainment Group

Ben-Hur
Source: Wikimedia Commons

13. Ben-Hur
> Total adjusted sales:
$843.8 million
> Year released: 1959
> Studio: MGM
>Parent corporation: MGM Holdings, Inc.

Avatar
Source: Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

14. Avatar
> Total adjusted sales:
$837.4 million
> Year released: 2009
> Studio: 20th Century Fox Film Corporation
>Parent corporation: Fox Entertainment Group

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Return of the Jedi
Source: Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

15. Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi
> Total adjusted sales:
$809.9 million
> Year released: 1983
> Studio: 20th Century Fox Film Corporation
>Parent corporation: Fox Entertainment Group

 

16. Jurassic Park
> Total adjusted sales:
$791.4 million
> Year released: 1993
> Studio: Universal
>Parent corporation: Comcast

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17. Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace
> Total adjusted sales:
$777.6 million
> Year released: 1999
> Studio: 20th Century Fox Film Corporation
>Parent corporation: Fox Entertainment Group

 

18. The Lion King
> Total adjusted sales:
$767.6 million
> Year released: 1994
> Studio: Buena Vista
>Parent corporation: Walt Disney Co.

The Sting
Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

19. The Sting
> Total adjusted sales:
$767.5 million
> Year released: 1973
> Studio: Universal
>Parent corporation: Comcast

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Raiders of the Lost Ark
Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

20. Raiders of the Lost Ark
> Total adjusted sales:
$762.2 million
> Year released: 1981
> Studio: Paramount Pictures
>Parent corporation: Viacom

StarWarsVIILogo
Source: Wikimedia Commons

21. Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens
> Total adjusted sales:
$758.2 million
> Year released: 2015
> Studio: Walt Disney Pictures
>Parent corporation: Walt Disney Co.

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The Graduate
Source: Wikimedia Commons

22. The Graduate
> Total adjusted sales:
$736.8 million
> Year released: 1967
> Studio: Avco Embassy Pictures
>Parent corporation: N/A

 

23. Fantasia
> Total adjusted sales:
$715.0 million
> Year released: 1941
> Studio: Walt Disney Pictures
>Parent corporation: Walt Disney Co.

 

24. Jurassic World
> Total adjusted sales:
$680.6 million
> Year released: 2015
> Studio: Universal
>Parent corporation: Comcast

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The Godfather
Source: https://c1.staticflickr.com/9/8114/8646203837_7a96e317ee_b.jpg

25. The Godfather
> Total adjusted sales:
$679.5 million
> Year released: 1972
> Studio: Paramount Pictures
>Parent corporation: Viacom

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