Special Report

100 Top Grossing Movies of All Time

Charles Stockdale

Source: Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

60. Finding Nemo (2003)
> Domestic gross (adj. for inflation): $549,967,445
> Domestic gross (unadjusted): $380,843,261
> Estimated tickets sold: 61.6 million
> Starring: Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, Alexander Gould

The Pixar-produced movie about a clownfish in search of his missing son topped the domestic box office in 2003. The movie, which took home the Oscar for Best Animated Film, is also the best-selling DVD of all time.

Source: Courtesy of New Line Cinema

59. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
> Domestic gross (adj. for inflation): $550,442,521
> Domestic gross (unadjusted): $377,845,905
> Estimated tickets sold: 61.6 million
> Starring: Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen, Ian McKellen

The final film in Peter Jackson’s exceedingly popular Lord of the Rings trilogy was the most successful at the domestic box office, grossing more than $550 million adjusted for inflation. The fantasy flick won 11 Oscars, including Best Picture.

Source: Courtesy of RKO Radio Pictures

58. The Bells of St. Mary’s (1946)
> Domestic gross (adj. for inflation): $560,313,743
> Domestic gross (unadjusted): $21,333,333
> Estimated tickets sold: 62.7 million
> Starring: Bing Crosby, Ingrid Bergman, Henry Travers

The sequel to Best Picture-winner “Going My Way” (1944) was the most profitable picture ever released by the famed RKO Studios, which also produced “Citizen Kane” and “King Kong.” The movie starred Bing Crosby and Ingrid Bergman as Father O’Malley and Sister Benedict, who work to save and expand a Catholic school.

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

57. Batman (1989)
> Domestic gross (adj. for inflation): $562,342,639
> Domestic gross (unadjusted): $251,348,343
> Estimated tickets sold: 63.0 million
> Starring: Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson, Kim Basinger

Tim Burton’s “Batman” — starring Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne/Batman and Jack Nicholson as Jack Napier/Joker — was a relatively early superhero blockbuster. The movie topped the domestic box office in 1989, grossing over $50 million more than the second-highest grossing movie of the year, “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.” The movie reportedly cost $35 million to make.

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

56. Blazing Saddles (1974)
> Domestic gross (adj. for inflation): $564,729,628
> Domestic gross (unadjusted): $119,601,481
> Estimated tickets sold: 63.2 million
> Starring: Cleavon Little, Gene Wilder, Slim Pickens

Mel Brooks’ iconoclastic comedy “Blazing Saddles” is about a corrupt governor who appoints the first black sheriff of a Western town. The movie is equally loved by critics and viewers, both of whom have given it 91% positive ratings on Rotten Tomatoes.

Source: Courtesy of RKO Radio Pictures

55. Bambi (1942)
> Domestic gross (adj. for inflation): $568,951,732
> Domestic gross (unadjusted): $102,247,150
> Estimated tickets sold: 63.7 million
> Starring: Hardie Albright, Stan Alexander, Bobette Audrey

Disney’s animated film about a young deer has become one of the all time top-grossing movies because of its multiple releases. The movie has had seven domestic wide releases since 1942, with the most recent being in 1988. The now-classic film actually lost money on its first release.

Source: Courtesy of United Artists

54. Around the World in 80 Days (1956)
> Domestic gross (adj. for inflation): $577,015,522
> Domestic gross (unadjusted): $42,000,000
> Estimated tickets sold: 64.6 million
> Starring: David Niven, Cantinflas, Shirley MacLaine

This nearly three-hour adventure film about an upper class Englishman racing to travel the world in 80 days was a smash hit at the box office and later at the Academy Awards, where it won five Oscars, including Best Picture. Modern audiences may be less enthusiastic than those in 1956, however. The movie currently has a score of 57% approval rating from users on Rotten Tomatoes.

Source: Courtesy of Buena Vista Pictures

53. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006)
> Domestic gross (adj. for inflation): $577,131,612
> Domestic gross (unadjusted): $423,315,812
> Estimated tickets sold: 64.6 million
> Starring: Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley

Despite scoring significantly lower ratings than its predecessor from both critics and audiences on sites like Rotten Tomatoes, this second entry to the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise is the top grossing of the series. “Dead Man’s Chest” was also the top-grossing movie of 2006 and only the third movie to ever gross more than $1 billion (unadjusted) worldwide out of 46 total.

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

52. The Robe (1953)
> Domestic gross (adj. for inflation): $584,508,685
> Domestic gross (unadjusted): $36,000,000
> Estimated tickets sold: 65.5 million
> Starring: Richard Burton, Jean Simmons, Victor Mature

Biblical drama “The Robe” was the first film commercially released in widescreen CinemaScope. Led by Richard Burton in the role of Marcellus Gallio — the Roman soldier ordered to put Christ to death — the movie grossed more than seven times its production budget at the domestic box office.

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

51. American Graffiti (1973)
> Domestic gross (adj. for inflation): $586,828,699
> Domestic gross (unadjusted): $115,000,000
> Estimated tickets sold: 65.7 million
> Starring: Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard, Paul Le Mat

George Lucas’s second directorial effort (following “THX 1138”) was a box office smash. The film, which follows a group of high school graduates in the 1960s, was reportedly made for under $1 million. Lucas would, of course, go on to have even greater financial success with his numerous Star Wars movies.