Special Report

100 Top Grossing Movies of All Time

Charles Stockdale

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

50. Airport (1970)
> Domestic gross (adj. for inflation): $590,373,909
> Domestic gross (unadjusted): $100,489,151
> Estimated tickets sold: 66.1 million
> Starring: Burt Lancaster, Dean Martin, George Kennedy

Director George Seaton’s “Airport” helped kick-off the disaster movie craze of the 1970s. The movie depicts numerous problems faced by the personnel at a major U.S. airport. Starring Burt Lancaster, Dean Martin, and Jean Seberg, the movie received 10 Oscar nominations. Lancaster later called the movie, “the biggest piece of junk ever made.”

Source: Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

49. Incredibles 2 (2018)
> Domestic gross (adj. for inflation): $592,051,856
> Domestic gross (unadjusted): $608,581,744
> Estimated tickets sold: 66.3 million
> Starring: Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Sarah Vowell

Fourteen years passed between the original “The Incredibles” movie and this sequel about the family of superheroes. Fans were clearly eager to see it, as the follow-up grossed $592 million (in 2020 dollars) at the domestic box office. The first film grossed $375 million.

Source: Courtesy of United Artists

48. Goldfinger (1964)
> Domestic gross (adj. for inflation): $592,059,000
> Domestic gross (unadjusted): $51,081,062
> Estimated tickets sold: 66.3 million
> Starring: Sean Connery, Gert Fröbe, Honor Blackman

“Goldfinger,” the third entry in the long-running James Bond franchise, is the top rated Bond film on Rotten Tomatoes with a Freshness rating of 97%. The movie is among the highest grossing in the series, when adjusting for inflation, falling behind only “Thunderball.”

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

47. Beverly Hills Cop (1984)
> Domestic gross (adj. for inflation): $599,649,500
> Domestic gross (unadjusted): $234,760,478
> Estimated tickets sold: 67.2 million
> Starring: Eddie Murphy, Judge Reinhold, John Ashton

Though he had previously starred in “48 Hrs.” (1982) and “Trading Places” (1983), “Beverly Hills Cop” is the movie that launched Eddie Murphy to superstardom. Starring as street smart Detroit cop Axel Foley — who finds himself working in the alien Beverly Hills — Murphy had the biggest hit of his career with the comedy.

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

46. Cleopatra (1963)
> Domestic gross (adj. for inflation): $599,948,655
> Domestic gross (unadjusted): $57,777,778
> Estimated tickets sold: 67.2 million
> Starring: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Rex Harrison

Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and Rex Harrison star as Cleopatra, Mark Antony, and Julius Caesar, respectively, in this historical epic directed by Oscar-winner Joseph L. Mankiewicz. The movie grossed nearly $58 million in 1963. However, it was also the most expensive movie produced at that point in time, with a $44 million production budget.

Source: Courtesy of Walt Disney Productions

45. Pinocchio (1940)
> Domestic gross (adj. for inflation): $601,911,469
> Domestic gross (unadjusted): $84,254,167
> Estimated tickets sold: 67.4 million
> Starring: Dickie Jones, Christian Rub, Mel Blanc

Disney’s “Pinocchio” is among the earliest released movies to appear among the 100 top grossing. It was the company’s only second feature-length animated film, yet very technically advanced for 1940. The film had two additional domestic theatrical releases after its original: in 1984 and in 1992.

Source: Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

44. Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi (2017)
> Domestic gross (adj. for inflation): $603,618,885
> Domestic gross (unadjusted): $620,181,382
> Estimated tickets sold: 67.6 million
> Starring: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Mark Hamill

The first, and as of right now, only Star Wars film from director Rian Johnson was a hit, outgrossing all but five Star Wars films after adjusting for inflation. The movie was well received by critics, earning a 91% Freshness rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences, however, were less enthusiastic, giving it a 53% rating on the site.

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

43. Home Alone (1990)
> Domestic gross (adj. for inflation): $604,866,406
> Domestic gross (unadjusted): $285,761,243
> Estimated tickets sold: 67.7 million
> Starring: Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern

The family comedy about an 8-year-old boy who must defend himself and his home from a pair of criminals after his family leaves him accidentally alone over Christmas was released just in time for the 1990 holiday season. It topped the domestic box office for 10 weeks in a row, beginning in mid-November, and peaked once again in February 1991.

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

42. Independence Day (1996)
> Domestic gross (adj. for inflation): $618,571,277
> Domestic gross (unadjusted): $306,169,268
> Estimated tickets sold: 69.3 million
> Starring: Will Smith, Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum

“Independence Day” was released the weekend of its namesake and went on to become the top grossing film of 1996. The alien invasion flick spent a total of 78 weeks in theaters, selling an estimated 69.3 million tickets.

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

41. Love Story (1970)
> Domestic gross (adj. for inflation): $625,083,033
> Domestic gross (unadjusted): $106,397,186
> Estimated tickets sold: 70.0 million
> Starring: Ali MacGraw, Ryan O’Neal, John Marley

The emotional romance movie “Love Story” was the top grossing film of 1970, grossing the equivalent of $625 million today at the domestic box office. The movie was nominated for seven Oscars, including Best Picture, but won only one for Best Score.