Before COVID-19 devastated the motion picture industry, movies were making more money at the box office than ever. It was not unusual for blockbuster films to gross more than $100 million domestically. Among the big hits in 2019 was the action film “Avengers: Endgame,” which had the most successful opening weekend ever at the domestic box office, grossing $357.1 million the weekend of April 26.
Many of these box-office smashes belong to franchises that audiences crave, including Star Wars, Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Lord of the Rings. Other film hits, like “Forrest Gump” and “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial,” were singular successes that captured the hearts and minds of the movie-going public.
When adjusting for the rising price of movie tickets, however, “Endgame” doesn’t even crack the top 10 top-grossing movies ever. 24/7 Tempo has identified the top 100 grossing movies of all time based on domestic box office data provided by box office reporting service Box Office Mojo. In a few cases, movies have had more than one theatrical release, which contributed to their total gross. All dollar amounts have been adjusted for inflation for a fairer comparison.
Hollywood has a long history of producing hugely entertaining — and successful — movies that draw audiences to theaters nationwide, and that is reflected in our list of the top-grossing films of all time. Of the top 10 in our list, the most recent film is from 2015, “Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens” (2015). Disney films such as “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” (1937) and “The Jungle Book” build on their decades of success through re-releases and DVD sales. Disney first re-released “Snow White” in 1944 and has released the classic repeatedly since then. Disney released a digital restoration of the film in 1993.
Many of the top-grossing movies on our list have received high praise from critics and audiences alike and are among the 100 best movies of all time.
To determine the top 100 grossing movies of all time, 24/7 Tempo reviewed the lifetime domestic gross of 17,575 films produced between 1937 and 2020 from movie data site Box Office Mojo, which collects box office gross sales data.
Production budgets and number of tickets sold also came from Box Office Mojo. Actors and roles information was obtained from the International Movie Database (IMDb).
We adjusted each domestic box office gross for inflation using the annual Personal Consumption Expenditure Price-Index (PCEPI) from the economic research library of the U.S. Federal Reserve. Domestic gross includes both the U.S. and Canada.