Special Report

Highest-Grossing Movies of All Time

Audiences are making their way back into theaters, and two films from the last two years have joined the list of history’s highest-grossing hits. One is “Top Gun: Maverick,” the surprise smash that’s now made approximately $1.45 billion in worldwide ticket sales. The other, a more predictable blockbuster, is “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” which brought in 1.91 billion. 

Modern franchise fare seems to earn the biggest bucks at the global box office these days, so it’s no surprise that the major studios are in a perennial search for the next hot property that could be a potential series-starter. Shot on massive budgets, these titles push the boundaries of spectacle in order to please built-in audiences and new movie-goers alike. Huge grossers perhaps, but does each one turn a considerable profit? That’s a question only Hollywood’s creative accountants can answer. (See the highest-grossing movie every year since 1975.)

Interestingly, at least some of the biggest box office hits in cinematic history, when their receipts are adjusted for inflation, weren’t franchises at all – for instance, the one-of-a-kind “Gone With the Wind,” and even such animated Disney classics as “Bambi” and “Pinocchio.” (These are the highest-grossing kids’ movies of all time.)

Click here to see the highest-grossing movies of all time

To determine the highest-grossing movies of all time, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data on worldwide box office from The Numbers, an online movie database owned by Nash Information Services. Films were ranked based on lifetime global box office, adjusted for inflation using historical ticket prices from the National Association of Theatre Owners. User ratings on IMDb, an online movie and TV database owned by Amazon, and audience and Tomatometer (critics’) scores on Rotten Tomatoes, an online movie and TV review aggregator, are current as of October 2022. Data on directorial credits comes from IMDb.

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