Special Report

This Summer's Biggest Hit Movies in the World

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The concept of the summer blockbuster – meaning a high-profile smash hit that becomes a cultural phenomenon during the summer moviegoing season – was born in 1975, with the release of Steven Spielberg’s fright classic “Jaws.” The film launched what has been called the blockbuster era, soon to spawn the Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Die Hard, Batman, and Back to the Future franchises, among others, as well as such standalone hits as “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” and “The Hunt for Red October.” (These are the biggest summer movie releases of all time.)

It might seem counterintuitive that summertime is a major moviegoing season – the time of year when many high-profile cinematic efforts are released. Shouldn’t people be outside, at the beach, at parks, at ballgames or outdoor arena shows? (Well, maybe not at the beach if they’ve seen “Jaws”….)

Well, yes, and those are popular seasonal destinations too – but summer is the annual period when people have the most time on their hands. School’s out, many lucky workers get summer Fridays, vacations beckon. But you can’t stay out in the sun or the warm night air all the time, and summer also offers a great opportunity to enjoy entertainment that isn’t too demanding – and Hollywood is glad to oblige.

Of course not every summer movie is a blockbuster, or is even meant to be one. As at other times of year, appealing “little” films appear alongside the latest Marvel super-flick and “Fast and Furious” iteration. (Here’s a ranking of the best Marvel movies of all time.)

To determine the biggest hit movies of this summer (so far), 24/7 Tempo reviewed box office data from The Numbers, an online movie database owned by Nash Information Services. Movies released on May 5, 2023 or later were ranked based on global ticket sales as of Aug. 14. Documentaries were not considered. Supplemental data on IMDb user rating is also current as of Aug. 14. Director and cast information is from IMDb. 

Click here for a ranking of this summer’s biggest hit movies

It won’t come as a surprise to anyone that the No. 1 hit this summer is “Barbie,” or that Vin Diesel, Spider-Man, and “Oppenheimer” come close behind. And they’re not the only blockbusters here. Some 13 of the 25 films on our list have brought in more than $100 million.

But more modest efforts have found a place on this list as well, including the autobiographical culture-clash comedy “About My Father,” starring Robert De Niro, and Wes Anderson’s typically quirky, indefinable “Asteroid City.” There’s room for everything on summer screens.

25. Past Lives (2023)
> Global box office: $10.5 million
> IMDb user rating: 8.4/10 (7,500 votes)
> Directed by: Celine Song
> Starring: Greta Lee, Teo Yoo, John Magaro

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24. The Machine (2023)
> Global box office: $10.7 million
> IMDb user rating: 5.9/10 (8,764 votes)
> Directed by: Peter Atencio
> Starring: Bert Kreischer, Mark Hamill, Jimmy Tatro

23. Joy Ride (2023)
> Global box office: $15.1 million
> IMDb user rating: 6.6/10 (11,000 votes)
> Directed by: Adele Lim
> Starring: Ashley Park, Sherry Cola, Stephanie Hsu

22. About My Father (2023)
> Global box office: $17.5 million
> IMDb user rating: 5.7/10 (6,629 votes)
> Directed by: Laura Terruso
> Starring: Robert De Niro, Sebastian Maniscalco, Leslie Bibb

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21. The Blackening (2023)
> Global box office: $17.7 million
> IMDb user rating: 6.0/10 (9,247 votes)
> Directed by: Tim Story
> Starring: Grace Byers, Jermaine Fowler, Melvin Gregg

20. Book Club: The Next Chapter (2023)
> Global box office: $28.1 million
> IMDb user rating: 5.6/10 (3,958 votes)
> Directed by: Bill Holderman
> Starring: Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen

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19. Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken (2023)
> Global box office: $41.8 million
> IMDb user rating: 5.7/10 (5,246 votes)
> Directed by: Kirk DeMicco, Faryn Pearl
> Starring: Jane Fonda, Lana Condor, Toni Collette

18. Asteroid City (2023)
> Global box office: $48.5 million
> IMDb user rating: 6.7/10 (59,390 votes)
> Directed by: Wes Anderson
> Starring: Jason Schwartzman, Scarlett Johansson, Tom Hanks

17. Haunted Mansion (2023)
> Global box office: $75.8 million
> IMDb user rating: 6.3/10 (9,132 votes)
> Directed by: Justin Simien
> Starring: LaKeith Stanfield, Rosario Dawson, Owen Wilson

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16. The Boogeyman (2023)
> Global box office: $82.3 million
> IMDb user rating: 6.1/10 (11,666 votes)
> Directed by: Rob Savage
> Starring: Sophie Thatcher, Chris Messina, Vivien Lyra Blair

15. No Hard Feelings (2023)
> Global box office: $83.6 million
> IMDb user rating: 6.5/10 (37,847 votes)
> Directed by: Gene Stupnitsky
> Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Andrew Barth Feldman, Laura Benanti

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14. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem (2023)
> Global box office: $94.2 million
> IMDb user rating: 7.5/10 (14,353 votes)
> Directed by: Jeff Rowe, Kyler Spears
> Starring: Micah Abbey, Shamon Brown Jr., Nicolas Cantu

13. Sound of Freedom (2023)
> Global box office: $172.8 million
> IMDb user rating: 7.8/10 (46,985 votes)
> Directed by: Alejandro Monteverde
> Starring: Jim Caviezel, Mira Sorvino, Bill Camp

12. Insidious: The Red Door (2023)
> Global box office: $185.7 million
> IMDb user rating: 5.6/10 (27,346 votes)
> Directed by: Patrick Wilson
> Starring: Ty Simpkins, Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne

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11. Meg 2: The Trench (2023)
> Global box office: $258.4 million
> IMDb user rating: 5.5/10 (14,691 votes)
> Directed by: Ben Wheatley
> Starring: Jason Statham, Jing Wu, Shuya Sophia Cai

10. The Flash (2023)
> Global box office: $268.1 million
> IMDb user rating: 6.9/10 (138,343 votes)
> Directed by: Andy Muschietti
> Starring: Ezra Miller, Michael Keaton, Sasha Calle

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9. Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (2023)
> Global box office: $370.4 million
> IMDb user rating: 6.8/10 (93,079 votes)
> Directed by: James Mangold
> Starring: Harrison Ford, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Antonio Banderas

8. Transformers: Rise of the Beasts (2023)
> Global box office: $436.6 million
> IMDb user rating: 6.1/10 (70,846 votes)
> Directed by: Steven Caple Jr.
> Starring: Anthony Ramos, Dominique Fishback, Luna Lauren Vélez

7. Elemental (2023)
> Global box office: $443.6 million
> IMDb user rating: 7.1/10 (31,269 votes)
> Directed by: Peter Sohn
> Starring: Leah Lewis, Mamoudou Athie, Ronnie Del Carmen

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6. Mission: Impossible Dead Reckoning Part One (2023)
> Global box office: $522.4 million
> IMDb user rating: 8.0/10 (124,672 votes)
> Directed by: Christopher McQuarrie
> Starring: Tom Cruise, Hayley Atwell, Ving Rhames

5. The Little Mermaid (2023)
> Global box office: $562.2 million
> IMDb user rating: 7.2/10 (109,002 votes)
> Directed by: Rob Marshall
> Starring: Halle Bailey, Jonah Hauer-King, Melissa McCarthy

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4. Oppenheimer (2023)
> Global box office: $648.1 million
> IMDb user rating: 8.6/10 (345,753 votes)
> Directed by: Christopher Nolan
> Starring: Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt, Matt Damon

3. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (2023)
> Global box office: $683.4 million
> IMDb user rating: 8.8/10 (221,691 votes)
> Directed by: Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers, Justin K. Thompson
> Starring: Shameik Moore, Hailee Steinfeld, Brian Tyree Henry

2. Fast X (2023)
> Global box office: $719.1 million
> IMDb user rating: 5.8/10 (87,132 votes)
> Directed by: Louis Leterrier
> Starring: Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Jason Statham

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1. Barbie (2023)
> Global box office: $1.2 billion
> IMDb user rating: 7.4/10 (229,469 votes)
> Directed by: Greta Gerwig
> Starring: Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling, Issa Rae

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