As of September 2022, only 51 films have ever crossed the coveted $1billion mark at the global box office. And only 5 have managed to cross the even more elusive $2billion mark.
But does this achievement actually have any meaning? After all, cinema tickets are a lot more expensive than they used to be – often hitting £10 or more per person.
Nevertheless, this list showcases the movies that made a billion dollars at the box office, and whether or not you should spend your time watching them – or give them a pass.
Intrigued? You should be!
Movies that made a billion dollars (#51-40)
First off, let’s take a look at the films that managed to break the $1billion mark, but failed to reach the coveted $2billion mark at the global box office. It’s worth noting that these box office totals are correct as of September 2022.
#51 – Jurassic World Dominion
Jurassic World: Dominion crossed the $1billion mark on its 100th day of release. A slow burner following the pandemic’s near collapse of the film industry, it manages to sneak in to the list, earning exactly $1billion at the global box office.
Total gross: $1,000,000,000
Should you see it? Yes – despite the poor reviews
#50 – The Dark Knight
In July 2008, the movie-going public began speculating that Christopher Nolan’s sequel to Batman Begins starring Heath Ledger as the Joker might have the box-office power to set a world record. It broke many records at the time, and it became the biggest film of 2008.
Total gross : $1,006,102,277
Should you see it? Absolutely
#49 – The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Despite mixed reviews, and frankly, being a bit of a slog to get through, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey managed to win big at the box office. Sadly its two sequels failed to outperform it at the box office – a common occurrence in the industry.
Total gross: $1,017,030,651
Should you see it? Only for fans of the series
#48 – Harry Potter & the Philosopher’s Stone
Nineteen years after its 2001 release, Harry Potter & the Philosopher’s Stone managed to cross the $1 billion mark, but only after it was given a theatrical re-release in China. Is that cheating a little bit? You’ll see that many films are re-released during anniversaries or special occasions to help them gain milestones that ups their wow factor.
Total gross: $1,022,290,019
Should you see it? Doesn’t hold up well, but an absolute treat
#47 – Zootopia
Great fun for all the family, Zootopia or Zootropolis depending on where you are fun really takes aim at racism in a way that children can understand. If only Disney could make every film they create as insightful and enjoyable as this one. Shame that.
Total gross: $1,024,121,104
Should you see it? Absolutely – especially if you have children
#46 – Alice In Wonderland
When Tim Burton’s take on the original Disney classic hit $1 billion at the box office in 2010, it was only the 6th film to do so. The film is fine, if a little murky in places, but works well with Burton’s flair behind the camera. The sequel though, my goodness it’s not good.
Total gross: $1,025,468,216
Should you see it? Hmm, you’re not missing much
#45 – Star Wars: Episode 1 — The Phantom Menace
The Phantom Menace was the first Star Wars movie to earn $1 billion, thanks to its 3D re-release in cinemas 13 years after its debut. Remember when 3D was a thing? Without that second rise of sales, the film would have most definitely stayed under the $1 billion mark, along with the original three (classics).
#44 – Finding Dory
A distinctly average sequel that probably didn’t deserve to cross the $1billion mark. Not really much more to say about this one sadly.
Total gross: $1,028,570,942
Should you see it? You can skip this – definitely check Finding Nemo out though
#43 – Despicable Me 3
Those Minions have got a lot to answer for. Despicable Me 3 was definitely a bit of a sleeper hit – no-one expected it to do so well. I certainly didn’t. The second film in the series to hit that beautiful $1billion mark, it’s harmless fun, but doesn’t necessarily deserve its monumental success.
Total gross: $1,034,800,131
Should you see it? Sure, if you’re fans of the series so far
#42 – Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
There are five Pirates of the Caribbean movies in the series— and two of them have joined the billion-dollar club. That’s a pretty good success rate, anyone would be happy with that. On Stranger Tides is fine, it’s not the worst thing in the world, but you won’t be missing out if you happen to skip it.
Total gross: $1,045,713,802
Should you see it? Can do, it won’t offend you in any way
#41 – Aladdin
Oh boy, do you remember the backlash to Will Smith being cast as the Genie in Aladdin. And this was even before slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars. Thankfully, the resulting film was actually really good fun – a lot better than any had expected and I can see why it performed so well at the box office.
Total gross: $1,050,693,953
Should you see it? It’s actually really good fun – go for it.
#40 – Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
I don’t hide my love for Rogue One. It is absolutely exceptional and the best film to come out of the Disney Star Wars era to date. Fully deserving of doing so well at the box office, this is an astounding entry in the series and second only to Empire in the entire saga. Yup, you heard me. It also managed to gross over $1billion less than 40 days after being released. Wow.
Total gross: $1,056,057,720
Should you see it? Absolutely
Movies that made a billion dollars (#39-30)
#39 – The Lion King
The first of two Lion King films on this list (though they should definitely be swapped around in the success stakes), the original Disney animation has had a number of re-releases to get it to this point. This 1994 Disney Oscar-winning film grossed $968.5 million by the end of its first theatrical run.
Total gross: $1,063,611,805
Should you see it? Yes of course
#38 – Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
Back in 2006, when the sequel to Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl hit cinemas across the world, it took just 3 months for the film to make $1billion at the global box office. At the time, it was the third film to get across that line – an amazing feat.
Total gross: $1,066,179,747
Should you see it? For Johnny Depp alone, yes
#37 – Toy Story 3
The Toy Story films have a timeless quality about them, and that’s definitely helped with their success. Number 3 is great fun, changing the plot of the first two on its head, and dealing with themes of growing up and moving on. Tearful stuff.
Total gross: $1,066,970,811
Should you see it? 100%
#36 – Toy Story 4
Toy Story 4 was another hit for Disney and Pixar, and it and its predecessor currently sit together on this chart. Disney managed to pull off the unthinkable too after the release of this sequel. Disney became the first movie studio to release 7 billion-dollar movies in one year. The movie joined fellow release, Captain Marvel, Aladdin, Avengers: Endgame, The Lion King, Frozen II and The Rise of Skywalker.
Total gross: $1,073,394,593
Should you see it? It’s a really lovely ride, so yes
#35 – Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
This should have been good. It wasn’t – time to move on.
Total gross: $1,074,149,279
Should you see it? My review says it all
#34 – Joker
This DC comic movie is the first R-rated movie to ever make $1billion at the box office – though I do think Logan was the better film, it’s hard to deny the incredible success of Joker, largely down to Joaquin Phoenix’s phenomenal performance as the titular character.
Total gross: $1,074,445,730
Should you see it? Absolutely
#33 – The Dark Knight Rises
Not as good as both Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, the third and final instalment in the Christopher Nolan Batman trilogy struggles under the weight of its own self-importance. Sure, on a technical level it’s fantastically well made, but it’s not the brilliant film that everyone seems to think it is. Rose coloured glasses…
Total gross: $1,081,153,097
Should you see it? Sure, if you’ve seen the other two
#32 – Jurassic Park
Another film that just couldn’t quite make it to $1billion on the steam of its own release. Jurassic Park is an all time classic, nothing more needs to be said about it. Jurassic Park wasn’t originally released in China in 1993. But the 20th anniversary international re-release did include China — and the difference in ticket sales showed. China is now one of the franchise’s biggest markets.
Total gross: $1,099,699,003
Should you see it? Are you mad? Of course you should
#31 – Transformers: Age of Extinction
The fact this film has made more than Jurassic Park is a travesty on the biggest scale. Nevertheless, it has dinosaur robots in, so I can find some fun in it.
Total gross: $1,104,054,072
Should you see it? Only for die hard fans of the series
#30 – Skyfall
At the time of its release, Skyfall was Sony’s highest-grossing movie worldwide and the first Bond movie to surpass $1billion at the box office. Impressive right? It became the second highest-grossing film of 2012 behind Avengers Assemble. But more on that later on…
Total gross: $1,108,569,499
Should you see it? Absolutely
Movies that made a billion dollars (#29-20)
#29 – Transformers: Dark of the Moon
The success of Michael Bay’s Transformers movies is something that perplexes most people – but they are good fun for the most part. This one (number 3) sits middle of the pack and is good fun, despite Shia Le Beouf’s by now irritating screeching.
Total gross: $1,123,794,079
Should you see it? If you want to pulverise your brain, go for it
#28 – Captain Marvel
As middle of the road for the MCU as you can get. Time to move on.
Total revenue: $1,128,462,972
Should you see it? As a box-ticking exercise for your MCU chart, yes
#27 – Spider-Man: Far From Home
It took less than a month for Far From Home to reach the $1billion threshold. A good film, but not quite up to the standard of its predecessor, despite Tom Holland’s fantastic performance.
Total gross: $1,131,927,996
Should you see it? Jake Gyllenhaal makes his MCU debut – yes absolutely
#26 – Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
People flocked to see the final chapter of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings saga. After only 10 weeks in cinemas, Return of the King became the second film in history to make $1billion. Titanic was of course the first in 1997. The film was re-released during the pandemic in just a few territories which helped move its position up slightly in this list.
Total gross: $1,146,436,214
Should you see it? Yes
#25 – Aquaman
Aquaman became the first DC superhero movie to make $1billion dollars at the global box office. The movie was already breaking records in China before it had opened in the US in early December. Sadly, all I can now think of is Johnny Depp’s infamous “Aquamaaaaaaaaaan” – you know what I’m talking about.
Total gross: $1,148,528,393
Should you see it? It’s good fun, so yes
#24 – Captain America: Civil War
Civil War was a huge hit in 2016, and the first movie of that year to rake in over $1billion. The success of this third outing came from it playing more like a mini Avengers film thanks to a large superhero cast, including Iron Man, Falcon, Black Widow and the introduction of Tom Holland’s Spider-Man.
Total gross: $1,153,337,496
Should you see it? Definitely
#23 – Minions
This is not a typo – Minions is the 23rd highest grossing film of all time. The 2015 prequel focused only on the Minions the world had come to love (or loathe if you have an aunt on Facebook). People clearly appreciated this film, since neither of the first two Despicable Me movies managed to cross $1billion. All hail King Bob.
Total gross: $1,159,444,662
Should you see it? Sure, why not
#22 – Iron Man 3
Robert Downey Jr swept away comic fans with the third movie of his trilogy. Some loved it, some hated it – and it’s easy to see why. One of the most divisive films in the entire MCU, but that didn’t stop people flocking to see it.
Total gross: $1,214,811,252
Should you see it? If you haven’t, it’s definitely worth seeing why people think it’s so divisive
#21 – The Fate of the Furious
In April 2017, the eighth movie in The Fast and the Furious franchise joined the billion-dollar club. Following the success of Furious 7, fans were left wanting more – and boy did they get it. This was the most ridiculous film in the series to date – but a whole lotta fun.
Total gross: $1,236,005,118
Should you see it? If you’re a fan, yes, if not, no
#20 – Incredibles 2
Despite the 14-year gap between the first film The Incredibles and its sequel, the surprisingly-well acclaimed Incredibles 2 created a new record as fastest animated film to gross $1billion at the box office.
Total gross: $1,243,089,244
Should you see it? Yes
Movies that made a billion dollars (#19-10)
#19 – Beauty and the Beast
It’s a tale as old as time. The remake of Beauty & the Beast was the highest grossing film of 2017 and it’s easy to see why. Nicely filmed with great music and good performances, it’s everything anyone could really want from Disney.
Total gross: $1,273,576,220
Should you see it? Yes
#18 – Frozen
Frozen kept hold of the top spot for the highest-grossing animated film of all time until the release of its sequel in 2019 (that’s 6 years it managed to hold on to it). The film joined the billion dollar club in the same week that it also managed to secure two Oscar wins. Impressive.
Total gross: $1,281,508,100
Should you see it? Yes, for fans of animated tomfoolery
#17 – Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
The second part of the new World trilogy, Fallen Kingdom was directed by Spanish horror aficionado J.A. Bayona. Beautifully filmed, but with pretty awful dialogue – this film did well, but not as well as its predecessor.
Total gross: $1,310,466,296
Should you see it? Yes, if only for the beautiful filming
#16 – Star Wars: The Last Jedi
The most divisive Star Wars property ever made, The Last Jedi is liked and loathed in equal measure. I personally love it – and find it a real joy to watch. What do you think of it?
Total gross: $1,332,698,830
Should you see it? Of course – but don’t whinge about it like so many others
#15 – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two
Following the trend of some other franchises in our top list, the final Harry Potter film was the only one of the lot that managed to score $1billion or more. That is until Philosopher’s Stone was re-released in Chinese markets.
Total gross: $1,342,359,942
Should you see it? A series closer like no other – a must watch
#14 – Black Panther
Black Panther crossed the $1billion milestone in just 26 days after breaking the record for best February opening weekend of all time. This film was also the 16th Disney film to gross over one billion dollars. I’d like to take a peak at Disney’s bank account, wouldn’t you?
Total gross: $1,347,597,973#
Should you see it? Poor CGI aside, this is a decent Marvel movie, if not top tier
#13 – Avengers: Age of Ultron
The second Avengers film didn’t live up to the first, sadly. A great performance from James Spader as Ultron couldn’t mask a bland script, even though the heroes all put in the work.
Total gross: $1,402,809,540
Should you see it? If you’re not fussed about the MCU, you can skip this one
#12 – Frozen II
People were clearly hungry for more Frozen. Despite the addition of some fantastic new songs, this treads a very similar path to its predecessor. Sadly, not the greatest animated film in Disney’s back catalogue, but it is the one that has gained the most money at the box office.
Total gross: $1,450,026,933
Should you see it? Yes, but only if you’re a fan
#11 – Top Gun: Maverick
Our newest entrant. Pushing back Tom Cruise’s Top Gun sequel two years during the pandemic was a risky move by Paramount, but clearly managed to be the right one. Maverick is superior to the original on every level, with focus on the Top Gun training program instead of a romance. Only the second movie released during the pandemic to cross $1billion. Amazingly impressive in today’s market.
Total gross: $1,463,980,685
Should you see it? Oh yes, definitely
#10 – Furious 7
This was the last Fast and Furious movie to include Paul Walker, which some fans and critics believed helped boost its box-office takings. Nevertheless, Furious 7 is one of, if not the strongest, film in the series, and just sneaks in at #10 on this list.
Total gross: $1,515,341,399
Should you see it? Yes, go for it
Movies that made a billion dollars (#9-1)
#9 – Avengers Assemble
The first Avengers movie brought together an all-star cast of comic book heroes like we have never seen before — and the MCU was all systems go. The film passed $1billion in sales in less than 20 days. This means it’s tied for 3rd place in the list of fastest grossing movies alongside Avatar and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two.
Total gross: $1,518,815,515
Should you see it? A film that will go down in history as one of the most ambitious ever, so yes, absolutely
#8 – The Lion King
After just under 3 weeks in cinemas, Disney’s remake of The Lion King crossed $1billion dollars in total box-office gross. This was the fourth movie of 2019 to join the billion-dollar club. A fantastic feat of film-making, this shot-for-shot remake was criticised for being a carbon copy of the original, adding nothing new to the formula.
Total gross: $1,663,250,487
Should you see it? Yes, but don’t worry if you can’t – you’re not missing too much
#7 – Jurassic World
14 years after the release of Jurassic Park III, Jurassic World came along to reignite the cinema-going public’s obsession with dinosaurs. It succeeded, and broke hundreds of records upon its release. It bumped Furious 7 out of the number one spot for fastest movie to make $1billion when it broke the record in just 13 days. At the time it also stunned box-office analysts with the highest-grossing opening weekend of all time, besting Avengers Assemble with $208.8million. Globally, it opened to over $500million during its first weekend, making it the first film to crack that number.
Total gross: $1,671,537,444
Should you see it? Yes, though the more you watch it, the more you notice its flaws
#6 – Spider-Man: No Way Home
A statement of fact: Spider-Man broke the pandemic curse. No Way Home is a feat of modern film-making that brings together three generations of characters in a vast film that could feel ungainly. Thankfully, director Marc Webb spun an intricate story for this addition to the MCU. A fantastic film to enjoy with all the family.
Total gross: $1,915,958,692
Should you see it? Yes!
#5 – Avengers: Infinity War
The third Avengers film broke the all-time world record with a $630million opening weekend, proving the MCU was stronger than, well, pretty much everything else. This was what Marvel had been building up to from the very beginning, and this box-office success is not unexpected.
Total gross: $2,048,359,754
Should you see it? For sure
#4 – Star Wars: The Force Awakens
The seventh movie in the Star Wars franchise broke the Jurassic World records when box-office numbers surged past $1billion after just 12 days in cinemas across the globe. It was good while it lasted Universal, eh?
Total gross: $2,069,521,700
Should you see it? It’s a good film, but not the most original
#3 – Titanic
The oldest film in the top 10, and only here because of multiple re-releases. The movie made just over $1.8billion during its initial release in 1997, and then topped $2billion after it was re-released in 3D in honour of the anniversary of the iconic ship’s sinking. 100 years I believe.
Total gross: $2,201,647,264
Should you see it? It’s a slow burner but a ageless classic
#2 – Avengers: Endgame
Marvel’s major finale to its run of comic-book movies broke the record for fastest movie to reach one-billion dollars in international box-office totals. On the Sunday of its opening weekend, Disney estimated Avengers: Endgame had made $1,209,000,000 within just five days of its debut. It was the highest-grossing film until Disney re-released Avatar in Chinese markets back in 2021.
Total gross: $2,797,501,328
Should you see it? Absolutely – it’s a defining film of our generation
#1 – Avatar
With more than $2.8billion in box-office revenue as of September 2022 and a major re-release happening right now in preparation for the sequel, James Cameron’s Avatar is likely to be well ahead of the other films on the list by the end of the year. The question is, will Way of Water perform as well? It’s certainly overdue, Avatar was released in 2009.
Total gross: $2,847,397,339
Should you watch it? It’s a piece of cinema history, so yes!
How many of these pieces of film history have you watched? Let me know in the comments below!