Top 20 Highest Grossing Movies of All Times

List of Grossing Movies of All Times

: Feb 17, 2019    : Milan Anshuman

With the exception of Titanic and two Disney films, every single movie below is part of a franchise, making us believe that there were probably some studio execs at Paramount or 20th Century Fox trying to convince James Cameron that he should do a sequel (“Are we sure that Jack really dies? Can he come back as a ghost?”). Speaking of Cameron, directing the two biggest box-office hits of all time is quite a feat, one we’re sure hasn’t gone to his head. That they were so different—an historic romance drama and a sci-fi action/adventure—makes it all the more impressive. The Russo Brothers are the only other directors on this list with two entries, and both of those were established Marvel properties they were handed, though we do admire what they did with the Captain America movies.

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01

Avatar (2009)

Worldwide: $2,788 Million

When his brother is killed in a robbery, paraplegic Marine Jake Sully decides to take his place in a mission on the distant world of Pandora. There he learns of greedy corporate figurehead Parker Selfridge's intentions of driving off the native humanoid "Na'vi" in order to mine for the precious material scattered throughout their rich woodland. In exchange for the spinal surgery that will fix his legs, Jake gathers intel for the cooperating military unit spearheaded by gung-ho Colonel Quaritch, while simultaneously attempting to infiltrate the Na'vi people with the use of an "avatar" identity. While Jake begins to bond with the native tribe and quickly falls in love with the beautiful alien Neytiri, the restless Colonel moves forward with his ruthless extermination tactics, forcing the soldier to take a stand - and fight back in an epic battle for the fate of Pandora.

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02

Titanic (1997)

Worldwide: $2,187.5 Million

4 years later, a 100 year-old woman named Rose DeWitt Bukater tells the story to her granddaughter Lizzy Calvert, Brock Lovett, Lewis Bodine, Bobby Buell and Anatoly Mikailavich on the Keldysh about her life set in April 10th 1912, on a ship called Titanic when young Rose boards the departing ship with the upper-class passengers and her mother, Ruth DeWitt Bukater, and her fiancé, Caledon Hockley. Meanwhile, a drifter and artist named Jack Dawson and his best friend Fabrizio De Rossi win third-class tickets to the ship in a game. And she explains the whole story from departure until the death of Titanic on its first and last voyage April 15th, 1912 at 2:20 in the morning.

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03

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)

Worldwide: $2,068.2 Million

The Force Awakens was the remedy to the near-terminal Prequel-itis of fans. J.J. Abrams and company accomplished this act of restorative cinema primarily through a return to the “dirty future” aesthetic that made the Original Trilogy feel so real (no matter how absurd the dialogue being delivered by the characters). That’s not to say CGI is lacking, but whereas budget and technology constraints helped the first three films and an overabundance hurt the next three, the balance between practical and special effects in The Force Awakens feels near perfect. I say “primarily” not to take away from other factors, such as casting. Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Adam Driver are all solid, and Oscar Isaac brings a palpable vigor to his role. Ultimately, The Force Awakens just feels right in ways the Prequels never did.

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04

Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

Worldwide: $2,048.4 Million

Avengers: Infinity War is epic in a way that has been often aspired to but never fully grasped when it comes to the translation from comic book panel to the Big Screen. It’s what happens when moviemakers take their source material seriously, eschewing unnecessary melodrama even as they fully embrace the grandeur, the sheer spectacle, of it all. (And if there’s one lesson Disney has learned, it’s that if you focus on the viewer experience, the product lines will take care of themselves.) For every frenetic fight scene in Avengers: Infinity War—and there are plenty of them—there are myriad character interactions and emotional beats the audience has been prepped for by the previous films (okay, maybe not 2008’s The Incredible Hulk). As a result, writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely have ample room to riff and play as characters meet for the first time or see each other again.

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05

Jurassic World (2015)

Worldwide: $1,671.7 Million

Jurassic World marks the fourth entry in its paleontological franchise, but it’s probably more important as the second chapter in the story of Chris Pratt’s unexpected ascent to movie stardom. Pratt, seemingly born to make a career out of playing lovable doofuses, made his goofy tenor work for him in Guardians of the Galaxy. With Jurassic World, he’s shed that skin almost entirely in favor of aping the hard-jawed macho men of the 1950s B-movie canon. That transformation lends the film inevitability: As if brand recognition didn’t give Jurassic World enough of a box-office edge, the image of Pratt riding a motorcycle side by side a quartet of raptors should sold Colin Trevorrow’s picture to the crowds.

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06

Marvel's The Avengers (2012)

Worldwide: $1,518.8 Million

Nestled amongst the gaudy box office numbers of Joss Whedon’s blockbuster is a much simpler achievement. Yes, The Avengers should evoke a deserved appreciation of Whedon’s directorial skills. And yes, the film’s release and reception make for a natural “And that’s when it was official” moment that the MCU took over Hollywood. But for comic book fans especially, The Avengers represents the first instance of the superhero team dynamic truly captured and sustained on film. Even though the X-Men and the Fantastic Four had received big screen treatment, those films were all still pretty static. The interaction between both heroes and villains were slow, separate vignettes rather than two-way, three-way or more-way battles.

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07

Furious 7 (2015)

Worldwide: $1,516.0 Million

Watching the seventh installment of the adrenaline-fueled Fast & Furious franchise, one gets the distinct impression that, when faced with a creative choice, the filmmakers asked themselves, “What’s the most insane, over-the-top thing we can do here?” Then they did just that. For a series of films that has been a continual escalation in physics-defying stunts, Furious 7 takes it to an entirely new level. The result is a damn lot of fun. Furious 7 is part revenge thriller, part daring heist, and more than a little of a loving goodbye to a dear friend. Franchise star Paul Walker died in a car crash before filming was complete, and both his life and death loom large over the movie.

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08

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

Worldwide: $1,405.4 Million

The second Avengers film was warmly received when it initially arrived, but then suffered a bit of immediate blowback, with many superhero genre geeks asserting themselves that although it was undeniably an entertaining film, it represented something of a step back from Joss Whedon’s record-smashing original. Even if it can’t quite match it, and occasionally feels like a bridge toward the next Avengers story, there’s still a whole lot to enjoy in this action-packed yarn. James Spader excels as the voice of the godlike Ultron—a wonderfully arrogant, immature AI character who is only undermined by plot, rather than performance.

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09

Black Panther (2018)

Worldwide: $1,346.9 Million

Black Panther might be the first MCU film that could claim to most clearly be an expression of a particular director’s voice. We shouldn’t go so far as to call it auteurist, because it’s still a Disney movie and (perhaps ironically) a part of that monopolizing Empire—i.e., eat the rich—but Black Panther’s action scenes, especially, feel one with Coogler’s oeuvre. Look only to an early scene in a South Korean casino, in which T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), Okoye (Danai Gurire) and Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) plan to intercept a deal between Klaue and everyone’s favorite CIA milquetoast, Everett Ross (Martin Freeman, lovable) for a vibranium-filled artifact which Klaue stole from some colonizer-run museum with Killmonger’s help.

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10

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (2011)

Worldwide: $1,341.7 Million

It all ends. And to be sure, it was a fitting end for the storied franchise. Perhaps no other series of children’s films (and few series of films period) has delivered as consistently good visuals and narrative as Harry Potter. The event that was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 can be called nothing less than epic. Picking up right where Part 1 left off, Harry grieves by the seaside grave of the fallen Dobby. His gravestone reads “A Free Elf.” The death of Dobby left moviegoers, even those schooled on and prepared by the source material, gutted. It’s one thing to absorb the pathos from the words on the written page, but the movie medium can pack a harder punch. Of course, without a reverent retelling of the story crafted by the novel’s author, the words become hollow on the screen. And over the course of eight films, the Potter franchise has tried on four directors and two writers, finding success and failure through numerous evolutions.

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11

No Country for Old Men

Worldwide: $2,788 Million

In rural Texas, welder and hunter Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) discovers the remains of several drug runners who have all killed each other in an exchange gone violently wrong. Rather than report the discovery to the police, Moss decides to simply take the two million dollars present for himself. This puts the psychopathic killer, Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem), on his trail as he dispassionately murders nearly every rival, bystander and even employer in his pursuit of his quarry and the money. As Moss desperately attempts to keep one step ahead, the blood from this hunt begins to flow behind him with relentlessly growing intensity as Chigurh closes in.

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12

The Departed

Worldwide: $2,788 Million

In South Boston, the state police force is waging war on Irish-American organized crime. Young undercover cop Billy Costigan is assigned to infiltrate the mob syndicate run by gangland chief Frank Costello. While Billy quickly gains Costello's confidence, Colin Sullivan, a hardened young criminal who has infiltrated the state police as an informer for the syndicate is rising to a position of power in the Special Investigation Unit. Each man becomes deeply consumed by their double lives, gathering information about the plans and counter-plans of the operations they have penetrated. But when it becomes clear to both the mob and the police that there is a mole in their midst, Billy and Colin are suddenly in danger of being caught and exposed to the enemy - and each must race to uncover the identity of the other man in time to save themselves.

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13

Crash

Worldwide: $2,788 Million

Over a thirty-six hour period in Los Angeles, a handful of disparate people's lives intertwine as they deal with the tense race relations that belie life in the city. Among the players are: the Caucasian district attorney, who uses race as a political card; his Caucasian wife, who, having recently been carjacked by two black men, believes that her stereotypical views of non-whites is justified and cannot be considered racism; the two black carjackers who use their race both to their advantage and as an excuse; partnered Caucasian police constables, one who is a racist and uses his authority to harass non-whites, and the other who hates his partner because of those racist views, but who may have the same underlying values in his subconscious; a black film director and his black wife, who believes her husband doesn't support their black background enough, especially in light of an incident with the racist white cop.

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14

Million Dollar Baby

Worldwide: $2,788 Million

Wanting to learn from the best, aspiring boxer Maggie Fitzgerald wants Frankie Dunn to train her. At the outset he flatly refuses saying he has no interest in training a girl. Frankie leads a lonely existence, alienated from his only daughter and having few friends. Maggie's rough around the edges but shows a lot of grit in the ring and he eventually relents. Maggie not only proves to be the boxer he always dreamed of having under his wing but a friend who fills the great void he's had in his life. Maggie's career skyrockets but an accident in the ring leads her to ask Frankie for one last favor.

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15

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Worldwide: $2,788 Million

The final confrontation between the forces of good and evil fighting for control of the future of Middle-earth. Hobbits: Frodo and Sam reach Mordor in their quest to destroy the "one ring", while Aragorn leads the forces of good against Sauron's evil army at the stone city of Minas Tirith.

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16

Chicago

Worldwide: $2,788 Million

Murderesses Velma Kelly (a chanteuse and tease who killed her husband and sister after finding them in bed together) and Roxie Hart (who killed her boyfriend when she discovered he wasn't going to make her a star) find themselves on death row together and fight for the fame that will keep them from the gallows in 1920s Chicago.

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17

A Beautiful Mind

Worldwide: $2,788 Million

From the heights of notoriety to the depths of depravity, John Forbes Nash, Jr. experienced it all. A mathematical genius, he made an astonishing discovery early in his career and stood on the brink of international acclaim. But the handsome and arrogant Nash soon found himself on a painful and harrowing journey of self-discovery. After many years of struggle, he eventually triumphed over his tragedy, and finally - late in life - received the Nobel Prize.

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18

Gladiator

Worldwide: $2,788 Million

Maximus is a powerful Roman general, loved by the people and the aging Emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Before his death, the Emperor chooses Maximus to be his heir over his own son, Commodus, and a power struggle leaves Maximus and his family condemned to death. The powerful general is unable to save his family, and his loss of will allows him to get captured and put into the Gladiator games until he dies. The only desire that fuels him now is the chance to rise to the top so that he will be able to look into the eyes of the man who will feel his revenge.

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18

American Beauty

Worldwide: $2,788 Million

After his death sometime in his forty-third year, suburbanite Lester Burnham tells of the last few weeks of his life, during which he had no idea of his imminent passing. He is a husband to real estate agent Carolyn Burnham and father to high school student Janie Burnham. Although Lester and Carolyn once loved each other, they now merely tolerate each other. Typical wallflower Janie too hates both her parents, the three who suffer individually in silence in their home life. Janie tries to steer clear of both her parents. Carolyn, relatively new to the real estate business, wants to create the persona of success to further her career, she aspiring to the professional life of Buddy Kane, the king of the real estate business in their neighborhood. Lester merely walks mindlessly through life, including at his job in advertising.

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29

Shakespeare in Love

Worldwide: $2,788 Million

Will Shakespeare is a known but struggling poet, playwright and actor who not only has sold his next play to both Philip Henslow and Richard Burbidge but now faces a far more difficult problem: he is bereft of ideas and has yet to begin writing. He is in search of his muse, the woman who will inspire him but all attempts fail him until he meets the beautiful Viola de Lesseps. She loves the theatre and would like nothing more than to take to the stage but is forbidden from doing so as only men can be actors. She is also a great admirer of Shakespeare's works. Dressing as a man and going by the name of Thomas Kent, she auditions and is ideal for a part in his next play. Shakespeare soon sees through her disguise and they begin a love affair, one they know cannot end happily for them as he is already married and she has been promised to the dour Lord Wessex.

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Milan Anshuman is a travel blogger at Roadway Star. He is passionate about travelling across entire India, specially in undiscovered places, apart from travelling he loves to shoot nature and wildlife beauties, waterfall, mountain series and beaches.

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