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filmfann's avatar

What are the biggest money making movies of all time?

Asked by filmfann (40187 points ) October 22nd, 2011

Mods be willing, this will be a bit of a game, so no cheating by looking it up online.

When I was growing up, the biggest money making movie of all time was Gone With The Wind. I remember what a to-do was caused when Jaws beat its numbers. Yes, I know that 1939 dollars were much lower than 1975 dollars, and it isn’t fair to compare.
GWTW now ranks #148 of all time. Jaws is at #104.

So, without looking, can you name movies you believe are in the top 20?
I will try to be attentive to this thru the day, and identify correct answers.

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40 Answers

Joker94's avatar

I’m gonna guess Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, The Dark Knight, Toy Story 3, and the third Pirates of the Caribbean.

filmfann's avatar

#3 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II
#6 Toy Story Part 3
#10 The Dark Knight
#12 Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End

Good job @Joker94!

Ayesha's avatar

Lord of the rings (First part), The Godfather (First part), Inception, Titanic, Rocky (First part). All wild guesses.

filmfann's avatar

@Ayesha, please specify which LOTRs.

HungryGuy's avatar

You’re right. You can’t compare 1939 dollars to 2011 dollars. A poor-performing film in 2011 could out-perform a smash hit from 1939 in actual dollars. You’re better off comparing by ticket sales than dollars. But even ticket sales aren’t a reliable measure either because there’s lots more people in the world today.

filmfann's avatar

The Godfather was #298.
Rocky is not listed.
Inception is #29.

Titanic is #2 Good job @Ayesha

Ayesha's avatar

Yay!
For the two I got right.
Edit: one actually.

wonderingwhy's avatar

I have to believe Avatar is somewhere on that list, oh and they keep making them so probably Pirates of the Caribbean. For that matter Toy Story and Shrek.

filmfann's avatar

#1 Avatar Good job @wonderingwhy

Brian1946's avatar

My guess is that Star Wars is # 4.

Jurassic Park.
PotC: Curse of the Black Pearl.

Kayak8's avatar

Wizard of Oz, umm Grease, and ummm Disney’s Fantasia . . . (?)

filmfann's avatar

Star Wars Episode IV A New Hope #33 (try the others)
Pirates of the Caribbean Curse of the Black Pearl #51 (try the others)

Jurassic Park #18 WTG @Brian1946

Grease #150
Wizard of Oz and Fantasia Unlisted.

filmfann's avatar

Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring #25 (try the others)

ucme's avatar

A more accurate way would be to assess the movies profit margins. That being the case, i’m going to include, in no particular order, the following.
Avatar
Titanic
Most of the Hary Potter franchise
All the LOTR movies
E.T
Jurassic Park
Toy Story 3
Finding Nemo
Star Wars A New Hope.

filmfann's avatar

Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone #11
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets #24
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban #34
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire #21
Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix #14
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince #15
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I #13
ET #35
Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers #16
Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King #5
Finding Nemo #26
wtg @ucme

filmfann's avatar

@ucme I agree with your profit margin idea. I would think “The Blair Witch Project” might be the biggest money maker based on cost.

ucme's avatar

@filmfann Or maybe Paranormal Activity.

filmfann's avatar

So, to update so far:

1 Avatar
2 Titanic
3 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II
4
5 The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
6 Toy Story 3
7
8
9
10 The Dark Knight
11 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
12 Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End
13 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I
14 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
15 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
16 The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
17
18 Jurassic Park
19
20

sydsydrox's avatar

I know that
Pirates Of The Carribean had made a lot of money
so did
Harry Potter (IDK which one, the last one I guess)
and
Tron (It sucked don’t see it)
and Toy Story 3
I don’t know, those are just off the top of my head

filmfann's avatar

@ucme You are correct on Paranormal Activity. It only cost $15,000 to make, and grossed over $196,000,000.
Blair Witch came in 4th, behind Mad Max and Supersize Me.

ucme's avatar

That list is clearly missing Spider Man 3, maybe Alice in Wonderland Tim Burton. & possibly The Lion King.

filmfann's avatar

Tron #145

Spider-Man 3 #22

The Lion King #20 (Good Call!)

Alice In Wonderland #9 (this one shocked me)

Several people have mentioned the Pirates movies, lets just list them those missing:
Pirates of the Caribbean Dead Mans Chest #7
Pirates of the Caribbean On Stranger Tides #8

filmfann's avatar

So, we have:

1 Avatar
2 Titanic
3 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II
4
5 The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
6 Toy Story 3
7 Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
8 Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
9 Alice in Wonderland
10 The Dark Knight
11 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
12 Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End
13 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I
14 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
15 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
16 The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
17
18 Jurassic Park
19
20 The Lion King

The remaining are sequels to films that are not on this list.

ucme's avatar

One of the Shrek films must be in.
#4 is bugging the hell out of me.
Phantom Menace, although a shit movie, may have got a look in.

filmfann's avatar

Star Wars Episode I The Phantom Menace #17
Shrek 2 #19

Good job @ucme

Keep thinking crap films for #4. It came out this year.

ucme's avatar

You know, i’m not at all a movie buff, at least I don’t see myself as one. Can’t recall the last time I saw a movie at the cinema, other than with the kids, going to see TinTin this next week.
I just retain movie stuff, call it an accidental “gift” if you like.
So let’s see, #4 is a sequel that came out this year & it’s shite….....hmmm.

Blueroses's avatar

Four: I would guess Bridesmaids or The Hangover? Some dumb comedy.

oh, I just saw the mention of sequels, guess I’m wrong.

ucme's avatar

Please god don’t tell me it’s Transformers!!!

KateTheGreat's avatar

The first Matrix movie?

SavoirFaire's avatar

A bad sequel that came out this year? It’s either Transformers: Dark of the Moon or The Hangover Part II. I’d go with Transformers.

filmfann's avatar

Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon #4

filmfann's avatar

The complete list:

1 Avatar
2 Titanic
3 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II
4 Transformers: Dark of the Moon
5 The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
6 Toy Story 3
7 Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
8 Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
9 Alice in Wonderland
10 The Dark Knight
11 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
12 Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End
13 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I
14 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
15 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
16 The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
17 Star Wars Ep. I: The Phantom Menace
18 Jurassic Park
19 Shrek 2
20 The Lion King

Source: The Numbers

Thanks everyone. Lurve everywhere.

flutherother's avatar

I’ve seen 8 of them.

Blueroses's avatar

So James Cameron holds the top 2 spots? Spielberg must be shitting himself with envy.

ucme's avatar

A fair few of those i’ve seen, some i’d even rate, but it just shows there’s no accounting for taste. I wouldn’t think any would go down in movie history as “classics.”

TheIntern55's avatar

haha, I read an old outdated book that aaid that Titanic was unlikely to ever be beaten, and if it ever was it wouldn’t be for at least another 20 years. They didn’t think that the only person who could beat James Cameron was James Cameron in 10 years.

gasman's avatar

To these lists I say: big deal! If the measure is total gross in dollars (or similar figure) then obviously – given unrelenting inflation over the past century – the winners will be the most recent films. To really measure commercial success of movies as a social phenomenon, you have to figure constant dollars adjusted for inflation & other factors.

Fortunately somebody figured out ticket sales in constant dollars, show far different rankings as follows:

—————
1. Gone With the Wind
2. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
3. Star Wars
4. Bambi
5. The Sound of Music
6. One Hundred and One Dalmatians
7. Jaws
8. The Exorcist
9. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
10. The Jungle Book
11. Titanic
12. The Sting
13. Doctor Zhivago
14. Star Wars – The Empire Strikes Back
15. The Godfather
16. The Graduate
17. Star Wars: Return of the Jedi
18. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
19. Grease
20. Love Story
21. Raiders of the Lost Ark
22. American Graffiti
23. Blazing Saddles
24. Shrek2
25. Spider-Man
26. Home Alone
27. Smokey and the Bandit
—————

Unfortunately this is from 2005, so it doesn’t include Avatar. Just last week I visited an Avatar exhibit in Seattle – showed props, artwork, making-of footage, etc. Very cool

This clearly shows how 20th century movies were dominated by Disney. In fact, ”Most awards won by a man: Walt Disney won 26 Oscars (22 competitive, 4 honorary). He also won the most Oscars in one year, with 4.

Luiveton's avatar

The newest one until now is Never Say Never.
According a very famous movie site, it gained in the “Opening Weekend:$29,514,054 (USA)” and “Gross:$73,000,942 (USA) (8 May 2011)” .. with only a starter budget of
”$13,000,000” .... Beliebers, what can I say.

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