Part II: A look at the top 100 Highest Grossing Films List



6 Degrees of Film
6 Degrees of Film


As promised, here’s the second post about the top 100 Highest Grossing Films. We listed the top 10 Highest Grossing films last month:  There are many films that we expect to see on this list, but a few that are quite unexpected. For instance…

Star wars I


Star Wars is off the top 10 list! Spielberg is not in the top 10.  And as we all know, Film Series rule! Jurassic Park is Number 16 on the list and they are busy rolling out this Summer’s Jurassic World. Pirates of the Caribbean is out of the top 10 list. In fact, the only Star Wars entry that breaks into the top 20-at Number 17-is Star Wars: Phantom Menace from 1999 (Not a fan favorite, but one of mine as I like seeing Liam Neeson using the Force!)

In the list of highest grossing 100 films, some surprises are found. Most of the films are series, which explains why so many films are made in the footsteps of successful box-office films.. They make a lot of money! Comic book hero movies like Superman-Man of Steel are prominently featured (it’s Number 79). But some films stand apart.

Just a personal note after hearing so many people lamenting about the number of film series.. “Series” are not new in films. Charlie Chaplin/Laurel & Hardy/Abbott & Costello/Bob Hope road movies/Dracula movies/Beach movies/Andy Hardy movies/Thin Man series… there have been all types of series of successful films that were re-hashed because Hollywood has always been stuck on formulaic vehicles that prove to sell with the public. As a matter of fact, Shakespeare re-hashed plenty of plots himself. But to do it with flair and style is not so easy. It’s difficult to surpass the original. Godfather II was fantastic, but nothing can beat the original Godfather.

Star wars logo

The oldest film on the list? Star Wars from 1977 is at  Number 52. E.T, from 1982, is Number 48 on the list. The other James Bond film is Casino Royale, coming in at Number 99. The most popular film series include Twilight, Ice Age, Hunger Games, Transformers, Harry Potter, Spider Man & Star Wars.

alice in wonderland

Alice in Wonderland is in the top 20 highest grossing films. The Dark Knight, with Christian Bale, is at Number 20, and The Dark Knight Rises is Number 12 on the list. The Lion King, from 1994, is at Number 21. Some other single entries are Hancock at Number 87, Independence Day (1996) is Number 45 (Independence Day 2 is on the way!). Some more recent offerings include Gravity, an Oscar nominated film from 2013, and Maleficent from 2014.

guardians of gal
Still, the Comic book Universe dominates with Captain America, Thor, Guardians of the Galaxy and Spider Man all prominent on the list. Children’s films are also popular, with Shrek, Up (at Number 65), Big Hero, Despicable Me, Monsters Universe, Madagascar and Tangled all making the list.

Some other surprising stand outs were The Matrix Reloaded, from 2003, the weakest of the Matrix series, yet still at Number 64 on the list. The Da Vinci Code, from 2006, is Number 56 on the list. Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull, from 2005, made the list at Number 50.

mamma mia

And the only musical comedy, Mamma Mia from 2008, came in at Number 98. Life of Pi from 2012 is Number 97. Interstellar, a recent film from 2014, is at Number 78. The horror film, Sixth Sense from 1999, is at Number 77 on the list. And The Passion of the Christ from 2004, which green-lighted so many faith films, is on the list at Number 95. The 1994 Forrest Gump, a breakthrough film in many ways, is at Number 76.

So what do we learn from looking at the list? It’s a good indication of what will be made in Hollywood in years to come. There are no big surprises, with so much money poured into these big Hollywood movies. But sometimes it’s the small standouts that give you pause to hope. Some independent film may break through to the top 100 and that would be a major breath of fresh air.

Stars like Leonardo Di Caprio, Tom Hanks and Angelina Jolie are still major draws at the box office. Films like Gravity, Forrest Gump and Interstellar are thought-provoking and Oscar worthy, and they cross over to become major moneymakers for their respective studios. That’s always a good thing.

To see the entire list of 100 films, go to Box Office Mojo at *Note: All entries listed are subject to change as the rankings are adjusted-they may be at different positions from the ones listed here!

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Author of "6 Degrees of Film: The Future of Film in the Global Village", Ms. Johnson continues to blog on film and publishes a newsletter plus the Flipboard magazine 6 Degrees of Film @ the Movies. Her book is currently available on Amazon at

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