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Depending on which chart you use, each of these films can lay a claim to being the biggest Disney film of all-time.

A Century of Film

Disney

The Box Office

“In 1989, USA Today computed that if one adjusted for inflation and changing box-office prices, Snow White’s theatrical earnings up that time would exceed six billion dollars!”  (The Disney Films, 4th Edition, Leonard Maltin, p 32).  That is patently absurd, of course, but it’s the kind of thing that makes all of the box office earnings for all films, but especially Disney films, so difficult to accurately calculate.  There are a lot of things at play and the first, of course, is the complete mythology that builds up around certain numbers.  So let’s start the look at the box office for Disney by looking closely at Snow White.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

According to Box Office Mojo, here are the numbers:

  • Original 1937 release:  $66,596,803  (gross)
  • 1983 re-release:  $30,100,000  (gross)
  • 1987 re-release:  $46,594,212  (gross)
  • 1993 re-release:  $41,634,471  (gross)

But that’s very mis-leading.  For one thing, Snow White didn’t come close to making $66 million back in 1937.  Here are the numbers via rentals according to Variety, a number that is usually about .45 the gross total.  It’s worthwhile to know that grosses are what a film earns at the box office while rentals are the money that the film actually returns to the studio.

  • Through 1947:  $6,000,000  (@ $13.4 mil gross)
  • 1953 re-release:  $1,400,000  (@ $3.0 mil)
  • 1958 re-release:  $500,000  (@ 1.1 mil)
  • 1962 re-release:  $2,650,000  (@ $5.83 mil)
  • 1967 re-release:  $4,850,000  (@ $10.67 mil)
  • 1970 re-release:  $450,000  (@ $1.0 mil)
  • 1976 re-release:  $10,500,000  (@ $23.1 mil)
  • through 1982:  $26,900,000  (@ $59.2 mil)
  • 1983 re-release:  $14,500,000  (@  $31.9 mil)
  • 1987 re-release:  $21,352,000  (@ $46.97 mil)
  • 1993 re-release:  $18,136,993  (@ $39.89 mil)

The total numbers do come close to the BOM numbers but they are a matter of numerous re-releases.  Somehow, BOM has calculated that as selling approximately 109 million tickets and calculated that to an adjusted 2020 total of $1.021 billion, good enough for 11th place.  Of course, those estimations are also a problem since their adjusted total is based on estimated tickets and most of those tickets were certainly for children while Jaws, which is R rated and most of the tickets were not for children, uses the same basis.  So basically, Snow White is estimated to have sold the 11th most tickets, at least in the States.  For a relative basis, it’s just ahead of Force Awakens which currently has the highest domestic gross.

But the fact is, Gone with the Wind, these days, is adjusted to just under $2 billion which is already 1/3 of the USA Today estimate for Snow White (over 30 years old now) and Snow White was never close to Wind.

Snow White was the highest grossing film ever released when it first came out at the end of 1937.  That’s likely true.  Certainly by 1947, when Variety started their annual All-Time Box Office Rentals list, it was the second highest grossing film of the 1930s behind only Wind.  But it had rentals of just $6 million, down in 9th place and far below the $22 million for Wind.  As noted above, it would take Snow White until 1976 to pass $20 million in rentals and by then Wind had its own re-releases and was up to $76 million.  So the notion that Snow White is the #1 box office champ is ridiculous.  It was #1 for a couple of years then fell to #2 and then over the 40s it continued to drop.  While it was still in the all-time Top 10 through 1949 it fell off the Top 10 in 1950 and by 1956 wasn’t even in the Top 20.

It would hold the crown at Disney for much longer, though.  While Peter Pan‘s initial release would beat Snow White‘s initial release (at least in part because of 16 years of inflation) with $7 million in rentals (though down-listed a couple of years later to $6 million), Snow White had a re-release that same year (1953) and stayed ahead of it.  It would take until 1955 for Snow White not to be the biggest Disney film (passed by 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea).  Snow White would take the crown back in 1962, the first Disney film to pass $10 million in total rentals.  But once Mary Poppins came along, Snow White was good and dead as the #1 Disney film.

But, because of its continual (very profitable) re-releases, Snow White would continue to thrive.  Through the start of the 90s, it had never been outside the Top 5 in rentals for Disney.  What’s more, it would stay in the Top 100 (usually in the Top 50) all the way until 2008 long after its final re-release (the big one in 1993 that actually moved it all the way back up to #20 all-time in domestic gross) and into the era of big money-makers with highly inflated box office prices.

But while it has always been impressive, the real relative box office success will never quite be clear.  At the start of 1996, well after its final re-release, according to Box Office Mojo, it ranked at #25 all-time with a total gross of $184,925,486.  For Disney, that put it only behind Aladdin and Toy Story.  But Variety‘s all-time list in the May 6, 1996 issue listed it #39 with lifetime rentals of $80,886,993, below Aladdin and Toy Story but also below Pretty Woman, Three Men and a Baby and Who Framed Roger Rabbit, the last of which has listed grosses almost $30 million below Snow White.  And who knows where BOM calculated those ticket numbers from.

But it’s worth noting that, based on the rentals, not only was Snow White the biggest Disney film of the 30s (and possibly the 40s if it had re-releases prior to 1946) but the 9th biggest in the 60s, the 10th biggest in the 70s and the 6th biggest in the 80s.

The 1940ssong_of_the_south_ver2

Top Disney Grossers of the 1940s through 1949  (Box Office Mojo)

  1. Fantasia  –  $42,850,000
  2. Pinocchio  –  $38,976,570
  3. Bambi  –  $5,200,000

Again, this is wildly mis-leading, as per the next chart.

Top Disney Box Office Rentals of the 1940s through 1949  (Variety)

  1. Song of the South  –  $3,400,000
  2. Fun and Fancy Free  –  $2,400,000
  3. Make Mine Music  –  $2,250,000
  4. Melody Time  –  $1,800,000

Disney released 12 feature films during the 1940s.  Three of them have never had box office results listed in Variety that I can find: Saludos Amigos, Three Caballeros and The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad.  The four listed above all appeared among the top grossers of their respective years in the year end Variety recaps.

Top Disney Films of the 1940s Rentals through 1989  (Variety)

  1. Bambi  –  $47,265,000
  2. Pinocchio  –  $32,912,000
  3. Fantasia  –  $24,380,000
  4. Song of the South  –  $12,800,000

Aside from the three films listed in the first Variety list and not the second, there are also Dumbo (eventually appeared in a Variety list with $3 million in rentals) and So Dear to My Heart (ditto with $1.15 mil in rentals).

Of the four successful films listed above, none would appear in all-time Variety rentals lists ($4 million or higher) until the 60s when Bambi would add $8.8 mil, Pinocchio would add $7.7 mil, Fantasia would add $4.8 mil and Song of the South would add another $2 mil to what it had earned in the initial release.  All four would also have 70s re-releases that would over $5 mil to all of them (and almost $10 to Fantasia and Bambi).  Then Fantasia would add $10.3 in the 80s (with another big one in 1990 after I stop tracking the rentals list), Pinocchio would add $19.9 mil and Bambi would add a whopping $28.5 mil.

This is another case where BOM’s numbers bear no resemblance to reality.  They list Fantasia with an all-time adjusted gross of $778 million, just ahead of The Godfather.  But when The Godfather was released it earned $82 million in rentals at a point where Fantasia had earned just $7.6 million.  The Godfather has not only wildly out-grossed Fantasia but it did it before Fantasia even earned most of its gross.  But they also list Fantasia as considerably ahead of Bambi in the adjusted list and Bambi, released just one year later, has always had higher gross numbers than Fantasia.  Their list for this purposes is just nonsense.

The 1950sshaggy_dog

Top Disney Grossers of the 1950s through 1959  (Box Office Mojo)

  1. Peter Pan  –  $40,759,520  (#7 all-time)
  2. Sleeping Beauty  –  $36,479,805  (#10 all-time)
  3. Lady and the Tramp  –  $36,359,037  (#11 all-time)
  4. Cinderella  –  $16,000,000

Again, this is wildly mis-leading, as per the next chart.

Top Disney Box Office Rentals of the 1950s through 1959  (Variety)

  1. The Shaggy Dog  –  $8,100,000
  2. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea  –  $8,000,000
  3. Lady and the Tramp  –  $6,500,000
  4. Cinderella  –  $6,275,000
  5. Peter Pan  –  $6,000,000
  6. Old Yeller  –  $5,900,000
  7. Sleeping Beauty  –  $5,300,000
  8. Westward Ho, the Wagons!  –  $2,750,000
  9. Darby O’Gill and the Little People  –  $2,600,000
  10. Tonka  –  $2,500,000

As can be calculated, Peter Pan, Sleeping Beauty and Lady and the Tramp all have later re-releases factored in to the original gross by BOM (Cinderella doesn’t – they actually come in at the right spots).

Of the 31 non-Documentary Disney films released in the 50s, all but 9 have rentals listed in Variety with two of those being imports (Story of Vickie, Yang Kwei Fei) and four of them being television productions adapted for film versions (two Davy Crockett, two Zorro).  Alice in Wonderland, the one animated feature of the decade not in the Top 10 was at #11 with $2.4 million.  The only film to have a significant bump due to a re-release is Snow White which added $1.65 million over the decade ($1.15 mil in 1953 and another half million in 1958).  Even with that, it was down to #3 for the studio by the end of the decade.

Top Disney Films of the 1950s Rentals through 1989  (Variety)

  1. Cinderella  –  $41,087,000
  2. Lady and the Tramp  –  $40,249,000
  3. Peter Pan  –  $24,486,000
  4. Sleeping Beauty  –  $15,600,000
  5. The Shaggy Dog  –  $12,250,000

This placed Cinderella (which had a big re-release in 1989) and Lady both in the Top 10 for Disney by the end of 1989 and in the Top 100 all-time.

The 1960smarypoppins

While there was inflation, there’s no question that the 60s were much better for Disney than the 50s had been.  In the 50s, Disney’s reported rentals for its releases total up to almost $69 million.  In the 60s that number is at $281 million.  And that’s a combination of original releases (51 films, 40 with listed rentals in Variety, combined $226 million) and re-releases (15 films, $55 million).  By the end of the 50s, Disney had never had a film with $10 million in rentals (and only 17 films had ever done that).  Out of the 80 films with over $10 million rentals by the end of the 60s, 9 of them were Disney films with three of them being older films that had passed that mark and six of them being new films in the decade.

Top Disney Grossers through 1969  (Box Office Mojo)

  1. Mary Poppins  –  $88,272,727  (#6 all-time)
  2. The Jungle Book  –  $73,741,048  (#8 all-time)
  3. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs  –  $66,596,803  (#10 all-time)
  4. The Love Bug  –  $50,576,808  (#19 all-time)
  5. Fantasia  –  $42,850,000

The Jungle Book, like Snow White and Fantasia, has later re-releases factored in (a small one in 1970 and a big one in 1978) and even with those still has a “gross” way beyond its rental figure.  Mary Poppins made the bulk of its gross in its original release (as can be seen below) but had a big re-release in 1973.

Top Disney Box Office Rentals of the 1960s through 1969  (Variety)

  1. Mary Poppins  –  $31,000,000
  2. The Love Bug  –  $17,000,000
  3. Swiss Family Robinson  –  $14,100,000
  4. The Jungle Book  –  $11,500,000
  5. The Parent Trap  –  $11,200,000
  6. The Absent-Minded Professor  –  $11,100,000
  7. That Darn Cat  –  $9,500,000
  8. Lt. Robin Crusoe, U.S.N.  –  $7,800,000
  9. Son of Flubber  –  $7,100,000
  10. 101 Dalmations  –  $6,200,000

Top Pre-1960 Disney Films Rentals from 1960-1969  (Variety)

  1. Bambi  –  $8,800,000
  2. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs  –  $8,000,000
  3. Pinocchio  –  $7,700,000
  4. Fantasia  –  $4,800,000
  5. Peter Pan  –  $4,500,000

Disney’s older films were cashing in.  They could be re-released for minimal costs and rake in serious money.

It was 1961 where Disney really started to come into its own at the box office.  Four of the Top 11 films at the box office were Disney films (The Parent Trap (#4), The Absent-Minded Professor (#5), Swiss Family Robinson (#7), 101 Dalmations (#11)).  What’s more, because of when the box office returns came in, Mary Poppins was the #1 film of 1965 (even though it was a 1964 film and Doctor Zhivago and The Sound of Music, both actually released in 1965 would eventually pass it) and The Love Bug was the #1 film of 1969 (also slightly deceptive as it would be passed by Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid).  But, starting in 1965, Mary Poppins was the first Disney film to reach the all-time Top 10 at the box office since 1949.

The 1970s

The next decade would be a bit deceptive.  Disney would release 47 films and all but 5 would earn enough to be listed among the year-end lists in Variety.  What’s more, it would take in $421 in rentals, far more than in the 60s.  But a lot of that were films from the past.  The new releases were averaging just $7 million each and no film even made $18 million.  Of the 15 films that managed to take home over $10 million in rentals, three of them (Jungle Book, Snow White, Mary Poppins) were re-releases.

This is also the point where the actual yearly lists from Box Office Mojo come into play and we’ll eventually move away from rentals because it’s not a number that anyone uses anymore.  The important chart is really the Top 10 for all Disney films through 1976, the last year where we really only have rental results.

Top 10 Disney Films Rentals All-Time Through 1976  (Variety)

  1. Mary Poppins  –  $42,250,000
  2. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs  –  $26,500,000
  3. The Love Bug  –  $21,000,000
  4. Swiss Family Robinson  –  $19,000,000
  5. Bambi  –  $17,800,000
  6. Herbie Rides Again  –  $17,500,000
  7. The Apple Dumpling Gang  –  $16,500,000
  8. Peter Pan  –  $16,000,000
  9. 101 Dalmations  –  $14,000,000
  10. The Jungle Book  –  $13,000,000

It’s worth noting, that even with inflation, only two of those films are from the 70s (Herbie Rides Again, Apple Dumpling Gang).

1977petes_dragon_ver2

This is an interesting year for Disney.  It didn’t have any of the Top 10 films of the year but it had four in the next 10:

From this point, we’re talking about grosses and we’re using BOM figures because that’s what is more widely available but I have included both to show the comparison.

Year Rk FILM GROSS Rentals mul
1977 11 Pete’s Dragon $35,488,000 $16,100,000 2.20
1977 15 The Rescuers $29,000,000 $15,000,000 1.93
1977 16 Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo $28,000,000 $14,000,000 2
1977 20 Freaky Friday $25,642,000 $11,500,000 2.22

What makes this year interesting, aside from the relative success without a blockbuster, is first, how much the total is, and second, that they are all first-run films.  The first number is interesting because they add up to $118 million which is 8.60% of the reported box office from BOM, a far higher figure than in the next group of years.  Also, none of the films are re-issues (although Variety reported an additional $2.5 million for Fantasia in a re-release that year).  The importance of those become clear in the next section.

This, of course, is the stretch where I first started going to movies in the theater, having been born in 1974 and been introduced to the theaters with Star Wars.  But I didn’t go to any of these.

1978-1985

Using BOM, there are 43 Disney releases from 1978 to 1985 (including re-issues).  Those 43 films, combined, only take in $738 million or an average of less than $20 million per film (less than all four films from 1977).  In none of those years do the Disney totals exceed 5% of the total box office (as opposed to the 8.60% in 1977).  What’s more, in all of the years starting with 1979, re-issues account for at least 25% of the total Disney box office and are as high as 71% in 1980 and 58% in 1983.  Close to half of the total ($325 million) is from re-issues.  Disney just wasn’t making new films that people wanted to see.  That was especially obvious in 1985 when Disney’s first new Animated film in four years, The Black Cauldron, was significantly outgrossed by a re-release of 101 Dalmations.

The one outlier of these years is Splash.  At $69 million, it was the only film to gross over $40 million and it was the only Disney film in this stretch to make the overall Top 10 at the box office for the year (it was #10 in 1984).  Of course, if you know Disney history, you also know it was the first Touchstone film and that was where the box office would start to come from.

I definitely went to see Mary Poppins during its 1980 re-release (when it grossed $14 million).  I have a very distinct memory of going to see it in Manhattan Beach while in California for the summer.  I can’t guarantee but I think I might have seen Bambi in its 1982 re-release and Snow White in its 1983 re-release because I definitely remember having seen them as a kid and we didn’t get a VCR until 1985 and didn’t get any Disney films except Mary Poppins until much later.

1986

Year Rk FILM STU GROSS
1986 9 Ruthless People Disney $71,624,879
1986 11 Down and Out in Beverly Hills Disney $62,134,225
1986 12 The Color of Money Disney $52,293,982

After only having one film break $50 million in the previous decade, Disney managed three in the same year and all three were from Touchstone.  What’s more, Disney had managed three films in the Top 12 after only scoring two of those in the previous decade.  The total box office for Disney, with 10 total films (the most in the studio’s history), the total box office was $320 million, which accounted for 10% of the total box office that year.  And the re-issues only accounted for $63 million, which was just less than 20% of Disney’s take.  They were definitely headed up.  But I wasn’t seeing them (at least not yet).

1987three_men_and_a_baby

Year Rk FILM STU GROSS
1987 1 Three Men and a Baby Disney $167,780,960
1987 4 Good Morning, Vietnam Disney $123,922,370
1987 8 Stakeout Disney $65,673,233

In 1987, Disney finally reached the top for the first time since Mary Poppins.  Everything was going in the right direction.  They had the #1 film, they had three Top 10 films, they had 13 films (by far the most ever) which totaled $665 million (18.65% of the total box office – the Disney high point until 1992) and they averaged $51 million.  And while the re-issues number were up ($98 million with successful Snow White ($46 million) and Cinderella ($34 million) re-issues moving them up the all-time list) the percentage was down (14.74%).  Disney was making it big on their new material but not with me (I saw no Disney films in the theater).

1988-1992aladdin_ver2

Top 10 Grossing Disney Films, 1988-1992

Year Rk FILM STU GROSS
1992 1 Aladdin Disney $217,350,219
1990 4 Pretty Woman Disney $178,406,268
1988 2 Who Framed Roger Rabbit Disney $156,452,370
1991 3 Beauty and the Beast Disney $145,863,363
1992 6 Sister Act Disney $139,605,150
1989 5 Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Disney $130,724,172
1990 9 Dick Tracy Disney $103,738,726
1989 10 Dead Poets Society Disney $95,860,116
1991 9 Father of the Bride Disney $89,325,780
1992 12 The Hand That Rocks the Cradle Disney $88,036,683

These were the years of the Disney Renaissance.  The Little Mermaid (#11 with $84 million) had way outgrossed the two previous Animated films combined and critics had loved it.  That lead to the success of Beauty and the Beast (the first Animated Best Picture nominee at the Oscars) and Aladdin (the first Animated film to be #1 at the box office since Snow White).

YR F TOTAL D D-t %-f %-bo avg
1988 254 $3,573,577,161 14 $547,775,788 5.51% 15.33% $39,126,842
1989 240 $4,159,369,381 13 $550,692,052 5.42% 13.24% $42,360,927
1990 225 $4,527,600,215 17 $684,537,859 7.56% 15.12% $40,266,933
1991 245 $4,314,587,748 20 $655,914,347 8.16% 15.20% $32,795,717
1992 235 $4,605,316,133 23 $877,039,458 9.79% 19.04% $38,132,150

Disney’s total share of the box office was also holding steady and their films were getting solid results.  The overall box office was growing but it was more through totals going up rather than the individual films going up.

Year D-t ri ri-t %-ribo
1988 $547,775,788 2 $62,604,138 11.43%
1989 $550,692,052 2 $50,661,000 9.20%
1990 $684,537,859 2 $70,008,990 10.23%
1991 $655,914,347 1 $60,830,285 9.27%
1992 $877,039,458 2 $32,152,315 3.67%

Just as important was that the percentage of the box office coming from re-issues was steadily going down.

This is also the point where I started going to the theaters regularly.  While Who Framed Roger Rabbit was the only film I went to in 1988 (I saw Rain Man as well but not until February of 1989 after I started listing every film I saw), things started picking up.

Films I saw in the theater.  I am deliberately including my rating so that I can be honest that I didn’t just see good films.  The # at the end is number of times I saw it in the theater.

Year Rk FILM GROSS Rt #
1988 2 Who Framed Roger Rabbit $156,452,370 96 1
1989 10 Dead Poets Society $95,860,116 89 1
1990 4 Pretty Woman $178,406,268 70 1
1990 9 Dick Tracy $103,738,726 70 1
1990 22 Arachnophobia $53,208,180 69 1
1990 49 Fantasia (Re-issue) (1990) $25,363,371 1
1991 3 Beauty and the Beast $145,863,363 96 3
1992 1 Aladdin $217,350,219 91 1
1992 35 Medicine Man $45,500,797 23 1

1993-2000lion_king_ver1

#1 film for Disney by year, 1993-2000

YR Rk FILM STU GROSS
1993 15 Cool Runnings Disney $68,856,263
1994 2 The Lion King Disney $312,855,561
1995 1 Toy Story Disney $191,796,233
1996 5 Ransom Disney $136,492,681
1997 13 George of the Jungle Disney $105,263,257
1998 2 Armageddon Disney $201,578,182
1999 2 The Sixth Sense Disney $293,506,292
2000 11 Dinosaur Disney $137,748,063

This was a bit of a slip for Disney.  From 1986 to 1992, Disney always had at least one film in the Top 10.  But three times in this stretch of eight years, Disney couldn’t manage a Top 10 film.  It’s also worth noting that the only #1 film at the box office was made out of house by Pixar.

YR F TOTAL D D-t %-f %-bo avg
1993 259 $4,985,441,134 28 $756,040,285 10.81% 15.16% $27,001,439
1994 258 $5,082,449,306 28 $973,116,700 10.85% 19.15% $34,754,168
1995 280 $5,383,533,805 32 $1,132,437,365 11.43% 21.04% $35,388,668
1996 311 $5,706,784,971 29 $1,133,958,388 9.32% 19.87% $39,102,013
1997 303 $6,671,782,536 24 $829,517,129 7.92% 12.43% $34,563,214
1998 336 $6,574,789,117 23 $1,229,364,899 6.85% 18.70% $53,450,648
1999 384 $7,316,341,126 21 $1,200,377,227 5.47% 16.41% $57,160,820
2000 374 $7,738,748,349 21 $1,151,111,428 5.61% 14.87% $54,814,830

What’s more, it was clear from the percentages and averages that Disney was relying as much on sheer force of quantity as anything else.  After never having submitted more than 10 films to the Oscars before 1987, in this stretch, Disney average 24.75 submissions and had the most submissions every year from 1993 to 1997.  They were suddenly releasing more films than any other studio.  Yes, they had finally broken the $1 billion barrier at the box office, but it was through sheer quantity.

Year Rk FILM STU GROSS Rt
1994 2 The Lion King Disney $312,855,561 88
1999 2 The Sixth Sense Disney $293,506,292 92
1999 3 Toy Story 2 Disney $245,852,179 91
1998 2 Armageddon Disney $201,578,182 46
1995 1 Toy Story Disney $191,796,233 90
1999 6 Tarzan Disney $171,091,819 70
1998 4 A Bug’s Life Disney $162,798,565 81
1998 5 The Waterboy Disney $161,491,646 36
1994 4 The Santa Clause Disney $144,833,357 64
1995 4 Pocahontas Disney $141,579,773 56

There were also some real duds among the box office success as can be seen by my inclusion of the ratings this time.

Here are the films I saw in the theater.

Year Rk FILM GROSS Rt #
1993 20 Tombstone $56,505,065 68 1
1993 21 The Three Musketeers (1993) $53,898,845 28 1
1993 27 Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas $50,003,043 92 1
1994 2 The Lion King $312,855,561 88 3
1994 56 Quiz Show $24,822,619 94 1
1994 136 Ed Wood $5,887,457 98 1
1995 1 Toy Story $191,796,233 90 1
1995 4 Pocahontas $141,579,773 56 1
1995 11 Crimson Tide $91,387,195 67 1
1995 14 Mr. Holland’s Opus $82,569,971 52 1
1995 15 While You Were Sleeping $81,057,016 65 1
1995 69 Dead Presidents $24,147,179 72 1
1995 100 Nixon $13,681,765 73 1
1996 5 Ransom $136,492,681 48 1
1996 6 101 Dalmatians (1996) $136,189,294 42 2
1996 7 The Rock $134,069,511 80 1
1996 12 Phenomenon $104,636,382 55 1
1996 15 The Hunchback of Notre Dame $100,138,851 71 1
1996 32 Evita $50,047,179 84 1
1996 54 James and the Giant Peach $28,946,127 76 1
1996 56 Spy Hard $26,960,191 20 1
1997 15 Con Air $101,117,573 44 1
1997 17 Hercules $99,112,101 45 1
1997 74 Grosse Pointe Blank $28,084,357 90 2
1998 2 Armageddon $201,578,182 46 1
1998 4 A Bug’s Life $162,798,565 81 1
1998 5 The Waterboy $161,491,646 36 1
1998 13 Mulan $120,620,254 45 1
1998 15 Enemy of the State $111,549,836 57 1
1998 84 He Got Game $21,567,853 73 1
1998 93 Simon Birch $18,253,415 47 1
1998 97 Rushmore $17,105,219 87 1
1999 2 The Sixth Sense $293,506,292 92 1
1999 3 Toy Story 2 $245,852,179 91 1
1999 6 Tarzan $171,091,819 70 1
1999 69 The Insider $29,089,912 91 1
2000 23 Unbreakable $95,011,339 86 1
2000 43 Fantasia 2000 (35mm & IMAX) $60,655,420 81 1
2000 55 The Tigger Movie $45,554,533 59 1
2000 56 O Brother, Where Art Thou? $45,512,588 95 1
2000 88 High Fidelity $27,287,137 92 1

2001-2009pirates_of_the_caribbean_dead_mans_chest_ver5

This would be the ramp-up period for the total box office domination that would follow.  There would be solid years but there would also be years that wouldn’t be quite as big.

YR F TOTAL D D-t %-f %-bo avg
2000 374 $7,738,748,349 21 $1,151,111,428 5.61% 14.87% $54,814,830
2001 356 $8,070,481,319 14 $847,759,576 3.93% 10.50% $60,554,255
2002 480 $9,206,418,047 22 $1,175,105,559 4.58% 12.76% $53,413,889
2003 506 $9,057,460,265 19 $1,523,418,004 3.75% 16.82% $80,179,895
2004 551 $9,319,470,570 20 $1,159,204,403 3.63% 12.44% $57,960,220
2005 547 $8,805,987,960 17 $970,852,036 3.11% 11.02% $57,108,943
2006 608 $9,214,534,884 19 $1,411,325,802 3.13% 15.32% $74,280,305
2007 631 $9,690,706,149 13 $1,439,720,929 2.06% 14.86% $110,747,764
2008 607 $9,698,009,486 13 $969,162,684 2.14% 9.99% $74,550,976
2009 521 $10,821,412,310 18 $1,196,592,406 3.45% 11.06% $66,477,356

The trends are starting to develop here.  The box office spikes a bit in years but isn’t huge.  The averages go up in a few years.  The number of films go down.  They are relying on bigger films, not just more films.  But they still bounce around a bit.

Biggest Disney Film by Year, 2001-2009

YR Rk FILM STU GROSS
2001 4 Monsters, Inc. Disney $255,873,250
2002 6 Signs Disney $227,966,634
2003 2 Finding Nemo Disney $339,714,978
2004 5 The Incredibles Disney $261,441,092
2005 2 The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe Disney $291,710,957
2006 1 Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest Disney $423,315,812
2007 4 Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End Disney $309,420,425
2008 5 WALL-E Disney $223,808,164
2009 5 Up Disney $293,004,164

Every year has a Top 10 film and only 2002 is missing a Top 5 film.  And every year has at least one $200 million film and usually much bigger.  I saw all of these films in the theater except for Signs.

Top 10 Disney Films, 2001-2009

Year Rk FILM STU GROSS Rt
2006 1 Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest Disney $423,315,812 72
2003 2 Finding Nemo Disney $339,714,978 93
2007 4 Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End Disney $309,420,425 71
2003 3 Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl Disney $305,413,918 91
2009 5 Up Disney $293,004,164 94
2005 2 The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe Disney $291,710,957 74
2004 5 The Incredibles Disney $261,441,092 93
2001 4 Monsters, Inc. Disney $255,873,250 89
2006 3 Cars Disney $244,082,982 78
2002 6 Signs Disney $227,966,634 73

There are also no duds among the biggest films of the era.  But you can see Pixar and franchises starting to dominate.

The films I saw in the theater.  Remember that we moved to Massachusetts in 2005 and that severely limited our ability to go to the theater.

Year Rk FILM GROSS Rt #
2001 4 Monsters, Inc. $255,873,250 89 1
2001 48 The Royal Tenenbaums $52,364,010 92 1
2002 150 Spirited Away $10,055,859 96 1
2002 159 Moonlight Mile $6,835,856 72 1
2003 2 Finding Nemo $339,714,978 93 1
2003 3 Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl $305,413,918 91 3
2003 102 Piglet’s Big Movie $23,103,423 53 1
2004 5 The Incredibles $261,441,092 93 1
2004 20 The Village $114,197,520 36 1
2004 76 The Ladykillers $39,799,191 73 1
2004 96 The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou $24,020,403 85 1
2005 2 The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe $291,710,957 74 1
2005 55 The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy $51,085,416 70 1
2005 121 Pooh’s Heffalump Movie $18,098,433 65 1
2005 167 Howl’s Moving Castle $4,711,096 85 1
2006 1 Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest $423,315,812 72 1
2006 3 Cars $244,082,982 78 1
2006 61 The Prestige $53,089,891 93 1
2007 4 Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End $309,420,425 71 1
2007 11 Ratatouille $206,445,654 94 1
2008 5 WALL-E $223,808,164 96 1
2008 15 The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian $141,621,490 71 1
2009 5 Up $293,004,164 94 1

2010-2018marvel-intro-e1556625768997

The domination is in full effect.

YR F TOTAL D D-t %-f %-bo avg
2010 538 $10,212,570,628 14 $1,518,990,125 2.60% 14.87% $108,499,295
2011 601 $10,114,058,969 14 $1,197,474,219 2.33% 11.84% $85,533,873
2012 669 $10,959,626,973 13 $1,575,894,663 1.94% 14.38% $121,222,666
2013 689 $10,955,920,497 10 $1,816,330,253 1.45% 16.58% $181,633,025
2014 706 $10,436,386,003 13 $1,519,452,657 1.84% 14.56% $116,880,974
2015 707 $11,098,754,924 11 $2,495,664,831 1.56% 22.49% $226,878,621
2016 737 $11,373,560,923 13 $2,870,973,797 1.76% 25.24% $220,844,138
2017 740 $11,124,738,106 8 $2,378,126,154 1.08% 21.38% $297,265,769
2018 876 $11,607,914,813 10 $3,045,475,694 1.14% 26.24% $304,547,569

Yes, by 2018, Disney was releasing just 10 films but making a staggering $3 billion at the box office.  After only five Disney films making $300 million before 2010, by 2018, they were averaging over $300 million.  This is all about Star Wars and the MCU.

YR Rk FILM STU GROSS
2010 1 Toy Story 3 Disney $415,004,880
2011 5 Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides Disney $241,071,802
2012 1 Marvel’s The Avengers Disney $623,357,910
2013 2 Iron Man 3 Disney $409,013,994
2014 3 Guardians of the Galaxy Disney $333,176,600
2015 1 Star Wars: The Force Awakens Disney $936,662,225
2016 1 Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Disney $532,177,324
2017 1 Star Wars: The Last Jedi Disney $620,181,382
2018 1 Black Panther Disney $700,059,566

Yes, in six of the nine years, Disney has the #1 film and only finishes outside of the Top 3 once.  And Pirates is the last film (way back in 2011) to lead Disney at the box office without being Star Wars or MCU.  Ironically, I didn’t see the three films that weren’t #1 but that was more lack of babysitting than lack of desire.

Year Rk FILM STU GROSS Rt
2015 1 Star Wars: The Force Awakens Disney $936,662,225 95
2018 1 Black Panther Disney $700,059,566 92
2018 2 Avengers: Infinity War Disney $678,815,482 90
2012 1 Marvel’s The Avengers Disney $623,357,910 90
2017 1 Star Wars: The Last Jedi Disney $620,181,382 93
2018 3 Incredibles 2 Disney $608,581,744 92
2016 1 Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Disney $532,177,324 94
2017 2 Beauty and the Beast (2017) Disney $504,014,165 89
2016 2 Finding Dory Disney $486,295,561 92
2015 3 Avengers: Age of Ultron Disney $459,005,868 80

And the films are flat-out great.  Just magnificent.  What they aren’t is original.  The highest grossing “original” film in this stretch is Frozen ($400 million) at #14 and the highest fully original is Inside Out ($356 million) at #17.

The films I saw in the theater:

Year Rk FILM GROSS Rt #
2010 1 Toy Story 3 $415,004,880 91 1
2010 2 Alice in Wonderland (2010) $334,191,110 73 1
2012 1 Marvel’s The Avengers $623,357,910 90 2
2012 8 Brave $237,283,207 90 1
2012 13 Lincoln $182,207,973 97 1
2013 3 Frozen $400,738,009 90 1
2013 7 Monsters University $268,492,764 88 1
2013 12 Thor: The Dark World $206,362,140 68 1
2014 10 Big Hero 6 $222,527,828 84 1
2015 1 Star Wars: The Force Awakens $936,662,225 95 10
2015 3 Avengers: Age of Ultron $459,005,868 80 1
2015 4 Inside Out $356,461,711 95 1
2015 26 The Good Dinosaur $123,087,120 72 1
2015 42 Bridge of Spies $72,313,754 94 1
2016 1 Rogue One: A Star Wars Story $532,177,324 94 5
2016 2 Finding Dory $486,295,561 92 1
2016 5 The Jungle Book (2016) $364,001,123 83 1
2016 7 Zootopia $341,268,248 92 1
2016 11 Moana $248,757,044 93 1
2016 13 Doctor Strange $232,641,920 82 1
2017 1 Star Wars: The Last Jedi $620,181,382 93 4
2017 2 Beauty and the Beast (2017) $504,014,165 89 1
2017 5 Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 $389,813,101 80 1
2017 8 Thor: Ragnarok $315,058,289 87 1
2017 13 Coco $209,726,015 94 1
2018 1 Black Panther $700,059,566 92 2
2018 2 Avengers: Infinity War $678,815,482 90 4
2018 3 Incredibles 2 $608,581,744 92 1
2018 9 Ant-Man and the Wasp $216,648,740 85 1
2018 12 Solo: A Star Wars Story $213,767,512 85 2
2018 14 Ralph Breaks the Internet $201,091,711 91 1
2018 18 Mary Poppins Returns $171,958,438 92 1
2018 35 Disney’s Christopher Robin $99,215,042 78 1

2019avengers_endgame_ver52

YR F TOTAL D D-t %-f %-bo avg
2019 790 $11,427,493,981 10 $3,847,408,891 1.27% 33.67% $384,740,889

These numbers boggle the mind.  Disney made almost $4 billion at the box office and averaged close to $400 million.  And that’s with a nature film and two under-performing Live Action Adaptations.

Year Rk FILM STU GROSS Rt
2019 1 Avengers: Endgame Disney $858,373,000 92
2019 2 The Lion King Disney $543,638,043 84
2019 3 Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker Disney $515,201,960 91
2019 4 Frozen II Disney $477,373,461 85
2019 5 Toy Story 4 Disney $434,038,008 92
2019 6 Captain Marvel Disney $426,829,839 86
2019 8 Aladdin Disney $355,559,216 85
2019 23 Dumbo Disney $114,766,307 74
2019 24 Maleficent: Mistress of Evil Disney $113,929,605 45
2019 128 Penguins Disney $7,699,452

Yes, Disney managed to have the Top 6 films of the year and the #8 film as well.  And we’ll have to see in the post-COVID era if any studio can ever come close to this again.  It just staggers the mind.

For the record, I saw Endgame and Rise of Skywalker four times each and saw all of the films in the theater except the bottom two.

All-Time

Whether you go by Variety’s rentals figures

FILM 1974
Godfather, The $85,747,184
Sound of Music, The $83,891,000
Gone with the Wind $70,179,000
Sting, The $68,450,000
Exorcist, The $66,300,000
Love Story $50,000,000
Graduate, The $49,978,000
Airport $45,300,000
Doctor Zhivago $44,390,000
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid $44,000,000

or by BOM’s grosses figures

FILM 1974
The Exorcist $193,000,000
Gone with the Wind $189,523,031
Sound of Music, The $158,671,368
The Sting $156,000,000
The Godfather $133,698,921
Blazing Saddles $119,500,000
The Towering Inferno $116,000,000
American Graffiti $115,000,000
Doctor Zhivago $111,721,910
Love Story $106,397,186

they were both in agreement that Mary Poppins had fallen out of the Top 10 by 1974 and thus there were no Disney films among that figure.

In fact, it would take until 1988 for Disney to be back into the Top 20, although by the end of that year they actually had two.

FILM STUDIO 1988
E.T. Universal $399,804,539
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope Fox $322,740,642
Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi Fox $263,835,740
Jaws Universal $260,000,000
Raiders of the Lost Ark Paramount $245,034,358
Ghostbusters Columbia $238,632,124
Beverly Hills Cop Paramount $234,760,478
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back Fox $222,674,266
Back to the Future Universal $210,609,762
The Exorcist WB $193,000,000
Gone with the Wind MGM $189,523,031
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom Paramount $179,870,271
Tootsie Columbia $177,200,000
Top Gun Paramount $176,781,728
Crocodile Dundee Paramount $174,803,506
Three Men and a Baby Disney $167,780,960
Grease Paramount $159,978,870
Sound of Music, The Fox $158,671,368
Fatal Attraction Paramount $156,645,693
Who Framed Roger Rabbit Disney $156,452,370

But the box office was working against Disney.  It had hits but not blockbusters.  Just a decade later, in spite of having five films in the Top 30 all-time, Disney had just one in the Top 20.

Rk FILM STUDIO 1998
6 Lion King, The Disney $312,855,561
21 Aladdin Disney $217,350,219
24 Armageddon Disney $201,578,182
27 Toy Story Disney $191,796,233
30 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Disney $184,925,486
37 Pretty Woman Disney $178,406,268
46 Three Men and a Baby Disney $167,780,960
53 Who Framed Roger Rabbit Disney $156,452,370
62 Beauty and the Beast Disney $145,863,363
63 The Waterboy Disney $145,577,190

By 2005, not much had changed.  Disney films were making more money but so was everything else.

Rk FILM STUDIO 2005
13 Finding Nemo Disney $339,714,978
15 Lion King, The Disney $328,541,776
21 Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl Disney $305,413,918
22 The Sixth Sense Disney $293,506,292
30 The Incredibles Disney $261,441,092
33 Monsters, Inc. Disney $255,873,250
37 Toy Story 2 Disney $245,852,179
47 Signs Disney $227,966,634
51 Aladdin Disney $217,350,219
64 Armageddon Disney $201,578,182

By the end of 2009, just before the explosion, Disney still had only managed one film in the Top 10 but they were strong all across the Top 100, accounting for almost 1/5 of the list.

D-Rk AT-Rk FILM STUDIO 2009
1 7 Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest Disney $423,315,812
2 16 Finding Nemo Disney $339,714,978
3 19 Lion King, The Disney $328,541,776
4 27 Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End Disney $309,420,425
5 30 Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl Disney $305,413,918
6 32 The Sixth Sense Disney $293,506,292
7 33 Up Disney $293,004,164
8 35 The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe Disney $291,710,957
9 46 The Incredibles Disney $261,441,092
10 51 Monsters, Inc. Disney $255,873,250
11 56 Toy Story 2 Disney $245,852,179
12 58 Cars Disney $244,082,982
13 68 Signs Disney $227,966,634
14 72 WALL-E Disney $223,808,164
15 73 National Treasure: Book of Secrets Disney $219,964,115
16 78 Aladdin Disney $217,350,219
17 89 Ratatouille Disney $206,445,654
18 94 Armageddon Disney $201,578,182
19 96 Pearl Harbor Disney $198,542,554

Disney continued to add towards the top of the list.  By the end of 2014, though they were still only at one film in the Top 10, they dominated the second 10.

Rk FILM STUDIO 2014
1 Avatar Fox $760,507,625
2 Titanic Paramount $658,672,302
3 Marvel’s The Avengers Disney $623,357,910
4 The Dark Knight WB $534,858,444
5 Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace Fox $474,644,677
6 Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope Fox $460,998,507
7 The Dark Knight Rises WB $448,139,099
8 Shrek 2 DreamWorks $441,226,247
9 E.T. Universal $435,110,354
10 The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Lionsgate $424,668,047
11 Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest Disney $423,315,812
12 Lion King, The Disney $422,783,777
13 Toy Story 3 Disney $415,004,880
14 Iron Man 3 Disney $409,013,994
15 The Hunger Games Lionsgate $408,010,692
16 Spider-Man Columbia $407,022,860
17 Jurassic Park Universal $402,453,882
18 Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Paramount $402,111,870
19 Frozen Disney $400,738,009
20 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 WB $381,011,219

Since then, of course, Disney has completely rewritten the list.  Look at the Top 35 today.  And remember, in terms of total market domination, that Disney now owns Fox, so while Fox may have had some films originally, those properties (and future income) belong to Disney now.

Rk FILM STUDIO 2020
1 Star Wars: The Force Awakens Disney $936,662,225
2 Avengers: Endgame Disney $858,373,000
3 Avatar Fox $760,507,625
4 Black Panther Disney $700,059,566
5 Avengers: Infinity War Disney $678,815,482
6 Titanic Paramount $659,363,944
7 Jurassic World Universal $652,270,625
8 Marvel’s The Avengers Disney $623,357,910
9 Star Wars: The Last Jedi Disney $620,181,382
10 Incredibles 2 Disney $608,581,744
11 Lion King, The Disney $543,638,043
12 The Dark Knight WB $535,234,033
13 Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Disney $532,177,324
14 Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Disney $515,202,542
15 Beauty and the Beast (2017) Disney $504,014,165
16 Finding Dory Disney $486,295,561
17 Frozen II Disney $477,373,578
18 Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace Fox $474,644,677
19 Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope Fox $460,998,507
20 Avengers: Age of Ultron Disney $459,005,868
21 The Dark Knight Rises WB $448,139,099
22 Shrek 2 DreamWorks $441,226,247
23 E.T. Universal $435,110,354
24 Toy Story 4 Disney $434,038,008
25 Captain Marvel Disney $426,829,839
26 The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Lionsgate $424,668,047
27 Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest Disney $423,315,812
28 Lion King, The Disney $422,783,777
29 Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Universal $417,719,760
30 Toy Story 3 Disney $415,004,880
31 Wonder Woman WB $412,563,408
32 Iron Man 3 Disney $409,013,994
33 Captain America: Civil War Disney $408,084,349
34 The Hunger Games Lionsgate $408,010,692
35 Spider-Man Columbia $407,022,860

If you don’t feel like counting, Disney has 7 of the Top 10, 14 of the Top 20 and 21 of the Top 35.

Top 50 Disney Films (Domestic Gross)

D-Rk AT-Rk FILM STUDIO 2020
1 1 Star Wars: The Force Awakens Disney $936,662,225
2 2 Avengers: Endgame Disney $858,373,000
3 4 Black Panther Disney $700,059,566
4 5 Avengers: Infinity War Disney $678,815,482
5 8 Marvel’s The Avengers Disney $623,357,910
6 9 Star Wars: The Last Jedi Disney $620,181,382
7 10 Incredibles 2 Disney $608,581,744
8 11 Lion King, The (2019) Disney $543,638,043
9 13 Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Disney $532,177,324
10 14 Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Disney $515,202,542
11 15 Beauty and the Beast (2017) Disney $504,014,165
12 16 Finding Dory Disney $486,295,561
13 17 Frozen II Disney $477,373,578
14 20 Avengers: Age of Ultron Disney $459,005,868
15 24 Toy Story 4 Disney $434,038,008
16 25 Captain Marvel Disney $426,829,839
17 27 Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest Disney $423,315,812
18 28 Lion King, The (1994) Disney $422,783,777
19 30 Toy Story 3 Disney $415,004,880
20 32 Iron Man 3 Disney $409,013,994
21 33 Captain America: Civil War Disney $408,084,349
22 39 Frozen Disney $400,738,009
23 41 Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Disney $389,813,101
24 43 Finding Nemo Disney $380,843,261
25 50 The Jungle Book (2016) Disney $364,001,123
26 52 Inside Out Disney $356,461,711
27 53 Aladdin Disney $355,559,216
28 58 Zootopia Disney $341,268,248
29 65 Alice in Wonderland Disney $334,191,110
30 66 Guardians of the Galaxy Disney $333,176,600
31 79 Thor: Ragnarok Disney $315,058,289
32 82 Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End Disney $309,420,425
33 85 Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl Disney $305,413,918
34 92 The Sixth Sense Disney $293,506,292
35 93 Up Disney $293,004,164
36 97 The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe Disney $291,710,957
37 110 Monsters University Disney $268,492,764
38 115 The Incredibles Disney $261,441,092
39 118 Captain America: The Winter Soldier Disney $259,766,572
40 124 Monsters, Inc. Disney $255,873,250
41 133 Toy Story 2 Disney $245,852,179
42 135 Cars Disney $244,082,982
43 140 Maleficent Disney $241,410,378
44 141 Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides Disney $241,071,802
45 144 Brave Disney $237,283,207
46 145 Oz The Great and Powerful Disney $234,911,825
47 152 Signs Disney $227,966,634
48 156 WALL-E Disney $223,808,164
49 157 Toy Story Disney $222,498,679
50 158 National Treasure: Book of Secrets Disney $219,964,115

Disney Top 10 All-Time Worldwide Grosses

D-Rk AT-Rk FILM Domestic International Worldwide
1 2 Avengers: Endgame $858,373,000 $1,939,128,328 $2,797,501,328
2 4 Star Wars: The Force Awakens $936,662,225 $1,132,859,475 $2,069,521,700
3 5 Avengers: Infinity War $678,815,482 $1,369,544,272 $2,048,359,754
4 6 Lion King, The $543,638,043 $1,127,089,537 $1,670,727,580
5 8 Marvel’s The Avengers $623,357,910 $895,457,605 $1,518,815,515
6 10 Frozen II $477,373,578 $972,653,355 $1,450,026,933
7 11 Avengers: Age of Ultron $459,005,868 $943,803,672 $1,402,809,540
8 12 Black Panther $700,059,566 $647,171,407 $1,347,230,973
9 14 Star Wars: The Last Jedi $620,181,382 $712,517,448 $1,332,698,830
10 16 Frozen $400,738,009 $881,284,215 $1,282,022,224

For the record, only eight films have grossed over $1 billion outside the United States.  Four of them were released by Disney and another (Avatar) is now owned by Disney.  Just 48 films ever have grossed over $1 billion worldwide and 26 of them were released by Disney (and two more now belong to Disney).

Top 34 All-Time Adjusted Films

Rank Title Studio Adj. Lifetime Gross Lifetime Gross Est. Num Tickets
1 Gone with the Wind MGM $1,828,330,104 $200,852,579 202,286,200
2 Star Wars Fox $1,609,903,414 $460,998,507 178,119,500
3 The Sound of Music Fox $1,287,828,733 $159,287,539 142,485,200
4 E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial Universal $1,282,126,448 $435,110,554 141,854,300
5 Titanic Paramount $1,225,144,276 $659,363,944 135,549,800
6 The Ten Commandments MGM $1,184,021,667 $65,500,000 131,000,000
7 Jaws Universal $1,157,618,887 $260,000,000 128,078,800
8 Doctor Zhivago MGM $1,121,978,027 $111,721,910 124,135,500
9 The Exorcist WB $999,632,436 $232,906,145 110,599,200
10 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Disney $985,178,333 $184,925,486 109,000,000
11 Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens Disney $977,180,312 $936,662,225 108,115,100
12 One Hundred and One Dalmatians Disney $903,085,863 $144,880,014 99,917,300
13 Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back Fox $886,706,595 $290,271,960 98,105,100
14 Ben-Hur MGM $886,180,564 $74,422,622 98,046,900
15 Avatar Fox $879,516,601 $760,507,625 97,309,600
16 Avengers: Endgame Disney $861,072,074 $858,373,000 95,268,900
17 Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi Fox $850,140,210 $309,306,177 94,059,400
18 Jurassic Park Universal $828,491,594 $402,828,120 91,664,200
19 Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace Fox $816,270,864 $474,544,677 90,312,100
20 The Lion King Disney $805,734,879 $422,783,777 89,146,400
21 The Sting Universal $805,703,244 $156,000,000 89,142,900
22 Raiders of the Lost Ark Paramount $800,284,764 $248,159,971 88,543,400
23 The Graduate AEP $773,471,644 $104,945,305 85,576,800
24 Fantasia Disney $750,574,834 $76,408,097 83,043,500
25 The Godfather Paramount $713,327,862 $134,966,411 78,922,500
26 Forrest Gump Paramount $710,748,322 $330,455,270 78,637,100
27 Mary Poppins Disney $706,633,169 $102,272,727 78,181,800
28 Grease Paramount $696,842,846 $189,969,103 77,098,600
29 The Avengers Disney $694,877,913 $623,357,910 76,881,200
30 Jurassic World Universal $694,050,001 $652,270,625 76,789,600
31 Black Panther Disney $689,374,471 $700,059,566 76,272,300
32 Thunderball UA $676,067,333 $63,595,658 74,800,000
33 The Dark Knight WB $673,410,063 $535,234,033 74,506,000
34 The Jungle Book Disney $665,943,496 $141,843,612 73,679,900

You might notice I went with the Top 34 because that gets to 10 Disney films.  But again, in terms of what Disney has managed to acquire over the years, there are six Fox films in the Top 19 and those are now all owned by Disney.

Personal Chart

  • # of films I saw in the theater based on my box office chart:  744
  • # of those films released by Disney:  117
  • # of other studios over 100:  1  (Warners – 113)
  • % released by Disney:  15.72%
  • # of films I saw multiple times:  61
  • # of Disney films I saw multiple times:  14
  • % released by Disney:  22.95%
  • # of other studios over 10:  2  (Fox – 14; Warners – 11)
    • note:  The 14 for Fox, which, of course, are now owned by Disney, includes eight Star Wars films (I, II, III, IV (two releases), V (two release), VI (SE only)) and three X-Men films
  • # of films I’ve seen in the theater since 2010:  142
  • # of those films released by Disney:  40
  • % released by Disney:  28.17%
  • # of other studios over 20:  1  (Warners – 27)
  • # of films I’ve seen in the theater multiple times since 2010:  12
  • # of those films released by Disney:  8
  • % released by Disney:  66.67%
  • not released by Disney:  La La Land, three Hobbit films

The Futureblack_widow

We just don’t know.  I’ve stopped all of this with 2019.  There was box office in 2020 but it was all affected by COVID.  Disney had four films in the Top 20, three of which were released through 20th Century (Call of the Wild, New Mutants, Underwater) and one of which was Onward whose box office was cut down by COVID starting in its second weekend (but I saw it in the theater – in fact three of the films I saw in the theater in 2020 were Disney because I also saw New Mutants).

As of this writing, Cruella ($74 million – #4) and Raya and the Last Dragon ($54 million – #6) earned theatrical releases that also had Disney+ releases.  Black Widow opens this Thursday (and we’ve had tickets to it for the the last three weeks) but it is also a simultaneous release.  It will be a real test – so far, the only blockbusters this year are films that didn’t have streaming releases to go along with the theatrical release.  But there are no fewer than 17 releases scheduled for the second half of the year with Disney and that’s before next year when they give us three more Marvel films then (scheduled) sequels to Indiana Jones and Avatar.  We’ll have to see if the likes of 2019 can happen again but Disney shows no signs of slowing down.