Even casual observers who are not diehard followers of the famous film series probably could have guessed that Star Wars: The Force Awakens was going to be a massive hit and make history not long after the movie's release in 2015. Those predictions were indeed accurate, as The Force Awakens became the highest grossing movie in North American history less than a month after it was released to the public. The latest edition of Star Wars is not the king of the worldwide rankings, though, as the film still has a ways to go before it catches up to a movie that was released back in 2009.
One would be right to believe that it seems as if blockbuster movies are bigger and more popular with customers each year. Five of what were, as of January 2016, the 20 highest grossing films of all time were released at different points of 2015. As big a year as 2015 was for the movie industry, we could see additional records be topped in 2016. The first contender to the throne will likely be a pre-summer blockbuster that will feature multiple superheroes battling it out in a movie that will likely, financially speaking, be different than many films before it. Will it be big enough to claim the top spot on the list of the highest grossing films of all time? We shall see.
Worldwide box office information from The-Numbers
20 Jurassic Park: $1,038,812,584
19 Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides: $1,045,663,875
18 Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest: $1,066,215,812
17 Toy Story 3: $1,069,818,229
16 The Dark Knight Rises: $1,084,439,099
15 Transformers: Age of Extinction: $1,104,039,076
14 Skyfall: $1,110,526,981
13 Transformers: Dark of the Moon: $1,123,790,543
12 The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King: $1,141,408,667
11 Minions: $1,163,595,387
10 Iron Man 3: $1,215,392,272
9 Frozen: $1,274,234,980
8 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II: $1,341,511,219
7 The Avengers: Age of Ultron: $1,404,705,868
6 Furious 7: $1,514,019,071
5 The Avengers: $1,519,479,547
4 Jurassic World: $1,670,328,025
3 Star Wars: The Force Awakens: $1,837,932,841
2 Titanic: $2,207,615,668
1 Avatar: $2,783,918,982
James Cameron directed Titanic, and thus it was only fitting that Cameron's Avatar would surpass his other classic as the highest-grossing film of all time. While Avatar has since been eclipsed by Star Wars: The Force Awakens at the domestic box office, the latest edition of Star Wars has a long journey to complete before it catches Avatar in worldwide numbers. Avatar is, to date, the only movie to have made over $2 billion at the international box office. Film critic Roger Ebert, when reviewing Avatar, compared the movie to the original Star Wars. Those two works of art are not equals where it matters most: Money.
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