Movies hold a special place in everyone’s hearts, particularly films that impart an inspirational message about perseverance and determination. Sports films may focus on some sort of athletic talent, but many of them have touched fans and critics; leaving a lasting memory of why it’s important to never give up.
Whether funny, sad, intense, or dramatic; sports films have helped increase the medium's popularity and ticket sales. Be it the iconic Rocky series starring Sylvester Stallone or the infamous romantic sports-film, Jerry MaGuire; these ground-breaking films dominated the box-office and paved the way for more to come forward to share their stories.
Which popular sports films grossed the most at the box office? Here are the top 10 highest-grossing sports films of all time. Just to make things more interesting, each franchise will be limited to one entry.
10 Remember The Titans - $116 Million
This 2000 drama based on a true story told the tale of Herman Boone, an African-American coach that attempted to desegregate the T.C. Williams High School football team in 1971.
Boone was played effortlessly by Academy-Award winning actor, Denzel Washington, while Will Patton portrayed Bill Yoast, the assistant coach. Remember the Titans had a budget of $30 million and opened strongly during its first weekend. The film also received positive reviews.
9 Blades Of Glory - $119 Million
Will Ferrell and Jon Heder play a mismatched pair of restricted figure skaters in this sports-comedy that was produced by MTV Films. The idea behind the screenplay was envisioned by Dawson's Creek actress, Busy Phillips, although her name was removed from the script.
Blades of Glory received positive reviews, developed a cult-like following after it's release, and wouldn't be the last sports film that Will Ferrell would star in.
8 Seabiscuit - $120 Million
Spider-man star, Tobey Maguire, portrayed Red Pollard, a Canadian horse racing jockey. Pollard was best remembered for riding the horse, Seabiscuit, who was the main star of the Academy Award-nominated film. The film also stars Jeff Bridges and Chris Cooper, with the pair portraying Charles S. Howard and Tom Smith, respectively. Praised for its mesmerizing treatment of a "spirit-lifting figure in sports history," Seabiscuit left a mark in the film industry.
7 Rocky IV - $128 Million
It could be argued that the Rocky series is probably one of the most influential sports sagas in history, and it would be very hard to prove that argument wrong. The first Rocky film was released in theaters in 1976, and it's success spawned four more films and two sequels. Rocky IV, however, was the highest-grossing sports film for the past 24 years until another film took its place, and also the most financially successful Rocky film.
In the fourth film, Rocky battles Ivan Drogo, a formidable boxer, who also kills the former's best friend, Apollo Creed. The movie received mixed reviews, but it also serves as a backstory to 2018's Creed II.
6 Talladega Nights: The Ballad Of Ricky Bobby -$148 Million
Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby is another sports-comedy starring Will Ferrell that was also a huge success at the box-office. John C. Reily, Sacha Baron Cohen, Michael Clarke Duncan, Gary Cole, and Amy Adams also make appearances in this all-star ensemble film. The race-car movie was number 1 at the box office and brought Ferrell one of his best openings of all time.
5 Jerry MaGuire - $153 Million
When one thinks of Tom Cruise, many films may spring to mind, however, only one film truly shows Cruise at his finest and that project is the 1996 romantic-comedy-sports-drama, Jerry MaGuire.
The film follows the life of the titular character, who is loosely based on real-life sports agent, Leigh Steinberg. The movie received rave reviews, was nominated for numerous awards, and was also responsible for the classic line, "Show me the money!"
4 The Longest Yard - $158 Million
Adam Sandler is no stranger to high box-office openings, so it's no surprise that his sports films proved to be rather huge successes. One of those flicks is The Longest Yard, a football movie set in a prison that also happens to be a remake of the 1974 film of the same name.
Sandler stars as the inmate Paul Crowe, a disgraced former professional quarterback that has to join the prison's football team. The movie was produced by Paramount Pictures and Columbia Pictures.
3 The Waterboy - $162 Million
Before The Longest Yard, Sandler dominated the box-office with this sports-comedy that was a huge commercial success despite receiving a lukewarm critical reception. The Waterboy is the story about Robert "Bobby" Boucher Jr.,a socially awkward 31-year-old waterboy that lives at home with his over-protective mother.
When Bobby is fired from his position as a waterboy, he quickly finds a job for another team. Eventually, Bobby's true skills are revealed and he becomes the team's new linebacker. Besides Sandler, The Waterboy stars Henry Winkler and Kathy Bates. The film developed a strong following and did very well in the theaters.
2 The Blind Side - $256 Million
Based on the book The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game, the movie was a surprise hit that took over as one of the highest-grossing sports films, dethroning the previously reigning champion, Rocky IV. The film stars Sandra Bullock as Leigh Anne Tuohy, who decides to adopt Michael Oher, an impoverished teen that becomes one of the most coveted prospects in college football.
Quinton Aaron stars as Oher, while Kathy Bates, Tim McGraw, Lily Collins, and Ray McKinnon also give stellar performances. Due to word-of-mouth, the movie grossed over $250 million and earned Sandra Bullock her first Academy Award for Best Actress.
1 Forrest Gump - $677 Million
While this entry is not a traditional sports film, it does mention ping pong and football, with the titular character performing both quite admirably. Forrest Gump is a film that cannot be defined by a single genre. It is a cultural movement that impacted multiple generations. Along with being the highest-grossing film with a sports element, it was also the highest-grossing film of 1994. Forrest Gump was ultimately selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".
Many already know the story of Forrest Gump, who sat on a bench and told various strangers his life tale that spans several decades but was significant for witnessing several defining historical events.
Tom Hanks gave his heart and soul to the titular role, and the lessons learned from this movie continue to inspire all Americans to this very day.