Scarface

(Photo by Paramount. Thumbnail image: Universal/courtesy Everett Collection; Netflix / courtesy Everett Collection.)

All Al Pacino Movies Ranked By Tomatomer

The golden age of Hollywood was put to rest in 1969 with the destruction of the Hays Code, which for three decades had been the final authority on morality and goodness within American cinema. The impact was immediate: New York City in the 1970s became the place to make your movie, which had taken on the shape of gritty stories borne from the streets of people on the edge. New York was the new Tinseltown, and Al Pacino was its king.

Pacino made his ’70s debut (and his second overall film appearance) with The Panic in Needle Park, a harrowing romantic drama of addicts in love in the Upper West Side. His third movie gig was just about the biggest step-up you can get: Michael Corleone in The Godfather, on an anti-hero’s journey from benevolent prince to syndicate villain, which got Pacino an Oscar acting nomination. He would repeat noms three more years in a row for Serpico, The Godfather Part II, and Dog Day Afternoon.

As with Martin Scorsese, Roger Deakins, and Leonardo DiCaprio for a while there, it was a running joke how often Pacino got nominated but never won, commensurate to his talent. He would finally win in 1993 (his eighth nomination overall) for Scent of a Woman, which finalized his gradual evolution as a soft, subtle actor in the ’70s to the big, grand performer he’s been known as ever since. This shift in Pacino’s style became first notable in 1983’s Scarface, as the gruff and maniacal Tony Montana.

Post-Scent, ’90s Pacino was still on top of the game with Michael Mann’s epic action classic Heat and investigative thriller The Insider, Certified Fresh gangster dramas Carlito’s Way and Donnie Brasco, The Devil’s Advocate with Keanu Reeves, and football fan-favorite Any Given Sunday.

2002’s Insomnia, directed by Christopher Nolan, would be his last live-action Certified Fresh movie until 2013’s Danny Collins. In-between were a few efforts recalling his heyday, but most were questionable choices like turkey bomb Gigli, the squandered Robert De Niro team-up Righteous Kill, and the bottom-barrel Adam Sandler comedy Jack and Jill. Though we suppose there is a depraved thrill in seeing Pacino sing and dance badly about espresso and foam milk.

And hey, he just had his best year with critics since 1992, when Scent of a Woman and Glengarry Glen Ross both released. 2019 was the year of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and The Irishman, the latter putting him back in Oscar acting nomination business. And now we look back on a culture-defining career with all Al Pacino movies ranked by Tomatometer!

#52

Jack and Jill (2011)
3%

#52
Adjusted Score: 5997%
Critics Consensus: Although it features an inexplicably committed performance from Al Pacino, Jack and Jill is impossible to recommend on any level whatsoever.
Synopsis: Thanksgiving is usually a happy time, but ad executive Jack (Adam Sandler) dreads the holiday because his twin sister, Jill... [More]
Directed By: Dennis Dugan

#51

Hangman (2017)
4%

#51
Adjusted Score: 4478%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A detective and a criminal profiler pursue a serial killer whose crimes are inspired by a children's game called hangman.... [More]
Directed By: Johnny Martin

#50

88 Minutes (2007)
5%

#50
Adjusted Score: 8560%
Critics Consensus: 88 Minutes is a shockingly inept psychological thriller that expertly squanders the talent at hand.
Synopsis: Famed forensic psychiatrist Dr. Jack Gramm (Al Pacino) enjoys a reputation as one of the most sought-after profilers around. His... [More]
Directed By: Jon Avnet

#49

Gigli (2003)
6%

#49
Adjusted Score: 12382%
Critics Consensus: Bizarre and clumsily plotted, Gigli is a mess. As for its stars, Affleck and Lopez lack chemistry.
Synopsis: Gigli (Ben Affleck) is ordered to kidnap the psychologically challenged younger brother of a powerful federal prosecutor. When plans go... [More]
Directed By: Martin Brest

#48

Misconduct (2016)
7%

#48
Adjusted Score: 7862%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: An ambitious lawyer (Josh Duhamel) lands in hot water when he takes on a case against the corrupt executive (Anthony... [More]
Directed By: Shintaro Shimosawa

#47

Revolution (1985)
10%

#47
Adjusted Score: 10047%
Critics Consensus: Unlikely to inspire any fervor with its miscast ensemble and ponderous script, Revolution is a star-spangled bummer.
Synopsis: A trapper (Al Pacino) joins the fight against the British in 1776 after his teenage son is tortured by a... [More]
Directed By: Hugh Hudson

#46
#46
Adjusted Score: 15838%
Critics Consensus: Needless stylistic flourishes and wholly illogical storytelling make The Son of No One a grisly, repugnant journey.
Synopsis: When he was a youth in the Queensborough projects, Jonathan White (Channing Tatum) -- then known as Milk -- killed... [More]
Directed By: Dito Montiel

#45

Righteous Kill (2008)
18%

#45
Adjusted Score: 23591%
Critics Consensus: Al Pacino and Robert De Niro do their best to elevate this dowdy genre exercise, but even these two greats can't resuscitate the film's hackneyed script.
Synopsis: Detectives Thomas Cowan (Robert De Niro) and David Fisk (Al Pacino), 30-year veterans of the NYPD, investigate the murder of... [More]
Directed By: Jon Avnet

#44
#44
Adjusted Score: 24914%
Critics Consensus: Despite its sportsmanlike swagger, Two for the Money's aimless plot isn't worth betting on.
Synopsis: A former college athlete (Matthew McConaughey) joins forces with a sports consultant (Al Pacino) to handicap football games for high-rolling... [More]
Directed By: D.J. Caruso

#43

Bobby Deerfield (1977)
29%

#43
Adjusted Score: 28562%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: American race car driver Bobby Deerfield (Al Pacino) has become a success on the European Formula One circuit. He is... [More]
Directed By: Sydney Pollack

#42

Stand Up Guys (2012)
36%

#42
Adjusted Score: 39833%
Critics Consensus: Stand Up Guys largely wastes its talented cast in a resolutely mediocre comedy hampered by messy direction and a perfunctory script.
Synopsis: After serving 28 years in prison for accidentally killing the son of a crime boss, newly paroled gangster Val (Al... [More]
Directed By: Fisher Stevens

#41

Two Bits (1995)
40%

#41
Adjusted Score: 31071%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A 12-year-old schemes (Jerry Barone) to get into a new movie house while fulfilling an ailing grandfather's (Al Pacino) wish... [More]
Directed By: James Foley

#40

The Recruit (2003)
43%

#40
Adjusted Score: 47557%
Critics Consensus: This polished thriller is engaging until it takes one twist too many into the predictable.
Synopsis: In an era when the country's first line of defense - human intelligence - is more important than ever, comes... [More]
Directed By: Roger Donaldson

#39

People I Know (2002)
44%

#39
Adjusted Score: 44238%
Critics Consensus: The derivative plot fails to cohere or draw the viewer in.
Synopsis: Burnt-out publicist Eli Wurman (Al Pacino) hopes to restore his reputation with a big benefit event. His client, Cary Launer... [More]
Directed By: Daniel Algrant

#38

Phil Spector (2013)
50%

#38
Adjusted Score: 50791%
Critics Consensus: Its top-shelf script and terrific cast ensure that it's always watchable, but Phil Spector fails to provide truly compelling drama.
Synopsis: Lawyer Linda Kenney Baden (Helen Mirren) defends music producer Phil Spector (Al Pacino), on trial for the murder of actress... [More]
Directed By: David Mamet

#37

Cruising (1980)
50%

#37
Adjusted Score: 54991%
Critics Consensus: Cruising glides along confidently thanks to filmmaking craft and Al Pacino's committed performance, but this hot-button thriller struggles to engage its subject matter sensitively or justify its brutality.
Synopsis: A psychopath is scouring New York City gay clubs and viciously slaying homosexuals. Detective Steve Burns (Al Pacino) is ordered... [More]
Directed By: William Friedkin

#36

Simone (2002)
50%

#36
Adjusted Score: 55104%
Critics Consensus: The satire in S1m0ne lacks bite, and the plot isn't believable enough to feel relevant.
Synopsis: A contemporary satire on Hollywood, "Simone" is the story of disillusioned producer Viktor Taransky (Al Pacino), who creates the first... [More]
Directed By: Andrew Niccol

#35

Manglehorn (2014)
49%

#35
Adjusted Score: 51809%
Critics Consensus: Manglehorn boasts a nicely understated performance from Al Pacino, but that isn't enough to compensate for a slight story and uneven script.
Synopsis: In small-town Texas, a reclusive and bitter locksmith (Al Pacino) spends his days pining for the woman he lost because... [More]
Directed By: David Gordon Green

#34

The Humbling (2014)
53%

#34
Adjusted Score: 54869%
Critics Consensus: The Humbling is an inarguable highlight of Al Pacino's late-period filmography, but that's an admittedly low bar that it doesn't always clear by a very wide margin.
Synopsis: Following a breakdown and suicide attempt, an aging actor (Al Pacino) becomes involved with a much younger woman but soon... [More]
Directed By: Barry Levinson

#33

Any Given Sunday (1999)
52%

#33
Adjusted Score: 57380%
Critics Consensus: Sometimes entertaining, but overall Any Given Sunday is a disappointment coming from Oliver Stone.
Synopsis: Four years ago, DAmato's (Al Pacino) Miami Sharks were at the top. Now, his team is struggling with three consecutive... [More]
Directed By: Oliver Stone

#32

City Hall (1996)
56%

#32
Adjusted Score: 56791%
Critics Consensus: City Hall explores political corruption with commendable intelligence, but this web of scandal struggles to coalesce into satisfying drama.
Synopsis: Tragedy strikes when a child is caught in the crossfire between a cop and a mobster on the streets of... [More]
Directed By: Harold Becker

#31

Dick Tracy (1990)
63%

#31
Adjusted Score: 65696%
Critics Consensus: Dick Tracy is stylish, unique, and an undeniable technical triumph, but it ultimately struggles to rise above its two-dimensional artificiality.
Synopsis: Hard-boiled detective Dick Tracy (Warren Beatty) is searching for evidence that proves Alphonse "Big Boy" Caprice is the city's most... [More]
Directed By: Warren Beatty

#30
#30
Adjusted Score: 66598%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: When Johnny (Al Pacino) is released from prison following a forgery charge, he quickly lands a job as a short-order... [More]
Directed By: Garry Marshall

#29
#29
Adjusted Score: 66649%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In 2008, rookie Canadian journalist Jay Bahadur's impulsive plan to embed himself among the pirates of Somalia provides the first... [More]
Directed By: Bryan Buckley

#28
#28
Adjusted Score: 65187%
Critics Consensus: Though it is ultimately somewhat undone by its own lofty ambitions, The Devil's Advocate is a mostly effective blend of supernatural thrills and character exploration.
Synopsis: Aspiring Florida defense lawyer Kevin Lomax (Keanu Reeves) accepts a high-powered position at a New York law firm headed by... [More]
Directed By: Taylor Hackford

#27
#27
Adjusted Score: 72477%
Critics Consensus: The final installment of The Godfather saga recalls its predecessors' power when it's strictly business, but underwhelming performances and confused tonality brings less closure to the Corleone story.
Synopsis: As Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) ages, he finds that being the head of the Corleone crime family isn't getting any... [More]
Directed By: Francis Ford Coppola

#26

Paterno (2018)
70%

#26
Adjusted Score: 71570%
Critics Consensus: Paterno, elevated by deft direction from Barry Levinson and a strong Al Pacino performance, presents a hard-hitting dramatization of a gut-wrenching real-life story.
Synopsis: Penn State football coach Joe Paterno becomes embroiled in a sexual abuse scandal.... [More]
Directed By: Barry Levinson

#25

Ocean's Thirteen (2007)
69%

#25
Adjusted Score: 77687%
Critics Consensus: Ocean's Thirteen reverts to the formula of the first installment, and the result is another slick and entertaining heist film.
Synopsis: Danny Ocean (George Clooney) and his gang hatch an ambitious plot for revenge after ruthless casino owner Willy Bank (Al... [More]
Directed By: Steven Soderbergh

#24
#24
Adjusted Score: 75292%
Critics Consensus: A respectable if uneven take on the Bard's The Merchant of Venice.
Synopsis: In 16th-century Venice, Bassanio (Joseph Fiennes) hopes to wed Portia (Lynn Collins). But to have a chance at winning her... [More]
Directed By: Michael Radford

#23

Despicable Me 2 (2013)
75%

#23
Adjusted Score: 82328%
Critics Consensus: Despicable Me 2 offers plenty of eye-popping visual inventiveness and a number of big laughs.
Synopsis: Now that Gru (Steve Carell) has forsaken a life of crime to raise Margo, Agnes and Edith, he's trying to... [More]

#22

Scarecrow (1973)
77%

#22
Adjusted Score: 77217%
Critics Consensus: If its dramatic dressings are a tad threadbare, Scarecrow survives on the strength of its lead performances and Vilmos Zsigmond's cinematography.
Synopsis: Two drifters (Gene Hackman, Al Pacino) bum around, visit earthy women and discuss opening a car wash in Pittsburgh.... [More]
Directed By: Jerry Schatzberg

#21

Danny Collins (2015)
78%

#21
Adjusted Score: 82007%
Critics Consensus: Thanks to Al Pacino's stirring central performance - and excellent work from an esteemed supporting cast -- Danny Collins manages to overcome its more predictable and heavy-handed moments to deliver a heartfelt tale of redemption.
Synopsis: An aging rocker (Al Pacino) decides to change the course of his life after receiving a long-undelivered letter from the... [More]
Directed By: Dan Fogelman

#20

Sea of Love (1989)
76%

#20
Adjusted Score: 76813%
Critics Consensus: Moody and steadily alluring, Sea of Love benefits immeasurably from the window-fogging chemistry between Ellen Barkin and Al Pacino.
Synopsis: Troubled New York City detective Frank Keller (Al Pacino) investigates a serial killer who finds victims using personal ads in... [More]
Directed By: Harold Becker

#19

Wilde Salomé (2011)
80%

#19
Adjusted Score: 53731%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Al Pacino takes viewers on a journey as he unravels Oscar Wilde's once banned and most controversial work "Salomé."... [More]
Directed By: Al Pacino

#18
#18
Adjusted Score: 83257%
Critics Consensus: A volcanic Al Pacino holds court in this histrionic legal drama, the star grounding a tonally imbalanced script with the conviction of his impassioned performance.
Synopsis: Satirical drama in which an idealistic lawyer who tries to win cases for clients trapped in a hypocritical and corrupt... [More]
Directed By: Norman Jewison

#17

Carlito's Way (1993)
82%

#17
Adjusted Score: 84749%
Critics Consensus: Carlito's Way reunites De Palma and Pacino for a more wistful take on the crime epic, delivering a stylish thriller with a beating heart beneath its pyrotechnic performances and set pieces.
Synopsis: A free man after years in prison, Carlito Brigante (Al Pacino) intends to give up his criminal ways, but it's... [More]
Directed By: Brian De Palma

#16
#16
Adjusted Score: 83436%
Critics Consensus: Looking for Richard is a smart, fascinating behind-the-scenes look at adapting Shakespeare.
Synopsis: Al Pacino's directorial debut explores William Shakespeare's lasting impact in pop culture, particularly the playwright's highly regarded "Richard III." The... [More]
Directed By: Al Pacino

#15

Scarface (1983)
82%

#15
Adjusted Score: 87514%
Critics Consensus: Director Brian De Palma and star Al Pacino take it to the limit in this stylized, ultra-violent and eminently quotable gangster epic that walks a thin white line between moral drama and celebratory excess.
Synopsis: After getting a green card in exchange for assassinating a Cuban government official, Tony Montana (Al Pacino) stakes a claim... [More]
Directed By: Brian De Palma

#14
Adjusted Score: 121483%
Critics Consensus: Thrillingly unrestrained yet solidly crafted, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood tempers Tarantino's provocative impulses with the clarity of a mature filmmaker's vision.
Synopsis: Actor Rick Dalton gained fame and fortune by starring in a 1950s television Western, but is now struggling to find... [More]
Directed By: Quentin Tarantino

#13
#13
Adjusted Score: 80779%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Bobby (Al Pacino) is a heroin addict who lives in "Needle Park," the nickname for an area on the Upper... [More]
Directed By: Jerry Schatzberg

#12

Heat (1995)
87%

#12
Adjusted Score: 92679%
Critics Consensus: Though Al Pacino and Robert De Niro share but a handful of screen minutes together, Heat is an engrossing crime drama that draws compelling performances from its stars -- and confirms Michael Mann's mastery of the genre.
Synopsis: Master criminal Neil McCauley (Robert De Niro) is trying to control the rogue actions of one of his men, while... [More]
Directed By: Michael Mann

#11

Scent of a Woman (1992)
89%

#11
Adjusted Score: 92456%
Critics Consensus: It might soar on Al Pacino's performance more than the drama itself, but what a performance it is -- big, bold, occasionally over-the-top, and finally giving the Academy pause to award the star his first Oscar.
Synopsis: Frank is a retired Lt. Col. in the US army. He's blind and impossible to get along with. Charlie is... [More]
Directed By: Martin Brest

#10

Donnie Brasco (1997)
88%

#10
Adjusted Score: 90187%
Critics Consensus: A stark, nuanced portrait of life in organized crime, bolstered by strong performances from Al Pacino and Johnny Depp.
Synopsis: Joseph Pistone (Johnny Depp) is an FBI agent who has infiltrated one of the major New York Mafia families and... [More]
Directed By: Mike Newell

#9

Serpico (1973)
90%

#9
Adjusted Score: 93655%
Critics Consensus: An engrossing, immediate depiction of early '70s New York, Serpico is elevated by Al Pacino's ferocious performance.
Synopsis: Frank Serpico (Al Pacino) is an idealistic New York City cop who refuses to take bribes, unlike the rest of... [More]
Directed By: Sidney Lumet

#8
#8
Adjusted Score: 83019%
Critics Consensus: Led by strong direction from Barry Levinson and outstanding work from Al Pacino, You Don't Know Jack makes compelling viewing out of real-life drama.
Synopsis: Controversy and legal problems follow Dr. Jack Kevorkian (Al Pacino) as he advocates assisted suicide.... [More]
Directed By: Barry Levinson

#7

Insomnia (2002)
92%

#7
Adjusted Score: 98583%
Critics Consensus: Driven by Al Pacino and Robin Williams' performances, Insomnia is a smart and riveting psychological drama.
Synopsis: From acclaimed director Chris Nolan ("Memento") comes the story of a veteran police detective (Al Pacino) who is sent to... [More]
Directed By: Christopher Nolan

#6
#6
Adjusted Score: 98330%
Critics Consensus: This adaptation of David Mamet's play is every bit as compelling and witty as its source material, thanks in large part to a clever script and a bevy of powerhouse actors.
Synopsis: When an office full of New York City real estate salesmen is given the news that all but the top... [More]
Directed By: James Foley

#5
#5
Adjusted Score: 100415%
Critics Consensus: Framed by great work from director Sidney Lumet and fueled by a gripping performance from Al Pacino, Dog Day Afternoon offers a finely detailed snapshot of people in crisis with tension-soaked drama shaded in black humor.
Synopsis: When inexperienced criminal Sonny Wortzik (Al Pacino) leads a bank robbery in Brooklyn, things quickly go wrong, and a hostage... [More]
Directed By: Sidney Lumet

#4

The Insider (1999)
96%

#4
Adjusted Score: 102096%
Critics Consensus: Intelligent, compelling, and packed with strong performances, The Insider is a potent corporate thriller.
Synopsis: After seeking the expertise of former "Big Tobacco" executive Jeffrey Wigand (Russell Crowe), seasoned TV producer Lowell Bergman (Al Pacino)... [More]
Directed By: Michael Mann

#3

The Irishman (2019)
95%

#3
Adjusted Score: 123934%
Critics Consensus: An epic gangster drama that earns its extended runtime, The Irishman finds Martin Scorsese revisiting familiar themes to poignant, funny, and profound effect.
Synopsis: In the 1950s, truck driver Frank Sheeran gets involved with Russell Bufalino and his Pennsylvania crime family. As Sheeran climbs... [More]
Directed By: Martin Scorsese

#2
#2
Adjusted Score: 107287%
Critics Consensus: Drawing on strong performances by Al Pacino and Robert De Niro, Francis Ford Coppola's continuation of Mario Puzo's Mafia saga set new standards for sequels that have yet to be matched or broken.
Synopsis: The compelling sequel to "The Godfather," contrasting the life of Corleone father and son. Traces the problems of Michael Corleone... [More]
Directed By: Francis Ford Coppola

#1

The Godfather (1972)
97%

#1
Adjusted Score: 112670%
Critics Consensus: One of Hollywood's greatest critical and commercial successes, The Godfather gets everything right; not only did the movie transcend expectations, it established new benchmarks for American cinema.
Synopsis: Widely regarded as one of the greatest films of all time, this mob drama, based on Mario Puzo's novel of... [More]
Directed By: Francis Ford Coppola

Avengers Endgame

(Photo by © Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, © Marvel Studios)

Updated: Monday, March 2, 2020. 

2019 may not have been the biggest year ever at the box office, but it had a number of massive films that entered the top 50 highest-grossing movies of all time – including one that took out the number 1 slot. Avengers: Endgame officially became the number 1 movie of all time, globally, when Disney and Marvel Studios re-released the film with a tiny amount of fan-baiting new footage (it was a gamble that paid off, as it was looking like the movie might not be able to catch previous number 1, Avatar, despite a record-shattering opening weekend box office). Meanwhile, the Mouse House’s live-action remake of The Lion King – or “computer-animated remake,” depending on which side of the argument you’re sitting on – entered the top 10 highest-grossing films of all time at number 7.

Simba’s kingly box office performance as well as a stellar result for Frozen II means that Disney now occupies six of the 10 top box office rankings of all time worldwide. Toy Story and Captain Marvel gave Disney even more reason to celebrate last year as they entered the top 50, and the year ended on a high note for the studio, with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker joining the list, even if the final(?) Skywalker film – which has now passed $1 billion globally – underperformed expectations. Meanwhile, also in 2019, Sony released its highest-grossing film to date, Spider-Man: Far From Home, which entered the top 25.

Perhaps biggest box office surprise of 2019 – and maybe even its biggest box office story – was the phenomenal success of Warner Bros.’ R-rated Joker, the standalone DC film starring Joaquin Phoenix that is currently at number 31 on this list, having surpassed AladdinThe Dark Knight, Jurassic ParkThe Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, and Rogue One.

What does 2020 have in store? While there are no Avengers movies or any Star Wars films hitting theaters, the MCU carries on (Black WidowThe Eternals) and DC is throwing a bunch of potentially huge properties our way, including Wonder Woman 1984. Originals could also break through, with Christopher Nolan’s Tenet and Denis Villeneuve’s Dune eyed as major contenders to make a box office dent. We’ll update as the year’s films start to make their appearances on this list.

For the list below, we’ve included global box office performance, as well as domestic, and release date. We included dollars earned in re-releases, and in each of our descriptions, we look at where the film stood record-wise at the time of its run, and dive into things like critical and audience reception. We’ll be here to track the progress of new blockbusters and regularly update this list of top box office performers. So keep your eyes here, and check in with our weekly weekend box office wraps.  


1. $2.798 Billion 

Avengers: Endgame (2019) 94%


Domestic: $858.4 million (including re-releases)
Release date: April 26, 2019

The journey that began in 2008 with Iron Man was coming to an end – at least for some of the characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Audiences that had been holding their breath for an entire year after perhaps the biggest cliffhanger since Empire Strikes Back could not wait to buy their tickets – and did they ever buy those tickets when they finally could. Opening weekend for Avengers: Endgame in April 2019 surpassed Infinity War’s year-long record by nearly $100 million. In just eight days, the film had grossed a half-billion domestically. On day 10 it was over $621 million. One by one the records fell, leading many to ignore the words “if” and “can” and focus instead on “when” Avatar’s previous record ($2.787 billion) as the highest-grossing movie would fall. But Endgame began to show signs early in its run that its impressive sprinting start might not be enough for it to ultimately come out ahead of James Cameron’s epic; it only had the second-biggest second weekend ever and the fourth-best third weekend. In the era of the modern blockbuster, even a record-breaker can be front-loaded and only spend three weeks atop the charts. It really all came down to a final dash near the finish line. After just six weeks of release, Endgame was about $73 million away from dethroning Avatar – substantial ground to make up. But then Marvel and Disney re-released the film on June 28 with new goodies over its end credits. And then, over the weekend of July 19, 2019 – its 13th week of release – when another Disney release would begin its run for the top 10 all-time earners (hello, Lion King), Endgame squeaked ahead. It may not have been able to catch The Force Awakens for the all-time domestic leader, but by the time summer was over, it would pull in front of Avatar and become the king of the world (sorry, James).


2. $2.790 Billion 

Avatar (2009) 81%


Domestic: $760.5 million (including re-releases)
Release date: December 18, 2009

The world had to wait some 12 years for James Cameron to follow up the biggest film of all-time with what would become the new biggest film of all time. Nobody believed he was going to surpass Titanic’s numbers with this tale of an alien planet and the paraplegic Marine who teams up with its inhabitants in the battle for Unobtanium. But he did. At the peak of a 3-D reemergence, aided by the filmmaker’s usual technological gamesmanship (and higher ticket prices), Avatar‘s seven straight weekends at number 1 led to over $595 million at the North American box office. Then, two days later on Feb. 2, 2010, its 47th day of release, the movie became the highest domestic earner ever. Avatar held that record for five years and eleven months and went on to become the only film ever to earn $2 billion outside of the U.S. and Canada, making it the world’s highest grosser at the time. It held onto its impressive global record for nearly 10 years. Until Avengers: Endgame.


3. $2.194 Billion 

Titanic (1997) 89%


Domestic: $659.4 million (including re-releases)
Release date: December 19, 1997

James Cameron makes expensive movies. The Abyss, Terminator 2, and True Lies were all the most expensive movies of their time upon release. In 1997, Cameron blew out the budget again and this time there was worry he may have gone too far. Though delayed from July until December, Titanic nevertheless became a global phenomenon the likes of which the box office had never seen at the time. After 15 straight weeks at number 1, 14 Oscar nominations and 11 statuettes, Titanic, its stars and its song were ingrained in the hearts and tear ducts of the world, and the movie would hold the all-time box office record for 12 years – until Cameron would eclipse himself once again with Avatar.



4. $2.068 Billion 

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) 93%


Domestic: $936.7 million
Release date: December 18, 2015

Twelve years after the completion of the Star Wars prequel trilogy, J.J. Abrams was tasked with making Episode VII – a monumental undertaking, and a risky one. Were people still interested after the prequels? Were they burnt out? The approach was to mix the old and the new, and it worked. Abrams gave a brand-new cast of characters the chance to interact with the original trio of Luke, Han, and Leia, and generations of fans were so ready for the adventure that they gave the film the highest opening weekend in history ($247.9 million). In just under three weeks, The Force Awakens became the all-time domestic champion, passing Avatar and joining the $2 billion club within 54 days. It still remains the highest-grossing domestic release of all time.


5. $2.048 Billion 

Avengers: Infinity War (2018) 85%


Domestic: $678.8 million
Release date: April 27, 2018

Just shy of 10 years since it began, the Marvel Cinematic Universe gathered nearly every one of its characters for a galaxy-wide showdown with the series’ Big Bad, Thanos. The movie featured one of the gutsiest cliffhangers in any franchise’s history, leaving audiences to wait in shock for an entire year to discover how Phase 3 of the epic series would end. The film bested The Force Awakens’ three-day opening weekend record with $257.6 million, and hit the $2 billion mark in 48 days. Domestically, it would ultimately come up just short of Black Panther, which was released two months prior.



6. $1.670 Billion 

Jurassic World (2015) 71%


Domestic: $652.3 million
Release date: June 12, 2015

Twenty-two years after Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park became the Jaws for a new generation, it was time for that generation’s kids to have their own version of dinosaur mayhem. The second-best–reviewed film in the Jurassic series (72% on the Tomatometer vs. the original’s 91%), Jurassic World trampled a competitive summer full of Avengers, Minions, and inner feelings, and became just the third film since Titanic in 1998 to pass $600 million in domestic box office.


7. $1.657 Billion 

The Lion King (2019) 52%


Domestic: $543.6 million
Release date: July 19, 2019

Having found success with its live-action re-imaginings of The Jungle Book and Beauty and the Beast, Disney tripled down in 2019 with three “new” remakes. Dumbo was a bit of a bust, Aladdin was a success, but The Lion King truly roared. That made sense given that the 1994 original, at the time, was one of the studio’s most successful films in the middle of its rebirth, and director Jon Favreau’s CGI-fueled version traced it for a new generation. The result is the highest-grossing domestic release to receive a Rotten score on the Tomatometer, at 53%. But its $191 million opening was the eighth highest of all time and it became the 14th film to pass a half-billion domestically and just the ninth film to rack up $1 billion overseas.



8. $1.519 Billion 

Marvel's the Avengers (2012) 91%


Domestic: $623.4 million
Release date: May 4, 2012

Want proof that Avengers work best together? Consider that the first combined outing for Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America bested the $1.4 billion that their origin stories had made combined. Five films into the MCU (including Edward Norton’s The Incredible Hulk), the team was finally assembled for a singular battle against Loki and his inherited army. Joss Whedon’s movie became the first ever to make over $200 million in a single weekend and was Marvel’s first entry into the Billion Dollar Club, which had just 12 members at the time.


9. $1.515 Billion 

Furious 7 (2015) 82%


Domestic: $353 million
Release date: April 3, 2015

What started out as a Point Break derivative – with cars! – became one of the unlikeliest mega franchises ever. Vin Diesel’s return in the series’ fourth film is what really got the Fast and Furious franchise engines revving, and Dwayne Johnson’s addition in the fifth film added some humor and helped get the critics on board. But it was the full embrace of the series’ now-signature bombast, as well as the untimely death of Paul Walker, that brought the combo of curiosity and tribute that helped make James Wan’s Furious 7 the franchise’s most successful entry. It hit with audiences – the opening weekend haul of $147 million was almost $50 million more than any previous entry – as well as with critics (it’s the highest-rated movie in the series at 81% on the Tomatameter).


10. $1.448 Billion 

Frozen II (2019) 78%


Domestic: $477 million
Release date: November 22, 2019

When a film becomes not just a global phenomenon but the highest-grossing film in your canon of animated entertainment, a sequel is inevitable. While not quite as well-received as the first film critically (77% vs. 90% on the Tomatometer), Frozen II virtually demanded that parents bring their children for a second adventure. It began with the third-highest opening weekend for an animated film (after Pixar sequels Incredibles 2 and Finding Dory) – $130.26 million – and then became the highest-grossing film over the five-day Thanksgiving holiday, which was all the more impressive given it had opened the prior weekend. In its fourth weekend of release, it became Disney’s sixth billion-dollar film of 2019, pushing Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle out of the Top 50 on the same weekend that its sequel The Next Level opened. Now, the movie has overtaken the original Frozen to become the highest-grossing animated film of all time.


11. $1.402 Billion 

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) 76%


Domestic: $459 million
Release date: May 1, 2015

If any film in the top 10 could be considered both a success and a disappointment it would be Joss Whedon’s Avengers sequel. Coming up shy of the first film’s record-breaking opening weekend – note that it was still the second-best opening of all time when it was released – the movie never matched its predecessor in dollars or affection. With a 75% Tomatometer rating, it doesn’t even rank among the top 10 Tomatometer scores of the MCU – though we think there’s a case to be made for reassessing its virtues – and it lost the summer of 2015 to the dinosaurs of Jurassic World. Still, it was just the 16th film ever to cross the $400 million line domestically in its initial run.


12. $1.347 Billion 

Black Panther (2018) 96%


Domestic: $700.1 million
Release date: February 16, 2018

After an introduction in Captain America: Civil War, T’Challa got his own film in February of 2019. Audiences were hungry for representation on screen and looking for a thrilling re-introduction to the character, and in Ryan Coogler’s action-packed, beautiful-looking epic, they got both. The movie became the fifth film in history to have a $200 million opening weekend, and just the third film ever to gross over $700 million in North America, outlasting even Avengers: Infinity War that summer. Why isn’t it even higher in the list? Because it remains the only post-Avengers film in the MCU to make less money internationally than domestically.



13. $1.342 Billion 

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011) 96%


Domestic: $381.2 million
Release date: July 15, 2011

Fans of J.K. Rowling’s fantasy series got to see its characters (and the actors who played them) grow up in front of their eyes. The culmination of the journey that began in 2001 also ushered in a new trend of splitting final chapters in halves. The back half of the Potter finale set the new record for an opening weekend at the time with $169.1 million, and its $960 million international haul ranked only behind Avatar and Titanic. By the end of its run, the eight Harry Potter had films grossed a combined $7.72 billion.


14. $1.333 Billion 

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) 91%


Domestic: $620.2 million
Release date: December 15, 2017

One of the more controversial entries in the Star Wars series – don’t get anyone started on the casino planet sequence! – Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi took the standard dip that had afflicted other middle films in the franchise. The Empire Strikes Back made 31.9% less than A New HopeAttack of the Clones made 34.6% less than The Phantom Menace, and The Last Jedi fell 33.8% off The Force Awakens. Still, Johnson’s film joined Episodes IV, V, and VII in the 90%+ realm on the Tomatometer and may end up being the ultimate bridge to the next generation of Star Wars fans.


15. $1.308 Billion 

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018) 47%


Domestic: $417.7 million
Release date: June 22, 2018

J.A. Bayona’s follow-up to Colin Trevorrow’s continuation of Steven Spielberg’s series received the weakest Tomatometer score of the franchise to date (48%) and, following the path of many “second” entries in franchises (even if it’s technically the fifth), dropped 36% from Jurassic World in overall domestic box office. But it was still good enough for 23rd all-time in North America and 13th in overseas dollars. It was also the second-highest-grossing domestic film of the 2018 summer season, behind the #17 film on this list.


16. $1.281 Billion 

Frozen (2013) 90%


Domestic: $400.7 million
Release date: November 22, 2013

The Oscar-winning song that has tortured parents for nearly a decade was just part of what made Frozen the highest-grossing animated film in history. The story of two sisters searching for happily-ever-after with each other rather than the standard gentlemen suitors also won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature and bested 2012’s Ice Age: Continental Drift for the highest international haul for an animated film ever ($875.7 million compared to $715.9 million), a record it holds to this day despite challenges from Minions and Incredibles 2. (If you consider the new Lion King animated though, this is one crown the Arendelle princesses no longer wear.)



17. $1.264 Billion 

Beauty and the Beast (2017) 71%


Domestic: $504 million
Release date: March 17, 2017

Speaking of Disney soundtracks, it was the 2017 live-action redo and not the Best Picture-nominated animated Beauty and the Beast from 1991 that really broke the bank and remains in the record books. Bill Condon’s version of the tale as old as 1991, starring Emma Watson, was not the first of Disney’s splashy re-imaginings, but it certainly was the most successful at the time, becoming the seventh film to cross a half-billion in North America and the 16th to pass three-quarters of a billion overseas.


18. $1.243 Billion 

Incredibles 2 (2018) 93%


Domestic: $608.6 million
Release date: June 15, 2018

Brad Bird’s The Incredibles debuted a full four years before the MCU began, a time when the Pixar brand was as close to a guarantee of success (and quality) as the industry had. Fourteen years later and deep into the superhero cinematic explosion, Bird’s sequel more than doubled the original’s box office and became the highest-grossing animated film ever at the domestic box office. It was the ninth film to cross the $600 million mark in North America and remains in the top 10 all-time earners domestically.



19. $1.236 Billion 

The Fate of the Furious (2017) 67%


Domestic: $226 million
Release date: April 14, 2017

A half-billion dollars was put into the production of the seventh and eighth chapters of this franchise and they made a combined $2.75 billion globally. F. Gary Gray’s film was a bit of a comedown from the highs of James Wan’s Furious 7. It even fell behind the sixth Furious film domestically, but did incredibly well abroad: it was the sixth film ever to make a cool billion outside the U.S. and Canada alone. Though still Fresh (67% on the Tomatometer), it was the lowest-scored Fast and Furious movie among critics since the fourth film.


20. $1.215 Billion 

Iron Man 3 (2013) 79%


Domestic: $409 million
Release date: May 3, 2017

The first Marvel film released following the massive success of Joss Whedon’s The Avengers was also the most successful of the individual Iron Man films. Robert Downey Jr.’s Kiss Kiss Bang Bang director, Shane Black, took over for Jon Favreau and put a twist on some comic-book lore in ways that still draws out disappointment from some fans. The general moviegoing public ate it up, though. Iron Man 3 was just the 13th film to reach $400 million domestic in its initial run, and is the highest-grossing non-Avengers film in the MCU overseas with over $805 million. (And, if you are are keeping track, it is the 12th Disney property in the top 20.)



21. $1.159 Billion 

Minions (2015) 55%


Domestic: $336 million
Release date: July 10, 2015

After two successful Despicable Me films it was time to give Gru’s kooky supporting yellow folk their own story. Smart move. Minions had the largest opening for Illumination Entertainment ever, earning $115.7 million on its first weekend. Though it came up shy domestically of Despicable Me 2 ($336 million vs. $368 million) it can still boast the second-best overseas return for any animated film ($823.4 million), behind only Disney’s Frozen, and stands as the company’s biggest global success to date.


22. $1.153 Billion 

Captain America: Civil War (2016) 90%


Domestic: $408.1 million
Release date: May 6, 2016

It was not officially an Avengers film, but Civil War may as well have been. Thor and Hulk were AWOL, sure, but Spider-Man received his welcomed introduction into the MCU, as did Black Panther. The movie’s run kicked off with the fifth-highest opening in history, earning $179.1 million on opening weekend (that’s now the 11th-highest opening). Another $745 million internationally made this the fourth MCU film to reach $1 billion. Another fun fact: Anthony and Joe Russo are one of only two filmmakers/filmmaking pairs on this list to have three films in the top 50


23. $1.148 Billion 

Aquaman (2018) 65%


Domestic: $335.1 million
Release date: December 21, 2018

How could the DCEU get to $1 billion? Adding Batman into their Superman storyline couldn’t do it. Wonder Woman’s solid domestic numbers were nearly matched internationally, but even those figures came up short of Suicide Squad – and the goal. It would take Aquaman to crack the $1 billion mark for the DC Extended Universe. James Wan’s second billion-dollar film on the list may have had the second-smallest opening weekend of the Universe, but its prolonged success through the holiday season and beyond – the movie made nearly five-times its opening – was greater than any DC property since Tim Burton’s Batman in 1989.


24. $1.142 Billion 

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) 93%


Domestic: $377.8 million
Release date: December 17, 2003

Peter Jackson’s (first) epic trilogy unfolded over three straight holiday seasons and its finale was rewarded in every fashion: Return of the King historically won all 11 Oscars that it was nominated for, including Best Picture and Best Director; it was one of the best-reviewed films of the year (Certified Fresh at 93%); and it became the fourth-highest domestic grosser of all time behind just TitanicThe Phantom Menace, and Sam Raimi’s first Spider-Man film. It was no slacker overseas, either: When Return finished its run, only Titanic had a greater number outside of the U.S. and Canada.



25. $1.132 Billion 

Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) 90%


Domestic: $390.5 million
Release date: July 2, 2019

No wonder Disney and Sony made up: 2019’s Spider-Man: Far From Home, which might have been the end of their association had they not moved past their impasse, is Sony’s highest-grossing film of all time. Six of the studio’s eight highest-grossing films ever have involved Spider-Man (or Venom), but this was the first Sony flick to cross the $1 billion line, and the ninth film in the MCU to do it. (Spider-Man appeared in four of the MCU’s other members of the $1 Billion Club). It was also the fifth stand-alone Spider-Man film (live-action or animated) to register at 90% or higher on the Tomatometer – critics love their web-slinger.


26. $1.128 Billion 

Captain Marvel (2019) 79%


Domestic: $426.8 million
Release date: March 8, 2019

After getting tag-teased at the end of Infinity War, Brie Larson’s Carol Danvers made her debut in the MCU as the universe’s first headlining female superhero in 2019’s Captain Marvel. Outgrossing DC’s Wonder Woman around the world and at home, the breakthrough film was embraced by critics (though its Certified Fresh score of 78% ranks 18th out of the MCU’s 23 films). The space epic was only one of two films in 2018-19 to spend 10 straight weeks in the top 10 (the other being Black Panther), and was the seventh MCU film to reach $1 billion at the box office globally.


27. $1.124 Billion 

Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011) 35%


Domestic: $352.4 million
Release date: June 29, 2011

The only Transformers sequel under the direction of Michael Bay to rank higher than 20% on the Tomatometer (a whopping 35%!) is not the series’ biggest domestic or international earner. But combined it remains the champion overall in worldwide gross (and bonus for the studio: it had one of the series’ lowest budgets). Only the final Harry Potter chapter could beat it in the summer of 2011, when they were the only films to pass $300 million domestic.



28. $1.109 Billion 

Skyfall (2012) 92%


Domestic: $304.4 million
Release date: November 9, 2012

The James Bond franchise got a boost with Pierce Brosnan and an even larger one with Daniel Craig. But there was no bigger boost to the long-running franchise than Craig’s Skyfall, the first film to cross $300 million domestically and $1 billion globally. A series that has existed for 50-plus years is going to get a little help from inflation – Goldfinger, Thunderball, and You Only Live Twice would have been $300 million grossers today – but we’re not doing inflation here. Skyfall was also a gold standard for Bond beyond the box office: It stands amongst the series’ top five scores on the Tomatometer, Certified Fresh at 92%.


29. $1.104 Billion 

Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014) 17%


Domestic: $245.4 million
Release date: June 27, 2014

The Transformers series was beginning to show its age in North America in 2014, but around the world it was more popular than ever. Shia LaBeouf was replaced with Mark Wahlberg as the franchise’s central hero, and the fourth film from Michael Bay approached a near three-hour running time at 165 minutes. But even as it dipped below $300 million for the first time at home, its $858 million international haul was still the sixth-highest total for any movie outside the U.S. and Canada at the time. (It is now 16th.) Bay’s fifth film of the franchise, The Last Knight, fell 47% in overall domestic and nearly 45% internationally. At 18% on the Tomatometer, Age of Extinction has the lowest Tomatometer score of the top 50 biggest films at the worldwide box office.


30. $1.081 Billion 

The Dark Knight Rises (2012) 87%


Domestic: $448.1 million
Release date: July 20, 2012

The conclusion of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy gave us Bane, Catwoman, and even a surprise along the way. By the end of that summer only four films had grossed more domestically in their initial runs than The Dark Knight RisesAvatar, Titanic, The Dark Knight, and Marvel’s The Avengers, which was the only film to eclipse Rises in all of 2012. When all was said and done, Nolan’s trilogy had grossed over $2.46 billion worldwide.



31. $1.074 billion

Joker (2019) 68%


Domestic: $335 million
Release date: October 3, 2019

The director of The Hangover films wanted to make an origin story out of Batman’s most infamous nemesis. The project was met with skepticism, and then it began a run on the festival circuit. Venice awarded the film its top prize in the Golden Lion; some critics were hailing it a masterpiece. Though its Tomatometer score is among the lower scores in the Top 50 (69%), Todd Phillips’ Joker had the highest-opening ever in the month of October (passing the previous years’ Venom) and ultimately became the highest-grossing film ever released in that month in North America, surpassing Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity domestically. The film has just taken over Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger TidesJurassic ParkFinding DoryThe Phantom MenaceAladdin, and Warner Bros’ The Dark Knight on this list, and also earns a place as one of its most profitable films of all time.


32. $1.073 Billion 

Toy Story 4 (2019) 97%


Domestic: $433.9 million
Release date: June 21, 2019

When the fourth entry of Pixar’s signature series opened to “only” $120 million, many labeled it “a disappointment.” Some had expected Toy Story 4 to have the studio’s biggest opening ever, and the film was then written off – by some – as part of a string of failed sequels in the summer of 2019. Well, Woody and the gang proved them all wrong. The movie went on to outgross the third film by over $12 million domestically. Even if it came up a bit short internationally, it still became the fourth billion-dollar grosser in Pixar’s history and their third-highest–grossing film overall.


33. $1.073 Billion 

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) 52%


Domestic: $514.7 million
Release date: December 20, 2019

The final chapter of the Skywalker saga may have broken the trend set by the other third entries in the franchise’s trilogies (each outgrossed the middle episodes), but it will become record that we may never see broken again. During the week of January 12, 2020, it became the seventh film released by Disney in 2019 to break the $1 billion barrier – it reached that marker in 28 days, whereas The Last Jedi did it in less than three weeks. That will be remembered far longer than having the 12th-highest opening of all-time – The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi were numbers one and two until Avengers: Infinity War opened – or that it had one of the lowest Tomatometer scores among the nine films. Nevertheless, it puts a capper on a nine-episode series from 1977-2019 that grossed (with re-releases) a collective $8.71 billion.


34. $1.067 Billion 

Toy Story 3 (2010) 98%


Domestic: $415 million
Release date: June 18, 2010

We all assumed it was the end for Woody, Buzz, and all their toy friends – that bittersweet finish was just so perfect. The series would have gone out with a box-office bang, too. The first summer release for the Toy Story franchise turned into the first $100 million opening weekend for Pixar as well as the studio’s first $400 domestic tally and first worldwide haul of $1 billion. For almost two years it was the second-highest–grossing domestic release in Disney’s history; by 2019 it was 16th.



35. $1.066 Billion 

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006) 53%


Domestic: $423.3 million
Release date: July 7, 2006

Everyone mocked the concept of Disney turning one of their classic rides into a feature-length film. Well, some $300 million and an Oscar nomination for Johnny Depp’s portrayal of Captain Jack Sparrow later, we were looking at a franchise with a modicum of respect. At least, for a little while. Critics went from disdain for the concept before the first film was released to disdain for its epic-length and earnestness in the space of just two films, with the original movie’s score of 79% dropping to 53% on the Tomatometer for the sequel. But audiences went the other direction, giving Dead Man’s Chest a 38.6% boost in domestic earnings and an 84.2% boost internationally. It was Disney’s first $100-plus million opening ($135 million to be precise), and the studio has had 20 more since then. From 2006 until Toy Story 3 was released in 2010, Dead Man’s Chest was the highest-grossing domestic release in Disney’s history.



36. $1.056 Billion 

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) 84%


Domestic: $532.2 million
Release date: December 16, 2016

A year after J.J. Abrams launched the record-breaking continuation of George Lucas’ Skywalker saga, audiences were given a go-between tale to help fill in the gaps that led to the destruction of the first Death Star. The Magnificent Seven-like story was an instant favorite for some and an average side-trip for others. It became just the seventh film to clear a half-billion dollars in domestic box office. A nearly-equal international haul filled in the other half needed for Rogue One to join the $1 Billion Club, a goal that Solo: A Star Wars Story came up more than $600 million short of.


37. $1.051 Billion 

Aladdin (2019) 57%


Domestic: $355.6 million
Release date: May 24, 2019

Aladdin wasn’t always a sure bet: A blue Will Smith was mocked in early reveals of his Genie character and Tim Burton’s live-action Dumbo proved to be a bust just two months before Aladdin‘s release. But Guy Ritchie’s new version of the beloved 1992 animated film took advantage of other 2019 summer under-performers like Godzilla: King of the MonstersDark Phoenix, and Men In Black Internationalgobbling them all up and staying in the top five at the box office for seven straight weeks. Its international haul was only $70 million less than 2017’s Beauty and the Beast, and was even higher than several films above it on this list including Black PantherIncredibles 2, and numbers 29-32.


38. $1.046 Billion 

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011) 33%


Domestic: $241.1 million
Release date: May 20, 2011

After Gore Verbinski’s Pirates trilogy grossed a combined $2.68 billion worldwide, Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer were not about to let the series sail into the sunset. The third film’s bloated length of 168 mins was roundly criticized (its Tomatometer score is just 45%), and this fourth film fared even worse with reviewers (33%), but it did the job at the box office. Domestic audiences showed up for the revamped outing with Jack Sparrow, just not in the expected droves, and a mammoth international total ($804.6 million) kept Stranger Tides in the record books.


39. $1.035 Billion 

Despicable Me 3 (2017) 59%


Domestic: $264.6 million
Release date: June 30, 2017

Though the third film in the Despicable Me franchise made just $13 million more than the original at the domestic box office, internationally the Despicable Me films had a 164% increase from the first film ($543.1 million) to the third ($1.035 billion). Released in 4,529 theaters, Gru’s third chapter did manage to have the largest launch in film history in North America until Avengers: Endgame came along. Four other films during the summer of 2019 also exceeded its one-time-record theater count.



40. $1.032 Billion 

Jurassic Park (1993) 92%


Domestic: $402.8 million (including re-releases)
Release date: June 11, 1993

Before James Cameron owned the top two spots in all-time domestic box office (for a period), it was Steven Spielberg who had pulled off that feat. His adaptation of Michael Crichton’s novel, Jurassic Park, was a return to the revered popcorn blockbusters he made his name on and it replaced the previous year’s Batman Returns as the top opener ever with $47 million and went on to gross over $357 million that summer. That was just a couple million dollars shy of his 1982 classic, E.T., but re-releases in 2-D and 3-D over the years have put the film over $400 million domestic and $1 billion worldwide.


41. $1.029 Billion 

Finding Dory (2016) 94%


Domestic: $486.3 million
Release date: June 17, 2016

Thirteen years after Finding Nemo became Pixar’s first $300 million domestic grosser and its biggest hit, the sequel focusing on Ellen Degeneres’ beloved memory-challenged sidekick reclaimed the throne, becoming again the animation house’s highest domestic grosser ever. The movie bested Toy Story 3 by over $71 million at home – even if it came up a bit short of that film internationally – and showed Pixar’s sequel business was really starting to thrive.


42. $1.027 Billion 

Star Wars: Episode I -- The Phantom Menace (1999) 52%


Domestic: $474.5 million (including re-releases)
Release date: May 19, 1999

George Lucas returned to the director’s chair after more than two decades to give fans what they thought they wanted 16 years after the release of Return of the Jedi. Fans certainly turned over their money but many left with a sense of disappointment that would help taint the prequel trilogy for decades to come. Phantom Menace was the highest-grossing film domestically to earn a Rotten score 55% (until 2019’s The Lion King came along). The $431 million earned in its initial run was enough to make it second only to Titanic all-time in North America; it took re-releases to push it over $1 billion globally. In 1999, it was the first film to clear $100 million in five days, beating the previous record holder, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, which earned $98.6 million in the same amount of time.



43. $1.026 Billion 

Alice in Wonderland (2010) 51%


Domestic: $334.2 million
Release date: March 5, 2010

Among the first five attempts Disney had made to bring its classic cartoons to life by 2010, Tim Burton’s Alice In Wonderland was by far the most successful. Its $116.1 million start was the sixth-largest movie opening ever at the time and the second-highest for Disney behind the second Pirates film. It was Burton’s seventh collaboration with Johnny Depp and the director has not had a film gross as much domestically in total as Alice made in its first three days since – not even with his attempt to replicate the success with Dumbo in 2019, which grossed a total of $114.7 million. But back in 2010, only Avatar, Titanic, and The Return of the King had made more money outside of North America than Alice did.


44. $1.024 Billion 

Zootopia (2016) 98%


Domestic: $341.3 million
Release date: March 4, 2016

To this day, Zootopia remains the second-highest–grossing animated Disney film not connected with Pixar. Since Frozen spent 16 straight weeks in the top 10, only three films have come as close, with 13 straight weeks in that top 10: Black Panther, La La Land, and yes,  Zootopia. Its $682 million overseas is the sixth-best ever for an animated film, the second-best for any Disney animated film, Pixar or otherwise. Also, it is just one of four films on this list to receive a Tomatometer score of 97%.



45. $1.017 Billion 

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012) 64%


Domestic: $303 million
Release date: December 14, 2012

Almost a decade after wrapping up his landmark Lord of the Rings trilogy, Peter Jackson returned to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien to give audiences the Bilbo Baggins tale. A planned two-parter turned into a full-blown trilogy and critics were feeling the bloat: While Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films all scored over 90% on the Tomatometer, the Hobbit films never rose above 74%, with the first film right in the middle with 64%. Audiences were not tired just yet, though, even if this was the last of the Middle-earth series to hit $300 million domestic and $1 billion worldwide. On the glass-half-full side, Jackson’s first four Tolkien films grossed a combined $3.938 billion globally.


46. $1.005 Billion 

The Dark Knight (2008) 94%


Domestic: $535.2 million
Release date: July 18, 2008

The untimely passing of Heath Ledger in January 2008 was a gut punch, but it made anticipation for what would become his iconic, Oscar-winning portrayal of Batman’s arch-nemesis, the Joker, even more feverish. It was the central piece of what is considered one of the greatest comic-book films ever made. The movie’s $158 million opening weekend broke the previous record-holder, Spider-Man 3, by more than $7 million, and Dark Knight held the record for nearly three years to the day until the final Harry Potter chapter was released. The opening is still 17th all-time and the movie’s domestic total haul is the 12th-highest ever.



47. $978.1 Million 

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001) 81%


Domestic: $318 million
Release date: November 16, 2001

Four years after the publication of J.K. Rowling’s first Harry Potter book, Chris Columbus brought it to the big screen and its legions of fans turned up in record numbers. A $90.2 million opening weekend crushed the previous title holder from four years earlier, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, by over $18 million. The Sorcerer’s Stone‘s final domestic total ranked sixth all-time behind the initial runs of Titanic, The Phantom Menace, E.T., Jurassic Park, and Forrest Gump. That total remained the highest of the series until Deathly Hallows: Part 2 in 2011.


48. $976.9 Million 

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011) 96%


Domestic: $296 million
Release date: November 17, 2010

If Quentin Tarantino could do it, why not Harry Potter? Warner Bros. tried to maximize their profits by splitting J.K. Rowling’s final book into two films. The first 150 minutes missed getting close to the $300 million mark, perhaps as some fans figured they could catch up on home video just before Part 2 hit theaters the following summer. Still, only five films had done better than its $125 million opening (The Dark KnightSpider-Man 3The Twilight Saga: New MoonDead Man’s ChestIron Man 2). The combined power of the Deathly Hallows resulted in $677.1 million domestic and $2.3 billion worldwide alone (but together.)


49. $970.8 Million 

Despicable Me 2 (2013) 75%


Domestic: $368.1 million
Release date: July 3, 2013

Despicable Me was a surprise hit in 2010, announcing the arrival of Illumination Entertainment as a major player in the animation game. So, after the losses of Hop and the decent success of Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, the studio doubled down on their biggest hit and struck gold. Another $325,000 and the film would be its highest domestic grosser instead of The Secret Life of Pets, which, along with Minions, would follow Despicable Me 2 with $100-plus million openings. By the end of that summer, the only animated film to have grossed more money worldwide was Toy Story 3. Also if you had guessed earlier that maybe Steven Spielberg or George Lucas were the other director/s – along with the Russo Bros. and their ilk – with a trifecta on this list, you would have been wrong, because the correct answer is Pierre Coffin, who directed (or co-directed) all three Despicable Me films, as well as Minions.


50. $968.5 Million 

The Lion King (1994) 93%


Domestic: $422.8 million
Release date: June 15, 1994

For 25 years, this film has remained relevant in pop culture through an acclaimed stage show, direct-to-video sequels, spinoffs, television series, and that mammoth re-imagination. The original Lion King was the second-highest–grossing film of 1994 behind Forrest Gump, which was – at the time – third only to the initial runs of E.T. and Jurassic Park at the all-time domestic box office. That made The Lion King the fourth highest-grossing film ever (not counting re-releases) and the number 1 domestic animated release of all time, a title it held for nine years until Finding Nemo.


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Thumbnail image courtesy Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Warner Bros. 

In Theaters This Week:



The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

74%

Rating: PG-13, for extended sequences of intense fantasy action violence, and frightening images.

The second film in Peter Jackson’s trilogy treatment of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit is ridiculously violent. Yes, it’s all computer-generated fantasy spectacle, but what a spectacle it is – full of piercing arrows, ominous shadows, stabbings and beheadings, with some of those severed heads flying right at the camera. If the giant talking spiders don’t get you, the fierce (and fiercely ugly) orcs will. General peril abounds as Bilbo Baggins and his dwarf pals try and make their way to the Lonely Mountain – and then once they get there, they must contend with the ferocious and fire-breathing dragon Smaug, voiced menacingly by Benedict Cumberbatch. Given the graphic nature of this movie and the extended running time, this really is just for the most mature tweens and up.



Saving Mr. Banks

79%

Rating: PG-13, for thematic elements including some unsettling images.

I’m actually not quite sure why this movie gets a PG-13 rating – maybe because it includes some flashbacks to a childhood with a father whose alcoholism destroyed him. For the most part, Saving Mr. Banks is a cheery (and not entirely accurate) retelling of how folksy Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) persuaded uptight Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson) to let his studio make a film based on her cherished children’s book. It’s a shamelessly sentimental infomercial by Disney, for Disney, about Disney, full of upbeat songs and cathartic tears. Fine for most kids.



Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas

20%

Rating: PG-13, for sexual references, crude humor and language.

This movie is amazingly terrible — incoherent and sloppily constructed in a way that?s surreal — so if you love your children, you probably shouldn’t take them to see it. But! If you’re at the multiplex trying to find something the whole family can enjoy after a long day of holiday shopping ? well, this still probably isn’t the best choice. Multimedia multi-hyphenate Tyler Perry returns to the sassy drag of his Madea character, a crass and wacky old lady with no internal censor. Most of the stuff she babbles about will go over kids’ heads – references to lingerie, drugs and stripping, for starters. Larry the Cable Guy shows up and magnifies the raunch factor with some sexual innuendos – which, again, probably won’t register with young viewers. There’s also a massively contrived car crash and explosion that might have been vaguely suspenseful in the hands of someone, you know, capable.

New On DVD:



Despicable Me 2

75%

Rating: PG, for rude humor and mild action.

Minions, minions and more minions make this sequel to the 2010 international hit such a delight. There isn’t a single thing in this movie that would make it inappropriate or objectionable in any way. When a powerful potion turns some of the babbling, bright yellow creatures into crazed, purple-monster versions of themselves, they’re a little more manic but never truly frightening. This remains my 4-year-old son’s favorite among the many animated films he saw this year.

Classic Fantasy Films:



Princess Mononoke

93%
This gorgeous and wondrous animated fantasy from Japanese master Hayao Miyazaki features a true warrior princess: a fierce young woman named San (voiced by Claire Danes in the English-language version) who can communicate with the spirits. She finds herself in the center of a war between animals, humans (whom she hates) and demons in a mystical 14th century setting. Too intense and complex for the littlest kids but a thrill for everyone else.



Time Bandits

90%
From the endlessly creative mind of Monty Python animator Terry Gilliam comes this comic adventure about a boy who time travels with a group of dwarves. Along the way, he runs into historical figures including Robin Hood and Napoleon. It’s got some darkness to its tone, which may disturb very little kids. But with its elaborately detailed production design, it’s always a wonder to watch.



The Princess Bride

98%
Long before films like Shrek took familiar fairy-tale conventions and turned them on their head, there was Rob Reiner’s cleverly self-referential comedy. A favorite from my own youth, The Princess Bride remains endlessly quotable with its colorful characters and swashbuckling scenarios. It’s charming and subversive in equal measure but, at its core, has an irresistibly sweet heart.

This week in streaming video, we’ve got a sci-fi action film with a message, a sequel to a popular animated film, an auteur’s biopic of a famous martial artist, and an action sequel, as well as a couple of worthy TV shows to watch. Read on to see what’s available to watch right now.


Elysium
65%

Matt Damon stars In this dystopian sci-fi action flick about a factory worker who learns he’ll die within days without medical help. So he makes a risky journey from Earth to Elysium, a space station where the wealthy live in luxury and perfect health — and don’t take well to outsiders.

Available on: Amazon, iTunes, Vudu


Despicable Me 2
75%

Erstwhile bad guy Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) is recruited by the Anti-Villain League agent Lucy Wilde (Kristen Wiig) to stop a criminal mastermind. Gru takes a shine to Lucy, and the minions make plenty of mischief.

Available now on: Amazon, iTunes, Vudu


The Grandmaster
78%

Wong Kar Wai’s period biopic about a legendary martial arts master stars Tony Leung and Ziyi Zhang.

Available now on: Amazon, iTunes, Vudu


Red 2
44%

Bruce Willis reprises his role as former CIA agent Frank Moses, who’s enjoying civilian life with Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker) when he’s alerted to yet another plot to have him offed; in order to clear his name, he’ll have to track down a nuclear weapon and avoid being taken out by an old friend.

Available now on: Amazon, iTunes, iTunes


Alpha House

John Goodman stars in Amazon’s original comedy about a group of conservative senators who share not only a residence, but a party-hearty attitude as well.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Parks & Recreation – Season 5

The beat goes on for Parks and Recreation, one of TV’s most critically adored sitcoms; season five got off to a bang with cameos from Sens. John McCain, Olympia Snowe, and Barbara Boxer in the premiere.

Available now on: Amazon Prime

Humor was in demand as A-list funnymen Steve Carell and Adam Sandler dominated the box office with their hit sequels Despicable Me 2 and Grown Ups 2, respectively, while the raunchy laughs of The Heat with Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy also finished among the top four movies for the frame. The big-budget sci-fi actioner Pacific Rim opened in third and helped lead another weekend when ticket sales were substantially ahead of last year’s.

Staying at number one for a second weekend, Despicable Me 2 delivered a solid sophomore frame with an estimated $44.8M dropping only 46%. The toon smash has now amassed a staggering $229.2M and could be on its way to doing $350M or more from North America alone. By next weekend, it will surpass the $251.5M domestic total of its 2010 predecessor.

The Minions continued to win over audiences around the world too. The international marketplace took in a hefty $55.5M from 50 markets boosting the offshore sum to $243.2M and the global tally to $472.4M and rising quickly. By midweek, the worldwide haul will crush the half-billion mark.

Adam Sandler scored another box office hit, this time with his first-ever sequel, as the comedy Grown Ups 2 debuted close behind in second place with an estimated $42.5M. The Sony release averaged a sturdy $12,174 from 3,491 locations with no help from 3D. That edged out the $40.5M debut of its 2010 predecessor which went on to finish with $162M domestically. Grown Ups 2 tied last fall’s animated hit Hotel Transylvania for Sander’s second biggest opening weekend ever trailing only the $47.6M of 2005’s The Longest Yard.

The funnyman’s live-action films since the first Grown Ups ranged from disappointing to pathetic at the box office indicating that fans may have tired of his brand of humor. But the sequel opened at the high end of Sandler’s usual first weekend range cementing his status as one of the most reliable box office draws in the business. He is well on his way to having his 14th $100M+ domestic grosser over the past 15 years.

Grown Ups 2 – which also brought back Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade, and Salma Hayek – skewed 53% female giving that audience a funny and light alternative to the macho action fare. 54% was under 25. Reviews were among the worst of the year which is usually the case with Sandler’s films. They don’t win over critics, but they do sell to mainstream moviegoers looking for light-hearted fun that requires no thinking. The CinemaScore grade was a mediocre B.

Opening in third place was the sci-fi actioner Pacific Rim with an estimated $38.3M from 3,275 theaters for a good $11,695 average. That was about even with the $37.1M bow of April’s futuristic thriller Oblivion with Tom Cruise. Both were sci-fi action pics not based on known brands which also had 3D and IMAX contributing. Oblivion was star-driven but Pacific had a prime summer slot. District 9 from the summer of 2009 opened to a similar $37.4M.

Ordinarily this would be a very strong opening for an original action film with no major box office stars. However, Pacific Rim carried an enormous budget, reportedly in the $200M range, so it will take a long road to reach break-even. Directed by Guillermo del Toro, Rim tells the story of a time in the near future when humans build humungous robots to do battle with alien monsters on a mission to exterminate Earth’s inhabitants.

Reviews were very positive and the CinemaScore grade was an encouraging A- which was the same as for other summer action flicks like Man of Steel, White House Down, and The Heat. This might indicate a good road ahead, although fanboy pics typically draw their main audience upfront. Studio research showed that males made up 61% of the crowd while 53% were over 25. The special effects were a big draw as 19% of the gross came from IMAX screens and 50% overall came from the 3D format. That share represented the highest of any film in that format this summer.

About half of the international marketplace opened Pacific Rim this weekend with $53M collected from 38 markets for a global debut of $91.3M. Most, but not all, markets were impressive led by $9.6M in Korea and $9.3M in Russia. More key markets are to come including France and Germany next weekend and China, which could be a huge one for an IMAX film like this, on July 31.

Enjoying the best hold in the top ten was the Sandra Bullock-Melissa McCarthy comedy hit The Heat which grossed an estimated $14M in its third weekend, off 44%. The Fox release surged to $112.4M becoming the sixth live-action $100M+ domestic grosser for Bullock and third for McCarthy in a major role.

Disney contributed the next two films. The mega-budgeted adventure The Lone Ranger tanked in its second frame with an estimated $11.1M falling a steep 62%. That was especially troubling considering that the opening day did not fall on the first frame’s Friday-to-Sunday take. The Johnny Depp misfire should end its domestic run just under the $100M mark. Overseas grosses are not exactly on fire. Only $48M has been collected so far from 33 markets representing a third of the overall foreign marketplace with the worldwide figure at just $119.1M. Additional major territories don’t open until August.

Among suppliers, the studio is seeing much better results from Pixar than from Jerry Bruckheimer. The toon sequel Monsters University declined by 46% to an estimated $10.6M in its fourth round pushing the total to $237.8M. The global score has risen to $474.2M on its way to over $600M.

Hunk-led disaster movies followed. Brad Pitt’s zombie thriller World War Z fell 49% to an estimated $9.4M while Channing Tatum’s White House Down dropped 54% to an estimated $6.2M. Totals are $177.1M for Paramount and $63M for Sony.

Standup concert film Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain followed with an estimated $5M, off 50%, giving Lionsgate $26.4M to date. Rounding out the top ten was the superhero smash Man of Steel which tumbled 58% to an estimated $4.8M putting Warner Bros. at $281M thus far. A final in the $290-295M range should result.

In the limited release scene, The Weinstein Co. attracted sensational business to its Sundance winner Fruitvale Station which bowed in just seven sites to an estimated $377,000 for a scorching $53,857 average. Reviews have been terrific and Oscar buzz is already growing. The Hindi film Bhaag Milkha Bhaag debuted to an estimated $670,000 from 139 theaters for a $4,820 average for distributor Reliance Entertainment. Indie comedy hit The Way, Way Back expanded from 19 to 79 locations and grossed an estimated $1.1M for a solid $14,051 average. With $1.9M to date, Fox Searchlight will expand to nearly 300 theaters on Friday.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $186.7M which was up 25% from last year when Ice Age: Continental Drift opened at number one with $46.6M; but down 25% from 2011 when Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 debuted in the top spot with a record $169.2M.

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This weekend, toon bad guy Gru dominated the box office with a gargantuan debut for his animated sequel Despicable Me 2 which drove the marketplace to a new record for the Independence Day holiday frame. Meanwhile, Johnny Depp attracted disappointing numbers to his new summer tentpole The Lone Ranger which finished in second. People caught up on a wide variety of holdovers (and free air conditioning) as the top ten surged to a scorching $218M.

Universal overperformed and took in an estimated $82.5M this weekend for its toon giant Despicable Me 2 with the full debut period clocking in at an astounding $142.1M since its first shows starting at 7:00pm on Tuesday evening. The PG-rated smash averaged a sizzling $20,645 over the Friday-to-Sunday portion from 3,997 theaters. By comparison, the summer’s other big animated sequel Monsters University grossed $105.3M in its first five days, although over a non-holiday period.

The first Despicable debuted three years ago in July 2010 to $56.4M and was a leggy hit finishing with nearly five times its opening with $251.5M. Fan love for Gru and his Minions grew over the years and now the sequel has capitalized on it. And like Shrek 2 before it, DM2 scored huge numbers by being both a toon for families and a mainstream comedy for teens and young adults.

Reviews were quite good for a sequel and audiences gave a big thumbs up with a glowing A grade from CinemaScore. Studio research showed that the crowd was 60% female and 55% under 25. With a $76M production cost, DM2 is sure to be a major moneymaker spawning more sequels (and fat paychecks) for Steve Carell and company. Universal already has a spin-off film for the Minions on the calendar for December 2014.

International grosses were fantastic too. Despicable Me 2 grossed a stellar $88.8M over the weekend from 45 markets pushing the overseas take to $151.1M and the global gross to an eye-popping $293.2M with much more to come. Reaching the billion mark cannot be ruled out at this point.

Debuting in second place with less than spectacular results was Johnny Depp’s big-budget Western adventure film The Lone Ranger with an estimated $29.4M over three days and $48.9M since its Tuesday night launch at 7:00pm. Directed by Gore Verbinski and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, the PG-13 period pic even opened below the $70.6M five-day launch of the team’s Pirates of the Caribbean from ten years ago this very month. Factor in a decade worth of ticket price increases and the audience was roughly half the size.

Reviews were very negative and a film based on the Lone Ranger brand was not exactly something audiences were asking for. Last summer, Dark Shadows proved that ticket buyers will no longer come out automatically to see Depp do yet another eccentric role. The film actually needs to be good and look compelling. With a reported production budget of at least $215M not counting an aggressive marketing push, this is a huge investment from Disney which will be difficult to recoup. The CinemaScore was a B+ which was decent, but nothing special. And new action films will open every Friday over the next several weeks so the road ahead looks treacherous for Tonto.

Overseas, Lone Ranger opened in 24 markets representing only 30% of the international marketplace so it was not a full upfront roll-out. The weekend delivered $24.3M with a global take so far of $73.2M. Russia easily led with $6.6M while key markets Australia, Italy, and Korea were not impressive.

The Sandra Bullock-Melissa McCarthy cop comedy The Heat held up well in its second weekend taking in an estimated $25M slipping only 36% thanks to a potent combo of a holiday session plus solid buzz. With $86.4M so far, look for the Fox hit to reach $150M or more.

Disney and Pixar’s Monsters University took a direct hit from the Minions tumbling 57% to an estimated $19.6M after spending back-to-back weekends at number one. Cume sits at $216.1M while the global tally crossed $400M. Brad Pitt captured an estimated $18.2M with the zombie thriller World War Z, off 39%, putting Paramount at $158.8M to date domestic and $366.2M worldwide.

More action offerings followed for those moviegoers who wanted their fireworks on the big screen this weekend. Sony’s actioner White House Down dropped a reasonable 46% to an estimated $13.5M and $50.5M total. Man of Steel was still in eight-digit territory with an estimated $11.4M in its fourth round, down 45%, for a $271.2M sum. $300M domestic is still within reach.

The standup comedy concert Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain made a sparkling debut with an estimated $10.1M from 876 theaters for a superb three-day average of $11,530. Since its Wednesday launch, the R-rated Lionsgate release has banked an impressive $17.5M after just five days. That’s already more than twice the $7.7M total gross from the comedian’s last concert pic Laugh at My Pain which played in under 300 theaters. The success of that low-budget hit opened the door to Explain getting a high profile holiday slot and triple the theaters and the gamble paid off.

Sony’s doomsday comedy hit This is the End followed with an estimated $5.8M, off just 33%, for a $85.6M cume to date heading towards the century mark. Rounding out the top ten was the sleeper success Now You See Me which fell 51% to an estimated $2.8M giving Lionsgate $110.4M so far.

As if ruling the holiday box office wasn’t enough, Steve Carell also made an impressive debut on the specialty scene with the indie comedy The Way, Way Back which opened to an estimated $575,000 from 19 theaters across eight markets for a potent $30,263 average for Fox Searchlight. The critically acclaimed summer vacation pic expands to most other major cities over the next two weeks.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $218.3M which was up 23% from last year when The Amazing Spider-Man opened at number one with $62M; and up a healthy 55% from 2011 when Transformers: Dark of the Moon debuted in the top spot with $47.1M.

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In Theaters This Week:



Despicable Me 2

75%

Rating: PG, for rude humor and mild action.

One word: Minions. They were the best part of the original 2010 international smash hit. I know it, you know it and Universal Pictures certainly knows it, making the babbling, bright-yellow, bug-eyed buddies the focus of their marketing campaign and adding more screen time for them in the sequel. Former super villain Gru (voiced with lively weirdness once again by Steve Carell) is now enjoying time with his trio of moppet-like adoptive daughters, but he gets dragged back into the bad-guy game to track down the source of a powerful transformative potion. There is not a single thing in here that will seem shocking or frightening or otherwise off-putting for even the youngest viewers. My 3-year-old son, who at some point during every movie will say, ‘I want to go home,’ out of boredom or fear or a combination of the two, didn’t utter that sentence once. But he did ask where the Minions were when they were gone.



The Lone Ranger

30%

Rating: PG-13, for sequences of intense action and violence, and some suggestive material.

A Lone Ranger origin story from Tonto’s perspective, this is 2 ½ hours of bloated special effects, overlong set pieces and awkwardly blended efforts at humor, action, mysticism, romance and historical lesson. This should come as no surprise from the people who brought you the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, director Gore Verbinski and producer Jerry Bruckheimer, collaborating once again with star Johnny Depp. Just the sheer length, enormity and confusion at work here might be too overwhelming and/or boring for many kids. There’s a lot of Western-style gunplay and at one point, a criminal who’s a purported cannibal carves out a guy’s heart and eats it. (You don’t actually see this, but you do see blood and it’s implied.) There’s also a brothel sequence, if you feel like explaining that to your children. Oh, and Armie Hammer, as the title character, gets his head dragged through a pile of horse poop. Viewers might feel as if the same thing is happening to them.



The Way, Way Back

83%

Rating: PG-13, for thematic elements, language, some sexual content and brief drug material.

A great choice for older kids, this coming-of-age comedy is the very definition of a crowdpleaser. It’s pure formula, but it’s executed so beautifully — with such charm, smart writing and a great cast — that you won’t mind the predictability of the plot points as they come along. Liam James stars as an awkward, quiet, 14-year-old boy stuck on a summer beach house vacation with his divorced mom (Toni Collette), her condescending boyfriend (Steve Carell, again) and his dismissive teenage daughter (Zoe Levin). There’s a lot of drinking and some implied pot smoking. Some adult characters enjoy a little extra-curricular cavorting and bikini ogling. And there’s consistent profanity, but nothing that pre-teens probably haven’t already heard before.

New On DVD:



Venus And Serena

75%

Rating: PG-13, for some strong language.

The story of how Venus and Serena Williams rose from poverty in the Southern California city of Compton to the absolute zenith of the tennis world is well known by now. This documentary follows the Williams sisters throughout the 2011 tennis season, which was a challenging one for them both. It doesn’t necessarily unearth anything scandalous – Serena famously finds some fierce words for umpires and line judges when she disagrees with their calls – but it does provide an intimate glimpse into their individual daily lives and the closeness they enjoy together. Venus and Serena are roommates, best friends and each other’s biggest champion — an impressive showing of loyalty, especially given how often they’ve had to compete against each other for Grand Slam titles. And their dedication, perseverance and drive provide a positive lesson for young viewers, whether they’re athletes or not.

This week at the movies, we’ve got an army of minions (Despicable Me 2, with voice work by Steve Carell and Kristen Wiig) and a legendary masked man (The Lone Ranger, starring Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer). What do the critics have to say?



Despicable Me 2

75%

Those jovial, irrepressible minions are back. Critics say Despicable Me 2 isn’t as fresh as its predecessor, but it’s goofy, colorful, and often very funny. This time out, erstwhile bad guy Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) is recruited by the Anti-Villain League agent Lucy Wilde (Kristen Wiig) to stop a criminal mastermind. Gru takes a shine to Lucy, and the minions make plenty of mischief. The pundits say the Certified Fresh Despicable Me 2 should delight the kiddies, and though it isn’t particularly deep, it’s sweet, silly, and energetic.



The Lone Ranger

30%

Bad news, Kemosabe: critics say Gore Verbinski‘s big-budget adaptation of The Lone Ranger is bombastic, overlong, and altogether misguided, stranding its strong cast in a plot that succumbs to jarring tonal shifts. Tonto (Johnny Depp) narrates the tale of the Lone Ranger (Arnie Hammer), a lawyer-cum-masked vigilante who vows revenge after a murderous psychopath kills his brother; what follows is a series of shootouts and chases against the picturesque backdrop of the old West. The pundits say Depp and Hammer are charming leads, but they’re surrounded by a film that can never decide whether it’s an action flick, a comedy, or a revisionist drama.

Also opening this week in limited release:

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