Highest grossing movie worldwide, annually 1915-2019

In 2019, Avengers: Endgame overtook 2009's Avatar as the highest grossing film of all time at the international Box Office. As of November 2019, the difference between Endgame and Avatar's totals is fewer than ten million dollars, however this may change over the next few years as Avatar is likely to be shown again in theaters prior to midnight releases of it's four sequels, (the first of which is due in 2021). Before Avatar, the record had been held by 1997's Titanic, both of which were directed by James Cameron. When adjusted for inflation, 1939's Gone With the Wind is the highest grossing film of all time, with some sources claiming that it has generated approximately 3.4 billion dollars in today's money***.

Recurring figures

Throughout the list, many of the same directors and actors appear in multiple films. Stephen Spielberg has directed more of these films than any other director, with six titles to his name. Cecil B. DeMille, a "founding father" of American Cinema, and Disney's Hamilton Luske, have each directed (or co-directed) five movies on this list. 2012's Frozen is the only film made by a female director; Jennifer Lee, and 2000's Mission: Impossible 2 is the only film made by a non-white director; John Woo. If we look to those in front of the camera, Harrison Ford, through his roles in the Star Wars and Indiana Jones films, has appeared in the highest number of films listed here; featuring in seven titles. His Star Wars co-star, Carrie Fisher, has appeared in five films listed here, more than any other actress. When looking at the companies behind the films featured on this list, we can see that Disney and Paramount Pictures (in all of their forms) have each produced and/or distributed 23 of the films on this list, at the time of their release.

Disney dominates

Since 1999, only two of the 21 highest grossing movies were not sequels or continuations of other franchises (although sequels for both of these films have subsequently been made or are in production), and eight of the ten most recent titles are Disney properties. After acquiring Marvel Entertainment in 2009 and Lucasfilm in 2012, in deals worth 4.24 billion and 4.05 billion dollars respectively, Disney built upon its position as the largest entertainment company in the world and has dominated the international box office over the last decade. With Marvel's Phase 4 launching in 2020 and plans for a fourth Star Wars trilogy in the works, as well as the multiple originals, sequels and live-action remakes already in production, it is likely that Disney films will feature at the top of this list for years to come.

International box office figures for the highest grossing movies each year*, from 1915 to 2019

Unadjusted gross in million US dollars
2019 - Avengers: Endgame 2,797.8
2018 - Avengers: Infinity War 2,048.36
2017 - Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi 1,332.54
2016 - Captain America: Civil War 1,153.3
2015 - Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens 2,068.22
2014 - Transformers: Age of Extinction 1,104.05
2013 - Frozen 1,274.22
2012 - The Avengers 1,518.81
2011 - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 1,341.93
2010 - Toy Story 3 1,066.97
2009 - Avatar 2,789.97
2008 - The Dark Knight 1,004.93
2007 - Pirates if the Caribbean: At World's End 961
2006 - Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest 1,066.18
2005 - Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire 896.91
2004 - Shrek 2 923.08
2003 - The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King 1,120.42
2002 - The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers 927.6
2001 - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone 978.09
2000 - Mission: Impossible II 546.39
1999 - Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace 1,027.08
1998 - Armageddon 553.71
1997 - Titanic 2,187.46
1996 - Independence Day 817.4
1995 - Die Hard: With a Vengeance 366
1994 - The Lion King 968.51
1993 - Jurassic Park 1,030.31
1992 - Aladdin 504.05
1991 - Terminator 2: Judgement Day 520
1990 - Ghost 505.7
1989 - Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade 474.17
1988 - Rain Man 355
1987 - Fatal Attraction 320
1986 - Top Gun 357
1985 - Back to the Future 381.11
1984 - Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom 333
1983 - Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi 475.11
1982 - E.T. - The Extra Terrestrial 792.91
1981 - Raiders of the Lost Arc 389.93
1980 - Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back 547.88
1979 - Moonraker 210
1978 - Grease 394.96
1977 - Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope 775.51
1976 - Rocky 225
1975 - Jaws 470.65
1974 - Blazing Saddles 119.6
1973 - The Exorcist 428.21
1972 - The Godfather 268.5
1971 - Billy Jack 98
1970 - Love Story 136.4
1969 - Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid 102.31
1968 - Funny Girl* *58.71
1967 - The Jungle Book 210.31
1966 - The Bible: In the Beginning... 34.9
1965 - The Sound of Music 286.21
1964 - Mary Poppins 102.28
1963 - Cleopatra 71
1962 - The Longest Day 39.1
1961 - 101 Dalmations 303
1960 - Swiss Family Robinson 40.36
1959 - Ben-Hur 73.26
1958 - South Pacific 36.82
1957 - The Bridge on the River Kwai 33.3
1956 - The Ten Commandments 90.07
1955 - Lady and the Tramp 187
1954 - White Christmas 30
1953 - Peter Pan 87.4
1952 - The Greatest Show on Earth 36
1951 - Quo Vadis? 21
1950 - Cinderella 95.13
1949 - Samson and Delilah 28.82
1948 - The Snake Pit* *10
1947 - Forever Amber 16
1946 - Song of the South 37.46
1945 - The Bells of St. Mary's 21.3
1944 - Going My Way* *16.3
1943 - This is the Army* *20.83
1942 - Bambi 267.45
1941 - Sergeant York 16.36
1940 - Pinocchio 121.89
1939 - Gone With the Wind 402.35
1938 - Alexander's Ragtime Band 4
1937 - Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs 184.93
1936 - One in a Million* *2
1935 - Top Hat 3.2
1934 - It Happened One Night 2.5
1933 - King Kong 10
1932 - Shanghai Express* *8.07
1931 - Frankenstein* *12
1930 - Tom Sawyer* *11
1929 - The Broadway Melody 4.36
1928 - The Road to Ruin* *2.5
1927 - The Jazz Singer 3
1926 - Aloma of the South Seas* *6.54
1925 - The Big Parade 22
1924 - The Thief of Baghdad 4.36
1923 - The Covered Wagon 3.8
1922 - Robin Hood* *5.45
1921 - The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse 9.18
1920 - Way Down East* *4.5
1919 - The Miracle Man* *3
1918 - Mickey* *17.2
1917 - A Romance of the Redwoods* *0.42
1916 - Joan the Woman* *1.32
1915 - The Birth of a Nation 11
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Sources

Release date

November 2019

Region

Worldwide

Survey time period

1915 to 2019

Supplementary notes

This data has been compiled using a list from Insider, with further information and updated totals gathered from IMDB, Rotten Tomatoes and the-numbers.com. Please note that pre-1975 data is based on box-office income, and not rental fees paid by distributors and theaters.
Release date is date of extraction.

* This data is not confined to gross from the year of release, but also includes box-office income from theatrical re-releases in later years.
** Data for US box office only. (Like several other early entries, this may be due to the fact that these movies were not released outside of the US, however this is not clear).
*** The source gives figures in 2017 valued US dollars. It is unclear whether the data was calculated using figures relating to 1939 only, or whether the proportional figures from the appropriate years of re-release were also used.

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