Top 5 Highest-Grossing Films Ranked

Julien Neaves

So the highly anticipated, juggernaut of a film Avengers: Endgame had its worldwide premiere last night and will be hitting my corner of the multiverse (aka Trinidad and Tobago) this Thursday. And yes, I gots mah ticketz!

Now many people are anticipating Endgame is going to do record-breaking box office numbers and this got me thinking about the top-grossing films of all time. While these films have made billions are they really good films and which is the best of the bunch? With a SPOILER ALERT here the Top 5 highest-grossing films (not adjusted for inflation) ranked:

#5 Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)

Global Box Office: $2.068 billion

Finn: Dude, you’re bleeding Kylo: ‘Tis but a flesh wound

As a teen I have fond memories of rewatching The Empire Strikes Back on Betamax every afternoon after school. Me love Star Wars long time! But with the Disney takeover I have been mostly underwhelmed by the new films; Rogue One is the only real standout and Solo was an embarrassing nadir.

So while The Force Awakens was entertaining enough (and kudos for a return to more practical effects there JJ) it was hampered by being mostly a plot rehash of A New Hope. And the new characters, while decent, just lacked that engaging, iconic quality of a Luke, Leia or Han. Actually the best parts of the films were seeing Han and Chewie together again. Yeah the Force was strong at the box office but the weak plot means the film does not hold up well to repeat viewings.

#4 Jurassic World (2015)

Global Box office: $1.671 billion

jurassic world
Excuse me good sir. Do you have any Grey Poupon?

How is Jurassic World on this list? I mean, The Force Awakens had a built-in global fanbase to push it to mega box office credits, but the dino romp had to rely on the goodwill of the excellent original film more than 20 years ago. Maybe the time was just right for a big popcorn adventure. And who doesn’t love dinosaurs?

Chris Pratt does carry the film with his charisma and the dino-on-dino action (that giant aquatic one eating the genetically manipulated one at the end, so goooood) is both a throwback to the days of the original King Kong and when we all played with plastic dinos in our living room. And with those nostalgia glasses we were able to wink at the generic plot, one-note bad guy and Tyrannosaurus-sized plot holes.

#3 Avatar (2019)

Global box office: $2.788 billion

Is that your tail?

By a show of hands whose favourite film is Avatar? Anyone? Anyone? *crickets chirp* Yeah Avatar was a massive global phenomenon when it first came out and the superb 3D effects made us all part with our hard-earned dollars. And while it is the highest grossing film of ALL TIME (insert echo effect) it just feels…wrong (I am looking forward to Endgame kicking its blue backside off that throne). And sure Avatar is a fun movie with some cool action scenes. But dig a little deeper and you will find a highly derivative story led by Jake Sully, a hero with all the charisma of a cheese grater.

Like expensive plastic fruit Avatar looks really good but eating it leaves you feeling hollow inside. And it just doesn’t remain etched in the hearts and minds of moviegovers like a great film is supposed to. So James Cameron you may be planning Avatars 2, 3, 4 and all the way up to ten, but how many people are jumping out of their seat with excitement for these sequels? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

#2 Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

Global Box Office:  $1.518 billion

Infinity War

I did a quick review on Infinity War and because I’m lazy I am going to repost some of it here: 

Nuff respect to the Russo brothers for giving us a movie that paid homage and moved forward a franchise 18 movies strong. Josh Brolin’s Thanos is fantastic as the subdued genocidal baddie, though I am still not in love with his CGI. Everyone got their money’s worth with tonnes of epic action and hero combinations, a good bit of solid humour and some truly heart breaking moments. I saw the movie twice and the deaths of Gamora and Peter Parker got me both times. Both times. Damn you Russos! But the film is a whole lot to take in and the ending, while understandable, was just not satisfying.

Of the films so far on this list this is the first to really combine high quality with massive box office appeal. There is so much depth and fun and drama and hope and loss in this one movie. It is like buying a DVD and finding out you get three extra films for free. Score! And unlike the previous three entries I can sit and watch it repeatedly without ever getting sick of it.

#1 Titanic (1997)

Global Box Office: $2.187 billion

Can you draw my boobs bigger?

Yes I hear your collective sighs. And yes there was room for Jack on the door. And yes all those girls “ooohing” and “ahhhing” when Leo came on screen when I saw it in cinema way back when was tre annoying. And yes My Heart Will Go On was played five times a day, seven days a week back then.

Those things aside, Titanic is just a dang great film. Leo and Kate have on-fire chemistry, the costuming is perfection and the score epic. And like any great blockbuster there is something for everyone. Love a grand period romance? Jack and Rose has got you covered. Just want to see a ship crack in half and a guy ping-pong off a propeller? James Cameron (yes, him again) has got you covered as well. So while the titular ship sank Titanic has aptly soared to both critical and commercial heights and to the top of this ranking. And though your heart may go on, this list is at the end.

For my ranking of the Top 10 MCU Movies you can click here. 

Julien Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by Freddy Krueger, learned to be a superhero from Marvel but dreams of being Batman. Also loves creating board games and is an aspiring Caribbean sci-fi author. Says things like “12 flavours of awesome sauce.”

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