Mr. Krabs from Spongebob reclining on a pile of money. Looking at another dollar bill in his hands/claw. Image: Nickelodeon.
(Nickelodeon)

The 10 Best Movies in the World Based Entirely on How Much Money They Made

*Takes a long, slow pull of a cigar and blows it in your face*

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Listen kid, if there’s one thing I know about art, it’s that it doesn’t matter unless it makes you absolutely filthy rich. Art isn’t about moving people, or “holding a mirror” to the “human condition” (what bleeding heart high school drama teacher told you that?). Art is about making MONEY. And LOTS OF IT. Action figures that you can pay to put your face on? That’s art. This bullshit? Not art cause it didn’t make money.

These films I’m about to tell you about? They got the right idea. It doesn’t have to be good, it just has to put butts in seats. And these movies? Listen, kid, these movies put a lot of butts in a lot of seats. You never seen that many butts. Nobody has. It’s almost too many butts. But all those butts bought tickets so I sure wouldn’t kick ’em out of the bed for eating crackers, know what I mean?

We’re only gonna talk about the top 5 highest-grossing films ever, so Top Gun: Maverick doesn’t count. Yeah, I know it just passed Avengers as the ninth highest-grossing film of all time. Well, I just passed a kidney stone the size of a golfball. Big whoop.

10. The Avengers – $1,515,100,211

Scarlet Johansson as Black Widow, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Chris Evans as Captain America, Mark Ruffalo as Hulk, Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye and Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man in Avengers Assemble 2012
(Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

Oh The Avengers… to quote Casablanca (a movie for poor people) I remember thinking that The Avengers was the start of a beautiful friendship. The best kind of friendship… one with benefits. FINANCIAL benefits. This cash cow of a film ended up up turning into an entire HERD. Sequels on sequels on sequels! Money on money on money! Ten years. TEN YEARS we spent cranking these Marvel flicks out, and people kept eating them up! It wasn’t just a series of movies, it was a blockbuster T.V. SERIES when we got through with it.

9. The Lion King – $1,646,106,779

Simba (voiced by Matthew Broderick) in The Lion King (Disney)
(Disney)

The Lion King is a fine example of a tried and true money making method. Ya gotta bank on what’s already been tried to get truly rich! I’m sure that plenty of you broke-ass theater majors know that The Lion King was loosely inspired by the plot of the most famous play ever written in the English canon: Hamlet. I forget who wrote it, some Elizabethan bum. But boy did he sure know how to put asses in seats back then, and apparently he still does today.

8. Jurassic World – $1,669,963,641

Chris Part stands guard in front of three people in Jurassic World
(Universal Pictures)

If you made a dollar every year since the Jurassic Era beganup until Jurassic World came out, you’d have $201.3 million dollars! In other words, you’d be worth DINOSAUR EGGS in comparison to how much this movie made. Like the tried and true Lion King before it, this movie is basically a less good remake of Jurassic Park – that OTHER blockbuster movie about dinosaurs. What is it about dinosaurs that people love so much? People didn’t grow out of mashing together T-Rex toys together in preschool? Suppose not. I do the same thing I suppose… with stacks of cash.

7. Spiderman: No Way Home – $1,907,836,254

Spider Man stands on a rooftop with his robotic spider legs outstretched in "Spiderman: No Way Home"
(Sony)

Spiderman: No Way Home sure made it home after all, alright. Made it home almost 2 BILLION dollars richer. Ya wanna know the freaky thing? If you had a dollar for every side on Earth… you would be… actually WAY richer than this movie made Hollywood execs. You’d have more money than God. I don’t wanna scare ya, but there are A LOT of spiders on this planet. But only ONE was good enough to make us some serious money. Love ya, Peter Parker. Love you and the spider that bit ya.

6. Avengers: Infinity War – $2,048,359,754

Tom Holland as Peter Parker in Avengers: Infinity War (Marvel Studios)
(Marvel Studios)

I’m telling ya, the Avengers series was the best thing that happened for rich people since the invention of money. Infinity War practically printed infinity dollars! If the first Avengers movie was a money explosion bigger than the eruption at Mount Vesuvius, Infinity War was practically the Yellowstone supervolcano! Only it didn’t blot out the sun in ash, it blotted it out in CASH.

5. Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens – $2,064,615,817

Daisy Ridley as Rey in Star Wars: The Force Awakens

When this space opera for virgins came out in 1977, I didn’t think that we’d make a dime. I mean, c’mon? The Force? Lightsabers? People turnin’ out to be other people’s dads the whole time? I thought “Nuh-uh. No way. Bad investment.” But boy was I wrong. Like that little green guy who talks funny (Yogi or whatever) says: this movie made me money, it did. I dunno if he actually said that, I didn’t watch the movie myself, I was too busy watching my bank account, know what I mean? Anyway, you wanna know how much the seventh installment in this series of polished turds made? More money than the number of stars visible in the sky! More lightyears than there are in the Milky Way! I think? I don’t know, science is for poor people.

4. Titanic – $2,222,985,568

leonardo dicaprio, kate winslet
image credit: Paramount Pictures

And what a titanic hit it was. It had young Leo for crying out loud. That kid could seduce the habit off a nun. When they’re going at it in that car, my God, the temperature in the theater rose 10 degrees. I was there that night, mostly for the end of the movie. I like watching bad shit happen to people who can’t afford stuff. Sue me. Oh wait, you can’t! My lawyers would destroy you faster than an iceberg hitting an unsinkable ship. Which, in the movie, admittedly, does take a pretty long time. This movie made so much money it would’ve sunk the Titanic without an iceberg. Wanna know how much? Well, after adjusting for inflation, this movie made 3.09 billion dollars. You pile that on the ship, she’s sinking right down to the bottom of the sea. Throw all the necklaces you want, old Rose. I prefer cold, hard cash.

3. Avatar: The Way of Water – $2,319,591,720

Lo'ak the Na'vi and Payakan the tulkun in 'Avatar: The Way of Water'
(Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

Avatar: The Way of Water sure made my pockets liquid alright. Flush you could say. It’s a movie about giant blue people teaching other giant blue people how to swim! I think? I don’t know, I didn’t even see it! I was too busy watching my bank account go up! Ya gotta hand it to ol’ Jimmy Cameron the director, everything the man touches practically turns to gold.

2. Avengers: Endgame – $2,788,912,285

Josh Brolin's Thanos in Avengers: Endgame, pointing with his weapon to command his army
(Marvel Studios)

What did you expect? Friggin’ Casablanca? You couldn’t pay me to wipe my butt with Casablanca. No, THIS movie. THIS movie right here made me and the guys a lotta money. Wanna know how much? Take a wild guess. A hundred million dollars? How about two? Not even close. This movie made 2.8 billion dollars. That’s “billion” with a “b,” but you probably can’t even count that high can you? Don’t be too hard on yourself, kid. No one can. That’s the point. You know you’ve made great art when the critics can’t even count how much money you made from it.

1. Avatar – $2,923,706,026

james cameron
Image credit: 20th Century Fox

Good ol’ James Cameron. I never woulda guessed he had it in him. Two billion-dollar movies is one thing but three? Oh Jimmy, you never let us down! And you didn’t even have to make something original to do it! All you had to do was take the plot of that Disney garbage, Pocahontas, slather on all the CGI the studio could afford, and BAM! BOX OFFICE HIT. I can’t—hang on, hang on—I’m laughing so hard I’m crying into my champagne! You wanna know how much we made? Alright so get this, without inflation this is the highest-grossing film of all time. With inflation, we made 3.27 billion dollars. What a scream, right? And guess what? There’s gonna be a sequel. We’re going for 6 billion this time! I’ve been having a laugh thinking of a title. How about Avatar 2: Give Us Your Money. Pretty good joke, right? And the punchline is: they will!

(Featured image credit: 20th Century Fox/Nickelodeon)


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Image of Jack Doyle
Jack Doyle
Jack Doyle (they/them) is actually nine choirs of biblically accurate angels crammed into one pair of $10 overalls. They have been writing articles for nerds on the internet for less than a year now. They really like anime. Like... REALLY like it. Like you know those annoying little kids that will only eat hotdogs and chicken fingers? They're like that... but with anime. It's starting to get sad.