The explosion of streaming services has allowed people to peruse the full history of film from their couches, whether to relish in nostalgic favorites or explore movies they’ve never seen before.
The advent of COVID-19 fueled our attachments to movie nights on the couch more than ever before, with more than 100 years’ worth of movie history to choose from. One could go back as far as the silent era to find big-budget spectacle, in movies such as Buster Keaton’s “The General” or Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis.” Each decade that followed delivered its own version of pure movie magic, cranking big productions and big effects out of big budgets. Then there are the little movies that could: mid-budget films that captured the zeitgeist and rode to the top of the box office as a result.
Stacker compiled a list of the 50 biggest box office winners of all time, using data from Box Office Mojo (last updated May 2022). Rankings rely purely on domestic box office gross, with earnings adjusted for ticket price inflation. While the list is predictably chock-full of musicals, historical epics, comic book adaptations, and franchises, it also features the occasional heart-wrenching drama, classic comedy, or head-spinning horror. Here are the biggest box office winners of all time.
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