All Time Top Ticket Selling Movies

movie ticketStar Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) is now the number one movie when it comes to North America box office grosses.  The box office success of Star Wars 7 has been incredible.  But when you look at the all-time North America ticket sales leaders…..Star Wars: The Force Awakens has not even cracked the Top 10.  When looking at other Star Wars movies, part 7 sits in 3rd place….and will probably not catch Empire Strikes Back.  It has no chance to catch the original Star Wars.  It would still need to sell ANOTHER 80 million tickets.  When Star Wars was released in 1977….a movie ticket cost $2.23.  When Star Wars: The Force awakens a movie ticket cost $8.43.

So with Star Wars 7 generating all of this talk as the biggest box office hit of all-time….we figured it would be interesting to look at the top ticket selling movies of all-time.  The following table shows all the movies in our database that sold more than 40 million tickets in North America.  If you compare our table to Box Office Mojo’s Adjusted For Inflation Leaders you will see some differences.  Box Office Mojo is awesome when looking at movies from 1982 to today.  Easily the best source on the internet.  Movies made before 1980 are not the strength of Box Office Mojo…as they often use box office rentals versus box office grosses.

We love our database…but we acknowledge it only has about 20% of the movies made.  That leaves a heck of a lot of movies not in our database.  So our table is not complete…but it is still fun to look at.  Another thing that has to be mentioned….is back in the cave man days….before home entertainment was so big….a major box office hit would get re-released many many times.  Gone With The Wind was released 14 different times.  The Disney classics were released as each new generation came along.  Obviously that helped make some of these movies rank very high in the rankings.  So now all of that exposition is done….on to the table.

Star-Wars-vs-Avatar

All Time Top Ticket Selling Movies Can Be Sorted 3 Ways In This Table

The really cool thing about this table is that it is “user-sortable”. Rank the movies anyway you want.

  • Sort All Time Top Ticket Selling movies by the stars of the movie
  • Sort All Time Top Ticket Selling movies by how many tickets the movie sold
  • Sort All Time Top Ticket Selling movies by how much they earned in adjusted domestic box office
  • Use the search button to pull out the 13 Walt Disney animated classics or the 10 Harrison Ford movies….or any combination you want to see…it makes using the table a lot more fun.
  • Something new….if you see a link in the star of the movie column….that links takes you to that person’s UMR page
RankMovie (Year)Stars of MovieTickets Sold (in millions)Adjusted Domestic Box Office (millions)
Gone with the Wind (1939)Clark Gable & Vivien Leigh 208.51$1757.70
Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)Harrison Ford 184.45$1549.33
Titanic (1997)Leonardo DiCaprio 130.90$1103.50
The Ten Commandments (1956)Charlton Heston129.50$1091.70
Jaws (1975)Roy Scheider & Richard Dreyfuss126.80$1068.90
The Sound of Music (1965)Julie Andrews 124.00$1045.30
E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)Drew Barrymore122.20$1030.10
Doctor Zhivago (1965)Omar Sharif120.43$1015.26
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)Disney Animation112.52$948.60
Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)Harrison Ford 111.70$941.60
The Exorcist (1973)Linda Blair109.00$918.90
StarWars: The Force Awakens (2015) Harrison Ford 104.20 $878.30
101 Dalmatians (1961)Disney Animation101.70$857.30
Avatar (2009)Zoe Saldana100.00$843.00
Ben-Hur (1959)Charlton Heston99.50$838.80
Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983)Harrison Ford 98.20$827.80
The Sting (1973)Robert Redford & Paul Newman97.20$819.40
Cinderalla (1950)Disney Animation96.20$811.00
Around the World in 80 Days (1956)David Niven92.50$779.80
Jurassic Park (1993)Jeff Goldblum86.20$726.70
Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999)Liam Neeson85.20$718.20
Birth of a Nation (1915)Lillian Gish & Directed by D.W. Griffith84.60$713.20
Fantasia (1941)Disney Animation83.70$705.60
Mary Poppins (1964)Julie Andrews 81.10$683.70
Forrest Gump (1994)Tom Hanks80.80$681.10
The Graduate (1967)Dustin Hoffman 80.20$676.10
The Godfather (1972)Marlon Brando78.60$662.60
The Avengers (2012)Robert Downey, Jr.78.30$660.10
Superman (1978)Marlon Brando77.80$655.90
Jurassic World (2015)Chris Pratt77.40$652.50
The Lion King (1994)Disney Animation76.70$646.60
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)Harrison Ford 75.40$635.60
Jungle Book (1967)Disney Animation75.10$633.10
The Dark Knight (2008)Christian Bale & Michael Caine74.30$626.30
Sleeping Beauty (1959)Disney Animation74.10$624.70
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)Robert Redford & Paul Newman71.30$601.10
Shrek 2 (2004)Eddie Murphy71.10$599.40
Duel in the Sun (1946) Gregory Peck71.00$598.50
Beverly Hills Cop (1984)Eddie Murphy69.90$589.30
Spider-Man (2002)Tobey Maguire69.60$586.70
Independence Day (1996) Will Smith69.30$584.20
Love Story (1970)Ryan O'Neal68.60$578.30
American Graffiti (1973)Harrison Ford 68.50$577.50
Grease (1978)John Travolta68.40$576.60
Pinocchio (1940)Disney Animation68.40$576.60
Ghostbusters (1984)Bill Murray 68.20$574.90
The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)Myrna Loy 67.60$569.90
Home Alone (1990)Macaulay Culkin67.60$569.90
Cleopatra (1963)Elizabeth Taylor 67.20$566.50
Back to the Future (1985)Michael J. Fox65.40$551.30
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006)Johnny Depp & Orlando Bloom 64.30$542.00
Airport (1970) Burt Lancaster64.20$541.20
Blazing Saddles (1974)Mel Brooks63.90$538.70
Batman (1989)Jack Nicholson 63.30$533.60
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)Orlando Bloom 62.50$526.90
Thunderball (1965)Sean Connery62.30$525.20
Bambi (1942)Disney Animation62.20$524.30
My Fair Lady (1964)Audrey Hepburn60.80$512.50
Tootsie (1982)Dustin Hoffman 60.30$508.30
Spider-Man 2 (2004)Tobey Maguire60.20$507.50
The Robe (1953)Richard Burton60.00$505.80
The Passion of the Christ (2004)Mel Gibson59.60$502.40
Lawrence of Arabia (1962)Peter O'Toole59.60$502.40
Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005)Ewan McGregor59.40$500.70
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)Orlando Bloom 58.60$494.00
West Side Story (1961)Natalie Wood58.40$492.30
The Sixth Sense (1999)Bruce Willis 58.00$488.90
White Christmas (1954)Bing Crosby57.40$483.90
The Towering Inferno (1974)Steve McQueen & Paul Newman57.20$482.20
Lady and the Tramp (1955)Disney Animation56.80$478.80
Smokey and the Bandit (1977)Burt Reynolds 56.80$478.80
The Dark Knight Rises (2012)Christian Bale & Michael Caine56.30$474.60
Finding Nemo (2003)Pixar Movies56.30$474.60
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001)Daniel Radcliffe56.20$473.80
Giant (1956)Elizabeth Taylor 56.00$472.10
The Greatest Show on Earth (1952)Charlton Heston56.00$472.10
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)Orlando Bloom 55.50$467.90
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)Tim Curry55.10$464.50
Rocky (1976)Sylvester Stallone55.00$463.60
Twister (1996)Helen Hunt54.70$461.10
Men in Black (1997)Will Smith54.60$460.30
The Poseidon Adventure (1972)Gene Hackman54.40$458.60
Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)Robert Downey, Jr.54.40$458.60
Goldfinger (1964)Sean Connery54.30$457.70
It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World (1963)Spencer Tracy53.90$454.40
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)Shia LaBeouf53.60$451.80
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)Harrison Ford 53.50$451.00
How the West Was Won (1963)James Stewart53.50$451.00
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)Jack Nicholson 53.20$448.50
Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)Robin Williams52.90$445.90
Samson and Delilah (1950)Victor Mature52.70$444.30
M.A.S.H. (1970)Elliott Gould52.60$443.40
Toy Story 3 (2010)Tom Hanks52.60$443.40
Aladdin (1992)Disney Animation52.40$441.70
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)Richard Dreyfuss52.20$440.00
Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002)Ewan McGregor52.10$439.20
For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943)Gary Cooper & Ingrid Bergman52.10$439.20
The Bells of St. Mary's (1945)Bing Crosby & Ingrid Bergman51.80$436.70
The Longest Day (1962)John Wayne 51.60$435.00
Superman II (1981)Christoper Reeve51.50$434.10
Ghost (1990)Patrick Swayze51.40$433.30
The Hunger Games (2012)Jennifer Lawrence51.30$432.50
National Lampoon's Animal House (1978)John Belushi51.30$432.50
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)Jennifer Lawrence50.90$429.10
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)Johnny Depp & Orlando Bloom 50.60$426.60
Ben-Hur (1930)Ramon Novarro50.40$424.90
Iron Man 3 (2013)Robert Downey, Jr.50.10$422.30
9 to 5 (1980)Jane Fonda50.00$421.50
The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)Jeff Goldblum49.90$420.70
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)Harrison Ford 49.70$419.00
Frozen (2013)Disney Animation49.30$415.60
Spider-Man 3 (2007)Tobey Maguire48.90$412.20
20000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954) James Mason & Kirk Douglasr48.80$411.40
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)Arnold Schwarzennegger48.70$410.50
The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) William Holden48.60$409.70
Toy Story 2 (1999)Tom Hanks48.60$409.70
Sergeant York (1941)Gary Cooper48.20$406.30
How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)Jim Carrey48.20$406.30
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two (2011)Daniel Radcliffe48.00$404.60
The Jolson Story (1946)Larry Parks47.80$403.00
Top Gun (1986)Tom Cruise47.70$402.10
Shrek (2001)Eddie Murphy47.40$399.60
Crocodile Dundee (1986)Paul Hogan47.10$397.10
Rear Window (1954)James Stewart46.90$395.40
Shrek the Third (2007)Eddie Murphy46.90$395.40
The Matrix ReLoaded (2003)Keanu Reeves46.70$393.70
Peter Pan (1953)Disney Animation46.50$392.00
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967)Spencer Tracy46.40$391.20
Transformers (2007)Shia LaBeouf46.40$391.20
Psycho (1960)Directed by Alfred Hitchcock46.40$391.20
Saving Private Ryan (1998)Tom Hanks46.20$389.50
Young Frankenstein (1974)Mel Brooks45.70$385.30
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005)Tilda Swinton45.60$384.40
Monsters Inc. (2001)John Goodman45.30$381.90
Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire (2005)Daniel Radcliffe45.30$381.90
Despicable Me 2 (2013)Steve Carell45.30$381.90
Peyton Place (1957)Lana Turner45.20$381.00
Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets (2002)Daniel Radcliffe45.20$381.00
Meet the Fockers (2004) Robert DeNiro & Ben Stiller45.00$379.30
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (2007)Johnny Depp & Orlando Bloom 45.00$379.30
From Here to Eternity (1953) Burt Lancaster44.70$376.80
Going My Way (1944)Bing Crosby44.70$376.80
Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)Shia LaBeouf44.40$374.30
The Fugitive (1993)Harrison Ford 44.40$374.30
Iron Man (2008)Robert Downey, Jr.44.30$373.40
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)Harrison Ford 44.20$372.60
Funny Girl (1968) Barbra Streisand44.20$372.60
Gremlins (1984)Phoebe Cates44.10$371.80
Toy Story (1995)Tom Hanks44.10$371.80
Tom Jones (1963)Albert Finney43.70$368.40
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1921)Rudolph Valentino 43.70$368.40
Dances with Wolves (1990)Kevin Costner43.50$366.70
Cast Away (2000)Tom Hanks43.30$365.00
Armageddon (1998)Bruce Willis 43.00$362.50
American Sniper (2014)Bradley Cooper42.90$361.60
Three Men and a Baby (1987)Tom Selleck42.90$361.60
On Golden Pond (1981)Henry Fonda42.90$361.60
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)Directed by Stanley Kubrick42.90$361.60
Alice in Wonderland (2010)Johnny Depp42.40$357.40
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)Daniel Radcliffe42.40$357.40
Harry Potter and Order of the Phoenix (2007)Daniel Radcliffe42.40$357.40
Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985)Sylvester Stallone42.40$357.40
Cinerama Holiday (1955)John Marsh42.30$356.60
Batman Forever (1995)Jim Carrey & Val Kilmer42.30$356.60
Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)Dustin Hoffman 42.30$356.60
Inside Out (2015)Pixar Movies42.30$356.60
Saturday Night Fever (1977)John Travolta42.20$355.70
Rocky III (1982)Sylvester Stallone42.20$355.70
Earthquake (1974)Charlton Heston42.20$355.70
Pretty Woman (1990)Julia Roberts42.20$355.70
The Incredibles (2004)Pixar Movies42.10$354.90
Rain Man (1988)Dustin Hoffman & Tom Cruise42.00$354.10
Furious 7 (2015)Vin Diesel & Kurt Russell41.90$353.20
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)Macaulay Culkin41.80$352.40
The Big Parade (1925)Directed by King Vidor41.70$351.50
My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002)John Corbett41.60$350.70
The Caine Mutiny (1954)Humphrey Bogart41.60$350.70
Bonnie and Clyde (1967)Warren Beatty41.50$349.80
The Goodbye Girl (1977)Richard Dreyfuss41.30$348.20
An Officer and a Gentleman (1982)Richard Gere41.30$348.20
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 (2014)Jennifer Lawrence41.30$348.20
Sayonara (1957)Marlon Brando41.20$347.30
Mrs. Miniver (1942)Greer Garson40.90$344.80
Mission: Impossible (1996)Tom Cruise40.90$344.80
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)Chris Pratt & Bradley Cooper40.80$343.90
Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999)Mike Myers40.70$343.10
Harry Potter and Half-Blood Prince (2009)Daniel Radcliffe40.30$339.70
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)Daniel Radcliffe40.30$339.70
Bruce Almighty (2003)Jim Carrey40.30$339.70
Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)Daniel Radcliffe40.20$338.90
Fatal Attraction (1987)Michael Douglas40.10$338.00
Back to the Future Part II (1989)Michael J. Fox40.10$338.00
Rush Hour 2 (2001)Chris Tucker40.00$337.20
Mission: Impossible II (2000)Tom Cruise40.00$337.20
I know when to update this page….when ever a current movie reaches the $337.20 domestic mark that means it has reached the mighty 40 million tickets sold mark.  In 2015 5 movies reached that mark….with a 6th movie (Minions) just barely missing.
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23 thoughts on “All Time Top Ticket Selling Movies

  1. You report up above that the cost of a movie ticket in December 2015, when Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens came out, a movie ticket cost $8.43. Where did you see your movies? I am more curious than sarcastic. I never saw a movie theater back then, even before 6:00 PM or first showings of the day reduced price tickets, that low. I have seen most of my movies back then in Queens, New York – but during the entire course of the year 2015, I’ve also seen films in states such as Florida, New Jersey, and California. So I ask you again. What theaters did you go to?

    1. Hey Kenneth….the average ticket cost across the country for 2015 was $8.43. Here in good old Virginia….matinee prices are just over $5.00…actually $5.21. A regular ticket (after 6 pm) is about $8.50. Something called the XD Extreme Experience is $11.00 dollars and 3D movies run about $12.00 dollars a ticket. Granted this is in Va Beach, Virginia…but it is the a Top 40 population city in the United States…..when I go down to North Carolina the prices get even lower. So the answer is….anywhere besides New York City.

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