Box Office

by John Robert Marlow

Post image for Box Office

These are the top 60+ highest-grossing film adaptations of all time. As of mid-August, 2013, nine of the top ten, 17 of the top 20, and well over 50 of the top 100 highest-grossing films are adaptations. Figures shown are worldwide theatrical (box office) receipts, rounded to the nearest million.

Note that most successful films earn three to four times more from DVD sales than they do from ticket sales. Rank indicates the film’s box office standing among all films (including non-adaptations), followed by its rank among adaptations (A). Updated August 13, 2012.)

MOVIE  CODE  RANK  BOX OFFICE  SOURCE MATERIAL 
Titanic  HIS  2 / 1A  $2,185,000,000  The sinking of the Titanic 
Marvel’s The Avengers  COM  3 / 2A  $1,512,000,000  Various Marvel comics 
Harry Potter and the
Deathly Hallows, Part 2 
NOV  4 / 3A  $1,342,000,000  Harry Potter and the
Deathly Hallows 
Iron Man 3  COM  5 / 4A  $1,212,000,000  Iron Man series 
Transformers:
Dark of the Moon 
GAM  6 / 5A  $1,124,000,000  Transformers toys 
The Lord of the Rings:
The Return of the King 
NOV  7 / 6A  $1,120,000,000  The Lord of the Rings:
The Return of the King 
Skyfall  NOV  8 / 7A  $1,109,000,000  James Bond series 
The Dark Knight Rises  COM  9 / 8A  $1,084,000,000  Batman series 
Pirates of the Caribbean:
Dead Man’s Chest 
THM  10 / 9A  $1,066,000,000  POTC theme park ride 
Pirates of the Caribbean:
On Stranger Tides 
THM  12 / 10A  $1,044,000,000  POTC theme park ride
Alice in Wonderland (2010)  NOV  14 / 11A  $1,024,000,000  Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and
Through the Looking Glass 
The Hobbit:
An Unexpected Journey 
NOV  15 / 12A  $1,017,000,000  The Hobbit 
The Dark Knight  COM  16 / 13A  $1,005,000,000  Batman series 
Harry Potter and the
Sorceror’s Stone 
NOV  17 / 14A  $975,000,000  Harry Potter and the
Sorceror’s Stone 
Jurassic Park  NOV  18 / 15A  $970,000,000  Jurassic Park 
Pirates of the Caribbean
At World’s End 
THM  19 / 16A  $963,000,000  POTC theme park ride 
Harry Potter and the
Deathly Hallows Part 1 
NOV  20 / 17A  $960,000,000  Harry Potter and the
Deathly Hallows, Part 1 
Harry Potter and the
Order of the Phoenix 
NOV  22 / 18A  $940,000,000  Harry Potter and the
Order of the Phoenix 
Harry Potter and the
Half-Blood Prince 
NOV  23 / 19A  $934,000,000  Harry Potter and the
Half-Blood Prince 
The Lord of the Rings:
The Two Towers 
NOV  24 / 20A  $926,000,000  The Lord of the Rings:
The Two Towers 
Shrek 2  NOV  26 / 21A  $920,000,000  Shrek! 
Harry Potter and the
Goblet of Fire 
NOV  27 / 22A  $897,000,000  Harry Potter and the
Goblet of Fire 
Spider-Man 3  COM  28 / 23A  $891,000,000  Spider-Man series 
Harry Potter and the
Chamber of Secrets 
NOV  30 / 24A  $879,000,000  Harry Potter and the
Chamber of Secrets 
The Lord of the Rings:
The Fellowship of the Ring 
NOV  32 / 25A  $871,000,000  The Lord of the Rings:
The Fellowship of the Ring 
Transformers:
Revenge of the Fallen 
GAM  34 / 26A  $836,000,000  Transformers toys 
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2  NOV  35 / 27A  $828,000,000  The Twilight Saga:
Breaking Dawn 
Spider-Man  COM  37 / 28A  $822,000,000  Spider-Man series 
Shrek the Third  NOV  39 / 29A  $799,000,000  Shrek!
Harry Potter and the 
Prisoner of Azkaban
NOV  40 / 30A  $797,000,000  Harry Potter and the 
Prisoner of Azkaban
Spider-Man 2  COM  43 / 31A  $784,000,000  Spider-Man series 
Fast & Furious 6  ART  44 / 32A  $758,000,000  Racer X 
The Da Vinci Code  NOV  47 / 33A  $758,000,000  The Da Vinci Code 
Shrek Forever After  NOV  48 / 34A  $753,000,000  Shrek! 
The Amazing Spider-Man  COM  49 / 35A  $752,000,000  Spider-Man series 
The Chronicles of Narnia:
The Lion, The Witch,
and the Wardrobe 
NOV  51 / 36A  $745,000,000  The Chronicles of Narnia:
The Lion, The Witch,
and the Wardrobe 
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1  NOV  55 / 37A  $712,000,000  The Twilight Saga:
Breaking Dawn 
The Twilight Saga:
New Moon 
NOV  56 / 38A  $710,000,000  The Twilight Saga:
New Moon 
Transformers  GAM  57 / 39A  $710,000,000  Transformers toys 
The Twilight Saga:
Eclipse 
NOV  58 / 40A  $699,000,000  The Twilight Saga:
Eclipse 
Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol  TVS  59 / 41A  $695,000,000  Mission: Impossible 
The Hunger Games  NOV  60 / 42A  $691,000,000  The Hunger Games 
Forrest Gump  NOV  61 / 43A  $677,000,000  Forrest Gump 
Pirates of the Caribbean:
The Curse of the Black Pearl 
THM  65 / 44A  $654,000,000  POTC theme park ride 
Man of Steel  COM  67 / 45A  $648,000,000  Superman series 
Fast Five  ART  71 / 46A  $626,000,000  Racer X 
Men in Black 3  COM  73 / 47A  $624,000,000  Men in Black series 
Iron Man 2  COM  74 / 48A  $624,000,000  Iron Man series 
Jurassic Park: The Lost World  NOV  76 / 49A  $619,000,000  The Lost World 
The Passion of the Christ  REL  77 / 50A  $612,000,000  The Bible (New Testament) 
Mama Mia!  SNG  78 / 51A  $610,000,000  Mama Mia! 
Life of Pi  NOV  79 / 52A  $609,000,000  Life of Pi 
Casino Royale  NOV/MOV  81 / 53A  $599,000,000  Casino Royale 
War of the Worlds  NOV  82 / 54A  $592,000,000  The War of the Worlds 
Tangled  MLF  83 / 55A  $591,000,000  Rapunzel 
Men In Black  COM  84 / 56A  $589,000,000  Men in Black series 
Quantum of Solace  NOV  86 / 57A  $586,000,000  James Bond series 
I Am Legend  NOV/MOV  87 / 58A  $585,000,000  I Am Legend/Omega Man 
Iron Man  COM  88 / 59A  $585,000,000  Iron Man series 
Night at the Museum  NOV  90 / 60A  $575,000,000  The Night at the Museum 
The Smurfs  COM/TVS  91 / 61A  $564,000,000  The Smurfs series 
Puss in Boots  MLF  94 / 62A  $555,000,000  Puss in Boots 
King Kong (2005)  MOV  96 / 63A  $550,000,000  King Kong (1933) 
Mission Impossible II  TVS  98 / 64A  $546,000,000  Mission: Impossible 
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows  NOV/STO  99 / 65A  $545,000,000  Sherlock Homes novels
and short stories 
The Simpsons Movie  TVS  105 / 59A  $527,000,000  The Simpsons 
Sherlock Holmes NOV/STO  106 / 60A  $524,000,000  Sherlock Homes novels
and short stories 
Aladdin MLF  111 / 59A  $504,000,000  Aladdin and the Magic Lamp
(from One Thousand and One Nights) 
World War Z  POEM  112 / 60A  $503,000,000  World War Z 
Troy  POEM  113 / 61A  $497,000,000  The Iliad 
How to Train Your Dragon  NOV  114 / 62A  $495,000,000  How to Train Your Dragon 
Clash of the Titans  MLF / MOV  116 / 63A  $493,000,000  Mixed mythologies and Clash of the Titans (1981) 
Oz the Great and Powerful  NOV  117 / 64A  $492,000,000  Oz novels 
Angels & Demons  NOV  118 / 66A  $486,000,000  Angels & Demons 

CODES indicate the type of source material on which the films were based: ART (article in magazine, newspaper, etc.); BLG (blog); COM (comic book / graphic novel); HIS (historic event); MLF (myth / legend / faery tale); MOV (movie remake / spinoff); MOVs (movie short); NFB (nonfiction book); NOV (novel or children’s book); POEM (poem); RAD (radio show); SNG (song); STO (short story); GAM (game / toy); THM (theme park / theme park ride); TRU (true-life story); TVS (television series).

To get a better idea of a film’s total earnings (including DVD sales), multiply the figure shown by 3.5–but remember, this does not include earnings from merchandising or other rights sales and licensing (which can also exceed box office).

As used on this site, “adaptation” includes screen stories / screenplays based on books (fiction and nonfiction), short stories, plays, comic books, magazine articles, true-life stories, historical events, myths and legends, faery tales, previous films and film shorts, tv series, theme park rides, games, toys, blogs, songs—pretty much anything adaptable. Sequels, prequels and spinoffs are not considered adaptations of the preceding film, unless the first film in the series was an adaptation. Remakes of earlier films are considered adaptations.