The top grossing movies of all time aren't necessarily the best movies of all time. Though they're all well produced, they're not necessarily towering pieces of art. In fact, only one of the top 4 grossing movies of all time has even won an Academy Award for Best Picture in the year it came out. What they do have, however, is the sense of cultural phenomenon that is so hard for entertainment pieces to capture. These movies took the world by storm, forever changing the way the movie industry defines the word “blockbuster”.
“Avatar” Directed by the indomitable James Cameron and released in 2009, “Avatar” for all intents and purposes sparked the recent 3D revolution in movies. Set roughly a century in the future, its plo mirrors the old story of Pocahontas re-envisioned in an entirely new – and alien – setting. “Avatar”'s recipe for success was its creation of a fantastic movie-going experience. So, it's no surprise that millions turned out and shelled out to see it for themselves. Worldwide, the movie has grossed over 2 billion (yes, with a b) dollars to date.
“Titanic” Another James Cameron film, “Titanic” was released in 1997, making it the oldest film in the top 4 grossing movies of all time. Starring Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio, it is a love story set in the disastrous events of the cruise ship Titanic's maiden voyage. The romance, action, disaster, and history in “Titanic” – combined with unbelievable production values – made it a movie that appealed to everyone. Worldwide, the movie has grossed roughly $1.8 billion to date.
“The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” Based on J.R.R. Tolkien's series of novels and directed by Peter Jackson, this top grossing movie completed the trilogy. Generally faithful to Tolkien's novels, “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” is an action adventure focusing on a young protagonist named Frodo Baggins, who is trying to save his world from the evil Sauron. Full of epic battle scenes and fantastic action sequences, the movie did a fantastic job in bringing the popular novel it was based on to life. Worldwide, the film has grossed $1.1 billion.
“Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest” Building on the rousing success of the first film, this “Pirates of the Caribbean” sequel was directed by Gore Verbinski and stars Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, and Keira Knightley. It returns where the first movie left off, following the love story between Bloom and Knightley a well as the misadventures of Johnny Depp's famous “Captain Jack Sparrow”. Though not particularly well received by critics, it was noted for its fantastic special effects and generally well liked by audiences. Worldwide, “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest” grossed $1.06 billion.