Movie review site Metacritic’s ranking of the highest-grossing blockbuster films

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1. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, $1.146 billion

The final version of The Lord of the Rings trilogy was the only one to break the billion dollar barrier.

Known for its flawless action sequences, Peter Jackson’s The Return of the King won 11 Oscars, including Best Picture, which was one of only two films in history to do so.

“Hours after watching the film, I can close my eyes and see these incredible battle scenes throb and throb in my skull… With tremendous energy and a passionate eye for detail, Jackson brought the regressive legend back to life- romantic.” Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

Camera iconIan McKellen stars as Gandalf. Credit: PIERRE VINET/PA

2. Toy Story 3, $1.067 billion

Toy Story made history when its third and final rendition became the first animated film to cross the $1 billion mark at the global box office — and for good reason.

The 2010 film concluded the much-loved trilogy and left avid fans satisfied with the final send-off of their childhood classic, hailing Pixar as the “savior of family entertainment.”

Millions loved the gripping storyline, which followed toy duo Woody and Buzz Lightyear, and it became the only title in the franchise to be nominated for the Best Picture Oscar, in 2011.

“It takes some kind of genius to combine a kids’ movie for adults and an adult movie for kids into one scintillating digitized package, but the folks at Pixar have done it time and time again.” Anthony Quinn, independent (UK)

Toy Story 3, another winner for Pixar.
Camera iconToy Story 3, another winner for Pixar. Credit: Regional West

3. (tie) Black Panther, $1.348 billion

Black Panther was the first big-budget superhero movie with a black hero and a mostly black cast — it was groundbreaking.

According to director of advocacy group BAME Voice4Change Kunle Olulode, the 2018 action film destroyed the idea that Hollywood couldn’t make big money from films dominated by black talent.

The 2018 Chadwick Boseman-directed film shattered box office records, took over the internet and inspired millions with its diverse portrayal, and is set to premiere a sequel this year.

“Superhero movies have long needed this kind of representation in terms of men and women of color, and for black audiences, Black Panther will no doubt be as culturally significant in the way it addresses issues of identity, race, and gender as Wonder Woman was to female fans.” Brian Truitt, USA Today

Black Panther
Camera iconBlack Panther Credit: Black Panther

3. (tie) The Lion King, $1.006 billion

The 1994 original has established itself in pop culture as a heavyweight classic.

The coming-of-age story has captured the hearts of billions for its touching tale following the maturing journey of young Simba, propelled by remarkable moral lessons. Disney’s successor to Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast has garnered 20 nominations, including two Oscars, a BAFTA, an American Music Award and three Golden Globes.

“Started by some of the richest imagery produced by studio animators and sustained by a timeless coming-of-age narrative, The Lion King marks a dazzling – and surprisingly daring – addition to the Disney canon.” Jérémy Gérard, Variety

The Lion King (1994)
Camera iconThe Lion King (1994) Credit: disney/disney

5. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two, $1.342 billion

It can’t be a top five without a feature film from the world’s most beloved fantasy series, Harry Potter.

The 2011 film marked the eighth and final installment that ended up becoming the franchise’s highest-grossing entry, with 46 awards and 94 nominations.

In an epic finale, the forces of good and evil from the wizarding world battled at exhilarating stakes, which kept fans captivated for the entire 130-minute run.

“The thrilling conclusion to a phenomenal 10-year cinematic story in the narrative, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is proof that genuine cinematic excitement is its own form of magic.” Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly

(Lr) DANIEL RADCLIFFE as Harry Potter and RALPH FIENNES as Lord Voldemort in Warner Bros. Pictures' fantasy adventure
Camera iconHarry Potter and Lord Voldemort. Credit: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures/Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

6. (tie) The Dark Knight, $1.006 billion

The mid-film in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, starring Perth’s Heath Ledger, is widely regarded as one of the best superhero films ever made.

Ledger’s career-defining performance as the villainous joker went down in history as he became the second person to win the Best Supporting Actor Oscar posthumously, following his tragic death in 2008 while the film was in post-production.

The cultural game-changer has been widely hailed with an impressive number of nominations including 159 wins and 163 nominations. Ledger’s role surpassed that of a supervillain and personified the concept of chaos that remains powerfully relevant nearly 14 years later.

Under Nolan’s direction, the film reshaped the way audiences viewed Batman and the Joker and set the tone for superhero blockbusters forever.

With undeniable cultural gravitas, the chilling film remains a notable highlight in the era of comic book adaptations.

“Placed on the border between art and industry, poetry and entertainment, it becomes darker and deeper than any Hollywood film of this comic type.” Manohla Dargis, The New York Times

Heath Ledger and Christian Bale in The Dark Knight.
Camera iconHeath Ledger and Christian Bale in The Dark Knight. Credit: The black Knight

6 (tie): Toy Story 4, $1.073 billion

6 (tie): Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi, $1.333 billion

9: Avatar, $2.847 billion

10: Skyfall, $1.109 billion

11 (tie): Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens, $2.07 trillion

11 (tie): Incredibles 2, $1.243 billion

13 (tie): Zootopia, $1.024 billion

13 (tie): The Dark Knight Rises, $1.081 billion

13 (tie): Avengers: Endgame, $2.798 billion

16: Finding Dory, $1.029 billion

17 (tie): Titanic, $2.202 billion

17 (tie): Frozen, $1.282 billion

17 (tie): Captain America: Civil War, $1.153 billion

20: Spider-Man: No Coming Home, $1.901 billion

21 (tie): Spider-Man: Far From Home, $1.132 billion

21 (tie): The Avengers, $1.519 billion

23 (tie): Jurassic Park, $1.100 billion

23 (tie): Avengers: Infinity War, $2.048 billion

25: Furious 7, $1.515 billion

26: Avengers: Age of Ultron, $1.403 billion

27 (tie): Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, $1.056 billion

27 (tie): Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, $1.018 billion

27 (tie): Beauty and the Beast, $1.274 billion

30 (tie): Frozen 2, $1.450 billion

30 (tie): Captain Marvel, $1.128 billion

32: Iron Man 3, $1.215 billion

33 (tie): Jurassic World, $1.671 billion

33 (tie): Joker, $1.074 billion

35: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, $1.017 Billion

36 (tie): Minions, $1.159 billion

36 (tie): Fate of the Furious, $1.236 billion

38 (tie): The Lion King, $1.663 billion

38 (tie): Aquaman, $1.148 billion

40 (tie): Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker, $1.074 billion

40 (tie): Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, $1.066 billion

40 (tie): Alice in Wonderland, $1.025 billion

40 (tie): Aladdin, $1.051 billion

44 (tie): Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, $1.027 billion

44 (tie): Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, $1.31 trillion

46: Despicable Me 3, $1.035 Billion

47: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, $1.046 billion

48: Transformers: Dark of the Moon, $1.124 billion

49: Transformers: Age of Extinction, $1.104 billion

Ranking Score: Metacritic.com

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