Avatar made a whopping worldwide gross of $2,923,706,026 – an unprecedented amount for an original, unknown franchise. Its sequel Avatar: The Way of Water – crossed the $2 billion mark in a matter of months, so it’s hardly surprising that another three sequels are in the works.
Titanic was the first movie to make $1 billion, back in 1997. Although the film was a cultural phenomenon, it’s still surprising that it managed to make history – not only by being the top-grossing movie of its time, but also by managing to hold onto that title until James Cameron broke his own record with Avatar in 2010.
Furious 7 smashed the $1 billion box office mark in a mere 17 days, making it the fastest live-action movie to achieve this feat at the time. The untimely death of Paul Walker is likely to have had an impact on cinema-goers going to see his last feature flick.
Beauty and the Beast (2017)
The Beauty and the Beast live-action remake was the highest-grossing movie of 2017. The same year, it joined the highly coveted $1 billion club, adding yet another record-breaking movie under the Disney umbrella. With a stellar cast and a yearning for nostalgia, the tale as old as time clearly managed to capture the magic of the original.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
The fourth and final movie in 2016 to hit the sought after record, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story made a worldwide gross of $1,058,682,142. The spin-off cemented the Star Wars franchise as a money-making machine – showing that it’s not just mainline movies that bring in the big bucks.
Alice in Wonderland (2010)
Alice in Wonderland was the first Disney remake to cross every studio’s dream goal: making a billion dollars. At the time, it was only the sixth movie to ever achieve such a feat. Unfortunately the sequel, Alice Through the Looking Glass, failed to live up to its predecessor and amassed just under $300 million worldwide.
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
Despite being the fourth installment in the franchise, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides managed to amass $1,046,721,266 worldwide. What’s surprising about this movie joining the elusive billionaire club is that it managed to outperform its predecessor, At World’s End, despite being received less favorably by critics and audiences alike.
A comic-book-based, character-driven piece sprinkled with themes surrounding mental health doesn’t sound like the type of movie that would be swallowed up by the masses, but Joker achieved it nevertheless. The psychological drama earnt roughly 15.3x its budget, so it’s no surprise that a sequel featuring Lady Gaga is in the pipeline.
The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
The third and final installment of the Lord of the Rings franchise was the most successful. After only a mere 10 weeks in cinemas, the movie became the second movie ever to pass the billion mark. It broke records at the Oscars, too, sweeping up every category it was nominated in.
Despite being received poorly by critics and audiences, DC’s Aquaman managed to become one of 52 movies that made $1 billion at the box office. The superhero flick became DC’s first entry into the billion-dollar club back in 2018. With its sequel set to be released this year, only time will tell how the follow-up fares.