15 Most Profitable Movies Of All Time

Movies are serious business, and some films have made millions and billions in profit for studios.

Marvel Studios

Movies are a serious business, and they cost a lot of money to make. There are costs most moviegoers know nothing about, making their reported production costs only one small part of the puzzle. Because of this, movies have to make an obscene amount of money to be profitable.

Determining how much money a studio makes in profit is no easy task. Studios rarely release this information, so the only way to make that determination outside of handy but rare reports like Deadline's yearly reports, is to look at the averages in terms of costs for marketing, production, and distribution.

Typically, a movie that costs $150 million to make will spend an average of $120 million on marketing, $50 million on prints, $30 million on manufacturing, and another $60 million on participation, overhead, and residuals. At the end of the day, a $150 million movie costs a studio an average of $410 million (its break-even point).

For ticket revenues, a studio receives an average of 60% domestically, and about 30% from foreign markets. Once it's all taken from the total box office yield, the studio only receives, on average, a total profit of around 45%.

Since the beginning of the industry, movies have raked in billions, but of all those films and all that cash, these ten have proven to be the most profitable movies ever made in terms of total money earned.

Amounts have been adjusted for inflation to what they would have made in 2020, though the numbers don't include theatrical re-releases, rentals, or video sales.


Jonathan is a graphic artist, illustrator, writer, and game designer. Jonathan retired from the U.S. Army in 2017 and enjoys researching and writing about history, science, theology, and many other subjects. He writes for ScreenRant, CBR, NerdBastards, Listverse, Ranker, WhatCulture, and many other sites online. You can check out his latest on Twitter: @TalkingBull or on his blog: