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The 10 Highest Grossing Films of All Time, and Where to Watch Them in Australia

Avatar james cameron highest grossing films of all time titanic the way of water

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In 1997, James Cameron’s Titanic became the highest grossing film of all time when it became the first film to rake in over a billion dollars at the global box office.

Titanic shattered the record of USD $914,691,118 that Jurassic Park had set, and would go on to make a very chill USD $1,843,201,268.

In fact, it wasn’t until Cameron released Avatar in 2009 that a new film would snatch the top spot, bumping Titanic down to number two. Cameron didn’t just break his own record, though. He smashed it to smithereens, with Avatar not only surpassing Titanic, but bringing in over two billion dollars, at $2,743,577,587. Titanic would join Avatar in the two billion dollar club in 2011, after Cameron re-released it for cinemas in 3D.

The one-two punch of Titanic and Avatar were sitting pretty on top of the highest grossing film lists, and until 2019, Cameron looked unbeatable.

Enter: Avengers: Endgame. The fourth and final instalment of the Avengers franchise, 2019 saw Avatar and Titanic bumped down to numbers two and three respectively, as Endgame made USD$2,797,501,328.

However, Cameron wasn’t going to accept defeat so easily. In 2021, Avatar was re-released in China, one of many Hollywood blockbusters that were re-released in theatres post-lockdown in a bid to entice audiences back into cinemas. The film quickly reclaimed its number one spot, and is set to earn more again when Cameron releases a remastered cut of the film this September, ahead of Avatar: The Way of Water.

The question is: will Cameron be able to top his own record once again? Will Avatar: The Way of Water be able to snatch the number one spot and become the highest-grossing box office film of all time? Only time will tell.

Of course, there’s also some debate about whether James Cameron even holds the title currently, because there’s this pesky little thing called inflation. That is, movie tickets cost more now, so movies make more money.

If you take inflation into account, Gone With the Wind has been holding the record since 1939, with Avatar at number two and Titanic at number three. The problem is, inflation is notoriously tricky to estimate, because it has to take factors like exchange rates and the price index of movie tickets into consideration. Thus, the estimate for how much Gone With the Wind actually grossed, when adjusted for inflation, varies pretty greatly.

Even so, we’ll be watching the box office closely come December 16, when Avatar: The Way of Water is released. Until then, let’s revisit the top 10 highest grossing films of all time.

1. Avatar (2009)

Directed by: James Cameron

Starring: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver

Synopsis: A paraplegic Marine dispatched to the moon Pandora on a unique mission becomes torn between following his orders and protecting the world he feels is his home.

Grossed: USD $2,847,246,203

Trailer:

Watch Avatar on Disney+

2. Avengers: Endgame (2019)

Directed by: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Paul Rudd

Synopsis: After the devastating events of Avengers: Infinity War (2018), the universe is in ruins. With the help of the remaining allies, the Avengers assemble once more in order to reverse Thanos’ actions and restore balance to the universe.

Grossed: USD $2,797,501,328

Trailer:

Watch Avengers: Endgame on Disney+

3. Titanic (1997)

Directed by: James Cameron

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Billy Zane

Synopsis: A seventeen-year-old aristocrat falls in love with a kind but poor artist aboard the luxurious, ill-fated R.M.S. Titanic.

Grossed: USD $2,187,425,379

Trailer:

Watch Titanic on Disney+

4. Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (2015)

Directed by: J.J. Abrams

Starring: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson, Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Lupita Nyong’o

Synopsis: As a new threat to the galaxy rises, Rey, a desert scavenger, and Finn, an ex-stormtrooper, must join Han Solo and Chewbacca to search for the one hope of restoring peace.

Grossed: $2,068,223,624

Trailer:

Watch Star Wars: The Force Awakens on Disney+

5. Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

Directed by: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Don Cheadle, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman

Synopsis: The Avengers and their allies must be willing to sacrifice all in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe.

Grossed: USD $2,048,359,754

Trailer:

Rent Avengers: Infinity War on Apple TV

6. Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)

Directed by: Jon Watts

Starring: Tom Holland, Zendaya, Benedict Cumberbatch

Synopsis: With Spider-Man’s identity now revealed, Peter asks Doctor Strange for help. When a spell goes wrong, dangerous foes from other worlds start to appear, forcing Peter to discover what it truly means to be Spider-Man.

Grossed: $1,892,667,830

Trailer:

Rent Spider-Man: No Way Home on Apple TV

7. Jurassic World (2015)

Directed by: Colin Trevorrow

Starring: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Ty Simpkins, Judy Greer

Synopsis: A new theme park, built on the original site of Jurassic Park, creates a genetically modified hybrid dinosaur, the Indominus Rex, which escapes containment and goes on a killing spree.

Grossed: USD $1,671,537,444

Trailer:

Watch Jurassic World on BINGE

8. The Lion King (2019)

Directed by: Jon Favreau

Starring: Beyoncé, Donald Glover, Seth Rogen, Chiwetel Ejiofor

Synopsis: After the murder of his father, a young lion prince flees his kingdom only to learn the true meaning of responsibility and bravery.

Grossed: USD $1,656,943,394

Trailer:

Watch The Lion King on Disney+

9. The Avengers (2012)

Directed by: Joss Whedon

Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston

Synopsis: Earth’s mightiest heroes must come together and learn to fight as a team if they are going to stop the mischievous Loki and his alien army from enslaving humanity.

Grossed: USD $1,656,943,394

Trailer:

Watch The Avengers on Disney+

10. Furious 7 (2015)

Directed by: James Wan

Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster

Synopsis: Deckard Shaw seeks revenge against Dominic Toretto and his family for his comatose brother.

Grossed: USD $1,516,045,911

Trailer:

Watch Furious 7 on BINGE

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