Running the Numbers on 2009’s Highest-Grossing Movies

     December 28, 2009

Transformers Revenge of the Fallen movie image (1).jpg

It has been a good year at the box office, either due to or despite the recession, depending on your outlook. As we reported last week, the domestic box office has exceeded $10 billion for the first time ever. Meanwhile, Warner Brothers became the first studio to sell more than $2 billion worth of tickets domestically even without an enormous hit the size of last year’s The Dark Knight. And 20th Century Fox set a new record of $2.26 billion in international box office receipts, thanks in large part to a holiday push from Avatar and Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakuel.

Take a closer look at the movies that captured our hearts, minds, and wallets this year after the jump.

The top ten films and their domestic box office totals is below, but I suggest you check out the more comprehensive top 150 over at Box Office Mojo.

1) Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, $402,111,870

2) Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, $301,959,197

3) Up, $293,004,164

4) The Twilight Saga: New Moon, $280,971,000

5) The Hangover, $277,322,503

6) Star Trek, $257,730,019

7) Avatar, $212,711,184

8) Monsters vs. Aliens, $198,351,526

9) Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, $196,573,705

10) The Blind Side, $184,127,000

Sherlock_Holmes_final_movie_poster.jpgNote that these rankings will change to some degree. In particular, Sherlock Holmes is a pretty sure bet to shoot up to the top 10 sometime in January. The Blind Side is also likely to move up a slot or two, as it has a very good chance at crossing the $200 million mark. Avatar will also certainly move up the rankings; it may even overtake Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen as the top movie of the year.

In case it interests you, I have organized the films that made more than $100 million by creative origin, studio, month of release, and opening weekend below. Of particular interest to me is the first table, which identifies films as adaptations, sequels, or original creations. The state of Hollywood is often lamented as the adaptations and sequels inundate our theatres. But as Up, The Hangover, Avatar, Monsters Vs. Aliens, The Proposal, 2012, Paul Blart: Mall Cop, Taken, Inglourious Basterds, G-Force, District 9, Couples Retreat, and Paranormal Activity have all made more than $100 million this year domestically, we still do not lack for popular original films. Some of those were even good.

By Creative Origin

Original: 13

Sequel: 9

Adaptation: 12

By Studio

Paramount: 5

Warner Bros.: 5

Fox: 5

Sony: 4

Disney: 3

Universal: 2

Summit: 1

Weinstein Co.: 1

TriStar: 1

Touchstone: 1

By Month of Release

Jan: 2

Feb: 0

Mar: 2

Apr: 1

May: 6

Jun: 3

Jul: 3

Aug: 3

Sep: 2

Oct: 1

Nov: 4

Dec: 1

By Opening Weekend (in millions)

$100+: 2

$80-99: 1

$60-79: 6

$40-59: 8

$20-39: 10

$0-19: 1

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