From number 10 to number 1, here is the countdown of the ten top grossing films so far (early 2014).

When you read the list, you will not fail to notice that they all belong to a franchise except the top two, both directed and written by James Cameron.

It would be interesting to also know the net profit of these movies, but if you have ever heard the term Hollywood Accounting, you will know that probably they all made a loss, due to the extremely inflated expenses, so that any profit can be eliminated, together with any profit sharing agreements.

Does that sound like greed to you?


10. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

The Plot: In the film, the wedding plans of Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann are ruined, as they are blackmailed into helping to track down Sparrow to obtain a magical compass, which should point toward the treasure. 

Released in 2006, this is a fantasy/adventure film and the sequel of The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003).

As of 2013, the second movie of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise ranks as the 10th highest-grossing film of all time worldwide (US$1,066,179,725) and ranks the top grossing film ever released by Walt Disney Pictures.

The film received positive reviews for its special effects and negative ones for its plot and running time. Dead Man's Chest won the Academy Award for Visual Effects.

Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
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9. The Dark Knight Rises

The plot: Eight years have passed since the events of The Dark Knight and Bruce Wayne has become a reclusive, in his newly rebuilt estate. Bane, a very evil force, is taking over Gotham city and plans to destroy it, for this Batman is obliged to come out of retirement. 

Released in 2012, this Batman movie is the third instalment by Director Christopher Nolan. An action packed superhero film which received mostly positive reviews from critics and the public. This movie earned S$1,084,439,099 worldwide.

The Dark Knight Rises (+Ultraviolet Digital Copy)
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8. Skyfall

The Plot: Something goes wrong with James Bond's latest mission, secret agents are exposed and M16 is attacked. M relocates the agency, but her authority and position are compromised.  Bond is her only loyal ally and must truck down the computer hacker who has the data, no matter the cost.

Skyfall is the twenty-third James Bond film and the highest grossing of the entire franchise (US$1,108,561,013).

Released in 2012, Skyfall received generally positive reviews from critics, who appreciated this third performance of Daniel Craig as James Bond,  some bad reviews mainly referred to the two and a half-hour running time (more bang for the buck, I say :-)

7. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

The Plot: Frodo & Sam continue their dangerous journey to Mount Doom to destroy 'The Ring' once and for all, but they are unaware that Gollum is leading them into a trap so that he can reclaim the Ring for himself.

Well received by critics and public, the third film in The Lord of the Rings trilogy was released in 2003 and grossed US$1,119,929,521.

6. Transformers: Dark of the Moon

The Plot: The Autobots are back fighting the evil Decepticons, who want revenge for their latest defeat. To reach a hidden spacecraft on the moon, they are dangerously involved in a space race between the United States and Russia, but don’t worry Transformers will help their friend Sam Witwicky to save us.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon is the third instalment and highest grossing film ($1,123,794,079) of the science fiction/action Transformers series.

Released in 2011, this movie received mixed critics, mainly criticising the acting, the script and the overlong runtime, while praising the film's incredible visuals and action sequences especially the 3D effects.

5. Iron Man 3

The Plot: Tony Stark/Iron Man’s personal world is destroyed and the world faces a new threat, a terrorist going by the name off “The Mandarin”.  While fighting his inner demons, he needs to face the enemy and use his own instincts to protect those who are close to him.

Third chapter of this successful saga from the Marvel’s comics, Iron Man 3, released in 2013, Iron Man 3, has grossed worldwide $1,215,439,994.

Iron Man 3
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4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2

The Plot: In the epic finale of this long franchise, Harry and his best friends Ron and Hermione continuing their mission of finding and destroying  the last three remaining Horcruxes, the magical and powerful objects that make Dark Lord immortal.

This movie is the eighth and final adventure in the Harry Potter film series and the second of two parts.

Released in 2011 this fantasy action film is the highest grossing film of the whole series ($1,341,511,219) and according to most of its fans it represented a fantastic and powerful ending of the saga.

3. The Avengers

The Plot: Marvel Super Heroes: Iron Man, Captain America, The Hulk and Thor are recruited by Nick Fury, the leader of an international peace keeping agency and by former Russian spy Black Widow to combat Thor's ever-deceptive brother Loki and his army. The heroes must learn to work together alongside outlaw scientist Bruce Banner/Hulk  to save the world from disaster.

Your favourite comic characters and heroes packed in one movie, the Avenger was released in 2012 and grossed US$1,518,594,910.

Marvel's The Avengers
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2. Titanic

The Plot: The movie tells the story of Rose, a young aristocrat whose family lost all their wealth and whose mother expects her to marry a rich man, whom she doesn’t love. Instead she falls in love with Jack, a handsome, but poor artist, aboard the luxurious and unfortunate R.M.S. Titanic on its first and last journey in April 15th 1912.

A romantic disaster movie, a fictional story within a real history event, which is the sinking of the Titanic.

In 1997 this was the most expensive film ever made, with an estimated budget of $200 million.

The film had very positive reviews and an enormous commercial success.

In 1998 Titanic won eleven Academy Awards, the same as Ben Hur  in 1959 and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King in 2004.

With a worldwide gross of US$2,186,772,302, it remained the highest-grossing film of all time, until the same Director, James Cameron, exceeded it in 2010 with another movie he directed: Avatar. 

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1. Avatar

Plot: Set 150 years in the future, Avatar tells the story of Pandora, a distant world, inhabited by the blue  Na’vi . Greedy corporates want to drive the natives off, in order to mine the precious material available on their planet.

Jake, a paraplegic former marine, is recruited to infiltrate in the Na’vi’s world using an ‘avatar’ identity, but instead of becoming a spy, he ends up bonding with the local tribe and eventually takes a stand against the corporates, when they decide to destroy the place where the natives live.

Avatar is a cutting edge, ground breaking science fiction/action film written and directed, by James Cameron, who had to wait over 10 years to realise this movie, as the technology needed was not available at the time.

Released in 2009, it received fantastic critical reviews, mainly praising its incredible visual effects.

At this point in time (early 2014), this the highest-grossing film of all time ($2,782,275,172) overtaking  another James Cameron’s movie Titanic, which held the record for twelve years.

Avatar won three Academy Awards, for Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography and Best Visual Effects. Surprisingly, it lost the Best Motion Picture of the year to the Hurt Locker, funnily enough directed by Cameron’s ex-wife Kathryn Bigelow. 

Good news for all Avatar's fans, as James Cameron is writing the screenplays not for two, but for three sequels. 

Avatar (Three-Disc Extended Collector's Edition + BD-Live) [Blu-ray]
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What about if we consider the oldies?

It is somehow complicated to determine the highest grossing movies of all time, taking in consideration those films that were released many decades ago. There is an inflation effect to be considered, as well as other factors, like the increase of cinema ticket prices. Another significant fact is to take into consideration that back in 1939, when Gone with the Wind came out, a release of a film and going to the cinema, was a very big event and there was not much competition.

Saying that and for what is worth it, this is the list of the highest grossing movies of ALL time. Although it can't be considered 100% accurate, it is interesting to note that compared to the previous 'modern' list, only the two James Cameron's movies make the top ten cut.

Highest-grossing films adjusted for inflation:

1 - Gone with the Wind $3,301,400,000 (1939)

2 - Avatar $2,782,300,000 (2009)

3- Star Wars $2,710,800,000 (1977)

4 - Titanic $2,413,800,000 (1997)

5 - The Sound of Music $2,269,800,000 (1965)

6 - E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial $2,216,800,000 (1982)

7 - The Ten Commandments $2,098,600,000 (1956)

8 - Doctor Zhivago $1,988,600,000 (1965)

9 - Jaws $1,945,100,000 (1975)

10 - Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs $1,746,100,000 (1937)