The 20 Highest-Grossing Disney Movies Ever
When it comes to making big money with good storytelling, there’s no denying that Disney knows what it’s doing.
Though the company first became well known in the feature world for its family fun and heartwarming animated features, in recent decades it has acquired a number of incredibly lucrative franchises and companies including Lucasfilm, Marvel, and Pixar.
With those powerhouse properties under their belt, they’ve been churning out hit after hit at the box office, and huge numbers of people are turning out at theaters worldwide for the experience.
Below are the 20 of the top grossing Disney movies of all time as of this publication date. The listed numbers don’t adjust for inflation, and they are just the total worldwide gross, provided by Box Office Mojo.
These massive numbers don’t account for any of the other major sources of income a successful property can bring in, like spin offs, TV shows, Broadway plays, park attractions, video games, branded experiences, and merchandise, all of which bring in even more profit for each franchise.
20. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End
Worldwide gross: $963,420,425
Domestic gross: $309,420,425
Bottom line: This movie smartly capitalized on the popularity of its predecessors and incorporated even more elements of the high seas franchise that people had come to expect (and clearly love).
While this "Pirates" installment may wouldn’t have necessarily made the top 20 list based on domestic gross alone, it did extremely well overseas which brought its overall gross nearly one billion dollars.
19. The Jungle Book
Worldwide gross: $966,550,600
Domestic gross: $364,001,123
Bottom line: Delving again into their archives, Disney once again revamped one of the 2D animated films and rebooted it for current times.
Unlike some of the others, this remake took a lot more liberty from the animated film rather than staying relatively closer to the original like some others had done.
But, clearly, the deviation paid off big.
18. The Lion King
Worldwide gross: $968,483,777
Domestic gross: $422,783,777
Bottom line: Considering these numbers aren’t adjusted for inflation, it’s almost mind-boggling to think about how much of a hit this mid-90s movie was.
It spawned all sorts of TV spin offs, an incredibly popular Broadway show, and a ton of another intellectual properties that continue to be popular today.
It’s easily one of the most record-breaking and impressive animated movies of all time.
Worldwide gross: $1,023,784,195
Domestic gross: $341,268,248
Bottom line: "Zootopia" not only blew away expectations at the box office, making a ton of money and introducing a completely new world to moviegoers that they hadn’t yet experienced from Disney, but it also won an Oscar.
While there are some whispers of a sequel, it’s been two years and so far Disney hasn’t come out with any official announcement that we’ll get to see more of these animated animals in the future.
16. Alice in Wonderland
Worldwide gross: $1,025,467,110
Domestic gross: $334,191,110
Bottom line: The live-action reboot of the beloved children’s story expressed all the weirdness and wonder that audiences hoped for.
It was also one of the first live-action reboots Disney delved in from their own animated intellectual property vault, and its big pay off likely made the filmmakers more confident about doing the same to other popular animated stories in the future.
15. Finding Dory
Worldwide gross: $1,028,570,889
Domestic gross: $486,295,561
Bottom line: The spinoff sequel to the wildly popular underwater adventure "Finding Nemo" was well-loved by audiences both domestically and internationally.
Ellen Degeneres stole the show during the original movie, so it only seemed appropriate that her live-in-the-moment optimistic fish character would get a chance to tell her own story.
14. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Worldwide gross: $1,056,057,273
Domestic gross: $532,177,324
Bottom line: The first standalone "Star Wars" installment, this movie was a bit of an experiment that paid off for Disney.
Unlike any of the other series that pick up in particular timelines with well-known characters, this movie introduced a completely new set of heroes who you knew played into a small part of the main storyline, even if they were never going to get any sort of sequel.
13. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
Worldwide gross: $1,066,179,725
Domestic gross: $423,315,812
Bottom line: The intensely popular follow up to the original 2003 "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie gave audiences more of what they wanted — pirates, pirate talk, pirates fighting, and Johnny Depp as the wobbly yet charming Jack Sparrow.
12. Toy Story 3
Worldwide gross: $1,066,969,703
Domestic gross: $415,004,880
Bottom line: The tear-jerking third installment of the beloved Pixar toy tale was wildly popular, and understandably so.
The original movie was released in 1995 and basically redefined 3D animated storytelling.
Each movie of the series proved to be as beloved as the next, with the third one beautifully telling the story of these toys and the childhood of Andy, the boy who loved them, while many of the people who originally saw the first movie as children embraced the fact that they, too, were now grown up.
11. The Incredibles 2
Worldwide gross: $1,088,592,198
Domestic gross: $589,771,988
Bottom line: Despite the fact that it only recently premiered, "The Incredibles" proved to be a pretty popular animated family.
Since its still currently available in some theaters as of this writing, that already impressive overall gross number will likely continue to grow.
10. Captain America: Civil War
Worldwide gross: $1,153,304,495
Domestic gross: $408,084,349
Bottom line: The promise of both introducing new popular characters like Ant Man, plus having the beloved Avengers fight against each other meant that people wanted to get out and see this movie.
Like many of the Marvel franchise, it did really well domestically, but annihilated overseas with almost twice as much revenue generated at the international box office.
9. Iron Man 3
Worldwide gross: $1,214,811,252
Domestic gross: $409,013,994
Bottom line: Iron Man was one of the first superheroes of the Marvel world, and it paved the way for the rest.
His popularity remains extremely high, so it’s no big surprise that the final installment of his particular superhero trilogy story garnered a lot of interest from moviegoers.
8. Beauty and the Beast
Worldwide gross: $1,263,521,126
Domestic gross: $504,014,165
Bottom line: The live-action revamp of the original animated movie proved to be a major success for Disney.
It didn’t hurt that the wildly popular Emma Watson, who already had the "Harry Potter" franchise under her belt, starred and sang as the beloved Belle.
Plus, the fact that technology finally made it possible to create a believable-looking CGI characters made the film feel like you were bringing the magic of your childhood back to life.
Worldwide gross: $1,276,480,335
Domestic gross: $400,738,009
Bottom line: Anyone living in 2013 likely heard the breakout hit song (and at some point had the chorus stuck in their head), “Let It Go” from this Disney musical.
The top grossing fully animated film on this list, it wasn’t the tradition 2D animation that put Disney first on the map. But it was the 3D style that Disney has embraced in recent decades.
The storyline was similar to the more classic Disney style involving magical and talking inanimate object sidekicks and, of course, princesses.
6. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Worldwide gross: $1,332,539,889
Domestic gross: $620,181,382
Bottom line: The first follow-up to the record-breaking reboot of the "Star Wars" franchise, this movie promised (and delivered) a whole lot more of the OG force-user, Luke Skywalker.
The storylines between the old and new continued to effortlessly meld and people who wanted elements of the original trilogy were satisfied as were people who enjoy all the delightful nuances of the newer characters and their world.
5. Black Panther
Worldwide gross: $1,346,813,040
Domestic gross: $700,059,566
Bottom line: This movie was a surprise hit for Marvel, blowing any other stand alone superhero character out of the water.
There’s already talk of a likely 2022 release date for the sequel to the breakout hit.
Just like the comic books, there are all sorts of ways that characters can continue to exist in the Marvel Universe even after something dramatic happens in one timeline.
4. Avengers: Age of Ultron
Worldwide gross: $1,405,403,694
Domestic gross: $459,005,868
Bottom line: After seeing the Avengers squabble amongst themselves and go through their own battles, this movie helped show where the franchise would go now that the allure of first fighting together had worn off.
It continued to show how new characters would be brought into the fold while keeping that action and laughs that moviegoers (especially those overseas) love.
3. Marvel’s The Avengers
Worldwide gross: $1,518,812,988
Domestic gross: $623,357,910
Bottom line: After steadily introducing many of the Marvel characters through their own stand-alone movies, it’s understandable that the first time you see them all work together will get butts in seats.
The original "Avengers" was an action-packed yet highly-playful movie that would help define how many of the Marvel franchise would be produced in the future.
2. Avengers: Infinity War
Worldwide gross: $2,045,628,423
Domestic gross: $678,405,681
Bottom line: The latest "Avengers" movie did particularly well overseas.
The story delivered on a promise that there would be some absolutely heart-wrenching moments, and it was one of the most true-to-the-comics movies of the entire franchise.
1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Worldwide gross: $2,068,223,624
Domestic gross: $936,662,225
Bottom line: The much anticipated reboot of the beloved franchise lived up to all the expectations.
Despite the fact that there was an immense amount of pressure, Disney and the filmmakers totally delivered a captivating story that seamlessly wove the original characters into a totally new world that the franchise can (and has) capitalize on.