The Top-Grossing G-Rated Movies of All Time
Lions, dwarfs, clownfish and monsters! These are just a few of the main characters in the movies featured on this list. G-rated movies have been a mainstay of cinema, and to this day, they still earn millions — or even billions — of dollars at the box office. So which ones have earned the most in 2019 dollars?
There’s some difficulty coming up with definitive data for these movies. Where data is available from Box Office Mojo, we converted all gross earnings into 2019 dollars and added them together (for example, “Finding Nemo” made $339.7 million domestically in 2003 dollars, but then made $41.1 million in 2012 for a re-release. Both figures were then adjusted for inflation and added for the final tally.) This method is mostly important for older movies, which often had several box office openings that could span decades.
Additionally, it’s practically impossible to convert international gross accurately for some movies. For example, according to Box Office Mojo, 1942’s “Bambi” made a total of $165 million overseas. But there’s no way of knowing how much of that $165 million was made from 1942 or 1993, from when the movie first aired in London to when the movie was last re-released in Australia.
Regardless, these 16 rated-G movies have assuredly made hundreds of millions, or even billions, of dollars. Did your favorite make the list?
Budget: $15 million
Domestic gross: $74 million
Worldwide gross (inflation adjusted): $646.84 million
“Ben-Hur” is easily the most violent movie on this list, and probably would not have earned that family-friendly G rating today (although it is still very tame). It was also insanely expensive for the time, and its production included 15,000 extras, 100,000 costumes and 40,000 tons of imported sand. “Ben-Hur” was a giant success and was re-released and restored for its 50th anniversary in 2011 (it cost another $1 million for the restoration).
15. 'Mary Poppins'
Budget: $4.4 million
Domestic gross: $31 million
Worldwide gross (inflation adjusted): $746.7 million
The musical about everyone’s favorite floating nanny earned five Academy Awards and 13 nominations, a Golden Globe, two Grammy Awards and hundreds of millions of dollars. And for some reason, Dick Van Dyke, who played Bert the chimney sweeper, paid Disney $4,000 to play another role in the film as a banker.
14. 'Toy Story 2'
Budget: $90 million
Domestic gross: $245.85 million
Worldwide gross (inflation adjusted): $758.9 million
It’s hard to imagine that the mega-successful sequel to “Toy Story” was initially going to be a direct-to-video feature. But when Disney saw what kind of hit Pixar had on its hands, they decided that the movie would be featured on the big screen. Which was a good choice, as “Toy Story 2” was a smash hit and spawned two more sequels and one spinoff (the fourth film, “Toy Story 4” is releasing June 2019).
Budget: $150 million
Domestic gross: $206.45 million
Worldwide gross (inflation adjusted): $760.9 million
A CGI culinary delight of a film, “Ratatouille” delivered a three-star showing at the box office when it released in 2007. When came out on DVD that same year, it sold over 11,000,000 copies to the tune of about $169 million in consumer spending.
Budget: $2.6 million
Domestic gross: $38.98 million
Worldwide gross (inflation adjusted): $788.38 million
Following the success of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” Disney created “Pinocchio,” a movie about a friendly old woodworker whose puppet comes to life. The film had some truly innovative cinematography, including creating a 3D effect that cost $25,000 but only lasted 30 seconds, which made Walt Disney himself tell the animators to reign in their spending.
Budget: $2.28 million
Domestic gross: $42.85 million
Worldwide gross (inflation adjusted): $809.7 million
“Fantasia” is difficult to score because the movie was a failure at first. While the movie was re-released throughout the years, it wasn’t until the 1960s that “Fantasia” would become a huge success, thanks to a new drug-fueled culture that found appreciation for the psychedelic visuals and trippy music. Exact data of how much it made during what years is unavailable. One newspaper reported that “Fantasia” didn’t start making money until 1969, which would drive its inflation-adjusted gross down to $297 million.
10. ‘Monsters University’
Budget: $200 million
Domestic gross: $268.5 million
Worldwide gross (inflation adjusted): $812 million
The monsters from Monstropolis returned in 2013 for a prequel to “Monsters, Inc.” This film shows how the lovable creatures met in college and became friends. For research, filmmakers went to Harvard, MIT, Stanford and the University of California, Berkeley, and went to frat houses and football games. That must have been some grueling work.
9. 'Monsters, Inc'.
Domestic gross: $225.87 million
Worldwide gross (inflation adjusted): $818.18 million
A charming CGI flick about monsters that lurk in children’s closets and under their bed tells a surprisingly heart-felt and warm story. To get the fur of the main character, Sulley, just right, Pixar invented an entirely new software tool to individually simulate each of his three million hairs.
Budget: $28 million
Domestic gross: $217.35 million
Worldwide gross (inflation adjusted): $903.3 million
Aladdin, Princess Jasmine and Genie rode a magic carpet into the hearts of children everywhere when “Aladdin” premiered in 1992. The film wasn’t without controversy — its depiction of the Middle East caused outcry from the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, which took umbrage with the musical lines “Where they cut off your ear/If they don’t like your face.” The line was subsequently edited out in the video release.
7. 'The Jungle Book'
Domestic gross: $73.74 million
Worldwide gross (inflation adjusted): $1.19 billion
“The Jungle Book” movie solidified Rudyard Kipling’s book of the same name as one of the world’s best, and most loved, children’s stories. Several other movies and TV shows were created, including Netflix’s “Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle” and a 2016 live-action version by Disney which netted $966.5 million at the box office.
6. 'The Sound of Music'
Budget: $8.2 million
Domestic gross: $158.67 million
Worldwide gross (inflation adjusted): $1.28 billion
Whether “The Sound of Music” is one of your favorite things or whether it’s one of your most loathed, the 1965 musical has proved to be an immortal force. The play ran for over three years on Broadway before the movie came out and is still running to this very day. The movie itself was a huge success with audiences, even if some of the actors didn’t enjoy working on it — Christopher Plummer, who played Captain von Trapp, called it “awful and sentimental and gooey. You had to work terribly hard to try and infuse some miniscule bit of humor into it.”
5. 'Finding Nemo'
Budget: $94 million
Domestic gross: $339.7 million
Worldwide gross (inflation adjusted): $1.28 billion
Pixar was drowning in cash when “Finding Nemo” made a huge splash at the box office in 2003. The film, about a clownfish searching for his son, won an Academy Award and set DVD sales records when it hit home video the next year. Its 2016 sequel, “Finding Dory” (rated PG), made $1.03 billion at the box office.
4. 'Toy Story 3'
Budget: $200 million
Domestic gross: $415 million
Worldwide gross (inflation adjusted): $1.4 billion
Pixar’s “Toy Story” revolutionized the animation industry, but it’s the third installment that raked in the cash. Releasing 11 years after “Toy Story 2,” “Toy Story 3” was highly anticipated. And really, really heartbreaking.
3. 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs'
Budget: $1.5 million
Domestic gross: $66.596 million
Worldwide gross (inflation adjusted): $1.493 billion
“Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” sold 7.4 million tickets at $0.23 a pop when it hit the silver screen in 1937. This was the first fully animated feature film from Disney, and was arguably the film that set Disney on its path to world domination 80 years later.
2. 'The Lion King'
Budget: $45 million
Domestic gross: $422.78 million
Worldwide gross (inflation adjusted): $1.582 billion
“The Lion King” made almost all of its ticket sales during its first run, although it did have two rereleases — one in IMAX form and another when Disney converted Simba and friends to a 3D showing in 2011.
In July 2019, Disney will release a remake of the film starring Donald Glover as Simba, with James Earl Jones returning to voice Mufasa. And even though we know what happens to that King of the Jungle, the waterworks will run.
1. 'Gone With the Wind'
Budget: $3.85 million
Domestic gross: $200.85 million
Worldwide gross (inflation adjusted): $3.484 billion
Quite frankly my dear, everyone gave a damn about “Gone with the Wind” when the movie hit theaters 80 years ago. Just check out how enthusiastic the city of Atlanta was, as written in a contemporary Time review:
“Governor Eurith D. Rivers proclaimed a statewide holiday, prepared to call out the National Guard. Atlanta's Mayor William B. Hartsfield proclaimed a three-day festival. To Georgia it was like winning the battle of Atlanta 75 years late, with Yankee goodwill thrown in and the direct assistance of Selznick International (which made the picture).”
The Civil War epic was so popular throughout the entire 48 states of America that it sold an estimated 200 million tickets. Which is incredibly impressive, because there were only 130.9 million people in the United States, meaning many were willing to shell out another 23 cents for a second, third or fourth viewing.