Using the All Time 50 Top Box Office Movies to Market Your Film

If you wanted to create a film, but wanted to know what genres are the most popular movie genres, you could start by analyzing the top box office movies of all time.

Similarly, if you completed your film and want to successfully promote it, you might see from the list of the top 50 box office movies below that your film might not fit into the most popular movie genres using this research below. For example, since comedy is one of the most popular genres, you could decide to add a cutscene(s) of a humorous conversation between two people if the movie can accommodate it in terms of plot. That way, when you go to a distributor, you could find “yet” another way to market your film!

There are many variations you could come up with, you just have to be creative and find new ways to market your film! A chart is below of the top 50 Top Box Office Movies, their top grosses, what genre(s) they are and out of the top 50 films, how popular is their genre(s).
Please let me know if you had any creative thoughts and still want to explore them by posting a comment and/or emailing me, Jonathan at moviedistributionfacts@gmail.com.

The results from the graph below show the top 50 box office gross hit movies of all time. They are separated into multi genre movies with information from IMDB.com categorizing them into genres. The top movie genres are Drama, Romance, Action, Adventure, Animation, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Comedy, Crime, Family & Thriller. Other genres did not make the list. The results are not out of 100%, rather 50 x the number of genres.)The movies are with their respective genres the highest in obviously Action- 52% (26 out of the top 50 movies had the action genre in the film) of the 50 movies and even higher in Adventure- at 66% (33 out of the top 50 movies had adventure.) This is of course obvious that people go to see action and adventure the most.

Lets concentrate on the other most popular genres below :

Sci Fi, Comedy, Fantasy and Romance are the most popular. 16 Sci Fi movies have made over 200 million box office receipts, the same as comedy. Following this Fantasy and Romance share the same split, 20% each of the top 50 movies.

What to learn from this research?
To add as many genres to your film as possible to market it!

Top Box Office Movies Total Box Office Film Gross (In Millions) Genre(s) Total Movies % out of 50 movies – genre popularity
#1 Titanic $600,788 Drama, Romance Drama-8/50=16%

Romance-10/50 =20%

#2 Star Wars : Episode III Revenge of the Sith $460,998 Action, Adventure, Sci Fi Action-26/50= 52%, Adventure-33/50=66% Sci Fi-16/50=32%
#3 Shrek 2 $437,212 Animation, Adventure, Comedy, Romance Animation-7/50=16%

Adventure-33/50=66%

Comedy-16/50=32%

#4 E.T: the Extra Terrestrial $434,974 Adventure, Drama, Sci Fi Adventure-33/50=66%

Drama-8/50=16%

Sci Fi-16/50=32%

#5 Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace $431,088 Action, Adventure, Sci Fi Action-26/50= 52% Adventure-33/50=66% Sci Fi-16/50=32%
#6 Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest $423,416 Action, Adventure, Comedy Action-26/50= 52% Adventure-33/50=66%
Comedy-16/50=32%
#7 Spider Man $407,681 Action, Crime. Romance, Sci-Fi Action-26/50= 52%

Crime-4/50=8%

Drama-8/50=16%

Sci Fi-16/50=32%

#8 Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith $380,270 Action, Adventure, Sci Fi Action-26/50= 52% Adventure-33/50=66% Sci Fi-16/50=32%
#9 Lord of the Rings : Return of the King $377,192 Action, Adventure, Fantasy Action-26/50= 52% Adventure-33/50=66%
Fantasy-10/50=20%
#10 Spider-Man 2 $373,377 Action, Crime, Romance, Sci-Fi Action-26/50= 52%

Crime-4/50=8%

Romance-10/50=20%

Sci Fi-16/50=32%

#11 The Passion Of Christ $370,773 Drama Drama-8/50=16%
#12 Jurassic Park $357,067 Action, Adventure, SciFi Action-26/50= 52% Adventure-33/50=66% Sci Fi-16/50=32%
#13 The Lord of the Rings : The Two Towers $341,748 Action, Adventure, Fantasy Action-26/50= 52% Adventure-33/50=66%
Fantasy-10/50=20%
#14 Finding Nemo $339,714 Action, Adventure, Comedy Action-26/50= 52% Adventure-33/50=66%

Comedy-16/50=32%

#15 Spider Man 3 $336,530 Action, Crime, Romance, Sci-Fi Action-26/50= 52%

Crime-4/50=8%

Romance-10/50=20%

Sci-Fi-16/50=32%

#16 Forrest Gump $329,693 Comedy, Drama, Romance Comedy-16/50=32%

Drama-8/50=16%

Romance-10/50=20%

#17 The Lion King $328,538 Animation, Adventure, Drama Animation-7/60=14%

Adventure-33/50=66%

Drama-8/50=16%

#18 Shrek the Third $320,706 Animation, Adventure, Comedy, Romance Animation-7/60=14%

Adventure-33/50=66%

Comedy-16/50=32%

Romance-10/50=20%

#19 Transformers $319,222 Action, Adventure, SciFi Action-26/50= 52% Adventure-33/50=66% Sci Fi-16/50=32%
#20 Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone $317,575 Family, Adventure, Fanatsy Family-8/50=165
Adventure-33/50=66%
Fantasy-10/50=20%
#21 The Lord Of The Rings: Fellowship of the Ring $314,163 Action, Adventure, Fantasy Action-26/50= 52% Adventure-33/50=66%
Fantasy-10/50=20%
#22 Star Wars: Episode II – Attack Of The Clones $310,676 Action, Adventure, Sci Fi Action-26/50= 52% Adventure-33/50=66% Sci Fi-16/50=32%
#23 Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End $309,302 Action, Adventure, Comedy Action-26/50= 52% Adventure-33/50=66%
Comedy-16/50=32%
#24 Star Wars: Episode VI – Return Of The Jedi $309,206 Action, Adventure, Sci Fi Action-26/50= 52% Adventure-33/50=66% Sci Fi-16/50=32%
#25 Independence Day $306,169 Action, Sci Fi Action-26/50= 52%  Sci Fi-16/50=32%
#26 Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black
Pearl
$305,411 Action, Adventure, Comedy Action-26/50= 52% Adventure-33/50=66%
Comedy-16/50=32%
#27 The Sixth Sense $293,506 Drama,  Thriller Drama-8/50=16%

Thriller-3/50=6%

#28 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix $292,000 Family, Adventure, Fantasy Family-8/50=16%

Adventure-33/50=66%

Fantasy-10/50=20%

#29 The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and
the Wardrobe
$291,709 Action, Adventure, Fanatsy Action-26/50= 52% Adventure-33/50=66%
Fantasy-10/50=20%
#30 Iron Man $290,601 Action, Adventure. Drama Action-26/50= 52% Adventure-33/50=66%
Drama-8/50=16%
#31 Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back $209,272 Action, Adventure, Sci Fi Action-26/50= 52% Adventure-33/50=66% Sci Fi-16/50=32%
#32 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire $290,013 Family, Adventure, Fantasy Family-8/50=165

Adventure-33/50=66%

Fantasy-10/50=20%

#33 Home Alone $285,761 Family, Comedy, Crime Family-8/50=16%

Comedy-16/50=32%

Crime-4/50=8%

#34 The Matrix Reloaded $281,538 Action, Adventure, Sci Fi Action-26/50= 52% Adventure-33/50=66% Sci Fi-16/50=32%
#35 Meet the Fouckers $279,167 Comedy, Romance Comedy-8/50=16%

Romance-10/50=20%

#36 Shrek $267,665 Animation, Adventure, Comedy, Romance Animation-7/50=14%

Adventure-33/50=66%

Comedy-8/50=16%

Romance-10/50=20%

#37 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets $261,979 Family, Adventure, Fantasy Family-8/50=16%

Adventure-33/50=66%

Fantasy-10/50=20%

#38 The Incredibles $261,435 Animation, Adventure, Action Animation-7/50=14%

Adventure-33/50=66%

Action-26/50= 52%

#39 Dr. Suess, How the Grinch Stole Christmas $260,031 Comedy, Family Comedy-8/50=16%

Family-8/50=32%

#40 Jaws $260,000 Adventure,  Thriller Adventure-33/50=66%

Thriller-3/50=6%

#41 Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Scull $257,620 Adventure/Action Adventure-33/50=66%

Action-26/50= 52%

#42 I Am Legend $256,386 Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller Drama-8/50=16%

Sci-Fi-16/50=32%

Thriller-3/50=6%

#43 Monsters  Inc. $255,870 Animation, Comedy, Family, Animation-7/50=14%

Adventure-33/50=66%

Thriller-3/50=6%

#44 Batman (Original, 1989) $251,190 Action, Crime, Sci-Fi Action-26/50=32%

Crime-4/50=8%

Sci-Fi-16/50=32%

#45 Night At the Museum $250,863 Adventure, Family, Comedy Adventure-33/50=66%

Comedy-8/50=16%

Family-8/50=16%

#46 Men In Black $250,156 Action, Comedy, Sci-fi Action-26/50= 52%

Comedy-8/50=16%

Sci-Fi-16/50=32%

#47 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban $249,538 Family, Adventure, Fantasy Family-8/50=16%

Adventure-33/50=66%

Fantasy-8/50=16%

#48 Toy Story 2 $245,852 Animation, Adventure, Family Animation-7/50=14%

Adventure-33/50=66%

Family-8/50=16%

#49 Cars $244,082 Family, Animation, Comedy Family-8/50=16%

Animation-7/50=14%

Comedy-8/50=16%

#50 Bruce Almighty $242,704 Comedy, Fantasy, Romance Comedy-8/50=16%

Fantasy-8/50=16%

Romance-10/50=20%

For any questions, please reply to the post or to moviedistributionfacts@gmail.com.

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Using A Study of Popular Movie Audiences to Promote your Film.

The idea behind this study below is to see what the audience of America in 2007 watches the most of in movies. If a filmmakers movie falls into a medium to high percentage in one of these variables presented below, their movie will have a better chance of selling this year to a distribution company.
The results of a conducted objective study are from a total of 60 movies, Netflix.com, Blockbusters’ Top 20 rented movies and Amazon’s Top 20 bestselling movies. They were categorized into specific genres (gathered from IMDB.com), if they have 0-2 A-List actors and if they are Independent movies or Hollywood blockbuster movies.
If a filmmaker has an “A”- list charcter attached to the movie (for example, Jack Nicholson) they have a better chance of getting their film made because the actor sells the movie to the distribution company who makes a decision if audiences will buy it or not. A “B”- list actor will help the movie get made but is usually not as well known.
The results were calculated in percentages and you can take the highest to middle ranges as the most popular in the market. If you take three successful corporations and match their movie sales you can have qualitative research if your movie is to be a great buy in this market today.
The results out of 60 movies are below:

The Study Amount
and/or Amount in Genre
Percentage Share out
of 60 movies
Independent Movies 7 12%
Hollywood Movies 53 88%
0 A-List Actors 12 35%
1 A-List Actor 21 20%
2 A-List Actors 31 52%
Biography 6 10%
Drama 47 78%
Mystery 7 12%
Action 9 15%
Comedy 21 35%
Crime 13 22%
Thriller 19 32%
Romance 19 32%
Adventure 7 12%

The results show Hollywood movies are still produced more because of the successes and large money invested into distribution efforts. The 12% of independent movies that sell in the top 20 is likely to increase over time, with the advent of Internet legal movies being downloaded, DVD’s and pay-per-view. As far as attaching a list actor/actress to your project, you can see that 2 A – list actors appearing in a movie is about half of the most popular movies being seen.
1 A – list actor is enough to get your movie distribution with 21% total share and shockingly a 35 % total share of 0 A-list actors, so this is good news for low budget filmmakers without money for A-list actors.
With respect to the genres, most movies were combined two or more genres in the study. 78% of movies had drama that involves seriousness with narrative, which is the common movie genre with the comedy genre at second highest. As a filmmaker can see not much has changed since the Greek storytellers. It’s safe to say that if one genre takes up a third of the market share, you should have either drama, comedy, a thriller or romance theme added to the screenplay before you decide to distribute your own film.
Movies and films are promoted nowadays through such distribution channels such as movie theatres, platform releases, DVD’s and video on demand. These distribution channels are also audiences as they have influenced them democratically. The Independents and Hollywood have been distributing their films in a monetary number like fashion. By theatres or to DVD or to video on demand one after the other, in a structure with a few weeks to months between each medium release of the same concept. Henrig, Henrig-Thrau, Sattler, Eggers and Houston, writers of the “The Last Picture Show? Timing and Order of Movie Distribution Channels.” Say their “ empirical research results suggest that – studios that produce motion pictures can increase their revenues by up to 16.2% through sequential distribution timing and order changes”
Basically, they say that a filmmaker or distribution house should plan to distribute their movie through any and all possible channels all at once to achieve the most profit. A lump sum of all audiences and distribution channels might be the most appealing solution to recoup losses and make great profit as a filmmaker/indie producer.
If these authors of this journal have provided objective research of over 1770 consumers and have provided results, we should encourage these figures as represented below.
Movie theatres generate 23.7% of all studio revenues, 17.2% of all revenue is generated by DVD rentals and a whopping 57.1% is generated by DVD sales. We can infer from this information that we can make full profit by adding these figures together, instead of receiving additional funds over time. Note that you will always have additional funds over time and also the auxiliary market funds as well.
These authors say that simultaneous releases will hurt one channel over the other, should this be a careful decision on your part? Of course not, a filmmaker should be out for themselves as much as Hollywood is.

Comparing Your Film to Other Films for the Film Distribution Process

When marketing/showing your film to a distributor, it is important to show other films in your genre similar to your film in sales, budget, average number of screens(if possible) worldwide gross and weeks in theatres. These are projected amounts and you should assume your film will have the same budget and all other requisites. Just like last post, which was analyzing box office info, we have a movie and all it’s numerical figures from box office results. I have chosen a very hard genre, which is docudrama and not as popular as high concept film. This film called “Touching the Void” is about mountain climbing and an intense documentary. This film’s budget wqs about 3 million dollars and may be similar to your film’s budget. I have found similar movies to “Touching the Void” and compared them using sites such as Box Office Mojo.com, numbers.com and IMDBpro.com and our own proprietary system. Here is the results below. Try this with a sheet of paper or a new microsoft document in this same setup as below. Please reply to moviedistributionfacts@gmail.com or add a comment below for any questions.

Movie Budget(in millions) Average Number of Screens Worldwide Gross
(in millions)
Weeks
Touching the Void 1.5 million pounds (3 million dollars) 77 13 22
Everest 5 43 125 154
Shackleton’s Anartic Adventure 7 14 22 147
Climbing Cold Mountain 8 15 15 8
The Tom Whitataker Story: One Step at a Time 500,000 dollars 22 7 15
The Alps 3 18 7 6
Cerro Torre Schrei Aus Stein: Scream of Stone 500,000 dollars 9 10 19
The Man who Skied Down Everest 400,000 CAD 2 2 2

Reviewing Top Box Office Chart Information e.g. Spiderman To Compare Your Film.

Ever wonder just how the movie theatre chain business works and how to project and compare your film earnings of your movie ? You can find it out on any Box Office Report and compare your film on a smaller scale (example below). By reviewing a Box Office Chart, you can tell what a movie made on average of every theatre in the country( although these figures vary, and are slightly overreported.) Take for instance, Spiderman 1. The below figures report over 400 million in gross sales. Spiderman 1 grossed almost 115 million on the weekend of May 3rd, 2002. Out of 3,615 theatres in the US – each theatre on weighted average did about 32,000 in sales each. (Of course some made more than others.) These earnings and figures each week are reported to the distributor and a percentage is given to the movie theatre for exhibiting it.

As I say in my posts, making a succesful run at having a distributor fund your film is reducing the risk for them. This is done in a film distribution memorandum. The primary focus in this distribution memorandum is COMPARING your film to others. So, you can compare a similar film(s) to yours in your genre..(2 or 3 to be safe) Compare the terms such as Gross Amounts, Amount of Theatres, Per Theatre and Date, you can safely say your film is compareable to these figures when the film gets distributed by the distributor.

So again, on a smaller scale, (You can go on a higher or lower scale) if movie A and movie B are similar to yours and have box office statistics of 6,000 dollars per theatre for one weekend and the distributor had the film(s) showing in 20 theatres, the film(s) comparable to yours made 120,000 dollars that weekend. You can say that your film has a likeness to theirs and that is how much your film will make opening weekend. You can compare smaller figures from the weeks on, You might want to include about 3 months full of statistics as well to show the distributor, this is how long you want the film in the theatres. The main idea of this is to show the distributor on how you want your movie opening to run to the finish.
Please use the chart below for any examples you might need or to answer any questions about this post on reviewing Box Office Information. If you have any further comments, please email me at moviedistributionfacts@gmail.com or reply to the post, i will get back to you right away.

Date Rank Gross Theaters Per Theater Total Gross Days
5/3/2002 1 $114,844,116 3,615 $31,769 $114,844,116 3
5/10/2002 1 $71,417,527 3,615 $19,756 $223,040,031 10
5/17/2002 2 $45,036,912 3,615 $12,458 $285,573,668 17
5/24/2002 2 $28,508,104 3,876 $7,355 $333,641,492 24
5/31/2002 3 $14,317,411 3,646 $3,927 $353,823,544 31
6/7/2002 5 $10,311,062 3,235 $3,187 $370,428,183 38
6/14/2002 7 $7,515,984 2,702 $2,782 $382,537,669 45
6/21/2002 10 $4,555,932 2,278 $2,000 $390,382,313 52
6/28/2002 11 $3,130,214 1,810 $1,729 $395,874,471 59
7/5/2002 13 $2,204,636 1,502 $1,468 $400,058,357 66
7/12/2002 18 $890,372 574 $1,551 $401,991,818 73
7/19/2002 22 $403,186 265 $1,521 $402,770,278 80
7/26/2002 25 $251,065 177 $1,418 $403,142,910 87
8/2/2002 25 $234,714 228 $1,029 $403,505,336 94
8/9/2002 40 $84,383 85 $993 $403,620,726 101
8/16/2002 44 $67,390 74 $911 $403,706,375 108