The Highest Grossing Films Of 2019

There were a ton of movies that topped the box office during 2019, and it makes moviegoers wonder why certain films do so well. The majority of the highest-grossing films of the year were based on stories that already existed, whether that be franchises, re-makes, or sequels.

Movies that were made under Walt Disney Studios or in the Marvel Cinematic Universe are almost a guaranteed success, but there are some dark horse films that brought millions of people to the theater. These are the worldwide highest-grossing movies from 2019.

Avengers: Endgame Leads The Way At The Box Office

Gwyneth Paltrow, Brie Larson, Elizabeth Olsen, Tessa Thompson, Pom Klementieff, and Letitia Wright in Avengers: Endgame (2019)
Marvel Studios
Marvel Studios

The Avengers franchise has proven to be one of the top movie series in the world, so it only makes sense that Avengers: Endgame would be the top-grossing film at almost $2.8 billion. Fans flock to the theaters to see these Marvel movies for numerous reasons.

They are filled with great casting, advanced special effects, and emotional storylines that have continued for over a decade. This particular movie was a must-see for Marvel fans because it was the last in the Avengers franchise. This epic movie had a run time of three hours and one minute.

The Lion King Packs In The CGI

a baby lion cub being held up by a monkey
Walt Disney Pictures
Walt Disney Pictures

Disney has now re-made a good number of their classic films including Dumbo, Cinderella, and The Jungle Book into live-action and CGI. The top Disney remake of 2019 was The Lion King, which made over $1.6 billion at the box office. This version takes the same storyline and classic Elton John songs from the original, but includes extremely realistic CGI animals and backdrops.

It also comes with an all-star cast including Donald Glover, Beyoncé, John Oliver, Seth Rogen, Billy Eichner, and James Earl Jones, who returned to play Mufasa after 25 years. A lot of the music from the film also received numerous Grammy nominations for 2020.

Spider-Man: Far From Home Continues Where Avengers Left Off

zendaya hugging spider-man on a sidewalk
Marvel Studios
Marvel Studios

Spider-Man: Far From Home is the continuation of the events from Avengers: Endgame. This caused it to do well at the box office because Avengers fans wanted to know what would happen next in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Tom Holland, Samuel L. Jackson, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Zendaya round out the cast, which earned over $1.1 billion.

This is already Holland’s fifth Spider-Man film after only three years, but Marvel is listening to what fans want to see on screen. There have been several actors who’ve played this iconic superhero, but Holland seems to be a fan-favorite.

Brie Larson Shines As Captain Marvel

brie larson in her captain marvel costume
Marvel Studios
Marvel Studios

Marvel films dominated the box office in 2019 and that continued for the highly-anticipated Captain Marvel. Brie Larson was chosen to take on the title role and had audiences rooting for her almost instantly.

She played opposite Samuel L. Jackson and the two of them shared great chemistry. Also, the special effects that de-aged Jackson were something to marvel at. Captain Marvel brought in around $1.1 billion, which is a great feat for a movie that is introducing an entirely new character.

Fans Eagerly Waited For Toy Story 4

woody, buzz, jessie, and forky falling out of the sky
Pixar Animation Studios/Walt Disney Pictures
Pixar Animation Studios/Walt Disney Pictures

Toy Story was the very first full-length Pixar film and after 25 years the franchise released the fourth in the series. Toy Story 4 brought back some memorable characters such as Woody and Buzz Lightyear, but also introduced a new character named Forky that ends up being the driving force of the plot.

It had been almost a decade since the last Toy Story film was released, so this one brought in a respected $1.07 billion in worldwide box office sales. Toy Story 4 shows just how much animation technology has improved, while continuing on with the heartfelt story.

What Caused Aladdin To Do Well At The Box Office

Will Smith dressed as the genie and Mena Massoud in Aladdin (2019)
Walt Disney Pictures
Walt Disney Pictures

Disney hasn’t been fooling around with their re-makes. In 2019 they turned their classic Aladdin into a live-action and CGI blockbuster hit. They chose relative newcomers Mena Massoud and Naomi Scott to play Aladdin and Princess Jasmine, but included Will Smith to put a new spin on Robin Williams’ Genie.

The movie had many of the original songs and plot, but added some new characters and songs to give it something extra. Aladdin racked up $1.03 billion at the worldwide box office with fans praising it for the musical performances and being able to cross many genres including comedy, action, romance, and adventure.

Joker Was An Instant Worldwide Success

Joaquin Phoenix in costume and makeup as the joker
DC Comics
DC Comics

With all the high grossing superhero movies at the box office filmmakers realized that making the antithesis to that might grab some attention from the public, and they were right. Joker is the dark origin story of a troubled comedian in Gotham City who is mistreated by society.

As the film progresses audiences embark on the downward spiral of Arthur Fleck’s (Joaquin Phoenix) journey into his alter-ego of the Joker. After less than two months the film has already grossed more than $1 billion worldwide, which is mainly due to Phoenix’s harrowing and raw performance.

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw Brings All The Action

Jason Statham and Dwayne Johnson in Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019)
Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw may not be the most thought-provoking film of the year, but the action, adventure, and comedy keep audiences entertained throughout. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Jason Statham join forces as the two leads with a supporting cast including Idris Elba, Helen Mirren, and Vanessa Kirby.

Even though it is from the makers of the Fast & Furious film franchise it has a different tone and style. The movie accumulated around $759 million at the box office for 2019.

How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World Wraps Up The Franchise

characters riding their dragons in the sky
DreamWorks Animation
DreamWorks Animation

Many of the top-grossing films of 2019 were either re-makes or sequels and that applies to How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World. This is the third and last installment in the franchise after nine years and it made around $519 million at the box office.

The film includes the voice talents of some top A-list stars including Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, F. Murray Abraham, Cate Blanchett, Jonah Hill, and Kristen Wiig. Reviewers thought the third part showed tremendous growth for all the characters, dragons included, and stayed true to the themes of love and friendship.

What’s So Captivating About Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil

angelina jolie as maleficent
Walt Disney Pictures
Walt Disney Pictures

Disney’s classic princess story Sleeping Beauty was transformed into a live-action re-make in Maleficent: Mistress of Evil. The story was already dark and twisted to begin with, but adding Angelina Jolie as the villain adds more complexity to the storyline.

Some things that stand out are the elaborate costumes and intense makeup, as well as the cinematography and sound and visual effects. Also, 21-year-old Elle Fanning is able to hold her own with Jolie and Michelle Pfeiffer. This Disney re-make received a little over $472 million at the box office.

It Chapter Two Brings The Losers Club Back Together

Bill Hader, James McAvoy, Jay Ryan, Jessica Chastain, and Isaiah Mustafa in It Chapter Two (2019)
New Line Cinema
New Line Cinema

It Chapter Two is another sequel that became one of 2019’s top-grossing films. The movie is based on a Stephen King novel and follows the Losers Club after a 27-year break from when they first encountered the bone-chilling clown, Pennywise.

This soon-to-be Halloween classic grossed about $469 million after bringing together a cast full of talented actors. Bill Hader, James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain, and all the other stars they found to play the adult versions of the characters were able to put their own personalities into their roles, while balancing the horror, action, and dramatic aspects of the film.

The Secret Life Of Pets 2 Is Something The Whole Family Can Enjoy

an animated bunny in a superhero outfit and a dog
Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures

Sometimes movie sequels don’t live up to their expectations, but The Secret Life of Pets 2 seemed to be a favorite among fans of the original. It received a 90 percent audience score on Rotten Tomatoes and earned over $433 million worldwide at the box office.

The plot may be aimed more toward kids, but the animation is just as elaborate and carefully made as the first movie. Parents who took their kids to see it may have recognized some famous voices including Patton Oswalt, Kevin Hart, Harrison Ford, Tiffany Haddish, and Dana Carvey.

Pokémon Detective Pikachu Couldn’t Please Everyone

an animated pikachu dressed in a detective hat
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

The Pokémon cards and animated TV shows and movies were something enjoyed by many millennials when they were children. This past year brought the nostalgia of that time period to the big screen in Pokémon Detective Pikachu. The plot revolves around a boy who discovers Pikachu, an aspiring detective, in a world where people collect Pokémon for battles.

Since its release, the movie grossed about $430 million with a cast including Ryan Reynolds, Ken Watanabe, Justice Smith, Kathryn Newton, and Suki Waterhouse. With an already loyal fan base, the movie received mixed reviews. Some claimed it was too weird, while others thought it was a good continuation for the franchise.

Alita: Battle Angel Had Some Of The Best Special Effects Of The Year

rosa salazar edited in cgi for alita: battle angel
Twentieth Century Fox
Twentieth Century Fox

Alita: Battle Angel comes from the mind of James Cameron (Avatar), so it was filled with all kinds of futuristic visual effects. The movie tells the story of Alita (Rosa Salazar) who wakes up in a dystopian, futuristic world where she has no memory of who she was before.

It wasn’t as successful as Avatar but still managed to bring in about $403 million. Some audience members complained that even though the special effects were phenomenal it didn’t share a lot of the backstory to catch people up on what was going on.

Godzilla: King Of The Monsters Brings Back A Notorious Character

Vera Farmiga and Millie Bobby Brown in Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

The character of Godzilla first appeared in a 1954 film of the same name and quickly became a worldwide pop culture icon. After numerous movie adaptations, the most recent brought in big numbers at the box office. Godzilla: King of the Monsters grossed over $383 million and featured some of the greatest sound and visual effects of 2019.

It included some of Hollywood’s most sought after actors such as Millie Bobby Brown, Vera Farmiga, Sally Hawkins, and Bradley Whitford. Since it’s centered around Godzilla the movie features kaijū action and also some subtle slips of social commentary.

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood May Be Quentin Tarantino’s Best Since Pulp Fiction

leonardo dicaprio and brad pitt in costume for once upon a time...in hollywood
Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures

Quentin Tarantino is one of the most powerful writers and directors in Hollywood and his newest movie proved that his storytelling abilities are just as strong as ever. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood follows a fictional TV actor and his stunt double who try to break into the film industry at the end of the Golden Age of Hollywood in 1969.

Stars such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, and Margot Robbie are already accomplished actors and their performances helped the movie earn over $369 million in its theatrical release. Movie reviewers agree that it’s not a film everyone will love, but it’s one that everyone should see.

How Shazam! Stands Out As A Superhero Movie

jack dylan grazer touching zachary levi's light-up superhero suit in shazam!
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

With the superhero movies coming out by the dozens it can be difficult to decide which one should get audiences’ attention. Shazam! comes from the DC Comics Universe and centers around a foster kid who can turn into a grown-up superhero just by shouting “Shazam!”

While it didn’t do as well at the box office as its Marvel counterparts it still managed to gross around $364 million. Critics believed that it did a good job of blending a heartwarming story with humor and is something families can enjoy watching together.

Frozen II Did Something No Other Animated Movie Has Accomplished

sven, kristoff, olaf, anna, and elsa in frozen II
Walt Disney Animation Studios
Walt Disney Animation Studios

After being out for less than a week Frozen II has already grossed over $358 million worldwide. It has officially broken box office records after achieving the highest-grossing opening weekend of all time for an animated movie. Since it’s received a ton of viewership in such a short amount of time the film has already been heavily nitpicked.

The majority consensus agrees that it may not be as compelling as the original, but is filled with toe-tapping musical numbers and top-notch animation. The voice stylings of Idina Menzel, Kristen Bell, Jonathan Groff, and Josh Gad are also just as electric as the original.

Dumbo Lacks The True Disney Spirit

eva green sitting in a net with a cgi dumbo
Walt Disney Pictures
Walt Disney Pictures

Disney gave audiences a lot of re-makes this year, but there are some that didn’t receive as much attention as others. The Lion King and Aladdin were filled with superstar casts and had tons of catchy musical numbers, so Dumbo needed to stand out in a different way.

Tim Burton’s adaptation of the Disney classic grossed about $348 million and included some Hollywood veterans such as Colin Farrell, Michael Keaton, Alan Arkin, and Danny DeVito. Burton’s whimsical visuals were stunning, but it missed the true spirit of the original film.

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum May Be The Top Action Movie Of 2019

keanu reeves and halle berry walking in a desert with two german shepards
Lionsgate
Lionsgate

Franchises and sequels did extremely well for this year’s top-grossing films and that didn’t stop for John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum. The John Wick films are one of the top action franchises in the world and the third installment earned around $326 million in 2019.

Keanu Reeves led the film as John Wick, an assassin on the run after having a $14 million bounty set on him. He later turns to ex-assassin Sofia (Halle Berry) for assistance. It received generally favorable reviews and is thought to be one of the best action movies of 2019.