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Highest-grossing Disney Movies: Avengers, Lion King, Star Wars & More

Last Updated: October 19, 2023
Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm — the gang’s all here. Check out the highest-grossing Disney movies across all the universes under the House of Mouse’s umbrella.

The world of Walt Disney has given birth to some of the most memorable movies ever to grace a theater. From the representation of Black culture in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever to Pirates of the Caribbean — based on the popular Disneyland attraction — Disney has created a universe filled with wonder across Pixar, National Geographic, Marvel, the Disney Channel, and more.

With Beauty and the Beast making history as the first animated movie to be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards and Finding Nemo making a splash as the first Pixar film to win Best Animated Feature, it’s no secret that the wonderful world of Disney has been setting the box office bars high and breaking records across generations.

Spanning the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Pixar, and live-action remakes, Boardroom acknowledges the iconic company’s 100th anniversary with a list of the top 10 highest-grossing Disney movies ever, as noted by MovieWeb.

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Top 10 Highest-grossing Disney Movies of All Time

Avengers: Endgame ($3.22 Billion)

As the sequel to Avengers: Infinity War, the Marvel Cinematic Universe brought together Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Ant-Man, Black Widow, Okeye, and more for one final battle against Thanos while tragically ending the storylines for some of the most beloved characters. Originally called Avengers: Infinity War – Part 2, Avengers: Endgame is one of the most expensive films ever made with an estimated budget of $356-400 million. The movie was the highest-grossing film of all time between 2019 and 2021 and received 116 nominations including Academy Awards’ Best Visual Effects, Grammy Awards’ Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media, and BET Awards’ Best Actor for Chadwick Boseman’s first appearance as Black Panther.

Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens ($2.57 Billion)

This Return of the Jedi (1983) sequel set 30 years later had out-of-this-world box office ratings following its 2015 theatrical release. With a $477 million budget, The Force Awakens is the most expensive film ever made. It’s also the highest-grossing film in both the United States and Canada, as well as the highest-grossing film in 2015. The film received five Academy Award nominations including for Best Original Score, Best Film Editing, and Best Sound Mixing. It also won a Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack for Original Media, awarded to composer John Williams.

Avengers: Infinity War ($2.41 Billion)

The 2018 Avengers franchise film features favorites from The Avengers, Wakanda, and the Guardians of the Galaxy, making it the perfect cinematic medley for all major Marvel Cinematic Universe fanatics. Avengers: Infinity War was the first superhero film to gross over $2 billion worldwide and beat out The Fate of the Furious as the highest opening weekend and single weekend gross with $640.5 million. Eventually, Avengers: Endgame surpassed Infinity War for this record, as well as for the highest 3D opening weekend gross and highest-grossing superhero movie.

Avatar: The Way of Water ($2.32 Billion)

The 2022 sci-fi sequel co-produced and directed by James Cameron is the second installment of the Avatar film franchise and is one of the most expensive films ever made with an estimated budget of somewhere between $350 and 460 million. Avatar: The Way of Water was the highest-grossing film of 2022 and is the highest-grossing film since the COVID-19 pandemic. The film went on to win a total of 42 awards, including an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects, an ASCAP Award for Film Score of the Year, and a National Board of Review Award for Top Ten Films.

The Avengers ($1.98 Billion)

Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Chris Evans as Captain America, Mark Ruffalo as Hulk, and Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye. The Avengers was based on the original Marvel Comics superheroes of the same title and was crowned the highest-grossing film of 2012. It also made history as the first Marvel production to generate $1 billion in ticket sales. The film went on to receive over 70 nominations including Best Visual Effects from the Academy Awards, Best Action Movie from the Critic’s Choice Awards, and People’s Choice Awards’ Favorite Face of Heroism for Scarlett Johansson’s portrayal of Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff.

The Lion King ($1.91 Billion)

With an all-star ensemble voice cast of Donald Glover, Beyoncé, Alfre Woodard, Seth Rogan, Keegan-Michael Key, and James Earl Jones reprising his original role of Mufasa, the 2019 live-action remake of The Lion King echos the same plot as the 1994 animated film. Following its release across Dolby Cinema, RealD 3D, and IMAX theaters, The Lion King quickly replaced Frozen as the highest-grossing animated film of all-time and sits as one of the most expensive films ever made with an estimated budget of $260 million. Furthermore, the film is currently the most expensive live-action remake by Disney and is the highest-grossing Disney re-adaptation to date. In 2020, The Lion King earned four Grammy award nominations, two Golden Globe nominations, and one Academy Award nomination.

Avengers: Age of Ultron ($1.89 Billion)

The direct sequel to the original The Avengers film, the 2015 movie was the fourth-highest-grossing film of its release year as well as the fifth-highest-grossing film of all time during its theatrical run. Chris Hemsworth, who played Thor, earned a People’s Choice Award for Favorite Action Movie Actor and Chris Evans, who portrayed Captain America, went on to win a Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie: Scene Stealer.

Frozen ($1.86 Billion)

Home to one of the biggest Disney songs to ever bless the ears of this generation — “Let It Go” — this 2013 film tells the tale of sisters Anna and Elsa. Starring Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel, Frozen was the first-ever Walt Disney Animation Studios film to win an Academy Award for Best Animated Film. Frozen also won Best Original Song from the 2014 Academy Awards, Top Soundtrack from the American Music Awards, and Best Song Written for Visual Media from the Grammy Awards, just to name a few.

The Lion King ($1.79 Billion)

Based on William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, this 1994 animated Disney film finished its theater residency strong with an initial worldwide gross of $763 million, crowning it the highest-grossing film of 1994. The Lion King was also sitting pretty as the highest-grossing animated film until Finding Nemo came along in 2003. Did you know that The Lion King was the first Disney movie to be dubbed in Zulu, a Southern Bantu language spoken in South Africa?

Black Panther ($1.59 Billion)

Starring Lupita Nyong’o, Michael B. Jordan, Angela Bassett, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Forest Whittaker, and the late Chadwick Boseman, Black Panther was released in 2018, directed/co-written by Ryan Coogler. Black Panther made history as the first Marvel Studios film with a Black director and a predominantly Black cast. During the time of its release, it was the highest-grossing film directed by a Black filmmaker and went on to become the first MCU film to win across several categories at the Academy Awards. Moreover, Black Panther was the first superhero film to receive a Best Picture nod.

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About The Author
D'Shonda Brown
D'Shonda Brown
D'Shonda Brown is the Music and Entertainment Editor at Boardroom. Prior to joining the Boardroom team, she served as the Associate Editor at ESSENCE and Girls United, ESSENCE's Generation Z platform. Through the years, the Spelman College graduate has amassed bylines in entertainment, fashion, beauty, wellness, and business across For(bes) The Culture, HYPEBAE, Byrdie, HighSnobiety, xoNecole, REVOLT, and more.