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25 Biggest Summer Movie Blockbusters of All Time

Hollywood summer blockbusters are a surprisingly modern phenomena, originating when technical issues with the mechanical shark meant Stephen Spielberg’s Jaws was delayed until July 1975.

The movie’s success transformed how Hollywood studios scheduled the release of their biggest blockbusters, and audiences ever since have been treated to some of the year’s most eagerly anticipated releases during the summer months.

To compile this list of movies earning the most in revenue, Newsweek examined worldwide box office figures of films released in the U.S. between May and August from movie database The Numbers.

Here are the most successful summer movie blockbusters of all time…

25. Despicable Me 2 ($975,216,835)

2013 ‧ Family/Comedy ‧ 1h 38m

Steve Carell attends a photocall for ‘Despicable Me 2’ (Gru 2 Mi Villano Favorito) at Villamagna Hotel on June 18, 2013 in Madrid, Spain
Fotonoticias/WireImage/Getty Images

In the second installment of the Despicable Me franchise, the Anti-Villain League decides to hire reformed super-villain Gru to wage war against a new super-criminal.

Rotten Tomatoes’ crucial consensus states: “Despicable Me 2 offers plenty of eye-popping visual inventiveness and a number of big laughs.”

24. The Lion King ($986,214,868)

1994 ‧ Family/Musical ‧ 1h 29m

The Lion King
Disney’s The Lion King tells the tale of a ion cub’s journey to adulthood and acceptance of his royal destiny

Disney’s iconic 1994 musical animation follows lion cub Simba’s journey to adulthood and the acceptance of his royal destiny when the princeling returns to reclaim his throne.

Rotten Tomatoes’ crucial consensus states: “Emotionally stirring, richly drawn, and beautifully animated, The Lion King stands tall within Disney‘s pantheon of classic family films.”

23. The Dark Knight ($999,046,281)

2008 ‧ Action/Adventure ‧ 2h 32m

The Dark Knight
Film goers watch The Dark Knight featuring Heath Ledger during a public tribute outdoor movie night to the late actor at Burswood Park on February 12, 2011 in Perth, Australia
Paul Kane/Getty Images

Gotham City’s mafia hires psychopathic criminal mastermind The Joker, who offers to kill Batman.

Rotten Tomatoes’ crucial consensus states: “Dark, complex and unforgettable, The Dark Knight succeeds not just as an entertaining comic book film, but as a richly thrilling crime saga.”

Stream on Hulu

22. Finding Dory ($1,025,006,125)

2016 ‧ Family/Adventure ‧ 2 hours

Finding Dory
Finding Nemo sequel Finding Dory made a splah at the box office
Disney Pixar

Forgetful blue tang fish Dory heads off in search of her long-lost parents with the help of her aquatic friends.

Rotten Tomatoes’ crucial consensus states: “Funny, poignant, and thought-provoking, Finding Dory delivers a beautifully animated adventure that adds another entertaining chapter to its predecessor’s classic story.”

21. Star Wars: The Phantom Menace ($1,027,044,677)

1999 ‧ Sci-fi/Adventure ‧ 2h 16m

Star Wars Ep. I: The Phantom Menace
Natalie Portman at premiere of ‘Star Wars The Phantom Menace,’ New York, May 16, 1999
Steve Eichner/Getty Images

A pair of powerful Jedi Knights attempt to stop the Trade Federation from invading the planet Naboo.

Rotten Tomatoes’ crucial consensus states: “Burdened by exposition and populated with stock characters, The Phantom Menace gets the Star Wars prequels off to a bumpy
—albeit visually dazzling—start.”

20. Despicable Me 3 ($1,032,596,894)

2017 ‧ Family/Comedy ‧ 1h 36m

Despicable Me 3
Minions attend the premiere of “Despicable Me 3” at The Shrine Auditorium on June 24, 2017 in Los Angeles, California
Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic/Getty Images

The third Despicable Me film, which beat both its predecessors at the box office, tells the story of a former child star obsessed with the character he played in the 1980s, who proves to be Gru’s most formidable nemesis he has yet encountered.

Rotten Tomatoes’ crucial consensus states: “Despicable Me 3 should keep fans of the franchise consistently entertained with another round of colorful animation and zany—albeit somewhat scattershot—humor.”

19. Jurassic Park ($1,045,573,035)

1993 ‧ Sci-fi/Adventure ‧ 2h 8m

Jurassic Park
A Tyrannosaurus Rex menaces the theme park’s first customers in a scene from the film ‘Jurassic Park’, 1993
Murray Close/Getty Images

A paleontologist visiting a theme park containing cloned dinosaurs is tasked with protecting a group of humans after a power failure leads to the animals’ release.

Rotten Tomatoes’ crucial consensus states: “Jurassic Park is a spectacle of special effects and life-like animatronics, with some of Spielberg’s best sequences of sustained awe and sheer terror since Jaws.”

Stream on Peacock

18. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides ($1,045,713,80)

2011 ‧ Adventure/Action ‧ 2h 17m

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
Actor Johnny Depp (R) and actress Penelope Cruz attend the “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” photocall at the Palais des Festivals during the 64th Cannes Film Festival on May 14, 2011 in Cannes, France
Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

The fourth installment of the Pirates series sees Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) fall in love with the enigmatic Angelica (Penelope Cruz), who forces him aboard the ship of the legendary pirate Blackbeard.

Rotten Tomatoes’ crucial consensus states: “It’s shorter and leaner than the previous sequel, but this Pirates runs aground on a disjointed plot and a non-stop barrage of noisy action sequences.”

Stream on Starz

17. Aladdin ($1,046,649,706)

2019 ‧ Family/Musical ‧ 2h 8m

Will Smith attends the “Aladdin” European Gala at Odeon Luxe Leicester Square on May 09, 2019 in London, England
Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images

In the live-action adaptation of Disney’s animated classic, kind-hearted thief Aladdin, his love Princess Jasmine and the mischievous Genie race to save the kingdom’s ruler.

Rotten Tomatoes’ crucial consensus states: “Aladdin retells its classic source material’s story with sufficient spectacle and skill, even if it never approaches the dazzling splendor of the animated original.”

16. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest ($1,066,179,72)

2006 ‧ Adventure/Action ‧ 2h 31m

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest stars Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom at the Odeon Leicester Square in London
Eamonn McCormack/WireImage/Getty Images

Captain Jack Sparrow searches for legendary pirate Davy Jones to avoid being enslaved by him, in the second of the Pirates of the Caribbean films.

Rotten Tomatoes’ crucial consensus states: “Gone is [Johnny] Depp’s unpredictability and much of the humor and originality of the first movie.”

15. Toy Story 3 ($1,068,879,522)

2010 ‧ Family/Comedy ‧ 1h 48m

Toy Story 3
Cast attends the UK premiere of Toy Story 3 at Empire Leicester Square on July 18, 2010 in London, England
Jon Furniss/WireImage/Getty Images

When owner Andy readies to depart for college, his loyal toys find themselves trapped in daycare, from where they plot their escape.

Rotten Tomatoes’ crucial consensus states: “Deftly blending comedy, adventure, and honest emotion, Toy Story 3 is a rare second sequel that really works.”

14. Toy Story 4 ($1,073,080,32)

2019 ‧ Family/Comedy ‧ 1h 40m

Toy Story 4
Tom Hanks (L) and Tim Allen attend the world premiere of Disney and Pixar’s TOY STORY 4 at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, CA on Tuesday, June 11, 2019
Jesse Grant/Getty Images

Just beating the third in the animated series of films, Toy Story 4 follows Woody and his friends on a road trip that reveals just how vast the world can be for a toy​.

Rotten Tomatoes’ crucial consensus states: “Heartwarming, funny, and beautifully animated, Toy Story 4 manages the unlikely feat of extending—and perhaps concluding—a practically perfect animated saga.”

13. The Dark Knight Rises ($1,082,228,107)

2012 ‧ Action/Thriller ‧ 2h 44m

The Dark Knight Rises
Actor Christian Bale is seen in costume as Batman on the set of “The Dark Knight Rises” on location on Wall Street on November 5, 2011 in New York City
Marcel Thomas/FilmMagic)/Getty Images

Eight years after Batman vanished, arrives Bane, a masked terrorist with ruthless plans for Gotham City.

Rotten Tomatoes’ critics’ consensus states: “The Dark Knight Rises is an ambitious, thoughtful, and potent action film that concludes Christopher Nolan’s franchise in spectacular fashion.”

12. Transformers: Age of Extinction ($1,104,054,072)

2014 ‧ Action/Sci-fi ‧ 2h 45m

Transformers: Age of Extinction
Actor Mark Wahlberg attends the European premiere of ‘Transformers: Age of Extinction’ (german title: ‘Transformers – Aera des Untergangs’) at Sony Centre on June 29, 2014 in Berlin, Germany
Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

With help from a new team of humans, Optimus Prime and his Autobots battle a shadowy group attempting to control the direction of history.

Rotten Tomatoes’ critics’ consensus states: “With the fourth installment in Michael Bay’s blockbuster Transformers franchise, nothing is in disguise: Fans of loud, effects-driven action will find satisfaction, and all others need not apply.”

11. Transformers: Dark of the Moon ($1,123,794,079)

2011 ‧ Action/Sci-fi ‧ 2h 37m

Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Shia LaBeouf, Michael Bay and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley attend the “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” stage greeting at Osaka Station City Cinema on July 16, 2011 in Osaka, Japan. The film will open on July 29 in Japan
Koki Nagahama/Getty Images

A mysterious event from the planet’s past erupts into the present which threatens to bring a war to Earth so colossal, the Transformers alone will not be able to save Earth.

Rotten Tomatoes’ critics’ consensus states: “Its special effects—and 3D shots—are undeniably impressive, but they aren’t enough to fill up its loud, bloated running time, or mask its thin, indifferent script.”

10. Spider-Man: Far from Home ($1,132,183,514)

2019 ‧ Action/Adventure ‧ 2h 9m

Spider-Man: Far From Home
Spider-Man: Far From Home stars Tom Holland and Zendaya are seen on October 12, 2018 in New York City
MediaPunch/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images/Getty Images

Following the events of Avengers: Endgame, Spider-Man battles a new threat while on a school summer vacation to Europe.

Rotten Tomatoes’ critics’ consensus states: “A breezily unpredictable blend of teen romance and superhero action, Spider-Man: Far From Home stylishly sets the stage for the next era of the MCU.”

9. Minions ($1,159,631,140)

2015 ‧ Family/Comedy ‧ 1h 31m

Minions attend the World Premiere of “Minions” at Odeon Leicester Square on June 11, 2015 in London, England
Karwai Tang/WireImage/Getty Images

Minion Kevin, his rebellious friend Stuart and lovable little Bob venture into the world to find a new evil boss for their fellow creatures to follow.

Rotten Tomatoes’ critics’ consensus states: “The Minions’ brightly colored brand of gibberish-fueled insanity stretches to feature-length in their self-titled Despicable Me spinoff, with uneven but often hilarious results.”

8. Iron Man 3 ($1,215,392,272)

2013 ‧ Action/Adventure ‧ 2h 11m

Iron Man 3
Robert Downey Jr attends a special screening of ‘Iron Man 3’ at The Odeon Leicester Square on April 18, 2013 in London, England
Dave J Hogan/Getty Images

After his world is destroyed, Iron Man is pitted against an enemy whose evil powers know no bounds.

Rotten Tomatoes’ critics’ consensus states: “With the help of its charismatic lead, some impressive action sequences, and even a few surprises, Iron Man 3 is a witty, entertaining adventure and a strong addition to the Marvel canon.”

7. Incredibles 2 ($1,242,805,359)

2018 ‧ Family/Comedy ‧ 2h 5m

 Incredibles 2
Samuel L Jackson attends the ‘Incredibles 2’ UK premiere at BFI Southbank on July 8, 2018 in London, England
Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images

The family of superheroes returns, with Bob facing the challenges of stay-at-home parenting, while wife Helen attempts to stop another supervillain.

Rotten Tomatoes’ critics’ consensus states: “Incredibles 2 reunites Pixar’s family crimefighting team for a long-awaited follow-up that may not quite live up to the original, but comes close enough to earn its name.”

6. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom ($1,308,334,005)

2018 ‧ Action/Sci-fi ‧ 2h 10m

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
Jeff Goldblum, Bryce Dallas Howard and Chris Pratt attend the premiere of Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment’s “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” at Walt Disney Concert Hall on June 12, 2018 in Los Angeles, California
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Four years after Jurassic World’s destruction, the island’s dormant volcano roars into life, triggering a race to save the park’s dinosaurs.

Rotten Tomatoes’ critics’ consensus states: “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom adds another set piece-packed entry to the blockbuster franchise, although genuinely thrilling moments are in increasingly short supply.”

5. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 ($1,334,392,544)

2011 ‧ Fantasy/Fantasy ‧ 2h 10m

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part
(L to R) Actors Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint attend the World Premiere of ‘Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2’ in Trafalgar Square on July 7, 2011 in London, England
Dave M. Benett/Getty Images

The battle between Harry Potter and his friends and the evil forces of the wizarding world escalates into an all-out war.

Rotten Tomatoes’ critics’ consensus states: “Thrilling, powerfully acted, and visually dazzling, Deathly Hallows Part II brings the Harry Potter franchise to a satisfying—and suitably magical—conclusion.”

4. Avengers: Age of Ultron ($1,395,316,979)

2015 ‧ Action/Adventure ‧ 2h 22m

Avengers: Age of Ultron
(L to R) Jeremy Renner, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr attend the European premiere of “The Avengers: Age Of Ultron” at Westfield London on April 21, 2015 in London, England
David M. Benett/WireImage)/Getty Images

Tony Stark and Bruce Banner ready an AI peacekeeping program called Ultron, but the project goes catastrophically out of control.

Rotten Tomatoes’ critics’ consensus states: “Exuberant and eye-popping, Avengers: Age of Ultron serves as an overstuffed but mostly satisfying sequel, reuniting its predecessor’s unwieldy cast with a few new additions and a worthy foe.”

3. The Avengers ($1,515,100,211)

2012 ‧ Adventure/Action ‧ 2h 24m

The Avengers (2012)
Robert Downey Jr attends the European premiere of Marvel’s ‘Avengers Ensemble’ at The Vue Westfield on April 19, 2012 in London, England
Dave Hogan/Getty Images

The planet’s superheroes must learn to fight together to prevent mischievous demigod Loki and his alien army from conquering the world.

Rotten Tomatoes’ critics’ consensus states: “Thanks to a script that emphasizes its heroes’ humanity and a wealth of superpowered set pieces, The Avengers lives up to its hype and raises the bar for Marvel at the movies.”

2. The Lion King ($1,654,381,934)

2019 ‧ Family/Adventure ‧ 1h 58m

The Lion King
Donald Glover attends the premiere of Disney’s “The Lion King” at Dolby Theatre on July 09, 2019 in Hollywood, California
Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

The 2019 photorealistic remake of the Disney classic again follows young lion prince Simba, who flees his kingdom after the murder of his father and returns to regain what is rightfully his.

Rotten Tomatoes’ critics’ consensus states: “While it can take pride in its visual achievements, The Lion King is a by-the-numbers retelling that lacks the energy and heart that made the original so beloved—though for some fans that may just be enough.”

1. Jurassic World ($1,669,979,967)

2015 ‧ Action/Sci-fi ‧ 2h 5m

Jurassic World
Actors Bryce Dallas Howard (L) and Chris Pratt attend the Universal Pictures’ “Jurassic World” premiere at the Dolby Theatre on June 9, 2015 in Hollywood, California
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

The Jurassic World luxury resort, providing a habitat for an array of genetically engineered dinosaurs, transforms into a nightmare for tourists when one particularly deadly dinosaur escapes.

Rotten Tomatoes’ critics’ consensus states: “Jurassic World can’t match the original for sheer inventiveness and impact, but it works in its own right as an entertaining—and visually dazzling—popcorn thriller.”

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