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The Highest Grossing Movies Released on Independence Day

Fireworks are not the only entertainment on offer during Independence Day, as film studios frequently time the release of their big-budget, family-friendly blockbusters to coincide with the unofficial start to the summer.

Movies making their debut around this time are most obviously in debt to 1996’s Independence Day, which with its simplistic storyline and aggressive advertising campaign, helped catalyze cinema’s commercial appeal.

To arrive at this list, Newsweek examined Box Office Mojo data detailing worldwide box office sales for movies released over the Fourth of July long weekend. Figures correct as of June 29.

25. The Purge: Election Year ($118,587,880)

2016 ‧ Horror/Action ‧ 1h 49m

A display for the movie “The Purge: Election Year” at CinemaCon at Caesars Palace on April 11, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada
Gabe Ginsberg/WireImage/Getty Images

A man who survived the yearly night of lawlessness becomes a presidential candidate determined to end the blood lust.

Rotten Tomatoes’ crucial consensus states: “It isn’t particularly subtle, but The Purge: Election Year’s blend of potent jolts and timely themes still add up to a nastily effective diversion.”

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24. The Patriot ($215,294,342)

2000 ‧ War/Action ‧ 2h 55m

The Patriot
Actor Mel Gibson attends the premiere of “The Patriot” at Loews Century Plaza June 27, 2000 in Century City, CA
Chris Weeks/Online USA/Getty Images

After getting married, an Army veteran turns his back on his violent past but joins his nation’s war when his wife dies.

Rotten Tomatoes’ crucial consensus states: “The Patriot can be entertaining to watch, but it relies too much on formula and melodrama.”

23. Wild Wild West ($222,104,681)

1999 ‧ Western/Action ‧ 1h 47m

Wild Wild West
American actor Will Smith as Captain James West in a scene from the film ‘Wild Wild West’, 1998
Murray Close/Getty Images

A pair of special agents in the Wild West attempt to save President Grant from the clutches of a steampunk super-villain.

Rotten Tomatoes’ crucial consensus states: “Bombastic, manic, and largely laugh-free, Wild Wild West is a bizarre misfire in which greater care was lavished upon the special effects than on the script.”

22. Baby Driver ($226,945,087)

2017 ‧ Action/Thriller ‧ 1h 55m

Baby Driver
Actor Ansel Elgort (L) and Director Edgar Wright attend TriStar Pictures, The Cinema Society and Avion’s screening of “Baby Driver” at The Metrograph on June 26, 2017 in New York City
Mark Sagliocco/FilmMagic/Getty Images

After being forced into working for a crime boss, a young music-mad getaway driver becomes embroiled in a heist doomed to fail.

Rotten Tomatoes’ crucial consensus states: “Stylish, exciting, and fueled by a killer soundtrack, Baby Driver hits the road and it’s gone—proving fast-paced action movies can be smartly written without sacrificing thrills.”

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21. Click ($240,685,326)

2006 ‧ Comedy/Romance ‧ 1h 47m

Closeup of movie poster as David Hasselhoff promotes Columbia Pictures “Click” at Planet Hollywood June 20, 2006 in New York City
Amy Sussman/Getty Images

A man stumbles upon a universal remote allowing him to edit entire portions of his life.

Rotten Tomatoes’ crucial consensus states: “This latest Adam Sandler vehicle borrows shamelessly from It’s a Wonderful Life and Back to the Future, and fails to produce the necessary laughs that would forgive such imitation.”

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20. The Firm ($270,248,367)

1993 ‧ Thriller/Drama ‧ 2h 34m

The Firm
American actor Tom Cruise on the set of The Firm, based on the novel by John Grisham and directed by Sydney Pollack
François Duhamel/Sygma/Sygma/Getty Images

A hotshot attorney joins a prestigious law firm only to become embroiled in a mysterious murder case.

Rotten Tomatoes’ crucial consensus states: “The Firm is a big studio thriller that amusingly tears apart the last of 1980s boardroom culture and the false securities it represented.”

19. Grown Ups ($271,457,301)

2010 ‧ Comedy/Buddy ‧ 1h 42m

Grown Ups
(L-R) Actors David Spade, Chris Rock, Adam Sandler, Kevin James and Rob Schneider attend the premiere of “Grown Ups” at the Ziegfeld Theatre on June 23, 2010 in New York City
Jamie McCarthy/WireImage/Getty Images

Five men who were best friends as children are now getting together for the Fourth of July weekend to meet each others’ families for the first time.

Rotten Tomatoes’ crucial consensus states: “Grown Ups’ cast of comedy vets is amiable, but they’re let down by flat direction and the scattershot, lowbrow humor of a stunted script.”

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18. The Last Airbender ($319,713,881)

2010 ‧ Action/Adventure ‧ 1h 43m

The Last Airbender
Actors Dev Patel and Freida Pinto attend the premiere of “The Last Airbender” at Alice Tully Hall on June 30, 2010 in New York City
Charles Eshelman/FilmMagic/Getty Images

A young successor to a lineage of Avatars must master all four elements to prevent the planet from being conquered.

Rotten Tomatoes’ crucial consensus states: “The Last Airbender squanders its popular source material with incomprehensible plotting, horrible acting, and detached joyless direction.”

17. The Devil Wears Prada ($326,706,115)

2006 ‧ Comedy/Romance ‧ 1h 50m

The Devil Wears Prada
Meryl Streep, Stanley Tucci and Anne Hathaway during The 63rd International Venice Film Festival – “The Devil Wears Prada” – Arrivals at Veneto Italy in Venice, Italy
Niki Nikolova/FilmMagic/Getty Images

This cult classic follows a young woman at the start of her career as an assistant to the demanding editor-in-chief of a high fashion magazine.

Rotten Tomatoes’ crucial consensus states: “A rare film that surpasses the quality of its source novel, this Devil is a witty expose of New York’s fashion scene, with Meryl Streep in top form and Anne Hathaway more than holding her own.”

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16. The Perfect Storm ($328,718,434)

2000 ‧ Thriller/Drama ‧ 2h 10m

The Perfect Storm
Film poster showing Rising waves during a perfect storm event, ‘The Perfect Storm’
Universal History Archive/Getty Images

A once-in-a-lifetime storm catches a boat of commercial fishermen unaware and places their lives at risk.

Rotten Tomatoes’ crucial consensus states: “While the special effects are well done and quite impressive, this film suffers a lack of any actual drama or characterization. The end result is a film that offers nifty eye candy and nothing else.”

15. Apollo 13 ($355,237,933)

1995 ‧ Drama/History ‧ 2h 20m

Apollo 13
Kevin Bacon, Tom Hanks, and Bill Paxton talking in ship in a scene from the film ‘Apollo 13’, 1995
Universal/Getty Images

A trio of NASA astronauts on the Apollo 13 Moon mission become stranded when their rocket gets damaged.

Rotten Tomatoes’ crucial consensus states: “In recreating the troubled space mission, Apollo 13 pulls no punches: it’s a masterfully told drama from director Ron Howard, bolstered by an ensemble of solid performances.”

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14.The Legend of Tarzan ($356,700,357)

2016 ‧ Adventure/Romance ‧ 1h 50m

The Legend of Tarzan
(L-R) Actors Christoph Waltz, Alexander Skarsgard, Margot Robbie and Samuel L. Jackson of ‘The Legend of Tarzan’ attend CinemaCon 2016, on April 12, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada
Todd Williamson/Getty Images

After leaving the jungles of Africa behind for a gentrified life, Tarzan must return to his former ways to save his wife Jane.

Rotten Tomatoes’ crucial consensus states: “The Legend of Tarzan has more on its mind than many movies starring the classic character, but that isn’t enough to make up for its generic plot or sluggish pace.”

13. Superman Returns ($391,081,192)

2006 ‧ Action/Adventure ‧ 2h 49m

Superman Returns
Signage during “Superman Returns” Special Screening Hosted by The Palms Hotel and Casino Resort and 944 Magazine at Brenden Theatres at The Palms Hotel and Casino Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada
Denise Truscello/WireImage/Getty Images

Superman returns to Earth after spending five years on his home planet of Krypton and faces his arch-enemy, Lex Luther.

Rotten Tomatoes’ crucial consensus states: “Bryan Singer’s reverent and visually decadent adaptation gives the Man of Steel welcome emotional complexity. The result: a satisfying stick-to-your-ribs adaptation.”

12. Batman ($411,508,343)

1989 ‧ Action/Adventure ‧ 2h 6m

Director of the first “Batman” movie and “Batman Returns,” Tim Burton, proudly displays a Batman pin during a 1989 West Hollywood, California
George Rose/Getty Images

Tim Burton’s take on Gotham’s Dark Knight begins with Batman battling his first major enemy, The Joker.

Rotten Tomatoes’ crucial consensus states: “An eerie, haunting spectacle, Batman succeeds as dark entertainment, even if Jack Nicholson’s Joker too often overshadows the title character.”

11. Cars 2 ($559,852,396)

2011 ‧ Family/Comedy ‧ 2 hours

Cars 2
(L-R) British spy Finn McMissile, four-time Piston Cup champion Lightning McQueen and his best pal Mater (life-size remote controlled models based on the characters) from Disney and Pixar’s “Cars 2” roll into Bob’s Big Boy for a pit stop on June 17, 2011 in Burbank, California
Patrick Wymore/Disney Parks/Getty Images

Racing car Lightning McQueen and his friend Mater travel abroad to compete in the World Grand Prix.

Rotten Tomatoes’ crucial consensus states: “Cars 2 is as visually appealing as any other Pixar production, but all that dazzle can’t disguise the rusty storytelling under the hood.”

10. War of the Worlds ($603,873,119)

2005 ‧ Sci-fi/Action ‧ 1h 58m

War of the Worlds
Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise during “War of the Worlds” Los Angeles Fan Screening – Arrivals in Los Angeles, California, United States
SGranitz/WireImage/Getty Images

This updated version of this sci-fi cult classic finds the arrival of an alien tripod threatening to wipe out the human race.

Rotten Tomatoes’ crucial consensus states: “Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of War of the Worlds delivers on the thrill and paranoia of H.G. Wells’ classic novel while impressively updating the action and effects for modern audiences.”

9. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse ($698,491,347)

2010 ‧ Fantasy/Romance ‧ 2h 11m

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
(L-R) Actor Robert Pattinson, actress Kristen Stewart and actor Taylor Lautner arrive at the premiere of Summit Entertainment’s “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse” during the 2010 Los Angeles Film Festival at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on June 24, 2010 in Los Angeles, California
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic/Getty Images

In the third installment of the Twilight series, a succession of mysterious killings grips her hometown, forcing Bella to choose between love and friendship.

Rotten Tomatoes’ crucial consensus states: “Stuffed with characters and overly reliant on uninspired dialogue, Eclipse won’t win The Twilight Saga many new converts, despite an improved blend of romance and action fantasy.”

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8. Spider-Man 2 ($788,976,453)

2004 ‧ Action/Adventure ‧ 2h 15m

Spider-Man 2
Tobey Maguire during “Spider-Man 2” Los Angeles Premiere at Mann Village in Westwood, California, United States
Chris Polk/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Peter Parker battles his problematic personal life in addition to the evil scientist Doctor Otto Octavius.

Rotten Tomatoes’ crucial consensus states: “Boasting an entertaining villain and deeper emotional focus, this is a nimble sequel that improves upon the original.”

7. Wonder Woman ($822,824,522)

2017 ‧ Action/Adventure ‧ 2h 29m

Wonder Woman
Actress Gal Gadot arrives for the Premiere Of Warner Bros. Pictures’ “Wonder Woman” held at the Pantages Theatre on May 25, 2017 in Hollywood, California
Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

A member of an all-female Amazonian race leaves her isolated life and enters the world of men to stop Ares, the god of war.

Rotten Tomatoes’ critics’ consensus states: “Thrilling, earnest, and buoyed by Gal Gadot’s charismatic performance, Wonder Woman succeeds in spectacular fashion.”

6. The Lion King ($1,083,720,877)

1994 ‧ Family/Musical ‧ 1h 29m

lion king
The Lion King: A young lion prince who flees his kingdom after the murder of his father returns to regain what is rightfully his

Lion cub Simba learns to accept his royal destiny when he travels back to his pride 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.”

5. Finding Dory ($1,028,570,942)

2016 ‧ Family/Adventure ‧ 2 hours

Finding Dory
Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi arrives for the UK Premiere of “Finding Dory” at Odeon Leicester Square on July 10, 2016 in London, England
Luca Teuchmann/WireImage/Getty Images

Amnesiac fish Dory starts searching for her long-lost family with the help of her aquatic friends, clownfish Marlin and his son Nemo.

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.”

4. Jurassic Park ($1,033,928,303)

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 new theme park on a remote island set to offer visitors the opportunity to see dinosaurs first-hand turns into a nightmare after the creatures escape.

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.”

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3. Despicable Me 3 ($1,034,800,131)

2017 ‧ Family/Comedy ‧ 1h 36m

Despicable Me 2
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

After Gru meets his long-lost twin brother Dru, the attentions of the Minions’ master are turned to the most formidable nemesis he has yet encountered, in the third offering of the Despicable Me franchise.

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.”

2. Toy Story 3 ($1,066,970,811)

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

Andy’s precious toys are accidentally delivered to a daycare center, from where they plot their elaborate escape home.

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

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

2011 ‧ Action/Sci-fi ‧ 2h 37m

Shia LaBeouf is seen on location for “Transformers 3” on November 8, 2010 in Los Angeles, California
Jean Baptiste Lacroix/WireImage/Getty Images

The discovery of enemy alien spacecraft hitherto hidden on the Moon causes the Transformers to race to save the planet.

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.”

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