Ryan Gosling and Margot Robbie pose during the photocall for the film 'Barbie' at Four Seasons Hotel Mexico City on July 07, 2023 in Mexico City, Mexico.

Greta Gerwig’s Barbie entered rarified air over the weekend when it surpassed over $1 billion at the box office! Pretty ironic that that movie blew up faster than the movie about an actual bomb blowing up. With this milestone, Barbie joins an esteemed list of films to hit the big B in ticket sales.

I went to see Barbie during its premiere weekend, and honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect. On its surface, it didn’t seem like my usual type of flick. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that it was an absolutely phenomenal piece of cinema that’s equal parts hilarious and thought-provoking to boot. Margot Robbie absolutely killed it as the titular character, but in my opinion, it was Ryan Gosling who stole the show with his sensational performance as Ken…well, one of the Kens at least. I remember walking out of the theatre and immediately telling my girlfriend “if this movie doesn’t destroy at the box office I will be absolutely shocked.” And destroy it did! Barbie currently stands as the 45th highest-grossing film in American cinematic history, but does it make my list of my all-time favorite billion-dollar blockbusters?

The full list of movies that hit $1 billion can be seen here. The list features many entries in popular franchises like Star Wars and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which isn’t very surprising when you think about how universally beloved those IPs are. If anything that makes the inclusion of a standalone film like Barbie even more impressive. But ignoring the dollars and cents, I mainly took my own personal enjoyment into account when ranking my top 9 movies from the expansive list. It was easy to eliminate the ones I hadn’t seen (sorry, Despicable Me fans), along with movies I just can’t personally stand (not sorry, Transformers fans).

Do your favorite billion-dollar-earning movies make it into my top 9? Let’s find out! Here are the greatest movies to ever surpass a billion a the box office. Spoiler alert: you’re gonna see a lot of superheroes and Jedi.

  • 9. Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens

    See? Told you.

    Say what you will about how the rest of the Star Wars sequel trilogy played out – or better yet, let’s just agree not to say anything about it – but I think most could agree that TFA is far and away the best of the three films. In 2015 it did its job of bringing the magic and spectacle of Star Wars to a newer generation of sci-fi fanatics, while also keeping the older fans happy and excited (at the time) for more. I saw this movie three times in theaters and found something new to love about it every single time. What can I say? I’m a sucker for a good lightsaber sequence. With an otherworldly box office yield of over $2 billion, The Force Awakens stands as the fifth highest grossing movie of all time. I guess I can’t be alone in my praise of this movie, right? Right?…right?

  • 8. Barbie

    Yep, it made the cut! I gushed enough about this movie already so I won’t linger here. But if you’re still not sold on Barbie, maybe this clip will help you understand what makes it so spectacular. In other words, it is Kenough.

  • 7. The Avengers

    I can’t even describe the feeling of seeing this movie for the first time. I was 18 years old when Avengers premiered, and going in I was skeptical about how they were going to pull this off. How could they feature all these elite superheroes on the silver screen together and make it make sense? How could Marvel pace it in a way that gives everyone equal time to shine while still creating a compelling story that unites them all in a satisfying way? Needless to say, they did all that, and then some! Little did I know that Marvel would pull off an even more impressive feat of combining their established heroes in a single movie just 6 years later, which I’ll get to further down the list.

  • 6. The Dark Knight

    Christopher Nolan’s 2nd directorial outing with the caped crusader was a monumental achievement in changing how people see superhero movies. The Dark Knight brings an artistic approach to the world of Batman, capturing the pageantry of franchise in a way that makes it feel more grounded and immersive. And I don’t think anyone was ready for the late great Heath Ledger’s captivating performance as the Joker. I still get chills when I watch his “scars” monologue. The fact that TDK is next to last on the official list of billion dollar blockbusters almost feels unjust, so I thought I’d bring it up to my top 9 and give it the love it deserves.

  • 5. Joker

    I know I just raved about Heath Ledger’s performance as the Joker. And don’t get me wrong, that performance stands among some of the all-time greatest onscreen performances in the history of moving pictures. And you know what, so does Joaquin Phoenix’s performance in 2019’s Joker. Joaquin had the unfortunate task of having to create a new take on the titular psycho clown that was engaging without being derivative of Ledger’s work. And he delivered in spades. I’m on edge and uncomfortable in the best ways from beginning to end. Even knowing what’s coming doesn’t help the unease I feel, which gives Joker immense staying power and rewatchability.

  • 4. Spider-Man: No Way Home

    If there’s one thing you need to know about me, it’s that I’m a HUGE Spider-Man fanboy. I’ve seen all the movies, I’ve read all the comics, I’ve played all the video games. I even plan on getting a Spidey themed tattoo for my 30th birthday in a few months. So when Spider-Man: No Way Home hit theaters, you know my nerdy tail was the first in line. Now to be fair, the only reason this movie isn’t higher on my list is because, while I like the first 2 hours of it just fine, I only really LOVE the final 45 minutes. But even then it’s enough to earn a spot in my top 4. My nerdy childhood dreams came true when (SPOILERS) Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield reprise their roles as the webbed hero through some multiversal hijinks. You could not pull the smile off my face in that moment if you tried. This isn’t the only blockbuster on my list to feature Spidey though. In fact, let’s take a look at number 3!

  • 3. Avengers: Infinity War

    And I thought the first Avengers movie had a packed cadre of superheroes! Marvel’s Infinity War earned over $2 billion at the box office when it came out in 2018, and I think a third of that revenue came out of my wallet. I legitimately lost count of how many times I watched this movie in theaters. I couldn’t get enough of all the heroes we’ve seen for years in the Marvel Cinematic Universe now converging on a collision course with the menacing Thanos (played with tense gravitas by Josh Brolin). Tony Stark and Dr. Strange verbally roasting each other? Thor refusing to call Rocket and Groot anything other than Squirrel and Tree? Drax just…being Drax? Sign me up!

    Ok, I promise that’s all the superheroes on my list. Now back to the Jedi!

  • 2. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

    I don’t think anybody expected this movie to hit as hard as it did. It was an expansion of the Star Wars lore that I never knew I needed! In my opinion, Rogue One is hands down the greatest Star Wars movie of all time. It’s more of a slow burn than most of the other films in the franchise, taking its time to establish the sense of hopelessness and dread felt by those toiling under the boot of the Empire. Only to bring you back up with a bold, fast-paced action sequence at the tail end that’s well worth the wait. And that’s not even to mention THAT scene in the last five minutes. If you know you know.

  • 1. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

    With a mythic $1.14 billion at the box office, Return of the King ranks 28th on the list of movies breaking a billion. But it ranks #1 in my heart. I’ve seen this film more times than any other movie on this list combined. Honestly, if the other two LOTR films broke a billion they’d most definitely be numbers 2 and 3 on my personal list of favorites, but thankfully Return is the one I love most, so I get to gush about it!

    Judge me if you want, but I’ll be upfront: this movie brings tears to my eyes nearly every time I watch it. Some of my personal favorite moments include the arrival of the Rohirrim at Gondor, the charge at the Black Gate, Sam carrying Frodo up Mount Doom, and the emotional gut punch of Frodo’s departure from the Shire to close out the movie. I’m a teary mess for all these scenes, but the entire film is an utter masterpiece, and arguably one of the greatest movies ever made. A billion is good, but it should’ve gotten all the money in my opinion. Too bad I was only 9 when it came out in theaters, otherwise I’d have gone bankrupt buying my way in to every showing.

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