2017 may have been a tough year for theaters, with the worst movie summer since 2006, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t a fair share of box office smashes that bucked the trend along the way.
The past year was a story of low-budget films doing good – like horror double-tap Get Out and IT – although when it comes to the Top 10, it’s all about the franchises: every single one of the ten highest grossing films worldwide were sequels or reboots (and a whopping five passing the $1 billion mark). That’s not to say there’s creative bankruptcy though, with many of the biggest hits earning good reviews. It’s clear Hollywood can still get people out of their houses in droves.
Here are the top ten films at the worldwide box office from 2017 (numbers courtesy of Box Office Mojo, as of January 1, 2018).
#10-6 of the Highest Grossing Films of 2017 (This Page)
10. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales ($794.9 million)
Some U.S. filmgoers might be forgiven if they forgot there was even a Pirates movie this year. Dead Men Tell No Tales, the fifth in a series whose heyday is long in the past, with a star (Johnny Depp) whose appeal is at a nadir, made just $172.6 million in the U.S. upon its May release, the lowest domestic total in the franchise’s history. But the film nearly quadrupled that in the foreign box office, taking in $622 million.
Every Pirates movie, with the exception of the 2003 original, has made at least 60% of its money overseas, but this year’s film had the widest divide by far. Indeed, worldwide, Dead Men Tell No Tales had the fourth-highest overall total of the five films in the Pirates franchise.
9. Wonder Woman ($821.8 million)
The DC Extended Universe’s first unmitigated triumph inspired audiences around the world – but in a standout for this list, more than half of its money came from within the U.S. Wonder Woman, starring Gal Gadot and directed by Patty Jenkins, made $412 million at the domestic box office and $409 million overseas. While it is the second-highest grossing DC film worldwide, behind 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Wonder Woman has the highest total domestically. It’s also the highest-grossing female-centered superhero movie in history.
8. Thor: Ragnarok ($848 million)
The supremely well-received third Ragnarok was, by a significant margin, the highest-grossing movie built around Chris Hemsworth’s hammer-wielding Norse god. The first Thor, from 2011, made $449 million at the worldwide box office, while 2013’s Thor: The Dark World took in $644.6 million. The new film won over Thor skeptics, thanks to the offbeat choice of Taika Waititi (What We Do in the Shadows) as director, a witty script, a scene-stealing supporting performance by Jeff Goldblum, and some winning Thor/Loki banter. Thor: Ragnarok also made 63.3% of its haul overseas, the highest total of any of the three 2017 Marvel movies.
7. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 ($863.7 million)
The first of three Marvel Cinematic Universe releases in 2017, the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 outdid its predecessor, making $863.7 million to beat out the 2014 original by $90 million. Directed by James Gunn and starring a crew led by Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, David Bautista and the voices of Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper, the film made about 55% of its money overseas, just slightly more than the split for the original movie. The placement meant that Diesel and Kurt Russell, both of whom were also in Fate of the Furious, both had films in the top ten.
6. Wolf Warrior 2 ($870.3 million)
Wolf Warrior 2, directed by Wu Jing, is a film few non-Chinese audiences will have even seen. The film made $2.7 million in a brief July U.S. release, but pulled in the rest of its haul in the rest of the world- the rare worldwide box office smash to sustain virtually no cultural footprint in the English-speaking world. Starring Wu himself, along with Celina Jade, Frank Grillo, Hans Zhang, and Wu Gang, Wolf Warrior 2 is the sequel to the 2015 film (for which box office figures are not available), and –assuming the Chinese figures are in fact accurate – not only did Wolf Warrior 2 make the most money in the history of the Chinese box office, but had the second highest gross in a single country behind the Star Wars: The Force Awakens in the U.S. Wu is said to be getting courted by Hollywood.
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