There was a lot to love about the ‘90s. Blockbusters, VHS tapes, and of course, the movies that could eventually be found on VHS tapes in Blockbusters.
The 1990s produced some of the most iconic films of all time. While some were sci-fi action adventures, others were daring romances or gorgeous animations. We’re here to look at the best of these and stack them up based on their performance at the box office.
In this ranking, we’ll be using data from Box Office Mojo. Additionally, we’ll only be focusing on films' domestic box office performances at the time of their release, so money acquired overseas or during re-releases won’t count toward the totals.
With that said, it’s time for one major flashback. Here are the highest-grossing films of the ‘90s.
10 Toy Story 2
Pixar’s Toy Story was the highest-grossing film of 1995, scoring $191 million at the domestic box office, so it came as no surprise when the 1999 sequel did even better. Toy Story 2 took in a crazy $245 million.
This addition to the Toy Story franchise followed the gang on their daring mission to rescue Woody from a toy collector. After the cowboy meets other toys from the “Woody’s Roundup” series like Bullseye and Jessie, though, leaving becomes a more challenging task.
Toy Story 2 is one of the few Disney animated sequels that has been regarded more highly than the original.
9 Men in Black
This 1997 sci-fi action comedy starred Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith as a set of secret agents who conceal the extraterrestrial lifeforms that hide on earth.
The film was wildly successful, with many praising the writing, leads, and overall charisma of the film. This led the franchise to receive a collection of sequels and a spinoff including Men in Black II, Men in Black 3, and Men in Black: International. The original took in over $250 million at the box office.
8 Home Alone
After Kevin is accidentally left out of the McCallister family vacation, he must face two robbers who have their sites set on his home. This 1990 film was well received and quickly cemented as a family classic. The movie brought in over $285 million at the box office and received multiple sequels, most notably the Christmas sequel Home Alone 2: Lost in New York that saw the original cast returning to the big screen.
Disney recently announced plans to remake Home Alone for its new Disney+ streaming service, though details on how this will actually play out are scarce.
7 The Sixth Sense
Dead people weren’t the only thing that The Sixth Sense saw; It also eyed a giant box office score, bringing in $293 domestically upon its first release.
This supernatural horror drama tells the story of a boy who has the ability to talk to the dead and the child psychologist who tries to help him make sense of it.
The film received six Academy Award nominations and has and been cemented as a classic film in the horror genre.
6 Independence Day
This 1996 sci-fi action film tells the story of aliens who attempt to take over and destroy the world on Fourth of July weekend as well as the humans who try to stop them.
The film starred names like Jeff Goldblum, Will Smith, and Mary McDonnell, and was given generally favorable reviews for being unsettling and intense. The film received $306 million at the domestic box office. It additionally received a sequel, Independence Day: Resurgence, in 2016.
5 The Lion King
Disney’s stunning classic about a lion cub’s journey to take back his homeland became the highest-grossing animated film of the ‘90s, bringing in over $312 million — and with movies including Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin released that same decade, those numbers say a lot.
The film received universal acclaim for its beautiful visuals, genuine emotions, and memorable songs. It received a direct-to-video sequel and spin-off, two TV series, and a 2019 CGI remake.
4 Forrest Gump
Forrest Gump tells the tale of a slow-witted but sweet man whose life and romance occurs alongside a slew of major United States events in the 20th-century.
Tom Hanks' expert acting skills alongside the heartwarming feel of the film led it to perform well at the domestic box office, taking in $329 domestically. The film additionally received the Best Picture award at the 67th Academy Awards.
3 Jurassic Park
Jurassic Park absolutely destroyed the box office, bringing in $357 million upon its first release. The sci-fi adventure follows a group who must escape the genetically engineered dinosaurs that have been let loose on the island they're visiting.
The classic film was praised for being edge-of-your-seat scary, graphically impressive, and massive. It received two immediate sequels, The Lost World: Jurassic Park and Jurassic Park III. Additionally, the franchise got new life breathed into it in 2015 with the release of Jurassic World and again in 2018 with the distribution of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.
2 Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace
While Star Wars was originally an '80s staple, it would eventually sneak itself into the tail end of the '90s. George Lucas premiered the franchises' first prequel, Star Wars: Episode I, in 1999 and theaters everywhere filled with eager fans.
Though the film received reviews that weren't as overwhelmingly positive as the ones given to the original trilogy, Episode 1 still managed to take in over $431 million at the box office. After all, fans couldn't wait to find out about the origins of Anakin Skywalker.
The highest-grossing movie of the ‘90s is none other than Titanic: the tragic love story centered on the privileged but lonely Rose and Jack, the poor but imaginative artist she meets.
The chemistry between leads Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet was magnetic, and the scale of the film felt daunting. This earned Titanic critical acclaim as well as the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1998. The film also took in over $600 million at the domestic box office and, including re-releases, $2.1 billion worldwide.