The 2000s, which is formally categorized as the decade that took place between 2000 and 2009, had its fair share of blockbuster hits. From animated fairytales about ogres to action flicks about a superhero with spider powers, we're here to look at every movie from this time period that out-performed the rest.
To do this, we'll be using stats from Box Office Mojo. We'll be looking at all film to be released during the decade to see which of them had the highest scores at the domestic box office. This means while worldwide performances are important, it won't be a factor we'll be using to stack up the movies. With that said, it's time to pull out some popcorn and silence your phone. Here are the 10 highest-grossing movies of the 2000s.
10 The Passion Of The Christ
This 2004 biblical drama film told the story of Jesus’ final 12 hours. The narrative was drawn from the writings in the New Testament, Old Testament, other religious materials, and representations of the Passion in art.
The Passion of the Christ received mixed reviews with many praising the soundtrack, makeup, and cinematography. However, the graphic violence met a heap of criticism. Though the film had only a $30 million budget, it ended up grossing $370 million as the domestic box office.
9 Spider-Man 2
The second Spider-Man film rescued $373 million from the box office. It had Tobey Maguire returning as the titular character, who two years after the events of the original film, struggles to balance his personal life with his civic superhero duties.
The film received positive reviews, with many believing it contained heavier emotions and a more complex villain than before. Meanwhile, the film kept up the top-level special effects and action sequences fans had come to love. Spider-Man 2 received a handful of Academy Award nominations and ultimately won the award for Best Visual Effects.
8 The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King
The final installment in The Lord of the Rings trilogy rushed into theaters in 2003. The epic fantasy adventure film grossed $377 million at the domestic box office. This closing chapter had Frodo, Sam, and Gollum venturing toward Mount Doom to destroy the One Ring. Meanwhile, the rest of the gang teamed together to defeat the antagonist, Sauron.
The film took in overwhelmingly positive reviews, with many deeming the final film to be powerful, beautiful, and an overall satisfactory conclusion. This had The Return of the King gaining 11 Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, and winning every single one.
7 Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge Of The Sith
The third Star Wars film in the prequel trilogy pulled in $380 million at the domestic box office. Set three years after the beginning of the Clone Wars, Revenge of the Sith saw the space gang dealing with the troubled galaxy they know existed in.
The film received mostly positive reviews and was unanimously deemed as the best in the prequel trilogy. While the dialogue was still criticized, most believed the writing had improved and that the action was still strong.
6 Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
The sequel to 2007's Transformers film was jam-packed with the sci-fi action viewers of the first had come to know and love. It sees Sam, portrayed by Shia LaBeouf, dealing with the war that's been let loose between the opposing races of car-robots, the Autobots and the Decepticons.
The film took in over $402 million at the domestic box office. However, its critical reviews were not so positive. Although the dialogue, characters, and overall writing were ragged on, others did point out that the special effects and action scenes were still packed with thrill. Revenge of the Fallen also received multiple sequels in the decade after its release.
The original Tobey Maguire Spider-Man film centered on a teenager who develops spider superhero abilities after being bitten by a spider. Meanwhile, this new hero has to learn to navigate the everyday ups and downs of high school.
The film received $403 million at the domestic box office as well as two Academy Award nominations. It was universally praised by critics for being charming, lively, and full of action. Spider-Man received two sequels, including the one mentioned earlier on this list.
4 Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
Johnny Depp once again portrayed his leading role as Captain Jack Sparrow in the sequel to the original Pirates of the Caribbean film. This time, Will Turner and Elizabeth Swan's wedding gets interrupted by Lord Cutler Becket, who requests that Will retrieves Jack Sparrow's compass. Meanwhile, Jack grapples with the news that his debt to Davy Jones is due.
The film received mixed reviews, with many praising the entertainment value but believing the comedic feel of the first movie had been dulled down. Despite this, Dead Man's Chest received a handful of Academy Award nominations and raked in $423 million at the box office.
3 Shrek 2
Somebody once told me... that Shrek 2 took in a crazy $441 million upon its release in 2004. The animated comedy sequel saw the titular ogre and his new wife Fiona returning from their honeymoon and meeting her parents who aren't expecting her to bring home a guy who isn't Prince Charming.
The fairy tale received positive reviews, with many believing that the humor was almost as fresh as the original and that the added characters helped add to the overall story. It received a couple of Academy Award nominations as well as two sequels.
2 The Dark Knight
This 2008 Batman film saw Christian Bale's character dealing with a new foe who arrives in Gotham city: The Joker. The sequel to Batman Begins grossed $533 million at the domestic box office and received overwhelmingly positive reviews. Critics found it to be rich, thrilling, and full of well-crafted, believable performances.
The Dark Knight received a handful of Academy Award nominations, ultimately winning one for Best Sound Editing. The late Heath Ledger scored another in the Best Supporting Actor category for his performance as the central villain.
The top-grossing movie of the 2000s and the second-highest grossing movie of all time, taking in a massive $749 million at the box office, is none other than James Cameron’s Avatar. This epic sci-fi film follows the adventure that comes after a paralyzed former Marine falls in love with a humanoid Na’vi woman while linking his mind to a hybrid creature called an Avatar.
Avatar received multiple Academy Award nominations, ultimately winning those for Best Visual Effects, Best Art Direction, and Best Cinematography. Four sequel films are set to be released in the coming years, with Avatar 2 premiering in 2021.