The Highest-Grossing Non-Franchise Movies of All Time
There is this belief out there that all Hollywood makes at this point are sequels and remakes and extensions of massive cinematic universes.
Aaaaand.... it’s not entirely wrong.
But looking at the list of the highest-grossing films of all time, amidst all the Part IVs and Chapter 2 and reboots, there are a few movies that stand apart because they never furthered massive franchises. That list gets even smaller if you eliminate the films that were created as standalone movies that then spawned sequels (like Frozen), or remakes (like The Lion King) or television series (like Pixar’s Up).
After you weed all of those movies out, what you’re left with is an interesting batch of titles. These motion pictures were huge cultural phenomena; they dominated the box office but for one reason or another avoided the fate of most massive hits (i.e. inspiring a lot of mediocre followups). This sort of “non-franchise movies” is rare — and even rarer these days. But they do exist.
Here are the 20 non-franchise movies that have made the most money across the entire history of the domestic box office...