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Modern Drama Box Office Hits: 10 Films That Made the Most Money

Image: Modern Drama Box Office Hits: 10 Films That Made the Most Money
Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet in Titanic, 1997. (imdb.com)

By    |   Saturday, 25 Apr 2015 09:45 AM

Topped by "Titanic" and dominated by "Twilight," the modern drama box office’s top 10 movies in the U.S. grossed between a span of $281 million and just over $2 billion. Following are the 10 movies that grossed the largest sums nationally:

1. "Titanic"

The highest-grossing drama of all time, "Titanic" brought in over $2 billion worldwide, and $659 million in the U.S. It was released in December of 1997, and remained the highest-grossing movie of all time for over a decade. Directed by James Cameron, "Titanic" is second only to "Avatar" (also directed by Cameron) in terms of highest-grossing films worldwide. According to Entertainment Weekly, the drama is both a historic recreation of the sinking of the Titanic on April 15, 1912, and a fictional love story between a debutante (Kate Winslet) and a street urchin (Leonardo DiCaprio). It remained the highest-grossing movie of all time for over a decade until it was unseated by "Avatar."

2. "The Dark Knight"

A 2008 film directed by Christopher Nolan, "The Dark Knight" grossed more than $1 billion worldwide and $553 million domestically, reports Box Office Mojo. The movie, the second in Nolan's "Batman" trilogy, explores the character development of Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) from a traumatized orphan to Batman, the savior of Gotham. "The Dark Knight" follows Batman’s conflict against the villain “The Joker” (Heath Ledger).

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3. "The Lion King"

An animated drama produced by Walt Disney Pictures, "The Lion King" follows a lion cub, Simba, who flees his homeland after being tricked into thinking he causes his father’s death. It grossed $422 million in the U.S. and $987 million worldwide, according to IMDb.com.

4. "American Sniper"

Released in 2014, this biopic/war drama was directed by Clint Eastwood. According to Box Office Mojo, "American Sniper" is Eastwood’s most lucrative film ever. It was based on the biography of Chris Kyle (played by Bradley Cooper), a Navy SEAL sniper in the Iraq war. Worldwide, it grossed $528 million and in the U.S., it grossed $345 million (as of the end of March 2015).

5. "Forrest Gump"

Grossing $677 million worldwide, "Forrest Gump" (1994) was directed by Robert Zemeckis. In the U.S., "Forrest Gump" grossed $330 million, according to Box Office Mojo. The movie, which is classified as a romance, a comedy, and a drama, follows the story of Forrest (Tom Hanks), who witnesses many defining historic events and achieves great success in everything – but love.

6 and 7. "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse" and "New Moon"

The second and third installments of the "Twilight" movie series grossed
$301 million and $297 million in the U.S., respectively. Based on the book series by Stephanie Meyer, both movies were produced by Wyck Godfrey and Karen Rosenfelt, though they had different directors. "Eclipse" follows Bella’s (Kristen Stewart) choice between two potential lovers; and in "New Moon," Edward (Robert Pattinson) disappears suddenly and Bella must cope with his absence. According to Box Office Mojo, "Eclipse" grossed $698 million worldwide, compared to "New Moon’s" $570.1 million.

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8. "The Sixth Sense"

Grossing $294 million in the U.S., this thriller-drama was directed by M. Night Shyamalan. According to critic review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, "The Sixth Sense" follows a boy (Haley Joel Osment) who can speak to the dead, and the psychologist (Bruce Willis) who tries to help him. Released in August of 1999, the movie grossed $672 million worldwide.

9 and 10. "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2" and "Breaking Dawn - Part 1"

"Breaking Dawn" is the final installment in Stephanie Meyer’s "Twilight" book series. The book was split into two films for the big screen, and follows Bella (Kristen Stewart) and Edward’s (Robert Pattinson) marriage and honeymoon, and Bella’s experience with pregnancy. "Breaking Dawn - Part 2" grossed $292 million domestically, which was $11 million above its predecessor’s $281 U.S. gross, according to Box Office Mojo. Both films were directed by Bill Condon, and produced by Wyck Godfrey and Karen Rosenfelt.

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Topped by Titanic and dominated by Twilight, the modern drama box office's top 10 movies in the U.S. grossed between a span of $281 million and just over $2 billion. Following are the 10 movies that grossed the largest sums nationally.
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