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Classic Horror Box Office Hits: 10 Films That Made Most Money

By    |   Wednesday, 10 Feb 2016 08:47 PM

Nothing beats a classic monster — be it shark, gremlin, or the devil himself — in this world or the next for scaring up crowds at the movie theater.

Drawing on reported box office numbers, here are the 10 classic horror films made before 1990 that raked in the most at the box office:

1. "Jaws" (1975) $260 million


Universal needed a bigger boat to carry away all the money made by this tale of a shark terrorizing a seaside town — summer's first-ever blockbuster.

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2. "Ghostbusters" (1984) $242.2 million

These out-of-work parapsychologists and their proton packs saved New York from an ancient demon and the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man.

3. "The Exorcist" (1973) $232.9 million

A priest struggled to free a young woman from possession by the devil. You never looked at pea soup the same way again.

4. "Gremlins" (1984) $153.1 million

The cute critters’ dark secret came to light if you feed them after midnight.

5. "Ghostbusters II" (1989) $112.5 million

What Gozer couldn’t do, the courts could — but a river of ectoplasm under New York put the Ghostbusters back in business.

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6. "The Amityville Horror" (1979) $86.4 million

A family's new house was the scene of an old murder, and the spirits wouldn’t rest — nor would they let the new owners.

7. "Jaws 2" (1978) $81.8 million

Another shark, more relentless than the first, came to wreak havoc off Amity Island.

8. "Poltergeist" (1982) $76.6 million

At first the ghosts in the house were whimsical. Then the youngest daughter disappeared and matters took a terrifying turn.

9. "The Omen" (1976) $60.9 million

The ambassador agrees to switch his stillborn son with the baby of a mother who died in childbirth. But is this really the devil’s own child?

10. "A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master" (1988) $49.4 million

The last of the Elm Street kids willed her dream power to a friend before Freddy Krueger kills her, but you knew Freddy wasn't going to stand for that. Sweet dreams ...

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Nothing beats a classic monster — be it shark, gremlin, or the devil himself — for scaring up crowds at the movie theater. Drawing on reported box office numbers, here are the 10 classic horror films made before 1990 that raked in the most at the box office.
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