25 Highest Grossing Movies That Never Reached Number 1 At the Box Office

Just because a movie doesn’t reach number 1 at the box office and stay there for weeks doesn’t mean the movie performed badly. These 25 movies all did well at the box office in the long run, but could never clinch that top spot. You’d be surprised to see quite a few Oscar nominees and winners on this list. These are the highest grossing movies that never reached number 1 at the box office.

Mad Max: Fury Road
Total Gross: $153,636,354
Mad Max: Fury Road may be nominated for Best Picture at the 2016 Oscars (as well a handful of other nominations) but it is not a film that broke the box office as it had to compete with Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Over the Hedge
Total Gross: $155,019,340
Not a total surprise that this Bruce Willis animated film didn't make it to number one, but it was number two it's weekend of release. It fell to the Tom Hanks hit The Da Vinci Code.
The Longest Yard
Total Gross: $158,119,460
The Longest Yard didn't make it to number one it's first weekend in the box office because it released a week after Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith. Surprisingly, the box office difference was less than $10 million.
article continues below ad
The Heat
Total Gross: $159,581,587
The Heat is neither Melissa McCarthy or Sandra Bullock's best film, but is wasn't a bad one either. The #1 film from that weekend was Monster's University.
Grown Ups
Total Gross: $162,001,186
Adam Sandler films as of late haven't been anything worth talking about, yet they still manage to do pretty well at the box office (especially Hotel Transylvania). Grown Ups didn't take off to number 1 because Toy Story 3 was still too busy dominating the box office that weekend.
Django Unchained
Total Gross: $162,805,434
Django Unchained is an excellent film, but it couldn't beat a franchise in the box office. The Hobbit: Unexpected Journey was in week 3, but it still topped the box office over Django, but it did better than Les Miserables.
article continues below ad
Catch Me If You Can
Total Gross: $164,606,800
Even Leo couldn't take on a franchise. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers powered over Catch Me If You Can when it was in it's second week.
Kung Fu Panda 2
Total Gross: $165,249,063
This kung fu fighting panda was no match for The Hangover Part II.
Casino Royale
Total Gross: $167,220,102
While Casino Royale is highly regarded as one of the best Bond films, making Daniel Craig a true Bond, it couldn't dance it's way to #1. But who did, Happy Feet of course!
article continues below ad
Total Gross: $169,106,725
Bridesmaids is easily one of the greatest comedies of the last decade, yet it made the crucial error of releasing the same month as a Marvel film. Thor managed to bump it to #2 that week.
Total Gross: $170,687,518
Chicago may be loved now, but it was not loved it's weekend of release. It came in at a whopping #13 that first weekend.
A Beautiful Mind
Total Gross: $170,708,996
The week A Beautiful Mind released it had a lot of competition to fend off: The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Rings, Ocean's Eleven, and obviously Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius.
article continues below ad
Dances With Wolves
Total Gross: $175,293,948
Unlike the movie that is basically this film but with blue aliens (Aziz Ansari's description of Avatar), Dances With Wolves did not crush the box office, but took home a moderate amount for 1990.
How to Train Your Dragon 2
Total Gross: $177,002,924
How To Train Your Dragon 2 wasn't totally murdered at the box office like some of these films, it lost to 22 Jump Street by only a few million it's opening weekend.
Total Gross:  $182,207,973
This Oscar contender was nominated for 12 Academy Awards (taking home Best Actor for Daniel Day Lewis and Best Production Design) but it never hit that #1 spot, it was actually #15 it's weekend of release.
article continues below ad
The Day After Tomorrow
Total Gross: $186,740,799
The Day After Tomorrow was released at the wrong time, it was just a few years before end of the world movies (non-zombie related) were all the rage. Because of this, it did well but couldn't beat Shrek 2.
Total Gross: $188,017,894
Interstellar is another film nominated for a few Oscars (winning for Best Visual Effects) that did not top the box office. Disney, as always, reigned supreme the weekend Interstellar released with Big Hero 6.
The Polar Express
Total Gross: $194,949,659
What did we just say about Disney? The Polar Express (Warner Bros. Pictures), one of the greatest Christmas films of the last 20 years, was bested by Disney/Pixar it's opening weekend with The Incredibles.
article continues below ad
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs
Total Gross: $196,573,705
We are going to chalk the financial success of this film up to the fact it's an animated film, which means millions of kiddies and their parents turned out to see this film, but more people saw Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen that weekend.
World War Z
Total Gross: $202,359,711
World War Z might have been a big zombie hit, but it never actually hit #1. The weekend it opened it had to compete with Monster's University, and it's clear who won the box office battle.
Sherlock Holmes
Total Gross: $209,028,679
With Robert Downey Jr. at the head of this, you'd expect it to have killed it at the box office, but Avatar was in week #2 of it's long box office reign when Sherlock Holmes released.
article continues below ad
Alvin and the Chipmunks
Total Gross: $217,326,974
No one expected Alvin and the Chipmunks to spawn multiple sequels, especially given that it did not reach number 1, but when a Will Smith movie (I Am Legend) releases during his prime, it's no surprise that took the top spot.
Beauty and the Beast
Total Gross: $218,951,625
There is no excuse for Beauty and the Beast to not have reached number 1, especially over Cape Fear. It's one of Disney's most iconic films! We guess those children's tickets in 1991 were just not enough to break the box office.
Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel
Total Gross: $219,614,612
The Alvin and the Chipmunks franchise seems to have a terrible habit of releasing it's films the same weeks as major box office success, as Avatar released the week before. The most recent film in the series released the same day as Star Wars: The Force Awakens...we don't need to tell you how badly it was destroyed in the box office.
article continues below ad
My Big Fat Greek Wedding
Total Gross: $241,438,208
When it released, My Big Fat Greek Wedding came in at #20 in the weekend box office. Word of mouth turned this movie into a sleeper hit and the highest grossing comedy at that time. Let's see if My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 can mimic this success!

The information for this list was provided by The Numbers.