Posted on January 4, 2016 by Tessa Boyce
The 2015 calendar year was a tremendous one for movie buffs. Millions of people lined up and were willing to pay beaucoup bucks to see films on the big screen. From lighthearted Pixar animation to extreme dangers on a faraway planet, moviegoers had a taste of everything.
Hollywood has found ways to make even more money off of films by charging a few extra dollars for IMAX and 3D versions, and 2015 was an especially prosperous year.
Total U.S. Box Office: $110,008,000
Critics were skeptical if comedienne Amy Schumer could pull off a box office hit as her humor, loved by the Comedy Central crowd, is considered too raunchy for some. However, she was able to find a balance that won over critics and audience members alike with her first major film.
Total U.S. Box Office: $110,748,000
Melissa McCarthy kicked butt in this action-packed thriller which also starred hunks Jude Law and Jason Statham. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film received higher average ratings with critics than with the audience, but most agreed that McCarthy carried the film’s success.
23. The Good Dinosaur
Total U.S. Box Office: $114,767,000
This Pixar film has raked in over $114 million since it was released on November 25th. While critics did not rave about it as much as other Pixar favorites, fans enjoyed the dinosaur and young boy best friend duo and beautiful, realistic landscapes.
22. The Peanuts Movie
Total U.S. Box Office: $128,763,000
Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus and the rest of the Peanuts crew drew big crowds to the box office in November. Nostalgic parents had the opportunity to share their favorite cartoon characters with their children.
21. The Divergent Series: Insurgent
Total U.S. Box Office: $130,128,000
Although Insurgent received a ghastly average rating of 29 percent (as of January 3, 2016) from critics on Rotten Tomatoes, crowds were still willing to part with over $130 million total in the U.S. to see actress Shailene Woodley navigate a dystopian future (and manage a teenage romance).
20. Mad Max: Fury Road
Total U.S. Box Office: $153,629,000
The 2015 version of Mad Max blew previous editions away. Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy wowed audiences as they fought their way through the desert in monster trucks. Nearly all of the stunts were real — director George Miller (who also directed the original, 1980s versions) carefully executed giant explosions and heroic rescues without the use of CGI.
19. San Andreas
Total U.S. Box Office: $155,182,000
Critics and crowds alike were only lukewarm when rating this 3D action flick. Still, the film brought in over $155 million in box office revenue in the U.S. Despite mediocre reviews from critics, it appears that moviegoers can’t pass up a thriller starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
18. Straight Outta Compton
Total U.S. Box Office: $161,029,000
This music biopic follows the group N.W.A. as they struggle to get started in the streets of Los Angeles in the late 1980s. The film was very well-received, and, according to Box Office Mojo, Straight Outta Compton has surpassed films like Walk the Line and Ray to become the highest grossing music biopic ever.
17. The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water
Total U.S. Box Office: $162,951,000
The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water fared better with critics, and in the box office, than one might expect. The franchise’s longstanding popularity helped it pull in nearly $163 million in the U.S.
16. Fifty Shades of Grey
Total U.S. Box Office: $166,148,000
Fifty Shades of Grey is obviously not about to win any Oscars, but people flocked to movie theaters to indulge in the Christian Grey fantasy. It helped that the film was released on Valentine’s Day, so whether it was a kinky date or a girls’ night out, box office revenue benefitted from the holiday release date.
15. Hotel Transylvania 2
Total U.S. Box Office: $167,571,000
Fans agreed that Hotel Transylvania 2 was not nearly as good as the original. Still, the animated children’s movie enticed moviegoers with well-done 3D visuals and the voices of popular actors like Andy Samberg, Mel Brooks and Steve Buscemi.
Total U.S. Box Office: $177,344,000
“=Home is an example of DreamWorks Animation trying their hardest to compete with Pixar perfection. While the film did not receive very high ratings, DreamWorks did succeed at the box office. The lovable alien creature, Oh, helped bring in over $177 million in the U.S.
Total U.S. Box Office: $180,192,000
Marvel triumphed again with their summer superhero flick Ant-Man. Of course, audiences generally love the Marvel Universe, but adding charming actor Paul Rudd to the mix made this movie a surefire hit.
12. Pitch Perfect 2
Total U.S. Box Office: $183,692,000
Another sequel on this list, Pitch Perfect 2 benefitted from the huge success of the original Pitch Perfect. It was not as highly rated as the original, but fans loved to see Anna Kendrick, Brittany Snow and Rebel Wilson (as Fat Amy) bust a move.
11. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation
Total U.S. Box Office: $195,001,000
Tom Cruise reprised his role as Ethan, a special agent faced with yet another impossible mission in Mission: Impossible -Rogue Nation. The film came out on July 31, and thousands of fans escaped the summer heat to enjoy over two hours of Tom Cruise at his finest.
Total U.S. Box Office: $196,275,000
Spectre kicks off the top 10 highest grossing films of 2015. Daniel Craig did not disappoint fans as James Bond, although he hinted that Spectre will be his last foray in the 007 universe.
Total U.S. Box Office: $201,148,000
The first film that grossed over $200 million in the U.S. in 2015, this live-action version of Cinderella dazzled audiences with stellar performances from Cate Blanchett as Cinderella’s demented Wicked Stepmother and Helena Bonham Carter as the Fairy Godmother.
8. The Martian
Total U.S. Box Office: $225,930,000
The Martian has all the right ingredients to become a fan-favorite and box office hit: a thrilling plot, director Ridley Scott, and beloved actors Matt Damon, Kirsten Wiig and Jeff Daniels. One critic stated that The Martian is “fascinating, feel-good and quite simply a hugely fun reason to head to the cinema.”
7. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2
Total U.S. Box Office: $274,185,000
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2 follows Katniss Everdeen as she gets into the Capital to finally take down President Snow. The last edition to The Hunger Games series was hugely anticipated and fans (for the most part) were not disappointed in director Francis Lawrence’s last adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ book.
Total U.S. Box Office: $336,030,000
Universal Pictures piggybacked off of the success of the Despicable Me series — and won. While Minions only received an average 55 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and 50 percent with the audience, (as of January 3, 2016) the film took in over $336 million in the U.S. — over $62 million more than The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2.
5. Furious 7
Total U.S. Box Office: $350,828,000
The Fast and The Furious series remains red hot. Their latest installment was a well executed tribute to Paul Walker, who tragically died in a car crash in late 2013. Many agree that Furious 7 is by far the best film in the series.
4. Inside Out
Total U.S. Box Office: $356,454,000
Pixar wowed parents and children with their creative look at human emotions. Inside Out is witty, charming and surprisingly touching. Amy Poehler and Phyllis Smith make an excellent duo, and the colorful animation is some of Pixar’s best.
3. Avengers: Age of Ultron
Total U.S. Box Office: $458,992,000
The top three box office blockbusters are in a league of their own. Avengers: Age of Ultron pulled in nearly $100 million more in box office revenue than Inside Out in the U.S. Fans loved the sequel to Marvel’s The Avengers, and it started the summer of action movies on a high note.
2. Jurassic World
Total U.S. Box Office: $652,177,000
After stumbling with Jurassic Park II and Jurassic Park III, fans were anticipating a lot from Jurassic World. Steven Spielberg stepped in to produce this film, and it did not disappoint. Chris Pratt was a strong lead, and the 3D graphics enveloped the audience into deep jungles teeming with mysterious creatures.
1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Total U.S. Box Office: $740,266,000
The most recent Star Wars film is burning through box office records like a lightsaber burns through the snow. Perhaps the decade’s most anticipated film (which has been in theaters for the shortest amount of time compared to all other films on this list), Star Wars: The Force Awakens is breaking box office records daily. The film has already grossed over $1.5 billion worldwide, and many are predicting that Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be the top-grossing movie of all time.