erik lundegaard

All-Time Box Office for Musicals

This morning's post about “Les Miserables” got me thinking about the history of musicals at the box office. The following is a chart, in reverse chronlogical order, of all the major (and not so major) musicals released in the states since 1974:

Movie Lifetime Gross Theaters Release
The Muppets $88,631,237 3,440 11/23/11
Burlesque $39,440,655 3,037 11/24/10
Nine $19,676,965 1,412 12/18/09
High School Musical 3: Senior Year $90,559,416 3,626 10/24/08
Mamma Mia! $144,130,063 3,194 7/18/08
Sweeney Todd $52,898,073 1,507 12/21/07
Enchanted $127,807,262 3,730 11/21/07
Across the Universe $24,343,673 964 9/14/07
Hairspray (2007) $118,871,849 3,121 7/20/07
Dreamgirls $103,365,956 2,797 12/15/06
Idlewild $12,571,185 975 8/25/06
The Producers $19,398,532 978 12/16/05
Rent $29,077,547 2,437 11/23/05
The Phantom of the Opera $51,268,815 1,515 12/22/04
Beyond the Sea $6,318,709 383 12/17/04
De-Lovely $13,456,633 410 7/2/04
Chicago $170,687,518 2,701 12/27/02
Hedwig and the Angry Inch $3,067,312 101 7/20/01
Moulin Rouge! $57,386,607 2,283 5/18/01
Dancer in the Dark $4,184,036 126 9/22/00
Blues Brothers 2000 $14,051,384 2,516 2/6/98
Evita $50,047,179 1,045 12/25/96
Everyone Says I Love You $9,759,200 276 12/6/96
Sarafina! $7,306,242 700 9/18/92
Newsies $2,819,485 1,259 4/10/92
Cry-Baby $8,266,343 1,236 4/6/90
Earth Girls Are Easy $3,916,303 317 5/12/89
School Daze $14,545,844 224 2/12/88
Little Shop of Horrors $38,748,395 1,183 12/19/86
A Chorus Line $14,202,899 680 12/13/85
Yentl $40,218,899 747 11/18/83
The Pirate Movie $7,983,086 757 8/6/82
The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas $69,701,637 1,435 7/23/82
Grease 2 $15,171,476 1,250 6/11/82
Annie $57,059,003 1,102 5/21/82
Victor/Victoria $28,215,453 615 3/19/82
Pennies From Heaven $9,171,289 - 12/11/81
Zoot Suit $3,256,082 - 10/2/81
Popeye $49,823,037 901 12/12/80
Xanadu $22,762,571 - 8/8/80
The Blues Brothers $57,229,890 - 6/20/80
All That Jazz $37,823,676 - 12/20/79
Hair $15,284,643 - 3/14/79
The Wiz $21,049,053 - 10/1/78
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band $20,378,470 - 7/21/78
Grease $188,755,690 862 6/16/78
New York, New York $16,400,000 - 6/22/77
Bugsy Malone $2,783,840 - 9/15/76
That's Entertainment! II $4,979,380 - 5/16/76
The Rocky Horror Picture Show $112,892,319 - 9/26/75
Tommy $34,251,525 - 3/14/75
Funny Lady $39,000,000 - 3/9/75
At Long Last Love $1,500,000 - 3/6/75
That's Entertainment! $26,890,200 - 5/18/74

You'll notice that no musical in the last 40 years has grossed as much as “Grease” did ... in 1978. Pretty astonishing. Adjusted for inflation, “Grease” is actually the 26th highest-grossing domestic film of all time. But it's not close to the highest-grossing musical. You need a little Julie Andrews for that.

Here are the top eight musicals, adjusted for inflation:

Rank Movie Adj. Gross Year
1 The Sound of Music $1,127,929,800 1965
2 Mary Poppins $619,200,000 1964
3 Grease $609,596,100 1978
4 The Bells of St. Mary's $496,941,200 1945
5 My Fair Lady $475,200,000 1964
6 West Side Story $443,284,700 1961
7 The Rocky Horror Picture Show $436,149,800 1975
8 A Star Is Born $297,464,800 1976

The hills were alive.

John Travolta in "Grease" (1978)

Travolta in “Grease” (1978), which was the No. 1 box-office hit of 1978. “Superman” was No. 2. No musical has done as well, even unadjusted, since.

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Posted at 08:53 PM on Thu. May 31, 2012 in category Movies - Box Office  

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