The Return of the Box Office: Which Movies Made the Most Money in 2021?

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Simon Shin/SOPA Images/Shutterstock (12548235c)A woman wearing a mask walks by a billboard of the movie 'Dune' directed by Denis Villeneuve in Seoul.
Simon Shin/SOPA Images/Shutterstock / Simon Shin/SOPA Images/Shutterstock

Once upon a time, going to the movies was a popular pastime — then the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Consequently, 2020 was a historically bleak year at the box office, but things slowly started to return to normal this year.

In 2021, domestic box office revenues totaled just over $4 million, which is double the $2 million realized in 2020, according to The Numbers. However, it’s still a long way from the nearly $11.3 million generated in 2019.

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Check Out: Movies That Made the Most Money in 2020

Of course, not all movies released in 2021 equally contributed to this year’s box office earnings. As always, some films were monumentally more successful than others.

It’s inevitable that even the most popular films didn’t earn nearly as much at theaters as they would’ve pre-pandemic, but many still shined impressively bright. Fans wanted to see these movies so badly, they came out in droves to support their favorite stars.

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Drumroll please — here’s a look at the 15 most profitable films of 2021.

15. ‘Tom and Jerry’

  • Genre: Adventure
  • Tickets sold: 5.03 million
  • Production budget: $50 million
  • Domestic box office: $46.04 million
  • International box office: $86.01 million
  • Worldwide box office: $132.10 million

14. ‘The Boss Baby: Family Business’

  • Genre: Adventure
  • Tickets sold: 6.30 million
  • Production budget: $82 million
  • Domestic box office: $57.30 million
  • International box office: $75.92 million
  • Worldwide box office: $133.22 million

Read More: 15 Highest-Grossing Actors of All Time

13. ‘Space Jam: A New Legacy’

  • Genre: Comedy
  • Tickets sold: 7.70 million
  • Production budget: $150 million
  • Domestic box office: $70.53 million
  • International box office: $73.20 million
  • Worldwide box office: $143.72 million

12. ‘Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway’

  • Genre: Adventure
  • Tickets sold: 4.41 million
  • Production budget: $45 million
  • Domestic box office: $40.40 million
  • International box office: $112.20 million
  • Worldwide box office: $152.60 million

11. ‘Ghostbusters: Afterlife’

  • Genre: Comedy
  • Tickets sold: 12.30 million
  • Production budget: $75 million
  • Domestic box office: $113.04 million
  • International box office: $52.60 million
  • Worldwide box office: $165.05 million

Find Out: Critically Acclaimed Movies That Bombed at the Box Office 

10. ‘The Suicide Squad’

  • Genre: Action
  • Tickets sold: 6.10 million
  • Production budget: $185 million
  • Domestic box office: $55.80 million
  • International box office: $111.30 million
  • Worldwide box office: $167.10 million
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9. ‘The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It’

  • Genre: Horror
  • Tickets sold: 7.20 million
  • Production budget: $40 million
  • Domestic box office: $65.60 million
  • International box office: $134.64 million
  • Worldwide box office: $200.21 million

8. ‘A Quiet Place: Part II’

  • Genre: Horror
  • Tickets sold: 17.50 million
  • Production budget: $61 million
  • Domestic box office: $160.22 million
  • International box office: $136.50 million
  • Worldwide box office: $296.70 million

7. ‘Black Widow’

  • Genre: Action
  • Tickets sold: 20.05 million
  • Production budget: $200 million
  • Domestic box office: $183.70 million
  • International box office: $191.82 million
  • Worldwide box office: $375.50 million

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6. ‘Dune’

  • Genre: Action
  • Tickets sold: 11.61 million
  • Production budget: $165 million
  • Domestic box office: $106.32 million
  • International box office: $283.90 million
  • Worldwide box office: $390.20 million

5. ‘Eternals’

  • Genre: Action
  • Tickets sold: 17.64 million
  • Production budget: $200 million
  • Domestic box office: $161.60 million
  • International box office: $234.10 million
  • Worldwide box office: $395.63 million

4. ‘Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’

  • Genre: Action
  • Tickets sold: 24.51 million
  • Production budget: $150 million
  • Domestic box office: $224.54 million
  • International box office: $193.41 million
  • Worldwide box office: $418 million
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3. ‘Godzilla vs. Kong’

  • Genre: Action
  • Tickets sold: 11 million
  • Production budget: $155 million
  • Domestic box office: $100.60 million
  • International box office: $367.30 million
  • Worldwide box office: $467.83 million

Find Out: 19 Sequels That Made Much More Than the First Film

2. ‘Venom: Let There Be Carnage’

  • Genre: Action
  • Tickets sold: 23.15 million
  • Production budget: $110 million
  • Domestic box office: $212.04 million
  • International box office: $281.06 million
  • Worldwide box office: $493.10 million

1. ‘No Time to Die’

  • Genre: Action
  • Tickets sold: 17.53 million
  • Production budget: $250 million
  • Domestic box office: $160.60 million
  • International box office: $610.51 million
  • Worldwide box office: $771.10 million

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Methodology: For this piece, GOBankingRates ranked movies released in 2021, whose worldwide box office revenue exceeded their production budgets. Movies without a listed production budget were excluded from the ranking. All information was sourced from The Numbers.

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About the Author

Jennifer Taylor is a West Coast-based freelance writer with more than a decade of experience writing about anything and everything. Since earning her MBA, personal finance has been her favorite topic, as she’s passionate about writing stories that educate, inform and empower. Specifically, she specializes in budgeting, debt repayment, savings and retirement.
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