Warner Bros.’ 15 Highest-Grossing Movies of All Time


Considered one of the “Big Five” in Hollywood, Warner Bros. has been recognized as one of the largest film studios in the world. The studio has been around for 100 years, distributing thousands of films across every genre most moviegoers can think of. They have some of the most famous movies in the world from some of the biggest-name directors. Filmmakers like Clint Eastwood, Zack Snyder, Ben Affleck, and Christopher Nolan have all had long picture deals with the studio and delivered some of their most iconic films, including American Sniper, 300, Argo, and Inception. When it comes to their biggest money makers, though, their franchises reign king.



Despite having some of the biggest franchises in the film industry, including The Matrix, The Hangover, and The MonsterVerse, their biggest films seem to be dominated by three main franchises: Harry Potter, The Hobbit, and DC. Yet, the summer of 2023 saw one of their newest movies from outside of their core franchises rise to the ranks as the highest-grossing Warner Bros. movie. While the rise of streaming has caused many shifts within the film industry, Warner Bros. has not lost sight of the power of a traditional theatrical release. Here are Warner Bros.’ 15 highest-grossing movies thus far.

Update January 11, 2024: This article has been updated with more Warner Bros. movies following the box office sensation of Barbie.

15 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005) — $896.8M

The legendary wizard Harry and his loyal pals Ron and Hermione were once again fighting to protect Hogwarts from the nefarious Lord Voldemort and diabolical forces of evil in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the fourth installment in the spellbinding series that follows The Boy Who Lived as he competes in the dangerous Triwizard Tournament while dealing with the ups-and-downs of adolescence.

An Unsurprising Box Office Hit

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire earned over $896 million and was the highest-grossing release of the year, beating out fellow films like Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and War of the Worlds for the highly-coveted top spot. It was also one of the most positively received entries in the Harry Potter franchise, with critics commending its more mature tone, storyline, and overall sophistication. Stream on Max

14 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002) – $926M

Chris Columbus once again returned to direct the highly-anticipated follow-up to the 2001 juggernaut with Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, centering on the fearless trio Harry, Hermione, and Ron during their second year at Hogwarts as the students and staff are terrorized by a spine-tingling monster that is petrifying the children at the enchanting school. The great Kenneth Branagh and Jason Issacs joined the beloved series as Gildroy Lockhart and Lucious Malfoy, respectively, much to the delight of devoted fans.

A Worthy & Riveting Sequel

Not only did Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets rake in $926 million at the box office, but it also garnered numerous accolades like three BAFTA nominations and six Saturn nods, including Best Fantasy Film. The second installment also featured the beloved house elf Dobby, who swiftly became one of the most cherished magical creatures in the entire series. While making less than the first film, it showed the box office power of the franchise and would make it a vital part of the studios 21st century output. Stream on Max

13 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009) — $934.5M

The eponymous wizard wonder was in for quite the year when he began his sixth year at Hogwarts, finding both love and a mysterious yet crucial notebook in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson all returned to the delight of passionate fans, despite the three being hesitant to do so, with Watson initially not wanting to over fear of being typecast. Warner Bros. knew how valuable Harry Potter was to them that just months three months before it was supposed to open in November 2008, they bumped the release date back to July 2009 to make sure there was not a massive drop out in their box office quota following The Dark Knight’s impressive summer blockbuster run.

A Trailblazing Entry

At the time of its release, the sixth installment defied expectations and set the record at the time for the biggest worldwide five-day opening, taking in a mind-boggling $394 million. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince became the second-highest-grossing release of the year with $934.5 million (only behind James Cameron’s Avatar) and earned an Oscar nomination for Best Cinematography. With a budget of $250 million, the entry was the most expensive film in the franchise and one of the most costly of all time. Stream on Max

12 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007) — $942.2M

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was the first Harry Potter film to be directed by David Yates, who went on to direct the remaining three films in the series as well as all of Fantastic Beasts. The movie focuses on Harry training a young group of wizards to fight the dark lord Voldemort after Hogwarts is taken over by the bureaucratic Professor Umbridge. Order of the Phoenix was the second highest-grossing film of 2007, surpassing the box office totals of Spider-Man 3 and Transformers, coming in just behind Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End.

A Box Office Success?

Despite Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix grossing over $940 million on a $150–200 million budget, accounting statements from Warner Bros. reported that the film had lost the studio $167 million (according to Deadline). This case has provided a small glimpse into the eyebrow-raising world known as Hollywood accounting. Stream on Max

11 The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013) — $959M

The sequel to 2012’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug was unable to replicate the billion-dollar success of its predecessor. However, at $959 million, The Desolation of Smaug was still a commercial success, out-grossing The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Fast & Furious 6, and every 2013 superhero film other than Iron Man 3.

Fans & Critics Were Blown Away

The fourth highest-grossing release of the year, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug dazzled both audiences and critics alike and earned both an A- CinemaScore and praise for its electrifying cinematography, exciting action sequences, and thrilling special effects. Many agreed that the film was a huge improvement over its predecessor and helped get The Hobbit Trilogy back on track while brilliantly setting the stage for the final installment. Stream on Max

10 The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014) — $962.2M

Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy came to an end with The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, which grossed over $960 million and became the second-highest-grossing film of 2014. The film out-grossed Guardians of the Galaxy, Maleficent, and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1, but was behind the $1.1 billion+ gross of Transformers: Age of Extinction.

An Impressive Yet Underwhelming Finale

Devoted fans of the enduring series showed up in swarms to witness the final installment of Jackson’s trilogy, yet The Hobbit:The Battle of the Five Armies surprisingly underperformed and failed to reach expectations despite grossing such a massive amount of money. The Hollywood Reporter claimed that the film was unable to hit the $1 billion milestone because of “plunging exchange rates around the globe” that occurred that year, resulting in the studio earning nearly $90 million less than they projected. Stream on Max

9 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 (2010) — $977.1M

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 began a trend of film adaptations of the final book in a series being divided into two parts. Twilight and The Hunger Games followed with less successful results, and in the case of the Divergent series, the final film was never made. With the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows book having more than 750 pages (Scholastic), the Harry Potter film series actually had a good reason to divide the concluding installment into two.

Fans Flocked to Theaters

Eager to see the beginning of the end, Potterheads showed up to the theaters in droves. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 grossed $977.1 million worldwide and was the third highest-grossing film of 2010. Inception, another film from Warner Bros., sat at number four with a worldwide gross of $837.2 million. With the Potter franchise winding down, Warner Bros. needed another long-term franchise to carry their studio, and it was around this time they moved full steam ahead on their plans for the DCEU with Man of Steel. Stream on Max

8 The Dark Knight (2008) — $1.006B

Moviegoers all across the world couldn’t wait to witness Christian Bale’ stoic Batman face off against the unhinged criminal mastermind the Joker in The Dark Knight, with Christopher Nolan dazzling audiences with the film’s stunning cinematography, a gritty tone, and unforgettable performances by its star-studded ensemble cast. Despite initial fan criticism over Heath Ledger being cast as the psychopathic clown, the late and great actor delivered an unparalleled portrayal of the character and even posthumously won an Oscar for his phenomenal work.

A Trailblazing Triumph

During a time before the Avengers, Nolan’s The Dark Knight became the first billion-dollar superhero movie. The Dark Knight presented one of the greatest box-office jumps for a direct sequel, with the film grossing over $630 million more than 2005’s Batman Begins. Not only was The Dark Knight a box office juggernaut, but many praised the film as one of the best films ever made. It was a box office sensation and the first time people thought a movie could beat Titanic‘s record for the highest-grossing movie of all time. While The Dark Knight would come up short, and the next year, Avatar would usurp Titanic, The Dark Knight dominated not just the summer box office but the entire year of 2008. Stream on Max

7 The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012) — $1.017B

Nearly nine years after The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Peter Jackson began a prequel trilogy with The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. The film introduced Martin Freeman’s Bilbo Baggins and saw Ian McKellen return as Gandalf, and follows the famous hobbit as he joins forces with a courageous group of dwarves and the legendary wizard in order to take back the Lonely Mountain from the terrifying dragon Smaug.

A Lucrative New Trilogy

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey grossed $1.017 billion and was the highest-grossing installment of the Hobbit trilogy and the fourth highest-grossing release of 2012 (with Marvel’s The Avengers unsurprisingly claiming the top spot). Devoted fans of both the director and J.R.R. Tolkien flocked to once again see the spellbinding characters and magical world, awarding the picture an A CinemaScore despite receiving a mixed-bag response from critics. Stream on Max

Related: 10 Most Iconic Warner Bros. Movie Characters of All Time

6 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001) — $1.017B

The film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, much like the book it was an adaptation of, was given the alternate title of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone for U.S. markets. Taking audiences on a magical trip to the Wizarding World, the first Harry Potter film forever changed cinema and what we now recognize as “fandom.” The movie was one of the most anticipated movies of all time, setting the record at the time for the biggest opening weekend with $90 million.

An Everlasting Legacy

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was beloved and, unsurprisingly, was also a massive success at the box office. Grossing over $970 million during its initial theatrical run and garnering widespread praise for its talented young cast and magically wondrous world, a re-release of the fan-favorite flick pushed Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone into the billion-dollar club in 2020. Harry Potter would carry Warner Bros. slate on its back for an entire decade, and it was clear that this film, coming out at the start of the millennium, sent a message to Hollywood that big IP adaptations were the new key to box office domination. Stream on Max

5 Joker (2019) — $1.079B


Release Date
October 2, 2019


Set outside the DCEU but released before the end of the franchise, Joker was one of the nine films that grossed over $1 billion in 2019. The film concluded its theatrical run with a higher box office total than Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Toy Story 4, and Aladdin. This certainly was a big move for not just a R-rated movie, but a comic book adaptation that so proudly wore that it was not going to be faithful to the comics which is normally a big hurdle to overcome with comic book fans.

A Major Cinematic Feat

Joker was the first R-rated film to gross $1 billion and has remained the only R-rated film to gross more than $800 million. That could potentially change with the upcoming Joker: Folie à Deux and Deadpool 3, with the highly-anticipated sequel seeing the return of both director Todd Phillips and lead star Joaquin Phoenix as his character’s tumultuous relationship with Lady Gaga’s Harley Quinn being the main focus of the musical thriller. Stream on Max

4 The Dark Knight Rises (2012) — $1.085B

Coming off the success of 2008’s The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises grossed $1.081 billion and became the highest-grossing Batman film of all time, introducing fans of the franchise to Tom Hardy’s brutal Bane and Anne Hathaway’s femme fatale Catwoman. The Dark Knight Rises was the third-highest-grossing film of 2012 behind Skyfall and The Avengers and was named by the American Film Institute as one of the top ten movies of the year.

Related: Why The Dark Knight Rises Is Christopher Nolan’s Most Underrated Movie

A Bittersweet Farewell

Following up the masterpiece that was The Dark Knight is no easy task, yet Nolan was able to provide both fans and the DC characters themselves a worthy send-off that was deemed by critics as a satisfying conclusion to the exhilarating trilogy. The movie still stands as Christopher Nolan’s highest-grossing movie. It remains the highest-grossing Batman film to date and received countless accolades, including a Saturn Award and American Film Institute Award, while also cementing Christian Bale’s place as one of the greatest actors to ever don the iconic batsuit. Stream on Max

3 Aquaman (2018) — $1.152B


Release Date
July 6, 2018

James Wan


Game of Thrones breakout star Jason Momoa continued proving himself to be one of Hollywood’s most charismatic leading men when he once again portrayed the titular Human-Atlantean hybrid in 2018’s Aquaman. Momoa shared the screen with stars like Nicole Kidman, Willem Dafoe, and Patrick Wilson in the blockbuster smash hit, as the fearless Justice League member sets out to protect the surface world from his power-hungry half-brother King Orm.

A Major Win For DC Films

Following the critical and commercial failure of the theatrical version of Justice League, Aquaman blew box office expectations out of the water with an impressive $1.152 billion. Aquaman has claimed the title of highest-grossing DC film and is currently the third highest-grossing film from Warner Bros. It is hard to believe that the highest-grossing DC superhero movie is not based on Superman or Batman or even featuring the Justice League, but a movie about Aquaman. In December 2023, the buzzed-about sequel Aquaman and the Lost Kingdomhit theaters with a massive budget of $205–215 million, with the latest installment debuting to a negative critical reception and earning over $338.2 million so far. Stream on Max

2 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 (2011) — $1.342B

The final installment in the Harry Potter film series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, follows Hogwarts’ resilient and endearing trio Harry, Ron, and Hermione as they take one final stand against the diabolical Lord Voldermort and stop his reign of terror once and for all. The grand finale in the groundbreaking franchise showcased the epic battle between good and evil and took the world by storm when it was released in the summer of 2011.

An Emotional Goodbye

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 was Warner Bros.’ highest-grossing film for more than a decade, as it brought in a whopping $1.342 billion and set a record on its opening weekend when the final entry earned $483.2 million. Deathly Hallows – Part 2 was the cinematic event of 2011, serving as an emotional farewell to the characters audiences had followed for a decade and leaving them equally touched and satisfied. Stream on Max

1 Barbie (2023) — $1.446B


Release Date
July 21, 2023

RELATED: Read Our Review

The vibrant and star-studded 2023 extravaganza Barbie shattered records and exceeded expectations when it took over movie theaters, swiftly becoming the highest-grossing film in Warner Bros. history. The Greta Gerwig-directed film has also made history as the first billion-dollar movie to be solely directed by a woman, and features the incomparable Margot Robbie as the title character as she and her loyal companion Ken (Ryan Gosling) go on a soul-searching journey and begin to question the life and world they thought they knew.

A Groundbreaking Spectacle

Barbie caused a worldwide frenzy when it hit theaters, becoming the highest-grossing release of the year and garnering praise for its sophisticated screenplay, poignant message, and unforgettable performances by its illustrious cast. Both audiences and critics couldn’t get enough of the fantasy comedy. The acclaimed picture has so far received two Golden Globes and was named one of the top ten films of the year by the American Film Institute, with countless other accolades and nominations currently pending. Barbie is currently the 14th highest-grossing movie of all time and has swiftly become a beloved cinematic masterpiece. Stream on Max

Share This Article
Leave a comment