The most successful movie in the world for every year since 2000

Warner BrosChristopher Nolan’s ‘The Dark Knight’ topped the list for 2008.
  • Each year, one blockbuster film edges out its competition to become the world’s single highest-grossing movie at year’s end.
  • From 2000’s “Mission: Impossible II” to 2018’s “Avengers: Infinity War,” here’s the most successful movie at the global box office for every year since the turn of the century.

Ask any moviegoer what the best film of the year is and opinions will vary. But the most successful one? The answer lies plainly in the numbers.

Year after year, one film proves to be the world’s most successful blockbuster after beating out its competition at the global box office. We compiled this list of the most successful films of each year since the turn of the century using year-end worldwide box office totals from Box Office Mojo.

The films on this list, which stretches from 2000’s “Mission: Impossible II” to 2018’s “Avengers: Infinity War,” might not hold the highest critic scores on Rotten Tomatoes for their respective years, but they all still managed to find a way into the hearts and pockets of moviegoers across the world.

From book adaptations to superhero flicks and animated films that will make even the toughest adults cry, here are the most successful movies of every year since 2000:


2000: “Mission: Impossible II”

Paramount Pictures

Worldwide box office total: $US546.4 million

Critic score: 56%

What critics said: “It’s fun. It’s laughable. It has moments of excitement, moments of sheer idiocy and moments of sheer idiotic excitement.” – Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle


2001: “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”

Warner Bros.

Worldwide box office total: $US974.8 million

Critic score: 81%

What critics said: “During ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,’ I was pretty sure I was watching a classic, one that will be around for a long time, and make many generations of fans.” – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times


2002: “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers”

New Line

Worldwide box office total: $US923.3 million

Critic score: 95%

What critics said: “The battle for Gollum’s mind also provides a fitting teaser conclusion to the second act of a story I’m beginning to wish would never end.” – Jack Matthew,New York Daily News


2003: “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King”

New Line

Worldwide box office total: $US1.119 billion

Critic score: 93%

What critics said: “‘The Return Of The King’ ultimately proves up to the series’ increasingly difficult task: making movies that echo legends, making legends that reflect life, and reconciling it all with the fact that both legends and lives all eventually meet their ends.” – Keith Phipps, The AV Club


2004: “Shrek 2”

Dreamworks‘Shrek 2.’

Worldwide box office total: $US919.8 million

Critic score: 89%

What critics said: “Like the first movie, this is unassailable family entertainment, with a gentle fairy tale for kids and a raft of mildly satirical pop-culture references for parents.” – J.R. Jones, Chicago Reader


2005: “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”

Warner Bros.

Worldwide box office total: $US896.9 million

Critic score: 88%

What critics said: “The real hero of the fourth Harry Potter film isn’t the teenage wizard but screenwriter Steve Kloves, who has magically transformed J.K. Rowling’s bloated, 734-page novel into a more swiftly paced, entertaining script.” – Connie Ogle, Miami Herald


2006: “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest”

Disney

Worldwide box office total: $US1.066 billion

Critic score: 53%

What critics said: “‘Complications arose, ensued, were overcome,’ Jack says at one point. Not entirely, but ‘Dead Man’s Chest’ is worth weighing anchor for, regardless.” – Peter Howell, Toronto Star


2007: “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End”

Disney

Worldwide box office total: $US963.4 million

Critic score: 44%

What critics said: “The plot is not only hard to follow, there seems to be nothing real at stake. Half the characters are already dead, and half the movie seems to involve swordfights with dead people who can’t be killed with swords.” – David Ansen, Newsweek


2008: “The Dark Knight”

Warner Bros.

Worldwide box office total: $US1.003 billion

Critic score: 94%

What critics said: “Not just a perfect comic book movie, not just a perfect Batman movie, but darn-near a perfect movie, full stop.” – Zaki Hasan, Zaki’s Corner


2009: “Avatar”

Fox

Worldwide box office total: $US2.777 billion

Critic score: 82%

What critics said: “Combining beyond-state-of-the-art moviemaking with a tried-and-true storyline and a gamer-geek sensibility – not to mention a love angle, an otherworldly bestiary, and an arsenal of 22d-century weaponry – the movie quite simply rocks.” – Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer


2010: “Toy Story 3”

Pixar

Worldwide box office total: $US1.067 billion

Critic score: 98%

What critics said: “When teenaged Andy plops down on the grass to share his old toys with a shy little girl, the film spikes with sadness and layered pleasure – a concise, deeply wise expression of the ephemeral that feels real and yet utterly transporting.” – Eric Hynes, Village Voice


2011: “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2”

Warner Bros.

Worldwide box office total: $US1.341 billion

Critic score: 96%

What critics said: “Like the previous seven movies, ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2’ obliviates the line between art and craft, but the witchcraft conjured for this satisfying finale is uniquely generous.” – Joe Williams, St. Louis Post-Dispatch


2012: “The Avengers”

Disney

Worldwide box office total: $US1.518 billion

Critic score: 92%

What critics said: “If you are a Marvel fan, then ‘The Avengers’ will feel like Christmas. Thanks to the merry doings of the director, Joss Whedon, all your favourite characters are here, as shiny and as tempting as presents under the tree.” – Anthony Lane, The New Yorker


2013: “Frozen”

Disney

Worldwide box office total: $US1.276 billion

Critic score: 90%

What critics said: “Frozen’ has both showtunes and darkness, but most satisfying is a formula-defying finale that successfully subverts the fairytale status quo.” – Catherine Bray,Time Out


2014: “Transformers: Age of Extinction”

Paramount

Worldwide box office total: $US1.104 billion

Critic score: 18%

What critics said: “In the end, though, this is still a movie about giant robots fighting each other, which is to say it’s nearly impossible to take seriously on a narrative level.” – Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader


2015: “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”

Disney

Worldwide box office total: $US2.068 billion

Critic score: 93%

What critics said: “It’s both nostalgic and fresh, a tender homage to, especially, the initial ‘Star Wars’ (‘Episode IV: A New Hope’), as well as a bridge to help those of us stuck in the splendor of Hoth edge into the future.” – Melissa Ruggieri, Atlanta Journal-Constitution


2016: “Captain America: Civil War”

Marvel Studios

Worldwide box office total: $US1.153 billion

Critic score: 91%

What critics said: “It is one of the best movies to ever come out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, balancing engaging action set pieces and witty dialogue with intelligent character studies and ethical debates.” – Matthew Rozsa, Salon.com


2017: “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”

Disney/Lucasfilm

Worldwide box office total: $US1.332 billion

Critic score: 91%

What critics said: “What’s most interesting to me about The Last Jedi is Luke’s return as the mentor rather than the student, grappling with his failure in this new role, and later aspiring to be the wise and patient teacher.” – Leah Pickett,Chicago Reader


2018: “Avengers: Infinity War”

Disney

Worldwide box office total: $US2.048 billion

Critic score: 84%

What critics said: “Maybe the quips and the punch-ups are there because they have to be, what with the film’s steady parade of failure and even death. Plans fail. Character fails. Even sacrifices fail. It’s not exactly refreshing, but it is bracing, and even gratifying.” – Matthew Lickona, San Diego Reader

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