harry potter


Words: Jason Wolf
Photography: Flickr

Which blockbuster is worth your time more than your money?

In the simpler theater-going times of 2005, ticket prices were a mere $6.41, the market hadn’t quite been oversaturated with superheroes or sequels yet and the highest grossing films of all time were mostly highly acclaimed original work like E.T. or the first Star Wars.

But in recent years, theaters have doubled their ticket prices and film studios have been capitulating to trends favoring remakes and shared universes rather than directives to make quality, original films. Now, every one of the top 10 highest grossing films of all time, aside from Titanic, has been made within the past 10 years, allowing them to be fresh in our minds for a spirited debate. Putting the money and the Rotten Tomatoes scores aside, which one of the top 10 highest grossing films is truly the best?

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10. Jurassic World

© YouTube/Universal Pictures

Rotten Tomatoes score: 71%
Box office rank: No. 4 

The allure of this movie was that they dared to go where previous Jurassic Park movies hadn’t, which was to show us a vibrant, fully operational theme park of our dreams. But this mess of a film is lucky to scrape away with a certified fresh rating at all. Beyond its bold conceit, this is a stale, B-level fright flick with writing, acting, and directing that can gently be described as inconsistent.

9. Furious 7

© YouTube/Fast & Furious

Rotten Tomatoes score: 79%
Box office rank: No. 6

Shrouded by the untimely passing of co-lead Paul Walker, this juggernaut drew in crowds of young men looking for a good cry and laughably impossible action. For whatever reason, the masses are endeared to this action franchise, and they showed up at the ticket lines to see Paul Walker’s send-off was handled with respect.

8. Iron Man 3 

Rotten Tomatoes score: 79%
Box office rank: No. 10 

Better than the second but worse than the original, Iron Man 3 is not a bad movie, though Marvel audiences probably weren’t keen on taking the action down a notch after the epically huge events of The Avengers.

7. Avengers: Age of Ultron

Rotten Tomatoes score: 75%
Box office rank: No. 7

Not just with this list, this film sits at number seven both in box-office earnings as well as the Rotten Tomatoes score. Despite being a solid follow-up to the first one, audiences and critics just slightly cooled on this project for whatever reason.

6. Star Wars – Episode VII: The Force Awakens

Rotten Tomatoes score: 92%
Box office rank: No. 3 

Buzz was justifiably high for the film that reunited audiences with their favorite Star Wars cast members, but praising this film, which does little more than rehash the original movie and set up questions to be answered in later installments, is a markedly less understandable. 

5. Avatar

© YouTube/Machinima

Rotten Tomatoes score: 89%
Box office rank: No. 1 

Unless you count the plotline that is obviously derivative of movies like Dances with Wolves or Fern Gully, this is the only wholly original movie on this list. Kudos for that, as well as the Best Picture nomination. The first 20 minutes of the IMAX 3-D experience are astounding, but fans’ eyes glaze over once they’re forced to sit through three hours of predictable storytelling.

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4. Avengers

Rotten Tomatoes score: 92%
Box office rank: No. 5 

There’s not a believably emotional chord ever struck in this film, but it executed the expansive story it had to tell quite impressively nonetheless. It’s big, it’s fun and there are few complaints that this film earned strong reception both critically and financially.

3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2

Rotten Tomatoes score: 96%
Box office rank: No. 8 

The culmination of a scopious and well-reviewed franchise was essentially a whole film dedicated to a gigantic, action-filled finale, and it didn’t disappoint for Potter fans.

2. Frozen

Rotten Tomatoes score: 89%
Box office rank: No. 9 

Inspired by a fairy tale called “The Snow Queen,” one might assume this film would be turfed to the bottom of this list because it’s the reason your niece sang “Let It Go” for six months nonstop, but it’s ultimately a sweet movie with charming characters and admirable themes.

1. Titanic

© YouTube/DanceOn

Rotten Tomatoes score: 88%
Box office rank: No. 2 

Yes, this film is long, sappy and emotional, but tied with the most Oscar nominations ever, it’s the only movie on this list you can discuss intelligently without sounding like a total fanboy dweeb. It’s got action, it’s got romance, it kind of has all the genres poured into one movie, and is still a cohesive, well-directed film. Just don’t tell your buddies you cried at the end.

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