All-Time Summer Films at the Box-Office (1975 - 2019)

by crx_brett | created - 17 Nov 2018 | updated - 1 month ago | Public

This is a ranked list of each summer season's films (ranked by U.S. box-office ticket sales) from 1975-2019. The list will help give the reader an idea of which summer movies were true blockbusters, which ones were big hits as well as which ones were under-performers, duds or total bombs and failures.

In order for a movie to be included on this list, a movie had to accumulate at least 33% of it's gross during the months of May-July or the first 3 weeks of August for the summer it was originally released in.

Also, only the film's original theatrical run is taken into account. So any subsequent re-releases or re-expanded openings are not included as part of these totals.

***Side Note*** From 1975-1979, only 25 films are listed since not as many films were released in summer before 1980. From 1980-2019, 40 films are listed.

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1. Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)

PG | 121 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

90 Metascore

Luke Skywalker joins forces with a Jedi Knight, a cocky pilot, a Wookiee and two droids to save the galaxy from the Empire's world-destroying battle station, while also attempting to rescue Princess Leia from the mysterious Darth Vader.

Director: George Lucas | Stars: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Alec Guinness

Votes: 1,173,937 | Gross: $322.74M

137.78 million tickets sold ($307.3M) #1 in 1977

2. Jaws (1975)

PG | 124 min | Adventure, Drama, Thriller

87 Metascore

When a killer shark unleashes chaos on a beach community, it's up to a local sheriff, a marine biologist, and an old seafarer to hunt the beast down.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss, Lorraine Gary

Votes: 523,456 | Gross: $260.00M

126.82 million tickets sold ($260.0M) #1 in 1975

3. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

PG | 115 min | Family, Sci-Fi

91 Metascore

A troubled child summons the courage to help a friendly alien escape Earth and return to his home world.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Henry Thomas, Drew Barrymore, Peter Coyote, Dee Wallace

Votes: 351,576 | Gross: $435.11M

106.73 million tickets sold ($313.8M) #1 in 1982

4. Avengers: Endgame (2019)

PG-13 | 181 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

78 Metascore

After the devastating events of Avengers: Infinity War (2018), the universe is in ruins. With the help of remaining allies, the Avengers assemble once more in order to reverse Thanos' actions and restore balance to the universe.

Directors: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo | Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth

Votes: 672,903 | Gross: $858.37M

92.08 million tickets sold ($836.1 M) #1 in 2019

5. Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999)

PG | 136 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

51 Metascore

Two Jedi escape a hostile blockade to find allies and come across a young boy who may bring balance to the Force, but the long dormant Sith resurface to claim their old glory.

Director: George Lucas | Stars: Ewan McGregor, Liam Neeson, Natalie Portman, Jake Lloyd

Votes: 693,085 | Gross: $474.54M

84.19 million tickets sold ($427.7M) #1 in 1999

6. Jurassic Park (1993)

PG-13 | 127 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

68 Metascore

A pragmatic Paleontologist visiting an almost complete theme park is tasked with protecting a couple of kids after a power failure causes the park's cloned dinosaurs to run loose.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough

Votes: 815,479 | Gross: $402.45M

83.62 million tickets sold ($346.2M) #1 in 1993

7. Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983)

PG | 131 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

58 Metascore

After a daring mission to rescue Han Solo from Jabba the Hutt, the Rebels dispatch to Endor to destroy the second Death Star. Meanwhile, Luke struggles to help Darth Vader back from the dark side without falling into the Emperor's trap.

Director: Richard Marquand | Stars: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams

Votes: 903,479 | Gross: $309.13M

80.19 million tickets sold ($252.6M) #1 in 1983

8. The Avengers (2012)

PG-13 | 143 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

69 Metascore

Earth's mightiest heroes must come together and learn to fight as a team if they are going to stop the mischievous Loki and his alien army from enslaving humanity.

Director: Joss Whedon | Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner

Votes: 1,219,032 | Gross: $623.28M

78.32 million tickets sold ($623.4M) #1 in 2012

9. Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

PG | 124 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

82 Metascore

After the Rebels are brutally overpowered by the Empire on the ice planet Hoth, Luke Skywalker begins Jedi training with Yoda, while his friends are pursued by Darth Vader and a bounty hunter named Boba Fett all over the galaxy.

Director: Irvin Kershner | Stars: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams

Votes: 1,101,837 | Gross: $290.48M

77.84 million tickets sold ($209.4M) #1 in 1980

10. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

PG | 115 min | Action, Adventure

85 Metascore

In 1936, archaeologist and adventurer Indiana Jones is hired by the U.S. government to find the Ark of the Covenant before Adolf Hitler's Nazis can obtain its awesome powers.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Paul Freeman, John Rhys-Davies

Votes: 842,082 | Gross: $248.16M

76.33 million tickets sold ($212.2M) #1 in 1981

11. Jurassic World (2015)

PG-13 | 124 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

59 Metascore

A new theme park, built on the original site of Jurassic Park, creates a genetically modified hybrid dinosaur, the Indominus Rex, which escapes containment and goes on a killing spree.

Director: Colin Trevorrow | Stars: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Ty Simpkins, Judy Greer

Votes: 556,754 | Gross: $652.27M

75.92 million tickets sold ($640.0M) #1 in 2015

12. Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

PG-13 | 149 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

68 Metascore

The Avengers and their allies must be willing to sacrifice all in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe.

Directors: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo | Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans

Votes: 749,621 | Gross: $678.82M

74.51 million tickets sold ($678.8M) #1 in 2018

13. The Dark Knight (2008)

PG-13 | 152 min | Action, Crime, Drama

84 Metascore

When the menace known as the Joker wreaks havoc and chaos on the people of Gotham, Batman must accept one of the greatest psychological and physical tests of his ability to fight injustice.

Director: Christopher Nolan | Stars: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Michael Caine

Votes: 2,176,739 | Gross: $534.86M

73.96 million tickets sold ($531.0M) #1 in 2008

14. Shrek 2 (2004)

PG | 93 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

75 Metascore

Princess Fiona's (Cameron Diaz's) parents invite her and Shrek (Mike Myers) to dinner to celebrate her marriage. If only they knew the newlyweds were both ogres.

Directors: Andrew Adamson, Kelly Asbury, Conrad Vernon | Stars: Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, Julie Andrews

Votes: 398,807 | Gross: $436.47M

70.47 million tickets sold ($437.6M) #1 in 2004

15. Forrest Gump (1994)

PG-13 | 142 min | Drama, Romance

82 Metascore

The presidencies of Kennedy and Johnson, the events of Vietnam, Watergate, and other historical events unfold through the perspective of an Alabama man with an IQ of 75, whose only desire is to be reunited with his childhood sweetheart.

Director: Robert Zemeckis | Stars: Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, Gary Sinise, Sally Field

Votes: 1,693,205 | Gross: $330.25M

69.74 million tickets sold ($291.5M) #1 in 1994

16. Spider-Man (2002)

PG-13 | 121 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

73 Metascore

When bitten by a genetically modified spider, a nerdy, shy, and awkward high school student gains spider-like abilities that he eventually must use to fight evil as a superhero after tragedy befalls his family.

Director: Sam Raimi | Stars: Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, Willem Dafoe, James Franco

Votes: 660,503 | Gross: $403.71M

69.48 million tickets sold ($403.7) #1 in 2002

17. Independence Day (1996)

PG-13 | 145 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

59 Metascore

The aliens are coming and their goal is to invade and destroy Earth. Fighting superior technology, mankind's best weapon is the will to survive.

Director: Roland Emmerich | Stars: Will Smith, Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum, Mary McDonnell

Votes: 509,173 | Gross: $306.17M

69.28 million tickets sold ($306.2M) #1 in 1996

18. Grease (1978)

PG-13 | 110 min | Musical, Romance

70 Metascore

Good girl Sandy and greaser Danny fell in love over the summer. When they unexpectedly discover they're now in the same high school, will they be able to rekindle their romance?

Director: Randal Kleiser | Stars: John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John, Stockard Channing, Jeff Conaway

Votes: 222,209 | Gross: $188.76M

68.38 million tickets sold ($160.0M) #1 in 1978

19. Ghostbusters (1984)

PG | 105 min | Action, Comedy, Fantasy

71 Metascore

Three former parapsychology professors set up shop as a unique ghost removal service.

Director: Ivan Reitman | Stars: Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Harold Ramis

Votes: 338,150 | Gross: $238.63M

68.21 million tickets sold ($229.2M) #1 in 1984

20. Incredibles 2 (2018)

PG | 118 min | Animation, Action, Adventure

80 Metascore

The Incredibles hero family takes on a new mission, which involves a change in family roles: Bob Parr (Mr Incredible) must manage the house while his wife Helen (Elastigirl) goes out to save the world.

Director: Brad Bird | Stars: Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Sarah Vowell, Huck Milner

Votes: 226,177 | Gross: $608.58M

65.63 million tickets sold ($597.9M) #2 in 2018

21. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006)

PG-13 | 151 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

53 Metascore

Jack Sparrow races to recover the heart of Davy Jones to avoid enslaving his soul to Jones' service, as other friends and foes seek the heart for their own agenda as well.

Director: Gore Verbinski | Stars: Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Jack Davenport

Votes: 630,279 | Gross: $423.32M

64.63 million tickets sold ($423.3M) #1 in 2006

22. The Lion King (1994)

G | 88 min | Animation, Adventure, Drama

88 Metascore

A Lion cub crown prince is tricked by a treacherous uncle into thinking he caused his father's death and flees into exile in despair, only to learn in adulthood his identity and his responsibilities.

Directors: Roger Allers, Rob Minkoff | Stars: Matthew Broderick, Jeremy Irons, James Earl Jones, Whoopi Goldberg

Votes: 887,588 | Gross: $422.78M

63.97 million tickets sold ($267.4M) #2 in 1994

23. Batman (1989)

PG-13 | 126 min | Action, Adventure

69 Metascore

The Dark Knight of Gotham City begins his war on crime with his first major enemy being Jack Napier, a criminal who becomes the clownishly homicidal Joker.

Director: Tim Burton | Stars: Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson, Kim Basinger, Robert Wuhl

Votes: 324,360 | Gross: $251.19M

63.27 million tickets sold ($251.2) #1 in 1989

24. Spider-Man 2 (2004)

PG-13 | 127 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

83 Metascore

Peter Parker is beset with troubles in his failing personal life as he battles a brilliant scientist named Doctor Otto Octavius.

Director: Sam Raimi | Stars: Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, Alfred Molina, James Franco

Votes: 519,211 | Gross: $373.59M

60.16 million tickets sold ($373.6M) #2 in 2004

25. The Lion King (2019)

PG | 118 min | Animation, Adventure, Drama

55 Metascore

After the murder of his father, a young lion prince flees his kingdom only to learn the true meaning of responsibility and bravery.

Director: Jon Favreau | Stars: Donald Glover, Beyoncé, Seth Rogen, Chiwetel Ejiofor

Votes: 168,858 | Gross: $540.08M

59.80 million tickets sold ($543.0M) #2 in 2019

26. Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005)

PG-13 | 140 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

68 Metascore

Three years into the Clone Wars, the Jedi rescue Palpatine from Count Dooku. As Obi-Wan pursues a new threat, Anakin acts as a double agent between the Jedi Council and Palpatine and is lured into a sinister plan to rule the galaxy.

Director: George Lucas | Stars: Hayden Christensen, Natalie Portman, Ewan McGregor, Samuel L. Jackson

Votes: 675,215 | Gross: $380.26M

59.33 million tickets sold ($380.3M) #1 in 2005

27. Back to the Future (1985)

PG | 116 min | Adventure, Comedy, Sci-Fi

87 Metascore

Marty McFly, a 17-year-old high school student, is accidentally sent thirty years into the past in a time-traveling DeLorean invented by his close friend, the eccentric scientist Doc Brown.

Director: Robert Zemeckis | Stars: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover

Votes: 982,483 | Gross: $210.61M

59.32 million tickets sold ($210.6M) #1 in 1985

28. Smokey and the Bandit (1977)

PG | 96 min | Action, Comedy

50 Metascore

The Bandit is hired on to run a tractor trailer full of beer over state lines, in hot pursuit by a pesky sheriff.

Director: Hal Needham | Stars: Burt Reynolds, Sally Field, Jerry Reed, Mike Henry

Votes: 42,529 | Gross: $126.74M

56.82 million tickets sold ($126.7M) #2 in 1977

29. Finding Nemo (2003)

G | 100 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

90 Metascore

After his son is captured in the Great Barrier Reef and taken to Sydney, a timid clownfish sets out on a journey to bring him home.

Directors: Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich | Stars: Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, Alexander Gould, Willem Dafoe

Votes: 903,086 | Gross: $380.84M

56.34 million tickets sold ($339.7M) #1 in 2003

30. The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

PG-13 | 164 min | Action, Adventure

78 Metascore

Eight years after the Joker's reign of anarchy, Batman, with the help of the enigmatic Catwoman, is forced from his exile to save Gotham City from the brutal guerrilla terrorist Bane.

Director: Christopher Nolan | Stars: Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Gary Oldman

Votes: 1,441,530 | Gross: $448.14M

56.29 million tickets sold ($448.1M) #2 in 2012

31. Finding Dory (2016)

PG | 97 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

77 Metascore

Friendly but forgetful blue tang Dory begins a search for her long-lost parents, and everyone learns a few things about the real meaning of family along the way.

Directors: Andrew Stanton, Angus MacLane | Stars: Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Ed O'Neill, Kaitlin Olson

Votes: 224,986 | Gross: $486.30M

55.79 million tickets sold ($482.6M) #1 in 2016

32. Twister (I) (1996)

PG-13 | 113 min | Action, Adventure, Thriller

68 Metascore

Bill and Jo Harding, advanced storm chasers on the brink of divorce, must join together to create an advanced weather alert system by putting themselves in the cross-hairs of extremely violent tornadoes.

Director: Jan de Bont | Stars: Helen Hunt, Bill Paxton, Cary Elwes, Jami Gertz

Votes: 166,756 | Gross: $241.72M

54.68 million tickets sold ($241.7M) #2 in 1996

33. Men in Black (1997)

PG-13 | 98 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

71 Metascore

A police officer joins a secret organization that polices and monitors extraterrestrial interactions on Earth.

Director: Barry Sonnenfeld | Stars: Tommy Lee Jones, Will Smith, Linda Fiorentino, Vincent D'Onofrio

Votes: 494,647 | Gross: $250.69M

54.62 million tickets sold ($250.7M) #1 in 1997

34. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

PG-13 | 141 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

66 Metascore

When Tony Stark and Bruce Banner try to jump-start a dormant peacekeeping program called Ultron, things go horribly wrong and it's up to Earth's mightiest heroes to stop the villainous Ultron from enacting his terrible plan.

Director: Joss Whedon | Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth

Votes: 700,858 | Gross: $459.01M

54.27 million tickets sold ($457.5M) #2 in 2015

35. The Sixth Sense (1999)

PG-13 | 107 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller

64 Metascore

A boy who communicates with spirits seeks the help of a disheartened child psychologist.

Director: M. Night Shyamalan | Stars: Bruce Willis, Haley Joel Osment, Toni Collette, Olivia Williams

Votes: 872,191 | Gross: $293.51M

54.13 million tickets sold ($275.0M) #2 in 1999

36. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)

PG-13 | 149 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

35 Metascore

Sam Witwicky leaves the Autobots behind for a normal life. But when his mind is filled with cryptic symbols, the Decepticons target him and he is dragged back into the Transformers' war.

Director: Michael Bay | Stars: Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson

Votes: 373,294 | Gross: $402.11M

53.61 million tickets sold ($402.1M) #1 in 2009

37. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)

PG | 118 min | Action, Adventure