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Highest Grossing Movies 2020 | A Year without Theaters

Can you remember the last movie you saw in a theater? If so, which movie do you actually tell people is the last movie you saw in a theater in an effort to avoid embarrassment? It’s OK. We’re all coping as best we can.

The year 2020, much like Roland Emmerich’s 2012 (2009), has been a disaster. And that’s reflected in the year’s domestic box office returns, as American cinemas struggled to survive through the pandemic.

So let’s see what movies were able to make some amount of money in a year without theaters. These are your top-10 highest grossing films in the domestic box office for 2020. Trust me. It gets real dumb.

Bad Boys for Life: $204,417,855


Wow, 25 years after the release of the original Bad Boys, the third installment in the franchise manages to top the domestic box office.

It’s been a real mixed year for Will Smith, with him having the details of his marital problems broadcast on some Facebook Watch show. That’s like having your therapist post your last session in a series of Twitter Fleets.

Released in mid-January, Bad Boys for Life managed to pull in more than $200 million domestically. For comparison, the previous year’s highest grossing release was Avengers: Endgame, which depicted a world grappling with the widespread culling of half the population. Remember when that was the inciting incident for a superhero movie and not the reason you haven’t gotten a haircut in nine months?

Anyway, Endgame raked in more than $858 million domestically. That’s about four times what this year’s top earner managed. It’s been a rough year, so next time you are allowed to safely enter a theater, spend that extra nickel to upsize your drink.

1917: $157,901,466


This Christmas 2019 release starring every British actor you know managed to convert Oscar praise into some success at the box office in 2020.

I really don’t have much to add regarding 1917, but I will point out that the presence of this World War One picture on this list really reflects the absence of major Disney releases and comic book movies.

Looking back at 2019, seven of the top-10 releases in the domestic box office were Disney films and four were comic book movies. In 2020, Disney only has one movie in the top 10. As it relates to the success of 1917, it really speaks to the indomitable spirit of dads willing to turn out to theaters and watch a good war movie. Dads love war so much. It’s somehow heartwarming.

Sonic the Hedgehog: $146,066,470

Remember when this movie was the biggest joke on the internet? The first trailer was a nightmare. Sonic and his HUMAN TEETH looked like an Assassin’s Creed glitch. Now it’s the third highest grossing movie of the year.

I just pray this leads to a sequel where we see more of his sidekick, Tails, whose legal name is Miles Prower.

Miles Prower.

Miles. Per. Hour.

Fantastic.

Jumanji: The Next Level: $124,736,710

The Rock is probably going to be president one day. He has experience in leadership. During his time in WWE, he led the Nation of Domination. When he’s elected, I can tell uninterested youths about the time our president defeated Mankind in an “I Quit” match at the 1999 Royal Rumble.

Also, I’m old enough to remember when Jumanji films, and really all major blockbusters, were about child endangerment. I miss those days.

Star Wars: Episode IX — The Rise of Skywalker: $124,496,308


I can’t imagine feeling anything about Star Wars anymore. Least of all anger.

Birds of Prey: $84,158,461

I’m not typing out the whole name. You know this is the Harley Quinn movie. It’s also the sole comic book movie on this year’s top 10.

If there is one sad concession in 2020, it’s that Zack Snyder is releasing the Snyder Cut of Justice League. And maybe he’s doing it in black and white, because he wears waistcoats on set and is a real artsy bro.

I would prefer a million technicolor films featuring mid-tier DC characters over a desaturated four-hour rehash of a movie where the Flash and Cyborg unceremoniously dig up the corpse of Superman.

Dolittle: $77,047,065


This movie concludes with Dr. Dolittle (Robert Downey Jr.) removing bagpipes from a dragon’s anus. This is one year after the Iron Man actor starred in 2019’s highest grossing film. Again, it’s been a rough year.

Little Women: $70,508,087


Yep. Little Women is tops at the box office. Maybe next we’ll get a point-and-click adventure game for Howard’s End. The possibilities are endless.

The Invisible Man: $64,914,050


The Handmaid’s Tale star Elisabeth Moss retains her status as the most harried woman in show business. Between all the invisible men and natal slavery, it seems like she’d want to have a small part in one of those movies where a group of old college friends go on vacation, but here we are.

The Call of the Wild: $62,342,368


Ending out our top-10 list, we have Harrison Ford and a CGI dog in the adaptation of Jack London’s The Call of the Wild. I prefer London’s work when it focuses solely on men freezing to death in an icy tundra, but I’m sure a buddy movie featuring a canine sidekick is plenty fun.

Really, it must have been a compelling project if it was enough to get Ford to remove his single earring and get out into the wilderness.

Released in late February, this was likely many people’s last theatrical experience before the pandemic hit. I hope they enjoyed watching a curmudgeon navigate the snow-covered landscape with his canine companion.

I also look forward to when theaters return to normal. So I can pay too much for popcorn and sit in the dark with strangers who text throughout the movie. I don’t need it to be perfect. I just need it to be on the big screen.

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Written By

Dustin Waters is a writer from Macon, Ga, currently living in D.C. After years as a beat reporter in the Lowcountry, he now focuses his time on historical oddities, trashy movies, and the merits of professional wrestling.

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