The 10 Most Massive Movies of the Decade — Broken Down by Year
The past decade of movies has seen quite a diverse range of artistic and technological techniques, as CGI, animation, and storytelling have expanded the scope of cinematography. All decade long, filmmakers and studios have produced some of the most notable movies, including the two highest grossing films of all time. We have seen entire franchises begin and end, trilogies from book adaptations play out fully, and new stories rise from the old. If you were curious about which films of the 2010s were the most successful, then scroll through, because we have outlined each one by year. You may or may not be surprised that Disney dominated a majority of the list. So before we enter the 2020s, plan a nostalgic movie marathon, because some of the films have much anticipated sequels on the way!
The Highest Grossing Movie of 2010: Avatar
It's safe to say we haven't ever seen a movie quite like Avatar, and its many accolades and awards are further proof the film was something truly spectacular. About 70 percent of Avatar's gross income came from 3-D ticket sales, as people flocked to the theaters to immerse themselves in a truly out-of-this-world story, in which viewers were introduced to some of the most philosophical themes, such as "Everything is God." Not only was the CGI an incredibly cinematic experience, but the painstakingly long production truly set a new standard in film. James Cameron's film eventually surpassed his previous epic, Titanic, grossing over $2.7 billion worldwide, making it the highest grossing film of all time . . . for a few years.
The Highest Grossing Movie of 2011: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
J.K. Rowling's final film within the Harry Potter series became the highest grossing film in the franchise and took home the title of highest grossing film in 2011 with over $1.3 billion worldwide. The final installment of the Harry Potter series ended with the Battle of Hogwarts where many beloved characters met their end and both Harry and Voldemort confronted their own destinies. Ultimately, the movie was met with a lot of praise and was later followed by Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
The Highest Grossing Movie of 2012: Avengers
The first Marvel ensemble movie followed the unification of Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Hulk, Black Widow, Hawkeye, and the villainous would-be-anti-hero Loki. The Avengers film grossed over $1.5 billion at the box office, initiating what would be an extremely successful franchise within Marvel's Phase 1 plan.
The Highest Grossing Movie of 2013: Iron Man 3
The third installment of Tony Stark's story sees the beginning of what would eventually lead to civil war, as the movie challenges what it means to be a modern-day superhero and whether or not these heroes are truly hurting or helping. Following the success of The Avengers, Iron Man 3 included themes of loss and teams, which led the way for Marvel's Phase 2. The movie brought in over $1.2 billion dollars, making it the fifth-highest grossing film of all time, back in 2013.
The Highest Grossing Movie of 2014: Guardians of the Galaxy
Guardians of the Galaxy marked the third year in a row Disney Studios produced the No. 1 film. Guardians of the Galaxy was also a part of Marvel's Phase 2, introducing new species, conflicts, and overall expanding the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The new franchise grossed over $772.8 million, beating out The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 1 by $20 million and establishing what would later be a trilogy of its own.
The Highest Grossing Movie of 2015: Jurassic World
The sci-fi adventure film readapted the widely successful and iconic Jurassic Park trilogy, but this time on a larger scale. Jurassic World opened to a record-breaking opening weekend, becoming the first film to break over $500 million. The film went on to collect over $1.6 billion worldwide, which ultimately landed it the spot as the highest grossing film of all the Jurassic movies. Jurassic World reflected modern realities of entertainment prioritized over exploitation and safety, and forced viewers to wonder who the real predators were.
The Highest Grossing Movie of 2016: Finding Dory
The much anticipated sequel to Finding Nemo, Finding Dory became the second Pixar film (after Toy Story 3) to gross over $1 billion. The film also set several records, including the biggest North America opening for an animated movie and the highest grossing animated film in North America at the time as well. Perhaps its success can be attributed to its emotional experience, or its thought-provoking and poignant story about loss both physically and mentally. Either way, the critical response to the sequel was sharply positive.
The Highest Grossing Movie of 2017: Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi
The Last Jedi came as part of a new trilogy after Disney's acquisition of LucasFilms. After raking in $1.3 billion, it became the second-highest grossing Star Wars film of all time. The beginning of the new trilogy was met with much acclaim, as many believed it to be a nice continuation of the world, with the necessary additions and twists needed to make the stories new and relevant. However, for Star Wars fans, the movie also is a testament to the nostalgic tropes of the original franchise, as many themes are repeated. Our worn-down heroes are holding onto their last bit of hope and spirit as darkness encroaches, and only with a group of misfits and help from an older friend can they continue the fight.
The Highest Grossing Movie of 2018: Black Panther
Part of Marvel's Phase 3, Black Panther has widely become a fan and awards show favorite, bringing in over 1.3 billion worldwide. It's also the first-ever superhero movie to receive a Best Picture nomination, and the first film from the MCU to win an Academy award. Black Panther was an ode to black communities across the globe, and with such high success rates, it proved a nearly all-black cast could be positively received and was deserving of much attention that otherwise was not offered. The movie elevated black representation in superhero films and transcended the genre to incorporate conversations on race — not just the traditional good-versus-evil themes of before. A sequel is set to release in 2022.
The Highest Grossing Movie of 2019: Avengers: Endgame
Rounding out the end of Marvel's Phase 3, and also the fates of a few heroes, Avengers: Endgame grossed just under $2.8 billion, surpassing it's predecessor Avenger's Infinity War in just 11 days and passing 2010's Avatar for the highest grossing film of all time. Endgame set several box office records, including the fastest cumulative gross and the highest opening weekend of all time. The movie featured 36 title superheroes and dozens of supporting roles, making this the largest ensemble cast of any MCU film. The capstone movie did well to end what we know the MCU as it is, and in most cases, fulfilled fan expectations. Fans can now look forward to the next phase with brand new stories.