10 Highest Earning Comedy Movies, Ranked
What movies comes to mind when you think of the highest earners in the comedy genre? Our list may surprise you! Some of the most beloved comedies by millennials such as Borat (2006), Dumb and Dumber (1994), Kindergarten Cop (1990), Pretty Woman (1990), and Mrs. Doubtfire (1993) didn’t make our top ten list! That’s not to say that the following ten highest earning comedy movies don’t deserve their place because they’ve certainly earned it based on the profits. Get ready for a trip down Memory Lane. We’re certain that you’ll have some adding to do to your Netflix queue by the time you’re done with this list.
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10 Bruce Almighty (2003) – Approximately $467 Million
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In May 2003, America ran to the theaters and delighted in this religious comedy starring Jim Carrey. Carrey was near the top of his game when this movie came out, having enjoyed a lengthy career that skyrocketed after his residency on the popular 90’s sketch comedy show In Living Color. His earlier comedy hits such as The Mask (1994), Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls (1995), and Dumb and Dumber (1994) may be more well known but Bruce Almighty was Carrey’s “Manna from Heaven” as his earlier movies grossed $351 Million, $212 Million, and $246 Million respectively.
9 Smokey And The Bandit (1977) – Approximately $487.6 Million
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It’s hard to believe that 44 years have passed since this movie about a rebel called “The Bandit” with a goal in mind of illegally transporting a truck full of bootleg beer across five state lines for the cash prize of $80,000 has premiered and that it’s still holding strong as one of the top grossing comedy movies of all times but it’s true! Burt Reynolds and Sally Field took the box office by storm in the late ’70s and even though many comedy movies have graced the big screen since, the grip that “The Bandit” had on top sales numbers is not lessening anytime soon.
8 Tootsie (1982) – Approximately $488.2 Million
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It was a make-it-or-break-it kind of plot from the start. Dustin Hoffman starred as an unsuccessful actor who decided to dress up as a woman in order to increase his chances of getting work as an actor on a General Hospital-esque soap opera. As you can see, Tootsie made it – big time. The comedy, starring Jessica Lange alongside Hoffman, was a massive hit.
7 National Lampoon’s Animal House (1978) – Approximately $487.6 Million
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Back in the ’70s and ’80s, there was a popular comedy magazine called National Lampoon. It was so popular in fact that there were several movies made using some of creative talent behind the magazine. The second film was National Lampoon’s Animal House starring John Belushi, Tim Matheson, and a young Kevin Bacon. The movie about a ragtag group of fun-loving fraternity brothers was directed by John Landis and was put together for just $3 Million which makes its overall gross profit all the more impressive. Animal House, like many movies from the National Lampoon franchise, is still widely loved today and maintains a cult following.
6 Meet The Fockers (2004) – Approximately $516 Million
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Typically speaking, sequels don’t do as well as the original movie. Meet the Fockers is one of the exceptions. This film is sandwiched between the original, Meet the Parents (2000) and the “threequel” Little Fockers (2010). These movies brought in approximately $330 Million and $310 Million respectively. Meet the Parents was a huge hit and fans couldn’t get enough. A stoic Robert De Niro mercilessly grilling a sweet, hapless Ben Stiller… plus a pampered toilet-trained cat – what’s not to love? This is perhaps why they were chomping at the bit when the sequel came out, the sequel that smashed the original at the box office!
5 Blazing Saddles (1974) – Approximately $542.5 Million
Everyone who participated in bringing Blazing Saddles to life back in ’74 has much to be proud of. This movie brought in a whopping $542.5 Million which is a lot for today’s comedies but 47 years ago, this was a mind-blowing achievement. The oldest movie on this list, Blazing Saddles offers its audience a satirical take on Westerns. The movie also tackled racial issues while being a side-splitting comedy at the same time. That’s what we call multi-tasking! Mel Brooks, Cleavon Little, and Gene Wilder made for a cast that had fans clamoring for more. (Side note: Mel Brooks is still going strong at age 94 as of this writing!)
4 Beverly Hills Cop (1984) – Approximately $576.1 Million
There’s nothing that says “’80s cool” like Eddie Murphy in Beverly Hills Cop. Murphy stars as a rogue fish-out-of-water cop who is tasked with solving a tricky murder. Throw in amazing action scenes and hilarious wisecracks and you’ve got a bonafide ’80s smash hit. Legend has it the film’s director didn’t think that the actual Beverly Hills police station looked “cool enough” so they used the exterior of Beverly Hill’s City Hall, which is its claim to fame even today.
3 Home Alone (1990) – Approximately $581.1 Million
Lines from this movie grace T-shirts, Christmas ornaments, cell phone cases, and much more today, 31 years later. With a movie as beloved as the original Home Alone, it only makes sense that it brought in the big bucks back in the day. Keep the change, ya filthy animal!
2 The Hangover II (2011) – Approximately $586 Million
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Just like Meet the Fockers, The Hangover II is a bit of an anomaly. The fact that it brought in more than the original movie, The Hangover, is surprising to us. The original movie premiered in 2009 and did well by bringing in $467 Million while the “threequel” The Hangover 3 (2013) didn’t fare as well with $362 Million. But it was the middle movie that did the best with the original cast, Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms, Ken Jeong, and Justin Bartha. Whether it was due to Mike Tyson’s second guest appearance or just the sheer anticipation of the second movie in the series, fans flocked to the theaters!
1 Ghostbusters (1984) – Approximately $610.6 Million
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Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Rick Moranis, Sigourney Weaver, and Ernie Hudson teamed up to take on supernatural bullies in this classic comedy. Since 1984, a Halloween party hasn’t been complete without this movie’s Grammy-award-winning theme song by Ray Parker, Jr. And when it comes to making scary good sales at the box office, Ghostbusters remains the mega-monster to beat.
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Sources: The Numbers, Money Inc, Guiness World Records, Business Insider
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