I am a nerd.
And because of that I look up useless information all the time like box-office grosses. As I was looking up Judd Apatow’s film grosses on Box Office Mojo I saw that not only did “Don’t Mess with the Zohan” make $100 million, they also spent $90 to make it.
Now, I love Judd Apatow and would do anything to work with him. But I was a bit surprised that “Zohan” made that much. I don’t recall it being referred to as a hit, but the numbers say otherwise. Either way, it made me wonder something about comedies and which are the biggest hits. So I looked that up.
Box Office Mojo splits comedies up into several categories and doesn’t have an “All-Time” comedy list. Seriuosly? “Bumbing” is a genre of film now? So I Googled for the results and came up with a couple of articles that omitted a movie I was sure had to be one of the highest grossing comedies of all-time; “Ghostbusters.”
Here are the two lists I saw:
Part of the issue is that there are no lists of just comedies. They’re all some specific type of comedy. Thanks Box Office Mojo for letting us know the top Fat-Suit Comedies of all-time, but not having a list of just simply “comedy.”
The argument some would make is that Ghostbusters isn’t a comedy, it’s a “Family, Adventure, Mystery” film. I say, “Hogwash!” That movie is a straight up comedy. Box Office Mojo (rightly) calls the movie a “Horror Comedy.” It’s no less of a comedy than “Beverly Hills Cop,” and just as much of one as “Blazing Saddles” or “Animal House.”
And you cant’ tell me that “Home Alone” is funnier than “Ghostbusters” and be right! “Ghostbusters” is a comedy. That’s one of the funniest movies of all-time.
Home Alone 2 is even on those lists. They’re wrong. They’re wrong and I’m gonna fix it by posting a list of my own. So I give you…..
The Top Ten Highest Grossing Comedies of All-Time Adjusted for Inflation (all figures are in millions):
1. The Sting – $700,662,900
2. The Graduate – $672,591,200
3. Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace – $666,730,800
4. Shrek 2 – $558,460,300
5. Ghostbusters – $536,264,849
6. Home Alone – $532,390,800
7. Beverly Hills Cop – $527,799,100
8. American Graffiti – $516,514,300
9. Blazing Saddles – $496,968,300
10. National Lampoon’s Animal House – $470,737,500
This list is comprised of movies that are intended to be comedies. Including a movie like “American Graffiti” may make you scratch your head, but it is intended to be and billed as a comedy. So it’s fair to put it on here.
While putting this together someone argued about my inclusion of “Star Wars: Episode I.” While it may not be billed as a comedy I can’t imagine that it was not intended to be a comedy. It’s hilarious even down to the name. What the heck was the “Phantom Menace?” But if you’re a stickler about this then I’ll add an 11th comedy to fill out the “Top Ten.”
11. Tootsie – $447,265,000
Just for the nerd of it I’ll also include a list of highest grossing films that are of another genre, but are kind of close to cross genre comedies:
1. Grease – $604,605,000
2. My Fair Lady – $471,600,000
3. Back to the Future – $464,138,100
4. Rocky Horror Picture Show – $432,845,700
You could probably make a solid argument that “Shrek 2” and “Back to the Future” are flat out comedies. But it is vague whether or not the filmmakers were intending to make a flat out comedy or a cross-genre comedy or just a movie. They aren’t billed as comedies, per se.
Speaking of straight up comedies, the nerd in me is wondering what the highest grossing straight up comedies are. The type of list I’d imagine the fantastic comedy skewed site www.splitsider.com would put together.
The question is, what is a “straight up comedy?” Should we merely define a comedy as being a funny movie? If that’s the case, “The Room” is the best comedy of all-time and “Independence Day” is the highest grossing. Cause it is truly hilarious how good we all thought “Independence Day” was when it came out.
I think it would be fair to say that a movie is a “straight up comedy” if it’s intention is to be, first and foremost, a comedy. The argument then would be case-by-case. Is “Ghostbusters” a comedy first and foremost? I’m not sure what Dan Akyroyd was going for when he wrote the script. He honestly could have been intending to make a science fiction movie first, adventure second, comedy third. Or what about “Beverly Hills Cop?” The action is pretty high in that. It’s really funny, they got a comedian to star in it, but the make up of that movie might still be best described as equal parts action and comedy.
So should the fairest “straight up comedy” list be made up of movies that are solely comedies? That still brings up arguments because I’d say “Blazing Saddles” is simply a comedy. Just because it’s set in the old west doesn’t make it a Western, for me. That movie is flat out a comedy because that’s what Mel Brooks intended it to be. But not everyone would agree with that.
This is getting tiring. I’ll only include movies that are billed simply as comedies so no cross-genres. No Comedy Dramas, no Horror Comedies, no Romantic Comedies, no Fantasy Comedies, no Western Comedies – just movies simply billed as “comedy.” (but I will say “Blazing Saddles” is just as much a “comedy” as “Animal House”). Anyway, here is that (somewhat stupid) list of….
Highest Grossing Straight Up Comedies of All-Time:
1. National Lampoon’s Animal House – $470,737,500
2. Tootsie – $447,265,000
3. It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World – $423,460,800
4. M*A*S*H – $405,928,939
5. Meet the Fockers – $353,460,985
6. Three Men and a Baby – $337,278,349
7. Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me – $318,794,306
8. 9-5 – $301,807,929
9. Stir Crazy – $295,991,821
10. The Jerk – $293,473,767
The most recent movies on this list are Austin Powers (a 12 year old movie!) and Meet the Fockers. Where are “Wedding Crashers,” “The Hangover” or “The Hangover II” you ask? 11th, 17th and 18th places mixed in with some movies you’ve probably never heard of. Hint: The Love Bug is the original version of Herbie: Fully Loaded!
The Hangover – $290,633,983
What’s Up, Doc? – $282,220,235
Porky’s – $282,030,923
The Love Bug – $279,345,507
Austin Powers in Goldmember – $278,043,118
Welcome Stranger – $261,305,700
Wedding Crashers – $256,591,503
The Hangover II – $246,528,000
This list actually shows a dire situation for modern comedies. Even our biggest hits are only as big as forgettable movies like “Welcome Stranger” or “What’s Up, Doc?” Maybe it’s not fair to call them forgettable, but there has to be some reason I’ve never heard anyone talk about them ever.
It especially worries me because I wonder how women will be treated in Hollywood with the success of “Bridesmaids.”For years you’d hear people say, “women aren’t funny,” or “women can’t open movies.” And with the recent success of the Kristen Wiig-led, all-female cast many thought those arguments were dead.
But why weren’t those silly arguments killed in 1980 when “9-5” was such a big hit? An even bigger hit than “The Hangover.” Results apparently don’t stop stupid people, I guess. Nonetheless, we will thankfully see the name “Kristen Wiig” above title on more movie posters.
And that’s a good thing.
But can we all just agree that “Ghostbusters” is a straight up comedy?
(sources: BoxOfficeMojo.com and some random sites I found through a Google search to find the super old movies from the 1940’s. And I realize these lists have overlooked a couple of movies billed as “comedies” but I refuse to put “Wild Hogs” on any list.)