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Biggest days at the box office in film history


Marvel Studios

Biggest days at the box office in film history

Daisy Ridley in “Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker”

The movies with the biggest single-day box office hauls are either a sequel, remake, or part of a franchise, and all take place in worlds of science fiction and fantasy.

Stacker analyzed data from The Numbers on films with the biggest single days at the box office in the United States and presented the top 25, along with details on their releases. Domestic grosses were not adjusted for inflation, so the list is skewed toward the past decade of blockbusters.

The earliest release date on the list comes in 2009, but the movie genres represented have proven popular since the beginning of cinema with stories of vampires, magicians, and caped crusaders in silent films, with the first comic book adaptations appearing in the 1930s. Star Wars creator George Lucas hails the adventures of Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers as inspirations for his space epic, while even the 2019 computer-generated imaging remake of “The Lion King” on the list is a retooling of “Hamlet.”

The movies in the top 10 comprise just three franchises. Look for your favorite movie from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, that galaxy far, far away, or one featuring the famous boy wizard. If you were in a theater opening weekend, you helped create this list of blockbuster box office days.

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Walt Disney Pictures

#25. ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ on Dec. 16, 2016

Wen Jiang, Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Donnie Yen, and Riz Ahmed in “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”

– Single day gross: $71,094,394
– Per theater gross: $17,102
– Number of theaters: 4,157
– Day of release: first

“Rogue One” sets up the events in 1977’s “Star Wars,” the first released film in the franchise (subtitled “Episode IV – A New Hope” in the saga). In the prequel, we witness the rebellion leading to Princess Leia’s famous hologram missive delivered by R2-D2 to Obi-Wan Kenobi in the series’ origin.

Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, and Forest Whitaker lead an ensemble cast in this crowd-pleaser that earned more than $1 billion worldwide, becoming the fourth-highest-grossing film in the franchise.



Summit Entertainment

#24. ‘The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2’ on Nov. 16, 2012

Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner in “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2”

– Single day gross: $71,167,839
– Per theater gross: $17,486
– Number of theaters: 4,070
– Day of release: first

The final film in The Twilight Saga was the most profitable installment, earning more than $800 million worldwide. It holds third place for the series’ biggest box office day, which grew to double the box office take of the first installment, “Twilight,” from 2008. The franchise stars Robert Pattinson as a century-old vampire and Kristen Stewart as his teenage paramour.



Pixar Animation Studios

#23. ‘Incredibles 2’ on June 15, 2018

Screengrab of the Incredible family in their suits

– Single day gross: $71,260,321
– Per theater gross: $16,159
– Number of theaters: 4,410
– Day of release: first

The sequel to the 2004 digital animated hit “The Incredibles” surpassed the box office of the original film. It holds the all-time best box office record for a digital animation film and is considered nearly as beloved as the first by critics and audiences. The popular story follows a family of superheroes with mom and dad voiced by Holly Hunter and Craig T. Nelson.



Summit Entertainment

#22. ‘The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1’ on Nov. 18, 2011

Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson in “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1”

– Single day gross: $71,642,526
– Per theater gross: $17,642
– Number of theaters: 4,061
– Day of release: first

The Twilight Saga was adapted from Stephenie Meyer’s bestselling, blockbuster fantasy series of novels about Bella, a teen girl caught up in a world of vampires. The final films, based on the fourth book in the series, were released in two parts across two years. “Breaking Dawn, Part 1” brought in a slightly higher box office, about $475,000 more, than “Part 2” on its opening day.



Summit Entertainment

#21. ‘The Twilight Saga: New Moon’ on Nov. 20, 2009

Kristen Stewart, Taylor Lautner, and Robert Pattinson in “The Twilight Saga: New Moon”

– Single day gross: $72,703,754
– Per theater gross: $18,068
– Number of theaters: 4,024
– Day of release: first

The second Twilight series installment had the highest opening-weekend box office of all the series’ films, including the biggest box office during its Friday opening. The fantasy vampire series, both the novels and the film adaptations, became a major cultural influence with record-breaking book sales.

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Marvel Studios

#20. ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ on Dec. 18, 2021

Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Holland in “Spider-Man: No Way Home”

– Single day gross: $73,941,279
– Per theater gross: $17,053
– Number of theaters: 4,336
– Day of release: second

“Spider-Man: No Way Home” is the third entry in the retooled franchise with Tom Holland as the arachnid hero. Returning from previous franchises are lead actors Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield, whose Spider hero characters merge with the latest Marvel universe.

The film took a dip of just over $48 million from its Friday opening to the following day but still ranks as the highest-grossing film in the franchise with nearly $1.9 billion at the global box office.



Marvel Studios

#19. ‘Captain America: Civil War’ on May 6, 2016

Chris Evans, Elizabeth Olsen, Jeremy Renner, Paul Rudd, Anthony Mackie, and Sebastian Stan in “Captain America: Civil War”

– Single day gross: $75,502,161
– Per theater gross: $17,866
– Number of theaters: 4,226
– Day of release: first

The third film in the Captain America franchise starring Chris Evans was the most popular of the trilogy. It outpaced the first two entries at the box office, raking in more than $1.1 billion worldwide, over $400 million more than 2014’s “Winter Soldier” and $700 million more than 2011’s “The First Avenger.” A fourth entry is slated for release in 2024.



Warner Bros.

#18. ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ on July 20, 2012

Christian Bale in a scene from “The Dark Knight Rises”

– Single day gross: $75,754,897
– Per theater gross: $17,201
– Number of theaters: 4,404
– Day of release: first

Director Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy infused the Batman genre with shadowy expressionism and a noir edge. The series stars Christian Bale as the caped hero and boasts a serious tone as it presents comic book fare. Tom Hardy stars as Bane, bringing eerie thrills to villainy with Anne Hathaway and Michael Caine rounding out the cast.



Marvel Studios

#17. ‘Black Panther’ on Feb. 16, 2018

Chadwick Boseman in a scene from “Black Panther”

– Single day gross: $75,941,146
– Per theater gross: $18,891
– Number of theaters: 4,020
– Day of release: first

“Black Panther” broke box office records, exceeding expectations during its opening weekend. The Marvel action thriller, set in Wakanda, still holds the record for the largest Presidents’ Day opening, besting #2, “Deadpool,” by nearly $90 million.

Stats show that “Black Panther” gained huge numbers with Black audiences and women, who usually comprise 35% to 40% of a superhero movie’s box office—but who made up 45% of the audience for “Black Panther.”



Walt Disney Pictures

#16. ‘The Lion King’ on July 19, 2019

A scene with Simba as a cub at night from “The Lion King”

– Single day gross: $77,930,758
– Per theater gross: $16,493
– Number of theaters: 4,725
– Day of release: first

The computer-generated imaging remake of the 1994 Walt Disney Pictures animated classic drew huge audiences over opening weekend despite middling reviews, bringing in more than $191 million domestic box office.

The much-anticipated film included voice talent from Beyoncé, Donald Glover, and James Earl Jones reprising his role as Mufasa from the first film. Audience numbers dropped by 60% by the second weekend, but the film still outran the enormous popularity of the earlier film. That first iteration stands as one of the most popular rentals of all time and still ranks #1 all-time domestic box office for hand-animated films.

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Marvel Studios

#15. ‘The Avengers’ on May 4, 2012

A scene with the full Avengers crew in action from “The Avengers” movie

– Single day gross: $80,813,985
– Per theater gross: $18,582
– Number of theaters: 4,349
– Day of release: first

The first entry in the ongoing “Avengers” saga features Tom Hiddleston’s Loki, the charming villain from 2011’s “Thor.” Its much-anticipated popularity sprang from being the first crossover effort bringing together stars Chris Hemsworth as the Norse deity, Chris Evans’ Captain America, Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man, and Mark Ruffalo as Hulk.

The ensemble cast features Samuel L. Jackson, Jeremy Renner, and Scarlett Johansson acting amid rousing computer-generated imaging effects.



Warner Bros.

#14. ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ on March 25, 2016

Henry Cavill in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”

– Single day gross: $81,558,505
– Per theater gross: $19,226
– Number of theaters: 4,242
– Day of release: first

The much-anticipated DC Comics epic starring Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill enjoyed a strong opening day box office—but positive marks ended there. The film drew dismal reviews, a 29% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and failed to offer a financial return on the hype. The box office dropped by more than $110 million during the second weekend and continued a downward trend.



Universal Pictures

#13. ‘Jurassic World’ on June 12, 2015

Bryce Dallas Howard and Chris Pratt in “Jurassic World”

– Single day gross: $81,953,950
– Per theater gross: $19,175
– Number of theaters: 4,274
– Day of release: first

“Jurassic World,” the first entry in the rebooted trilogy, still holds the record for the top June domestic box office.

B.D. Wong returns as Dr. Henry Wu, introduced in the original 1993 film, and is still intent on raising dangerous dinosaurs in captivity. The new films introduce Chris Pratt as a velociraptor specialist and Bryce Dallas Howard as a theme park bureaucrat caught up in the chaos.



Marvel Studios

#12. ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ on April 28, 2018

Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo, Benedict Wong, and Benedict Cumberbatch in “Avengers: Infinity War”

– Single day gross: $82,131,612
– Per theater gross: $18,358
– Number of theaters: 4,474
– Day of release: second

The third “Avengers” movie had just over a $24 million drop off from its opening Friday to Saturday. Yet, its second day was almost as profitable as the opening day of the second film—about $2 million less than “Age of Ultron,” and overtook the second film’s total worldwide box office by just over $650 million.

Josh Brolin plays the villain Thanos who defeats the avenging superheroes in the movie’s stirring cliffhanger.



Marvel Studios

#11. ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ on May 1, 2015

Scarlett Johansson in Avengers: Age of Ultron

– Single day gross: $84,424,532
– Per theater gross: $19,744
– Number of theaters: 4,276
– Day of release: first

James Spader provides the voice for the evil Ultron in this sequel to the first “Avengers” in the mega-popular, ongoing franchise. Rip-roaring computer-generated imaging effects abound as the Marvel Cinematic Universe heroes continue to save the world. “Age of Ultron” has the smallest box office take, still more than $450 million domestic, of the four “Avengers” films.

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Walt Disney Pictures

#10. ‘Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker’ on Dec. 20, 2019

Daisy Ridley in “Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker”

– Single day gross: $89,615,288
– Per theater gross: $20,339
– Number of theaters: 4,406
– Day of release: first

The final film in the latest Star Wars trilogy was the least well-reviewed of the three, with a 52% positive on Rotten Tomatoes, compared to ratings in the low-90s for the other two. While the movie still had a whopping first day at the box office, it didn’t make as much money worldwide as the first and second films. It made just under $1 billion less in worldwide box office than 2015’s “The Force Awakens.”



Marvel Studios

#9. ‘Avengers: Endgame’ on April 28, 2019

Robert Downey Jr. in “Avengers: Endgame”

– Single day gross: $90,389,244
– Per theater gross: $19,389
– Number of theaters: 4,662
– Day of release: third

“Avenger’s Endgame” holds a whopping three spots in the top 10 biggest box office days in film history. It’s also the only movie on the list to have one of the top-grossing days occur on a Sunday, taking in more than $357 million in its opening weekend and recouping most of its $400 million budget in record time.



Marvel Studios

#8. ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ on May 6, 2022

Benedict Wong, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Xochitl Gomez in “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madnes”

– Single day gross: $90,720,784
– Per theater gross: $20,009
– Number of theaters: 4,534
– Day of release: first

The sequel to 2016’s “Doctor Strange” nearly doubled the domestic box office of the first film with more than $400 million total. The Marvel Cinematic Universe character, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, expands the genre with the sprawling multiverse that increases the visual spectacle. Elizabeth Olsen stars as Wanda with Chiwetel Ejiofor as Baron Mordo.



Warner Bros.

#7. ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II’ on July 15, 2011

Rupert Grint, Daniel Radcliffe, and Emma Watson in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2”

– Single day gross: $91,071,119
– Per theater gross: $20,816
– Number of theaters: 4,375
– Day of release: first

The final film of the Harry Potter franchise made the most money, nearly $400 million more than the previous film, while also being the most well-reviewed of the series with a 96% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

If the subsequent “Fantastic Beasts” films are counted, the franchise has brought in a stunning $9.5-plus billion in worldwide revenue. Critics and audiences were enraptured by the production design and performances, including Daniel Radcliffe, now grown, in his final turn as the famous boy wizard.



Walt Disney Pictures

#6. ‘Star Wars: Episod VIII – The Last Jedi’ on Dec. 15, 2017

Mark Hamill and Daisy Ridley in “Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi”

– Single day gross: $104,684,491
– Per theater gross: $24,736
– Number of theaters: 4,232
– Day of release: first

Mark Hamill, who made a brief appearance in 2015’s “The Force Awakens,” takes on a larger role in this sequel while reprising his famous turn as Luke Skywalker.

In this iteration, Skywalker is a seasoned Jedi master and teacher, unlike the young Luke of the classic films who trained with Yoda. The franchise continued its epic popularity, but the second film brought in about $15 million less on its opening day than the first film in the trilogy.

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Marvel Studios

#5. ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ on April 27, 2018

Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Chris Hemsworth, and Dave Bautista in “Avengers: Infinity War”

– Single day gross: $106,334,939
– Per theater gross: $23,767
– Number of theaters: 4,474
– Day of release: first

Despite its massive opening day at the box office, “Infinity War” was the second-highest-grossing film of 2018. It took in about $20 million less in total domestic box office than “Black Panther,” also part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. One exhilarating, computer-generated-imaging battle occurs in Black Panther’s Wakanda, offering dramatic, ongoing crossover action for Marvel fans.



Marvel Studios

#4. ‘Avengers: Endgame’ on April 27, 2019

Robert Downey Jr. and Jeremy Renner in “Avengers: Endgame”

– Single day gross: $109,264,122
– Per theater gross: $23,437
– Number of theaters: 4,662
– Day of release: second

The success of “Avengers: Endgame” solidifies the ever-growing popularity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and its characters. Even with a $48 million drop in revenue from Friday’s opening to Saturday, the film kept its audience and went on to groundbreaking second and third days in theaters.



Walt Disney Pictures

#3. ‘Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens’ on Dec. 18, 2015

Oscar Isaac and John Boyega in “Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens”

– Single day gross: $119,119,282
– Per theater gross: $28,815
– Number of theaters: 4,134
– Day of release: first

The 2015 Star Wars reboot was the first film in the latest trilogy and opened to massive critical and cultural fanfare. Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, and Carrie Fisher reprised their original roles from the 1977 film, and the series introduced Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, and John Boyega as new characters with similar charisma to their earlier counterparts. The series had so much hype that it brought in nearly $1 billion more than subsequent films in the franchise.



Marvel Studios

#2. ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ on Dec. 17, 2021

Tom Holland in “Spider-Man: No Way Home”

– Single day gross: $121,964,712
– Per theater gross: $28,128
– Number of theaters: 4,336
– Day of release: first

“Spider-Man: No Way Home” enjoyed the top box office earnings of 2021. The superhero blockbuster features several Marvel characters, including Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr. Strange, after portals open allowing villains from other realities to enter the fray.



Marvel Studios

#1. ‘Avengers: Endgame’ on April 26, 2019

Chris Hemsworth in “Avengers: Endgame”

– Single day gross: $157,461,641
– Per theater gross: $33,776
– Number of theaters: 4,662
– Day of release: first

“Avengers: Endgame” holds the top worldwide box office for Walt Disney and superhero films with a whopping nearly $2.8 billion gross. The megahit brings together the major players in the Marvel Cinematic Universe—Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Chris Evans as Captain America, and Chris Hemsworth as Thor, among several others—to deal with the aftermath wrought by Josh Brolin as Thanos in the previous installment “Infinity War.”

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