I Am Legend“I Am Legend.”Warner Bros.

  • When you see a blockbuster film, you become part of a cultural phenomenon that translates to big box-office bucks for studios.
  • But money isn’t the only thing that determines quality — and the top-grossing film may not have been the best one released that year.
  • Here’s the best movie that grossed in the top 10 of the domestic box office for each year since 2000, from “Castaway” to “Black Panther.”


There are movies you see to escape, and then there are movies that allow you to become part of a larger conversation. Blockbuster films tend to be both, as they resonate with audiences to bring in huge box office earnings and spawn innumerable quotable lines and references.

To qualify as a “blockbuster” for this list, a film must have been one of the top 10 highest-grossing movies in the US during the year it was released.

But just because a movie performs well at the box office doesn’t mean it’s great, or even good. Other factors, like cinematography, music, emotional impact, quality of writing, acting, ambition, and rewatchability, play a huge role.

Here are the best hit movies of every year since 2000: