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The 10 Most Successful Time Travel Movies of All Time

By Dustin Rowles | Box Office Round-Ups | May 28, 2012 |

By Dustin Rowles | Box Office Round-Ups | May 28, 2012 |

The big story at the box office this weekend was not that MIB III debuted at number one, but that The Avengers finally fell from that position. The Avengers has basically decimated every other blockbuster this May, including Battleship ($44 million to date), Dark Shadows ($62 million to date), The Dictator ($42 million to date), and even The Hunger Games, which had been falling at only around a 25 percent drop per week until The Avengers came along, knocking it down 45 percent the week The Avengers debuted. It’s been an impressive run, and by this time on Wednesday, it will have surpassed The Dark Knight to become the third highest grossing film in the history of the American box office. Will The Dark Knight Rises reclaim the spot? I don’t know; The Dark Knight Rises is a later summer entry with more competition, but it will have a lot of IMAX screenings to boost its numbers. It’ll be close, I suspect.

But, the so-so MIB III did grab the top spot this weekend, putting up $70 million to The Avengers $46 million. That $70 million is OK, but after 3D ticket prices and inflation are accounted for, it’s nothing compared to the the opening of Men in Black II. The $133 million so far internationally, however, should make MIB III profitable, but Will Smith might want to tread carefully if he’s planning on sequels to other franchises that have been dormant for a decade.

There was a big time-travel element involved in MIB III, which is excuse enough to take a gander at the ten highest grossing time-travel films of all time adjusted for inflation. With the adjustment, MIB III may have a difficult time breaking the top ten before the end of its run. That said, the top ten is represented by only four franchises, and I didn’t realize that — after adjusting for inflation — the Star Trek movies were as successful as they were. With the exception of Abrams entry, the actuals do not reflect that.

10. Back to the Future Part III ($164.25 million)

9. Star Trek: First Contact ($164.27 million)

8. Terminator III: Rise of the Machines ($197 million)

7. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home ($228 million)

6. Back to the Future Part II ($232 million)

5. Star Trek ($273 million)

4. Austin Powers in Goldmember ($290 million)

3. Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me ($321 million)

2. Terminator 2: Judgment Day ($385 million)

1. Back to the Future ($467 million)

Terry Gilliam fans will be happy to know that Time Bandits is in at number eleven, with $115 million adjusted.


Elsewhere at the box-office, Battleship is getting creamed. In its second week, it made only $10 million. Peter Berg is not concerned, though. Despite only a $47 million take stateside so far, the $210 million budgeted film has made $280 million so far once International box office is accounted for. Meanwhile, Chernobyl Diaries, Oren Peli’s attempt to break away from the Paranormal Activity franchise, also bombed, putting up only $8 million over the weekend.

However, Moonrise Kingdom set a record this weekend for highest per screen average for a live-action film with $130,000 per screen in four theaters. It looks like a surefire indie hit. Our Wes Anderson guru, Daniel Carlson, will have that review up very soon.

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.