20. The Great Gatsby ($127 million) — The decision by Warner Brothers to push The Great Gatsby from a crowded marketplace on Christmas 2012 to a crowded marketplace in May 2013 was a wise one, as it provided a nice adult alternative in a summer crowded with action blockbusters.
19. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs II ($129 million) — The sequel to the well-received $124 million movie based on the children’s book essentially duplicated its box office, dominating the children’s market from late September until November.
18. Anchorman: The Legend Continues ($135 million) — The reason it took so long to greenlight a sequel to Anchorman was that, despite the modest box-office success of the original, it made next to nothing internationally, and these days, worldwide box-office is a huge factor. The sequel didn’t fare much better overseas, but thanks to the growing audience for the original and the improving box-office clout of the original’s stars, the sequel more than recouped its budget domestically.
17. Elysium ($138 million) — Neill Blomkamp’s follow-up to District 9 camped out on the same August weekend as his first film, and like District 9 it stole the August box-office, as audiences weary with empty blockbusters welcomed a more substantive action sci-fi pic. It also gave Matt Damon his first big hit since True Grit.
16. A Good Day to Die Hard ($143 million) — There was enough left in the Die Hard franchise to spawn another hit, which roughly equalled the box-office of 2007’s Live Free or Die Hard, plus inflation. Next up: A Hard Man Is Good to Find.
15. Jack Ryan ($146 million) — People love a reboot, and Chris Pine — hot off the success of another Star Trek film — helped propel this franchise back into relevancy. It was one of three films that resurrected the once dim star of Kevin Costner, as well.
14. 300: Rise of an Empire ($162 million) — Xerxes spin-off wasn’t quite the hit of the original 300 ($210 million) without Zack Snyder behind the camera or Gerard Butler in front of it, but folks loves to see greasy, sweaty men point sharp things at each other and grunt. Eva Green sure didn’t hurt.
13. Oz: The Great and Powerful ($187 milion) — Sam Raimi brought the The Wizard of Oz back to life, and like Alice in Wonderland, the film was far prettier than it was substantive. The difference between Alice’s $330 million and Oz’s ($187 million) box-office is basically the difference between Johnny Depp and James Franco.
12. Fast and Furious 6 ($193 million) — Slightly down from the $210 million of Fast 5, this franchise just keeps chugging along, adding Gina Carano, along with another shot of Dwayne Johnson, and all but ensuring this franchise has another two or three films left in it.
11. Thor: The Dark World ($211 million) — Thanks to the massive success of The Avengers and the growing star power of Chris Hemsworth, the Thor sequel was able to actually improve upon the original ($180 million) even though it was as generically entertaining as the first one.
10. Hangover 3 ($219 million) — I didn’t get it. Basically, Todd Phillips modified The Hangover and turned it into The Road Trip with adults, but it was essentially the same formula, and it’s continued success only proves that people love the familiar.
9. Ender’s Game ($223 million) — People said it couldn’t be filmed, but after years and years of trying, Ender’s Game finally arrived, and while it didn’t quite match the novel, it was a fairly great movie, all the same, ensuring that it would follow The Hunger Games as the next big book series turned film franchise.
8. The Wolverine ($227 million) — Wow! Another reborquel. At least it was better than X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and it’s success ensures a Wolverine II, and I’m sure that another X-Men character will get his own franchise soon. Probably not Deadspin, though.
7. Despicable Me 2 ($245 million) — The same crowd that made this a $250 million hit in 2010 came again, and this time they brought their little siblings.
6. Monsters University ($287 million) — Wazowski and Sulley were back for the prequel to Monsters Inc. 2, and manages to give Pixar its biggest hit since Toy Story 3.
5. Star Trek: Into Darkness ($290 million) — J.J. Abrams was back with a sequel to his $250 million original, and this one fared even better, thanks in part to great reviews and Benedict Cumberbatch.
4. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug ($293 million) — The same people that turned out for the original turned out for this one, and will no doubt turn out for the third one. Nobody is crazy about the series, but we all watch it, dont’ we?
3. Man of Steel ($303 million) — Thanks to outstanding visuals, a strong, dark storyline, and Henry Cavill’s exemplary Superman, the franchise rebounded after the failure of Superman Returns, filling the vacuum left by the absence of The Dark Knight.
2. Iron Man 3 ($330 million) — Like the Thor sequel, Iron Man 3 — already the most successful stand-alone Avengers character — improved upon Iron Man 2’s box office, and with Shane Black behind the camera, the movie itself was much improved over the sequel, as well.
1. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire ($387 million) — It didn’t quite reach the $400 million of Hunger Games, but then again, Catching Fire was kind of a repeat of the first movie. Fans were not as satisfied with the result, but they sure turned out to see it, as they will for the third and fourth movies, too.