Aug 12, 2023 - Economy

Charted: Action-adventure movies remain supreme

Data: Box Office Mojo; Chart: Jared Whalen/Axios
Data: Box Office Mojo; Chart: Jared Whalen/Axios

Action and adventure movies have squeezed just about every other genre out of the box office.

By the numbers: Looking at the 100 highest-grossing movies of each year, action movies accounted for less than half of the box office in the 1990s. Now they account for 78% of those ticket sales, according to data from Box Office Mojo.

Between the lines: The rise of superhero franchises consolidated the world of blockbusters.

  • "Iron Man" was released in 2008 and kicked off the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Along with their DC Extended Universe counterparts, these films have become staples of the genre.
  • Many movies span multiple genres, and not every action-adventure movie looks like "The Avengers." For example, animated movies geared toward children, such as "Toy Story" and "Finding Nemo," are often categorized as action/adventure films, family films and comedies.

There are always exceptions, however, that challenge the action-adventure genre's dominance. This year, adventure comedy "Barbie" made history by bringing in a record-breaking $162 million in its opening weekend, according to numbers from Comscore.

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