All of Steven Spielberg's films, including Ready Player One which is about to top $500 million worldwide ($485 million worldwide thus far), have earned upwards of $10.236 billion worldwide. That in itself is a remarkable achievement, as there isn't a ...
Scott Mendelson , Contributor I cover the film industry. Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.
Paramount/Viacom Inc. and Lucasfilm
Steven Spielberg on the set of 'Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull'
All of Steven Spielberg’s films, including Ready Player One which is about to top $500 million worldwide ($485 million worldwide thus far), have earned upwards of $10.236 billion worldwide. That in itself is a remarkable achievement, as there isn’t a single director living or dead with that kind of global cume. That Spielberg’s 32 movies pulled this off over 44 years, including during the 1970’s, 1980’s and 1990’s when the overseas box office was less of a factor and not even factoring in 40+ years of inflation, is itself remarkable. But what about all of the many movies that Spielberg produced as well as directed?
Well, since Warner Bros./Time Warner Inc.'s Ready Player One contains more references to movies Spielberg produced (like Universal's Back to the Future) than ones he directed, I thought that was worth a quick gander. The short answer is “a ridiculous amount of money.”
Spielberg has producing (or executive producing) credits on 70 movies going back to Robert Zemeckis’ I Wanna Hold Your Hand in 1978. Those films, so sayeth Box Office Mojo, have earned $7.47 billion in North America alone, which makes sense since they include many of the films he directed along with the Transformers movies, the Men in Black franchise and the Back to the Future trilogy among other monster hits.
And, with inflation accounted for, those movies have earned, and this is including 20 films that Spielberg also directed, a total of $13.2 billion domestic. Now it should be noted that some of Spielberg’s biggest hits (Jaws, Jurassic Park, the Indiana Jones series, etc.) do not list him as a producer. If you add up all of the films Spielberg has directed and produced, you get $10.475 billion over 82 movies between 1974 and 2018.
Worldwide is a little trickier, but let’s see what we can do. Again, all of Spielberg’s directorial efforts have earned around $10.236 billion worldwide. And if you then add the 50 movies that he produced but did not direct (yes, that includes Poltergeist), there are 14 (including both Gremlins movies and Arachnophobia) that don’ t have an official overseas gross on Box Office Mojo. The 14 film that Spielberg produced or executive produced but did not direct with just domestic grosses have earned an unadjusted total of $520.665 million in North America.
So if you take those 14 movies and add it to the global totals of the movies Spielberg produced but did not direct and you get $13.391 billion worldwide. Now throw in the unadjusted global totals of the 32 movies he has directed (including reissues) and their $10.475 billion total, and you get an obscene and presumably untouchable $23.866 billion worldwide over 82 movies over 44 years.
Ready Player One should quickly push that figure over the $24 billion mark, and Universal/Comcast Corp.'s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom should push it over $25 billion. That’s to say nothing of Paramount/Viacom Inc.'s Indiana Jones 5, the West Side Story remake or DC Films’ Blackhawk, presuming any of those films ever get made. Speaking of which, whatever you might think about Steven Spielberg signing on for a DC Comics movie, it has to be said that A) Blackhawk seems explicitly in his wheelhouse and B) he’s arriving into the world of comic book flicks from a position of strength, not weakness.
This isn’t Spielberg stepping up to direct Jurassic World 3 or a Gremlins remake because his last few films flopped. This is Spielberg, apparently having had a solid experience with Warner Bros. and having posted his biggest non-sequel hits a generation, signing on for the kind of film he might direct that just happens to be based on a DC Comics comic book. Say what you will about Spielberg’s more prestigious pictures of late (The Post, Bridge of Spies, War Hor, but if anything he may well knock one of those out while he’s editing the next Indy or the West Side Story movie.
If you’re wondering, the biggest grosser among movies Spielberg directed and produced remains E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial with $435 million domestic and $792 million worldwide. The biggest flick he directed but did not produce is still Jurassic Park with $402 million domestic and $1.029 billion worldwide. And Spielberg’s biggest “directed but didn’t produce” movie is Jurassic World with $652 million domestic and $1.671 billion worldwide. At this juncture, the only question is whether or not Spielberg can produce and direct his way to $30 billion before he retires.
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