It’s not surprising in 2023 that a lot of the most popular movies are remakes, sequels, or reboots. Disney is cranking out live-action remakes of their classic animated movies at an alarming rate. When you consider the box office sales of those movies, though, it’s easy to understand why the studio would go in that direction. For example, one of Disney’s most recent remakes, The Little Mermaid, crushed it at the box office in 2023, raking in just under $570 million worldwide.
The Disney remake train isn’t stopping anytime soon, with remakes of 1937’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and 2016’s Moana coming down the pipe within the next couple of years. Going back to the 2000s though, it’s interesting to look at the earlier days of remakes in see what movies topped the list before there were so many flooding theaters every year. These are the top 10 highest-grossing remakes of the 2000s, and some of the entries on this list may surprise you.
10 Star Trek – $533.6 million
In 2009, J.J. Abrams directed Star Trek, which is a remake of everyone’s favorite classic science fiction TV series. The movie cast Chris Pine as Captain Picard, a role known to 1980s and 1990s kids belonging to Patrick Stewart. The story follows Picard as he steers the new U.S.S. Enterprise, a ship considered to be incredibly technologically advanced. With the help of his crew, Picard must fight off an unknown enemy with the fate of the Earth at stake.
Stak Trek excited both new and longtime fans, and they flocked to theaters to see this new take on an old adventure. The movie made $385.6 million at the box office, which amounts to $533.6. That kind of money ensured that the franchise would live long and prosper, indeed.
9 Batman Begins – $551.6 million
Christopher Nolan’s 2005 epic Batman Begins marked a new era for the Caped Crusader. Gone were the days of corny dialogue and half-baked characters. Nolan’s trilogy is dark, serious, and true to the DC Comics source material they’re based on. Christian Bale stars as Bruce Wayne/Batman, the son of a wealthy entrepreneur who finds himself alone after his parents are murdered one night.
There’s no doubt that Nolan’s Batman films are among the best in the DCEU. His knack for cinematography, world-building, and special effects are second to none. Fans recognized this as well, and gave Batman Begins a huge payday at the box office. The movie made $373.6 million in theaters, which is $551.6 million when adjusted for inflation.
8 Planet of the Apes – $584.2 million
When it comes to movies, Tim Burton is a master of dark fantasy. He’s directed movies like Batman and Beetlejuice, and his signature style is as memorable as his frazzled haircut. In 2001, Burton directed the remake of the 1968 classic Planet of the Apes, which featured Charlton Heston as an astronaut who finds himself stranded on a futuristic planet where apes rule and humans are the inferior beings.
For the 2001 version, Burton enlisted an all-star cast of Hollywood stars, including Mark Wahlberg, Tim Roth, Helena Bonham Carter, and the late Michael Clarke Duncan. The movie was tremendously successful, scoring $362.2 million at the box office, which equals $584.2 million when adjusted for inflation.
7 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory $701.1 million
There was a ton of hype surrounding 2005’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and for good reason. The movie was directed by acclaimed filmmaker Tim Burton and stars Johnny Depp in the lead role of Willy Wonka, an eccentric chocolatier who holds a contest for children to visit his mysterious chocolate factory. Fans were excited to see Depp’s take on the character, which ended up very different from Gene Wilder’s character from the original 1971 version of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory crushed it at the box office, raking in $475 million, which amounts to $701.1 million in 2023. Almost 20 years after its release, the film still holds a respectable 83% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Some viewers thought the 2005 version was much closer to the movie’s source material than the 1971 version. There’s also a prequel in the works, simply titled Wonka, starring Timothee Chalamet as the quirky Willy Wonka.
6 Sherlock Holmes – $725 million
Robert Downey Jr. stars as the title character in Guy Ritchie’s 2009 mystery thriller Sherlock Holmes. Based on the classic novels by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the movie follows Sherlock as he teams up with his trusted partner Dr. Watson (Jude Law) to find out who is terrorizing London with a series of brutal murders. Spoiler alert: It’s Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong) and he’s determined to use the dark arts to throw Sherlock and Watson off his trail.
Sherlock Holmes opened to critical and commercial acclaim. Although it’s the first modern-day big-screen adaptation of the novels, there were several Sherlock Holmes films produced in the 1930s. The updated version crushed it in theaters, bringing in $524 million, which is $725 million when adjusted for inflation.
5 Ocean’s Eleven – $726.9 million
In 2011, acclaimed director Steven Soderbergh directed Ocean’s Eleven, which is a remake of the 1960 heist film of the same name. The new version features an all-star cast comprised of Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Don Cheadle, Julia Roberts, Matt Damon, and more. After his release from prison, Danny Ocean (Clooney) pulls together a team of experts to commit a heist, win back his wife (Roberts), and embarrass his arch-enemy Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia).
Ocean’s Eleven is a hilarious crime caper with plenty of action, laughs, and memorable moments. The film was met with universal acclaim and spawned several sequels and an all-female remake. It pulled in $450.7 million at the box office, which is $726.9 million when adjusted for inflation. Oh yeah, there’s also a prequel coming soon.
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4 King Kong – $822.1 million
In 2005, The Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson decided to reboot King Kong for another epic adventure. The giant ape doesn’t appear in Jackon’s movie for almost an hour, but he keeps viewers engaged through great acting, suspense, and cinematography. The entire movie is over 3 hours, but it’s one of the best versions of King Kong in cinema history.
Jack Black stars as a filmmaker who drags along an actress (Naomi Watts) and a playwright (Adrien Brody) to the jungle to find Kong. Andy Serkis plays King Kong in an amazing feat of motion capture technology. It’s easily one of Serkis’ best performances. Audiences loved King Kong and opened their wallets to see it in theaters. The movie made $556.9 million in 2005, which is $822.1 million when adjusted for inflation.
3 I Am Legend – $831.7 million
2007’s I Am Legend stars Will Smith as a scientist named Robert Neville who finds himself as the sole survivor of a virus that wiped out humanity. Neville roams the dystopian setting of New York City, trying to avoid mutated victims of the virus. His only hope is to find a way to use his autoimmune blood to find a cure and reverse the plague.
Smith is known for killing it at the box office with high-powered, special effects-driven movies and I Am Legend is no exception. The film made $585.4 million at the box office, which amounts to $831.7 million in 2023. However, some viewers would argue that I Am Legend is a good movie with a bad ending.
2 Casino Royale – $891.9 million
It doesn’t feel like 2006’s Casino Royale should be included in the list of remakes, but it is a remake. The movie starring Daniel Craig as James Bond is based on the 1953 spy novel of the same name by Ian Fleming. However, the first film titled Casino Royale was released back in 1967 and featured Peter Sellers as a leading man like Bond. That movie was meant to be a spoof of spy movies, and the new version of Casino Royale followed a very different plot.
Craig was new to the Bond character when the updated version was released in the mid-2000s. Fans loved his take on the character and flocked to theaters to see the film. Casino Royale took in $616.5 million at the box office and established Craig as the face of the new 007 era. The movie’s gross is equal to $891.1 million in today’s dollars, which is no laughing matter after all.
1 War of the Worlds – $891.5 million
Legendary filmmaker Steven Speilberg directed 2005’s War of the Worlds, a sci-fi action movie based on H.G. Wells’ 1898 novel The War of the Worlds. The strange thing is that War of the Worlds had been adapted several times before Spielberg’s version was released. The original one was made in 1953, then two more were also released in 2005.
Tom Cruise stars as a father escaping an alien invasion in the 2005 update. The movie is an extended chase sequence, with very few camera cuts and a lot of unbelievable special effects. Moviegoers opened their wallets to check it out, and the movie cashed in with a $603.9 million take at the box office. That’s equal to $891.5 million today, a truly out-of-this-world number.
It’s interesting to look at the earlier days of remakes in see what movies topped the list before there were so many flooding theaters. Read More