Opening Weekend Gross: $12.1 million
Worldwide Gross: $505.7 million
“Ghost” stars Patrick Swayze playing as banker Sam Wheat, who is killed and becomes a ghost. He uses the help of a psychic, played by Whoopi Goldberg, to protect his love interest Molly Jensen from Carl Bruner, who caused his death. Jensen and Bruner are played by Demi Moore and Tony Goldwyn.
This movie’s $22 million production budget was accounted for by the second week, when box office revenues reached $40.3 million, according to data from Box Office Mojo, which tracks box office revenues.
1991: "Terminator 2: Judgment Day"
Opening Weekend Gross: $31.7 million
Worldwide Gross: $519.8 million
“Terminator 2” is a sci-fi action film about a potential robot uprising that’s thwarted by Arnold Schwarzenegger, who played T-800. He’s a terminator sent to protect John Connor, played by Edward Furlong, who is being targeted by T-1000, played by Robert Patrick. Linda Hamilton is also a key cast member.
This movie had a hefty production budget of $102 million, but it also had the second-best weekend opening ever at the time, according to Box Office Mojo. Then, it raked in over $52 million in its first five days, which was also a record.
1992: "Batman Returns"
Opening Weekend Gross: $45.6 million
Worldwide Gross: $266.8 million
In this film, Micheal Keaton played Batman. He faces off with a trio of villains, including Penguin, an evil sewer-dweller played by Danny DeVito, businessman Max Shreck, played by Christoper Walken, and Catwoman, played by Michelle Pfeiffer.
“Batman Returns” was the summer blockbuster of 1992, and its $80 million dollar production budget was recouped by the $162.8 million in total domestic revenue. However, its predecessor, “Batman,” which was released three years earlier, had a production budget of only $35 million and raked in over $251 million from U.S. viewers, according to Box Office Mojo.
1993: "Jurassic Park"
Opening Weekend Gross: $47 million
Worldwide Gross: $1.02 billion
In “Jurassic Park,” a group visits a dinosaur theme park when an electrical failure results in the beasts getting free. Among the group are paleontologists Alan Grant and Ellie Sattler, along with mathematician Ian Malcolm. These roles are played by Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum, respectively.
This film had a production budget of $60 million, and another $60 million was spent to market it, the Los Angeles Times reported. “Jurassic Park” was one of only two summer blockbusters in the 1990s to earn over $1 billion, and it’s still No. 21 on the list of highest-grossing movies of all time, according to Box Office Mojo.
1994: "Forrest Gump"
Opening Weekend Gross: $24.4 million
Worldwide Gross: $677.9 million
“Forrest Gump” is a film about a man with a low IQ, played by Tom Hanks, and his crush on Jenny, played by Robin Wright. Sally Field played his supportive mother, Mrs. Gump.
The movie grossed over $600 million. Yet, about a year after its release, Paramount Pictures reportedly hadn’t made a profit because the company spent so much money on the film. However, Hanks and director Robert Zemeckis signed deals that entitled them to a portion of the film’s gross revenues, according to The New York Times. By May 1995, they reportedly had raked in about $31 million each and were set to earn more.
1995: "Batman Forever"
Opening Weekend Gross: $52.7 million
Worldwide Gross: $336.5 million
In this film, Val Kilmer played Batman, and he’s pitted against Two-Face, the district attorney-turned-villain played by Tommy Lee Jones, and the Riddler, played by Jim Carrey, who was paid $5 million for his role, according to Forbes. Batman’s romantic interest in this film is a psychologist named Chase Meridian, who is played by Nicole Kidman.
“Batman Forever,” which had a $100 million production budget, was a mega-hit in its day. It was the first film ever to earn $20 million in a day, according to Forbes.
1996: "Independence Day"
Opening Weekend Gross: $50.2 million
Worldwide Gross: $817.4 million
“Independence Day” marked the first of two consecutive summers where the highest-grossing movie featured an alien theme and actor Will Smith. In this sci-fi film, nations of Earth are banning together to protect the planet from an alien attack. The cast includes Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum, Mary McDonnell and Vivica Fox.
This film, which had a $75 million production budget, earned nearly $85 million in its first five days, setting a record for the period. And that doesn’t include an additional $11.1 million the movie pulled in from its Tuesday night preview, according to Box Office Mojo.
1997: "Men in Black"
Opening Weekend Gross: $51 million
Worldwide Gross: $589.3 million
“Men in Black” is about two agents for an unofficial government agency that focuses on alien affairs. Agents Kay and Jay, played by Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith, respectively, find out an intergalactic terrorist, played by Vincent D’Onofrio, is planning to assassinate two ambassadors from rival galaxies who are in New York.
The movie was released over Fourth of July weekend, and set a three-day-weekend record with over $51 million in box office revenues. It earned over $79 million in five days, according to Box Office Mojo. That’s impressive when compared to “Men in Black II,” which was released five years later on the same weekend and shown on nearly twice as many screens. The sequel earned just over $52 million over the three-day stretch and just over $87 million in its first five days.
1998: "Saving Private Ryan"
Opening Weekend Gross: $30.5 million
Worldwide Gross: $481.8 million
“Saving Private Ryan” is a war drama in which Tom Hanks played Captain John Miller. He leads his squad behind enemy lines in search of Private Ryan, played by Matt Damon. The cast also includes Vin Diesel, Tom Sizemore and Edward Burns.
A long-running champ, this movie held the title for highest-grossing war movie until 2015, when it was dethroned by “American Sniper,” reported CNN Money. “Saving Private Ryan,” had a production budget of $70 million.
1999: "Star Wars: Episode I—The Phantom Menace"
Opening Weekend Gross: $64.8 million
Worldwide Gross: $1.02 billion
In this “Star Wars” movie, Jedi apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi and his master Qui-Gon Jinn face off against the deadly Death Maul, but find out that it’s just part of larger scheme by the Sith. The two Jedi also discover Anakin Skywalker, a young slave who wins his freedom. The cast includes Anthony Daniels, Ian McDiarmid, Liam Neeson, Ewan McGregor and Natalie Portman.
“The Phantom Menace” is another of the summer blockbusters that shattered records for opening-day and single-day grosses during its time, bringing in $28.5 million on a weekday, according to Box Office Mojo. The movie had a $115 million production budget, but with over $1 billion in worldwide box office revenues, it apparently paid off.
2000: "Mission: Impossible II"
Opening Weekend Gross: $57.8 million
Worldwide Gross: $546.3 million
In “Mission Impossible II,” actor Tom Cruise returns as Ethan Hunt, an agent whose mission is to locate and destroy a dangerous virus, which others are also trying to get their hands on. The cast includes Thandie Newton, Dougray Scott and Ving Rhames.
The movie had a production budget of $125 million, which was more than recouped from U.S. audiences, who spent over $215 million viewing the film, placing it at No. 3 on the list of highest-grossing movies on a domestic basis in 2000, according to Box Office Mojo data.
Opening Weekend Gross: $42.3 million
Worldwide Gross: $484.4 million
The first “Shrek” showcases the blossoming friendship between the ogre and Donkey, and their introduction to Fiona, a princess who is under a spell. Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy and Cameron Diaz lend their voices to those roles in this “Shrek” movie.
The “Shrek” series is Dreamworks’ most financially successful franchise. This “Shrek” movie had a $60 million production budget, and it’s still the company’s third-highest grossing film, according to Box Office Mojo data.
Opening Weekend Gross: $114.8 million
Worldwide Gross: $821.7 million
This “Spider-Man” film sheds light on Peter Parker’s life before he’s Spider-Man and moves into his fight against the Green Goblin, played by Willem Dafoe. The cast also includes James Franco and Cliff Robertson, alongside Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst.
“Spider-Man” was filmed at a time when Hollywood was digesting rising production costs that boosted the average price tag of major movies to $59 million, according to the Los Angeles Times. By comparison, $130 million was spent on this film. But it broke every opening record held at the time, including raking in over $114 million its first weekend, a feat that had never been accomplished at that time, according to Box Office Mojo.
2003: "Finding Nemo"
Opening Weekend Gross: $70.2 million
Worldwide Gross: $936.7 million
“Finding Nemo” is a digital animation film about a fish named Nemo who has one short fin. He attempts to prove himself to his over-protective dad, but gets caught in the process. The voice acting cast in this film includes Ellen DeGeneres, Andrew Stanton, Alexander Gould as Nemo and Albert Brooks as his dad, Marlin.
The movie, which had a $94 million production budget, brought Pixar a $246 million profit, according to Business Insider, and it’s still No. 3 among the company’s highest-grossing movies, according to Box Office Mojo data.
2004: "Shrek 2"
Opening Weekend Gross: $108 million
Worldwide Gross: $919.8 million
In “Shrek 2,” Shrek and his bride Fiona return from their honeymoon and get an invitation to visit her parents. But her parents are expecting prince charming, not an ogre. The star-studded cast includes voice acting by Cameron Diaz, Eddie Murphy, Antonio Banderas and Mike Myers as Shrek.
“Shrek 2” was an immediate success, bringing in $28 million on its opening Friday — and doing even better on Saturday and Sunday, to close the weekend with $108 million. That made it the second-best weekend opening ever at the time, according to Box Office Mojo.
2005: "Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith"
Opening Weekend Gross: $108.4 million
Worldwide Gross: $848.7 million
This installment in the sci-fi “Star Wars” series takes place after the Clone Wars. The Sith are plotting to rule the galaxy and Jedi Anakin Skywalker, enticed to the dark side, becomes Darth Vader, played by Haden Christensen. The cast also includes Natalie Portman, Samuel L. Jackson and Ewan McGregor.
The $113 million to produce “Revenge of the Sith” was apparently well spent. The film earned almost $17 million during its midnight debut, and ended day with over $50 million in box office sales, making it the biggest opening day ever at the time, according to Box Office Mojo. After breaking a slew of other opening records, it became the No. 1 movie in the U.S. for 2005, according to Box Office Mojo.
2006: "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest"
Opening Weekend Gross: $135.6 million
Worldwide Gross: $1.066 billion
In this “Pirates of the Carribean” movie, Johnny Depp played Captain Jack Sparrow, a pirate who’s trying to avoid paying a blood debt to the ghost Davy Jones, played by Bill Nighy. This fantasy-action film cast also includes Keira Knightley, Orlando Bloom and Jack Davenport.
The movie was expensive to make, costing Disney $225 million. But it had a record-breaking first day, earning over $55 million, and it continued that successful run to become the highest-grossing movie in Disney’s history, according to Box Office Mojo. To date, it’s still No. 10 for top opening weekends among summer films.
2007: "Spider-Man 3"
Opening Weekend Gross: $151.1 million
Worldwide Gross: $890.8 million
In “Spider-Man 3,” Tobey Maguire stars as Peter Parker, a young man who is just starting to find the right balance between being a superhero and being the guy for M.J., played by Kirsten Dunst. But his Spider-Man suit gets infected and takes control of him, bringing forth his darker side. Meanwhile, duty calls to face villains Venom and Sandman, played by Topher Grace and Thomas Haden Church.
With a production budget of $258 million, as of April 2016, Forbes had this movie listed as No. 4 on the list of most expensive movies ever made.
2008: "The Dark Knight"
Opening Weekend Gross: $158.4 million
Worldwide Gross: $1 billion
The “Dark Knight” pits Batman against The Joker, with Christian Bale and Heath Ledger playing these leading roles alongside a cast that includes Aaron Eckhart, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Morgan Freeman.
The film, which cost $185 million to produce, earned over $203 million in its first five days, making it the fastest movie to earn $200 million ever at that time, according to Box Office Mojo. And when Warner Brothers closed the curtains on the movie after a 231-day run, it not only ranked one of the top summer blockbusters, it was the top superhero/comic book movie at that time, Box Office Mojo also reported.
2009: "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen"
Opening Weekend Gross: $108.9 million
Worldwide Gross: $836.3 million
In this installment of the “Transformers” sci-fi action series, Sam Witwicky, played by Shia LeBeouf, was attempting to live a normal life when an ancient Decepticon known as The Fallen arises. This drags him and Mikaela Banes, played by Megan Fox, back to war. The cast also includes Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson and John Turturro.
This movie’s $200 million production budget appears to have paid off. It broke the record for Wednesday openings, earning $60 million its first day, according to Box Office Mojo, which lists it as still holding the top spot in the Transformers franchise.
2010: "Toy Story 3"
Opening Weekend Gross: $110.3 million
Worldwide Gross: $1.06 billion
In this installment of the “Toy Story” franchise, Andy is set to go to college. Meanwhile, the veteran toy crew, such as Woody and Buzz Lightyear, plus newcomers Ken, Mr. Pricklepants and Lots-O-Huggin’ Bear are accidentally donated to a daycare. They’re not happy there and plan to escape. Actors Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack and Ned Beatty are among the actors that lend their voice to this animated film.
With a production budget of $200 million, this was one of the most expensive animated movies ever made, according to the New York Film Academy, but it was also the first animated movie to ever earn $1 billion, according to Box Office Mojo.
2011: "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2"
Opening Weekend Gross: $169.1 million
Worldwide Gross: $1.3 billion
In “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2,” Harry Potter, Ron and Hermione are on a continuing mission to find and destroy the three remaining Horcruxes that hold the key to Lord Voldemort’s immortality. This summer blockbuster marked the epic final battle between good and evil forces. Its cast included Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint and Ralph Fiennes.
The movie earned over $43 million during its midnight debut, just shy of doubling what Part 1 earned, according to Entertainment Weekly. It posted the highest-grossing single-day sales ever of $98.4 million, according to Box Office Mojo. Five years later, this movie is still one of the most successful of all time, holding the No. 8 slot for highest worldwide grossing sales, according to data from Box Office Mojo.
Read More: 13 Things Harry Potter Taught Us About Money
2012: "The Avengers"
Opening Weekend Gross: $207.4 million
Worldwide Gross: $1.5 billion
“The Avengers” is a superhero film where S.H.I.E.L D agents, including Iron Man, Hulk, Thor and the Black Widow, are called to action to take on Thor’s evil brother Loki, who gained unlimited power and threatens global security. The cast includes Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson and Tom Hiddleston.
This was the first Marvel movie marketed and distributed by the Walt Disney Company after it purchased Marvel in 2009, according to Bloomberg. Its success has yet to be outdone by another Marvel film. “The Avengers” had the largest domestic opening of all time and raked in $1 billion after only 19 days in theaters, according to Box Office Mojo. It’s still the fifth-highest grossing movie of all time, according to data from Box Office Mojo.
2013: "Iron Man 3"
Opening Weekend Gross: $174.1 million
Worldwide Gross: $1.2 billion
“Iron Man 3” continues the story of rich inventor Tony Stark, who becomes Iron Man when he puts on a special suit. In this installment, Stark’s personal world has been destroyed and he’s out for vengeance — and ultimately, to answer a question that’s long haunted him, according to Marvel: “Does the man make the suit or does the suit make the man?”
As in the previous “Iron Man” movies, Robert Downey, Jr., played Stark, and he’s joined by a cast that includes Gwyneth Paltrow, Jon Favreau, Don Cheadle and Ben Kingsley. This film was the most successful in the “Iron Man” franchise. It had the second-highest opening of any film ever, according to Box Office Mojo. Marvel invested $200 million to make it, and then made over $1 billion in 23 days, the Los Angeles Times reported.
2014: "Guardians of the Galaxy"
Opening Weekend Gross: $94.3 million
Worldwide Gross: $773.3 million
In 2014, Marvel topped the summer blockbusters list for the third consecutive year with “Guardians of the Galaxy,” an outer space adventure. In the film, Chris Pratt played Peter Quill, an adventurer who steals an orb and becomes the target of a bounty hunt. To evade Ronan, a powerful villain played by Lee Pace, Quill teams up with four superhero misfits. The cast includes Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Oscar winner Benicio Del Toro and voice acting by Bradley Cooper.
The $232 million for production costs was slightly over budget, according to Forbes. But “Guardians of the Galaxy” turned out to be one of Marvel’s highest-grossing movies, making $3.33 for every $1 spent, Forbes added.
2015: "Jurassic World"
Opening Weekend Gross: $208.8 million
Worldwide Gross: $1.6 billion
“Jurassic World” is a sci-fi action adventure born from the “Jurassic Park” franchise. It takes place on an island off the coast of Costa Rica that hosts a dinosaur theme park where a savage, genetically-modified dinosaur, Indominus rex, escapes and unleashes mayhem. Actors Chris Pratt, who played Owen, and Bryce Dallas Howard, who played Claire, are the brave pair who play hero and heroine.
It cost $150 million to produce “Jurassic World,” but that money was quickly recouped, as this was the first film to ever gross over $500 million in a single weekend, according to CNBC. It also surpassed all other summer blockbusters for opening weekend IMAX revenues, bringing in $44.2 million worldwide.
Methodology: GoBankingRates surveyed the box office numbers for the biggest summer blockbuster of each year (starting with the first Friday in May through Labor Day weekend) via box-office revenue-tracking website, Box Office Mojo.
This article originally appeared on GoBankingRates.