Return to home page

American Movies:
Top 5 Box Office Hits, 1939 to 1988:
Latter-day Saint Contributions

The table below lists the top five movies (in terms of box office gross ticket sales in U.S. theaters) for each year for the years 1939 through 1988.

All of the Top 5 lists, theatrical rental figures, and production budget figures in the table below are from The Hollywood Reporter Book of Box Office Hits, written by Susan Sackett.

Source: Susan Sackett, The Hollywood Reporter Book of Box Office Hits, Billboard Publications: New York City (1990).

Note that "theatrical rentals" are not the same thing as "U.S. domestic box office gross," which is the figure most often reported in the media today. Gross ticket sales are the amount collected by theaters customers buying tickets. But only a portion of that -- known as the "theatrical rentals" or simply "rentals" is actually paid to the film distributors by the theaters. The movie theaters retain the rest. A rule of thumb is that gross ticket sales are roughly twice the theatrical rental figure. More precisely, the U.S. domestic gross ticket sale figure was usually 2.18 times the U.S. theatrical rental figure during the time period covered by Sackett's book. Accordingly, an "estimated U.S. box office gross" column has been added to the table below, based purely on the theatrical rental figure provided in the book.

Keep in mind that the "theatrical rental" figure has absolutely nothing to do with consumers renting videos and DVDs from video stores.

Sackett notes (pages 8-11):

The most accurate records I was able to locate are those which are reported annually in that old industry bible, Variety. And for the most part, this is the source of the dollar figures in this book.

What is the difference between grosses and rentals?

Most of us are more familiar with gross figures. These are the actual dollars taken in at the box office. (If a ticket cost $6.00 and Theater A sells 1000 seats one weekend, it would gross $6,000. These are all added together, for a total gross... Rental figures, however, are considerably lower, and represent the amount of money paid to the distributors of a film (usually a motion picture studio has its own distribution arm). Rentals are also a more accurate picture of how much a film has earned...

It is important to bear in mind that although some of the dollar figures for films back in the '40s are well under $10,000,000, inflation must always be taken into account. You cannot, for instance, compare a 1940 film like Boom Town, at $4,500,000, with something like 1984's The Karate Kid, at $43,500,000. Whiel the latter would appear to have earned nearly ten times the amount of the 1940 film, you could also buy a very comfortable house in 1940 for around $5,000. Of course, there is no exact formula for computing the box office inflation factor--these days, ticket prices are hitting the $7.00 range... Some megahits play on thousands of screens across the country simultaneously, and the population of North America has more than doubled since the '40s. All of these factors sould be kept in mind when you compare rental figures.

For its annual report on rental figures, Variety's cut-off point is $4,000,000; they only include films which earned at last that amount. And studios didn't keep complete records of their take rom rentals in the early '40s. Generally, ranking the films by rental figires was no problem in those years, since the big hits made the most money. However, 1939, 1940, and 1941 had several gaps in the list. Joel Finler's book The Hollywood Story was particularly helpful in filling these positions for 1939 and 1940, but 1941 proved to be particularly elusive.

By combing through reel after reel of microfilm at the Motion Picture Academy Library, plus searching through old volumes of such '40s publications as Motion Picture Daily, Film Daily, Film Yearly Almanac, and International Motion Picture Almanac, I was able to compile a list of top-grossing films of 1941, although dollar figures were not always indicated. Some of the studios were able to supply approximate figures, but most admitted that they couldn't give definite amounts. I finally settled on $1,500,000 as the best estimate for these films, a figure based on all the above sources plus some very tentative nods from the studios themselves. For 1939, 1940, and 1941, those films "tied" with the $1,500,000 amount appear in alphabetical order, as do 1949's Jolson Sings Again and The Sands of Iwo Jima, which both made $5,000,000 in rentals.
Note that for recent years, more up-to-date and accurate U.S. domestic box office gross figures are usually available from other sources, catalogued here.

RankTitleU.S. theatrical rentalsEst. U.S. Box Office GrossProduction BudgetNotes
1 Gone With the Wind 77,641,106 169,257,611 3,900,000
2 The Wizard of Oz 4,544,851 9,907,775 2,777,000 LDS actors Rad Robinson and Delos Jewkes provide some of Munchkin voices.
3 The Hunchback of Notre Dame ~1,500,000 3,000,000
4 Jesse James ~1,500,000 3,000,000
5 Mr. Smith Goes to Washington ~1,500,000 3,000,000
1 Pinocchio 32,957,000 71,846,260 2,600,000 LDS composer Leigh Harline recived Best Song and Best Original Score Academy Awards for this. Bro. Eric Larson (Cleveland, Utah) was an animation director (Figaro). Jack Kinney (also born in Utah) was a sequence director (Stromboli scenes). Les Clark (Ogden, Utah) was the principle animator, animating "Pinocchio."
2 Fantasia 28,660,000 62,478,800 2,280,000 Bro. Les Clark (Ogden, Utah) was a principle animator (Mickey Mouse, Brooms, Dew Drop Fairies). Bro. Eric Larson was an animation supervisor for "The Pastoral Symphony" segment (Baby Pegasus). LDS audio technology expert Robert B. Ingebretsen supervised the digital re-recording of the 1982 re-release of "Fantasia."
3 Boom Town 4,586,415 9,998,385
4 Rebecca ~1,500,000 3,000,000
5 Santa Fe Trail ~1,500,000 3,000,000 LDS actor Moroni Olsen had a supporting role as Colonel Robert E. Lee.
1 Sergeant York 6,135,707 13,375,841
2 Dive Bomber ~1,500,000 3,000,000 LDS actor Moroni Olsen had a supporting role (10th billed) as the Senior Surgeon at San Diego.
3 Honky Tonk ~1,500,000 3,000,000 Sis. Annalee Whitmore (Price, Utah) had a small part.
4 The Philadelphia Story ~1,500,000 3,000,000
5 A Yank in the R.A.F. ~1,500,000 3,000,000
1 Bambi 47,265,000 103,037,700 Devout LDS animator Eric Larson (Cleveland, Utah) was a supervising animator (Friend Owl, Older Bambi, Dogs).
2 Mrs. Miniver 5,390,009 11,750,220
3 Yankee Doodle Dandy 4,719,681 10,288,905
4 Random Harvest 4,665,501 10,170,792
5 Casablanca 4,145,178 9,036,488 Casey Robinson (a native of Logan, Utah) was one of the co-screenwriters.
1 This is the Army 8,301,000 18,096,180 The screenwriters were Casey Robinson (a native of Logan, Utah) along with non-Utahn Capt. Claude Binyon.
2 For Whom the Bell Tolls 7,100,000 15,478,000 2,000,000
3 The Outlaw 5,075,000 11,063,500
4 The Song of Bernadette 5,000,000 10,900,000 Bro. Thomas Little (b. Ogden, Utah) received the Academy Award for Best Art Direction-Interior Decoration, Black-and-White for his work on this film. LDS actor Moroni Olsen had a small role as a chaplain in this movie. Starring in the title role was non-LDS actress Jennifer Jones (for which she received Best Actress Oscar), the wife of popular LDS actor Robert Walker.
5 Stage Door Canteen 4,339,532 9,460,180 Hollywood movie star Arleen Whelan (b. Salt Lake City, Utah) had a cameo role as herself in this film.
1 Going My Way 6,500,000 14,170,000
2 Meet Me in St. Louis 5,132,202 11,188,200
3 Since You Went Away 4,924,756 10,735,968 2,400,000 LDS actor Robert Walker had one of the lead male roles in the film, as "Cpl. William G. Smollett II," opposite his wife, actress Jennifer Jones, although the pair was estranged at the time. LDS actresses Terry Moore and Rhonda Fleming both had supporting role.
4 Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo 4,471,080 9,746,954 LDS actor Robert Walker had the 2nd-billed role as "Cpl. David Thatcher". Bro. Paul Langton (Salt Lake City, Utah) had a supporting role as "Capt. Edward 'Ski' York."
5 The White Cliffs of Dover 4,045,250 8,818,645
1 The Bells of St. Mary's 8,000,000 17,440,000
2 Leave Her to Heaven 5,500,000 11,990,000 Bro. Thomas Little (Ogden, Utah) received an Academy Award nomination for Best Art Direction-Interior Decoration for this film.
3 Spellbound 4,970,583 10,835,871 LDS actress Rhonda Fleming had the 5th-billed role as "Mary Carmichael."
4 Anchors Aweigh 4,778,679 10,417,520
5 The Valley of Decision 4,566,374 9,954,695
1 Song of the South 29,228,717 63,718,603 Bro. Les Clark was animation director ("Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah" sequence, Mr. Bluebird). Bro. Eric Larson was directing animator for Brer Rabbit, Brer Fox, Brer Bear.
2 The Best Years of Our Lives 11,300,000 24,634,000
3 Duel in the Sun 11,300,000 24,634,000 8,000,000
4 The Jolson Story 7,600,000 16,568,000
5 Blue Skies 5,700,000 12,426,000
1 Welcome Stranger 6,100,000 13,298,000 Bro. Charles Lang (b. Bluff, Utah) was the director of photography.
2 The Egg and I 5,500,000 11,990,000
3 Unconquered 5,250,000 11,445,000 LDS special effects experts Gordon Jennings and Devereaux Jennings both received Academy Award nominations for their work on this film.
4 Life with Father 5,057,000 11,024,260 LDS actor Moroni Olsen had a major supporting role as "Dr. Humphries."
5 Forever Amber 5,000,000 10,900,000 6,000,000
1 The Red Shoes 5,000,000 10,900,000
2 Red River 4,506,825 9,824,879
3 The Paleface 4,500,000 9,810,000
4 The Three Musketeers 4,306,876 9,388,990 LDS actress Marie Windsor had a small role as Queen Anne's lady-in-waiting.
5 Johnny Belinda 4,266,000 9,299,880
1 Samson and Delilah 11,500,000 25,070,000 LDS actor Russ Tamblyn had a major supporting role as "Saul." LDS actor Moroni Olsen had a major supporting role as "Targil." Bros. Devereaux Jennings and Gordon Jennings both received an Oscar nominations for their special effects work on this film.
2 Battleground 5,051,143 11,011,492
3 Jolson Sings Again 5,000,000 10,900,000
4 The Sands of Iwo Jima 5,000,000 10,900,000
5 I Was a Male War Bride 4,100,000 8,938,000 Oscar winner Thomas Little (Ogden, Utah) was the set designer (set decorator).
1 Cinderella 41,087,000 89,569,660 Bro. Eric Larson was the directing animator for Cinderella and the Prince. Bros. Les Clark and Wetzel Whitaker (a.k.a. Judge Whitaker) were animators for Cinderella's stepsisters Anastasia and Drizella. Bro. Whitaker was later well known to LDS audiences as the producer/director of BYU film classics such as "Cipher in the Snow" and "Johnny Lingo."
2 King Solomon's Mines 5,586,000 12,177,480
3 Annie Get Your Gun 4,919,394 10,724,279
4 Cheapter by the Dozen 4,425,000 9,646,500 Oscar winner Thomas Little (Ogden, Utah) was the set designer (set decorator).
5 Father of the Bride 4,054,405 8,838,603 LDS actor Moroni Olsen had a major supporting role (7th-billed) as "Herbert Dunstan," the father of the groom. LDS actor Russ Tamblyn had a supporting role as "Tommy Banks," the little brother of the bride.
1 Quo Vadis? 11,901,662 25,945,623 7,000,000
2 Alice in Wonderland 7,196,000 15,687,280 3,000,000 Bro. Les Clark was a directing animator for Alice. Bro. Eric Larson was a directing animator for the Caterpillar. Bro. Wetzel Whitaker (Judge Whitaker) was an animator for the March Hare.
3 Show Boat 5,533,000 12,061,940
4 David and Bathsheba 4,720,000 10,289,600
5 The Great Caruso 4,531,000 9,877,580
1 This is Cinerama 15,400,000 33,572,000 The Mormon Tabernacle Chior provides the music for many of this film's segments. The Choir was also involved in the premiere of the film.
2 The Greatest Show on Earth 14,000,000 30,520,000
3 The Snows of Kilimanjaro 6,500,000 14,170,000 Bro. Devereaux Jennings did the special effects for this film, which was made filmed partially in Utah. The screenwriter was Logan, Utah native Casey Robinson.
4 Ivanhoe 6,258,000 13,642,440
5 Hans Christian Andersen 6,000,000 13,080,000
1 Peter Pan 24,532,000 53,479,760 4,000,000 The character of Peter Pan was created by non-LDS British writer J.M. Barrie specifically for Mormon actress Maude Adams, who was the inspiration for the character. Maude Adams -- the most popular actress of her day -- was the first actor to portray Peter Pan on the American stage and was largely responsible for popularizing it. Eric Larson was a directing animator (Lost Boys). Les Clark was a directing animator (flying over London sequence). Bro. Wetzel Whitaker (Judge Whitaker) was one of the animators.
2 The Robe 17,500,000 38,150,000 5,000,000 Dean Jagger, a devout convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, had the 6th billed role in "The Robe" as "Justus."
3 From Here to Eternity 12,200,000 26,596,000
4 Shane 9,000,000 19,620,000 Leonard Strong (born 12 August 1908 in Utah) had a supporting role as "Ernie Wright."
5 How to Marry a Millionaire 7,300,000 15,914,000
1 White Christmas 12,000,000 26,160,000 LDS actor Dean Jagger had the 5th-billed role as "General Waverly." The LDS singing group The King Singers were featured on Bing Crosby's original recording of "White Christmas."
2 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea 11,267,000 24,562,060 5,000,000
3 Rear Window 9,812,271 21,390,751
4 The Caine Mutiny 8,700,000 18,966,000
5 The Glenn Miller Story 7,590,994 16,548,367
1 Lady and the Tramp 40,249,000 87,742,820 Bro. Eric Larson was a directing animator (Peg). Bro. Les Clark was a directing animator (Lady as a puppy).
2 Cinerama Holiday 12,000,000 26,160,000
3 Mister Roberts 8,500,000 18,530,000
4 Battle Cry 8,100,000 17,658,000
5 Oklahoma! 7,100,000 15,478,000 5,000,000
1 The Ten Commandments 43,000,000 93,740,000 13,500,000 Latter-day Saint actor Delos Jewkes provided the voice of God for the film. In 1956 DeMille (the film's director) spoke at a BYU commencement, where in the midst of his talk he turned to Pres. McKay and said, "David McKay, almost thou pursuadest me to be a Mormon." DeMille notes in his autobiography that one of the reasons he decided to premiere "The Ten Commandments" in Salt Lake City was so that he could spend some time with his good friend David McKay. Arnold Friberg was a costume designer and assistant art director for this movie. Friberg is well known to Latter-day Saints because he painted the muscular paintings which appeared in the missionary editions of the Book of Mormon for dozens of years.
2 Around the World in Eighty Days 23,120,000 50,401,600 6,000,000 Feature film adaptation of the Jules Verne novel, which includes an LDS missionary character, an entire chapter about Latter-day Saint history and theology, as well as an additional chapter set in Utah. LDS actor Delos Jewkes was a singer for this film. Utah native Lew Borzage (a Catholic) was this film's assistant director. Bro. Bob Folkerson (born 7 April 1918 in Utah) did stunt work for the film. David Anderson, the son of this film's director Michael Anderson, became a Utah-based independent family filmmaker, whose credits as producer include: The Paper Brigade; Wish Upon a Star; Just Like Dad; Coyote Summer; The Little Riders; Windrunner; Breaking Free; The Goodbye Bird; Alan and Naomi. Most of these films were directed by LDS directors and made using predominantly LDS casts and crews.
3 Giant 14,000,000 30,520,000
4 Seven Wonders of the World 12,500,000 27,250,000
5 The King and I 8,500,000 18,530,000 Utah native Bro. Leonard Strong plays the obsequious Siamese interpreter in this film.
1 The Bridge on the River Kwai 17,195,000 37,485,100 3,000,000
2 Peyton Place 11,500,000 25,070,000 LDS actor Russ Tamblyn had the 5th billed role in the film, for which he received a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award nomination. LDS actress Terry Moore had the 6th billed role. Bro. Paul Langton (b. 17 April 1913, Salt Lake City, Utah) starred in the TV series spinoff of this film, playing the role of "Leslie Harrington" throughout the show's 5-year run, which was the first primetime soap in modern history.
3 Sayonara 10,500,000 22,890,000 Utahn Ted Haworth (I'm not sure yet if he was LDS) received an Academy Award for Best Art Direction/Set Decoration for this film.
4 Old Yeller 10,050,000 21,909,000 Bro. Bill Anderson was the associate producer.
5 Raintree County 5,962,839 12,998,989 5,000,000
1 South Pacific 17,500,000 38,150,000 6,000,000
2 Auntie Mame 9,300,000 20,274,000
3 Cat on a Hot Tin Roof 8,785,162 19,151,653
4 No Time for Sergeants 7,500,000 16,350,000
5 Gigi 7,321,423 15,960,702
1 Ben-Hur 36,992,088 80,642,752 15,000,000
2 Sleeping Beauty 21,998,000 47,955,640 6,000,000 Bros. Les Clark and Eric Larson were sequence directors for this film. "Sleeping Beauty" is one of only two Disney animated feature films ever released in widescreen Technorama-70. The other was "The Black Cauldron" (1985), directed by Latter-day Saint animation director Richard Rich.
3 The Shaggy Dog 12,317,000 26,851,060 LDS actress Roberta Shore had a major supporting role in this film as the French girl "Franceska Andrassy." Sis. Shore also sang the film's theme song.
4 Operation Petticoat 9,321,555 20,320,990
5 Darby O'Gill and the Little People 8,336,000 18,172,480
1 Swiss Family Robinson 20,178,000 43,988,040 This movie was produced by Bro. Bill Anderson. Bro. Terry Moore (a Moab, Utah resident who has the same name as an LDS actress, but is not the same person as her) was an animal trainer for this film.
2 Psycho 11,200,000 24,416,000
3 Spartacus 10,300,454 22,454,990 12,000,000
4 Exodus 8,331,582 18,162,849 4,000,000
5 The Alamo 7,918,776 17,262,932
1 101 Dalmations 38,562,000 84,065,160 Bro. Eric Larson was an animation director. Bro. Les Clark was a principle animator.
2 West Side Story 19,645,570 42,827,343 6,000,000 LDS actor Russ Tamblyn had the 3rd billed role.
3 The Guns of Navarone 13,000,000 28,340,000 6,000,000
4 El Cid 12,000,000 26,160,000 8,000,000
5 The Absent-Minded Professor 11,426,000 24,908,680 This was the feature film adaptation of a story by popular LDS writer and screenwriter Samuel W. Taylor, who wrote many LDS-themed as well as general books and stories.
1 How the West Was Won 20,932,883 45,633,685 Bro. Charles Lang (b. Bluff, Utah) was the Director of Photography. Filmed on location in Utah (as well as Colorado, Arizona and California). For a year, LDS screenwriter Ray Goldrup wrote every episode of the TV series that spun off of this movie.
2 Lawrence of Arabia 19,000,000 41,420,000 12,000,000
3 The Longest Day 17,600,000 38,368,000 Utahn Ted Haworth (I'm not sure yet if he was LDS) was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Art Direction/Set Decoration for this film.
4 In Search of the Castaways 9,975,000 21,745,500
5 The Music Man 8,100,000 17,658,000 LDS actor Delos Jewkes had a small role.
1 Cleopatra 26,000,000 56,680,000 44,000,000
2 It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World 20,849,786 45,452,533 9,400,000
3 Tom Jones 16,925,988 36,898,654
4 Irma La Douce 11,921,784 25,989,489
5 The Sword in the Stone 10,475,000 22,835,500 Bro. Eric Larson was a principle animator.
1 Mary Poppins 45,000,000 98,100,000 Bro. Eric Larson was a principle animator.
2 Goldfinger 22,997,706 50,134,999 2,500,000
3 The Carpetbaggers 15,500,000 33,790,000
4 My Fair Lady 12,000,000 26,160,000 22,500,000 [Non-LDS producer Jack L. Warner paid $5,500,000 for the film rights to this popular musical. The film's production cost an additional $17,000,000.]
5 From Russia With Love 9,924,279 21,634,928
1 The Sound of Music 79,748,000 173,850,640 Sis. Portia Nelson (of Brigham City, Utah) had a supporting role as a nun: "Sister Berthe."
2 Doctor Zhivago 47,116,811 102,714,648 11,000,000
3 Thunderball 28,621,434 62,394,726 9,000,000
4 Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines 14,000,000 30,520,000
5 That Darn Cat 12,628,000 27,529,040 Prolific LDS film composer Robert F. Brunner wrote the film's score.
1 Hawaii 15,553,018 33,905,579
2 The Bible 15,000,000 32,700,000 18,000,000
3 Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? 14,500,000 31,610,000
4 A Man for All Seasons 12,750,000 27,795,000
5 Lt. Robin Crusoe, USN 10,164,000 22,157,520
1 The Graduate 44,090,729 96,117,789
2 The Jungle Book 39,500,000 86,110,000 Bro. Eric Larson was an animation director for this film.
3 Guess Who's Coming to Dinner 25,500,000 55,590,000
4 Bonnie and Clyde 22,800,000 49,704,000 2,500,000
5 The Dirty Dozen 20,403,826 44,480,341
1 Funny Girl 26,325,000 57,388,500
2 2001: A Space Odyssey 25,521,917 55,637,779 After seeing LDS filmmaker Colin Low's award-winning film "Universe", director Stanley Kubrick sought Low's help with the space scenes in "2001: A Space Odyssey."
3 The Odd Couple 20,000,000 43,600,000
4 Bullitt 19,000,000 41,420,000
5 Romeo and Juliet 17,473,000 38,091,140
1 Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid 46,039,000 100,365,020 The real-life Butch Cassidy was raised in an active Latter-day Saint home, but during adulthood (the time period depicted in this film), he was not active in the Church. Actor and Utah resident Robert Redford was married to a devout Latter-day Saint while he made this film, but he himself never joined the Church.
2 The Love Bug 23,150,000 50,467,000
3 Midnight Cowboy 20,499,282 44,688,435
4 Easy Rider 19,100,000 41,638,000 555,000
5 Hello, Dolly! 15,200,000 33,136,000
1 Love Story 50,000,000 109,000,000
2 Airport 45,220,118 98,579,857 10,000,000
3 M*A*S*H 36,720,000 80,049,600
4 Patton 28,100,000 61,258,000
5 The Aristocats 26,462,000 57,687,160
1 Fiddler on the Roof 38,251,196 83,387,607 9,000,000
2 Billy Jack 32,500,000 70,850,000 800,000
3 The French Connection 26,315,000 57,366,700
4 Summer of '42 20,500,000 44,690,000
5 Diamonds are Forever 19,726,829 43,004,487
1 The Godfather 86,275,000 188,079,500
2 The Poseidon Adventure 42,000,000 91,560,000
3 What's Up Doc? 28,000,000 61,040,000
4 Deliverance 22,600,000 49,268,000 2,000,000
5 Jeremiah Johnson 21,900,000 47,742,000 This is the feature film adaptation of LDS author Vardis Fisher's novel Mountain Man. Fisher had been a devout convert to the Church, but became inactive and embittered about Christianity in general after his beloved LDS wife died. The film was filmed in and set in Utah. Mormons are mentioned by name in a humorous line spoken by a man buried up to his neck. He is asked if it was Indians who had buried him there, and he says "'Tweren't Mormons!" Provo, Utah native Wesley Jeffries was the costume designer for the film. Utah resident Ted Haworth was nominated for an Academy Award for his set design. LDS makeup artist Gary Liddiard (who was Robert Redford's personal film makeup artist during most of that actor's career) was the key makeup artist for this film.
1 The Exorcist 89,000,000 194,020,000
2 The Sting 78,212,000 170,502,160 8,500,000 LDS actor Ken Sansom (best known as "Rabbit" in Disney's "Winnie the Pooh" movies) had a supporting role as Mr. Harmon, the Western Union Executive in this film.
4 Papillon 22,500,000 49,050,000 12,000,000
5 The Way We Were 22,457,000 48,956,260 The key makeup artist and hair stylist for the film was LDS makeup artist Gary Liddiard.
1 The Towering Inferno 52,000,000 113,360,000 14,000,000 Mormon actor Mike Lookinland had a small role in this film.
2 Blazing Saddles 47,800,000 104,204,000
3 Young Frankenstein 38,823,000 84,634,140
4 Earthquake 35,849,994 78,152,987
5 The Trial of Billy Jack 31,100,000 67,798,000 Bro. Ron Nix was a stunt man on this film.
1 Jaws 129,549,325 282,417,529 12,000,000
2 One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest 59,939,701 130,668,548 3,000,000 Utah resident Bill Sargent converted an older meetinghouse of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints into a recording studio where part of this film's musical score was recorded.
3 The Rocky Horror Picture Show 26,000,000 56,680,000
4 Shampoo 23,822,000 51,931,960 Directed by Latter-day Saint filmmaker Hal Ashby, who was a non-churchgoer as an adult.
5 Dog Day Afternoon 22,500,000 49,050,000
1 Rocky 56,524,972 123,224,439 1,000,000
2 A Star is Born 37,100,000 80,878,000
3 King Kong 36,915,000 80,474,700 24,000,000
4 Silver Streak 30,018,000 65,439,240
5 All the President's Men 30,000,000 65,400,000 8,500,000 The key makeup artist and hair stylist for the film was LDS makeup artist Gary Liddiard.
2 Close Encounters of the Third Kind 82,750,000 180,395,000 The musical score in the original release of the film includes some semi-disguised nods to the song "When You Wish Upon a Star", written by LDS composer Leigh Harline. Originally Spielberg planned to have Bro. Harline's tune clearly audible in the last scene of the film. This scene is available among the deleted scenes of the Collector's Edition DVD release. On the "Making of" documentary included on the Collector's Edition DVD, director Steven Spielberg describes how the weekend before filming was to begin with the film's lead actress playing Jillian Guiler (the woman whose son is taken by aliens), he still had not cast the role. He had interviewed and auditioned many actresses, but had not found anybody who was right for the part. Mormon film director Hal Ashby called him up, having heard that he was having trouble filling this role, and told him about Melinda Dillon actress who he had been working with in his film "Bound for Glory" (1976). Hal Ashby sent Spielberg rough cuts of two reels of the film, so he could see the actress. Spielberg says he was just blown away and decided to cast her. The "Making of" documentary also features an interview with the actress, who describes how the Latter-day Saint filmmaker Hal Ashby had told Spielberg about her and got her the lead actress role in the film.
3 Saturday Night Fever 74,100,000 161,538,000
4 Smokey and the Bandit 58,949,939 128,510,867
5 The Goodbye Girl 41,839,170 91,209,391
1 Grease 96,300,000 209,934,000
2 Superman 82,800,000 180,504,000 55,000,000 LDS actors Paul Tuerpe and Joi Lansing had small roles in this film.
3 National Lampoon's Animal House 70,826,000 154,400,680
4 Every Which Way But Loose 51,900,000 113,142,000
5 Jaws 2 50,431,964 109,941,682
1 Kramer Vs. Kramer 59,986,335 130,770,210
2 Star Trek: The Motion Picture 56,000,000 122,080,000 44,000,000
3 The Jerk 42,989,656 93,717,450
4 Rocky II 42,169,387 91,929,264
5 Alien 40,300,000 87,854,000 27,000,000 [Production budget was $11,000,000. Advertising campaign was $16,000,000.]
2 9 to 5 59,100,000 128,838,000
3 Stir Crazy 58,364,420 127,234,436 Filmed partially in Utah.
4 Airplane! 40,610,000 88,529,800 Famed Mormon tax reformer Howard Jarvis made a cameo appearance in this film. Utah is mentioned briefly in the script and dialogue of the film.
5 Any Which Way You Can 40,500,000 88,290,000
1 Raiders of the Lost Ark 115,598,000 252,003,640
2 Superman II 65,100,000 141,918,000
3 On Golden Pond 61,174,744 133,360,942
4 Arthur 42,000,000 91,560,000
5 Stripes 40,886,589 89,132,764 LDS actor Michael Flynn (The Best Two Years; The Book of Mormon Movie; etc.) has a small part as a soldier in this film.
1 E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial 228,618,939 498,389,287
2 Tootsie 96,292,736 209,918,164 LDS movie producer Gerald R. Molen was the unit production manager for this film.
3 Rocky III 66,262,796 144,452,895
4 An Officer and a Gentleman 55,223,000 120,386,140
5 Porky's 54,000,000 117,720,000
1 Return of the Jedi 168,002,414 366,245,263 32,500,000
2 Terms of Endearment 50,250,000 109,545,000
3 Trading Places 40,600,000 88,508,000
4 Wargames 38,519,833 83,973,236
5 Superman III 37,200,000 81,096,000 Filmed partially in Utah.
1 Ghostbusters 130,211,324 283,860,686
2 Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom 109,000,000 237,620,000
3 Beverly Hills Cop 108,000,000 235,440,000
4 Gremlins 79,500,000 173,310,000 Bro. Blair Clark was one of the puppeteers for this film. Richard C. Welch was one of the special effects artists.
5 The Karate Kid 43,432,881 94,683,681
1 Back to the Future 104,408,738 227,611,049
2 Rambo: First Blood Part II 78,919,250 172,043,965
3 Rocky IV 76,023,246 165,730,676 31,000,000 LDS actor Richard Blum had a small role. Latter-day Saint production accountant Michael Roberts handled the finances.
4 The Color Purple 47,900,000 104,422,000 LDS film producer Gerald R. Molen was the unit production manager for this film, for which he received a shared Directors Guild of America award.
5 Out of Africa 43,103,469 93,965,562 31,000,000 The key makeup artist and hair stylist for the film was LDS makeup artist Gary Liddiard.
1 Top Gun 79,400,000 173,092,000 Leading LDS special effects artist Allen Hall was the special effects coordinator for this film. Robert G. Willard (of St. George, Utah) also did special effects work for the film.
2 "Crocodile" Dundee 70,227,000 153,094,860
3 Platoon 69,742,143 152,037,872 6,000,000
4 Karate Kid II 58,362,026 127,229,217 Japanese Latter-day Saint actor Danny Kamekona had the pivotal co-starring role in this film as "Sato," the arch rival of Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita).
5 Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home 56,820,071 123,867,755 This film features the very famous line that Captain Kirk (William Shatner) says about Spock: "Him? He's harmless! Back in the sixties he was part of the Free Speech movement at Berkeley. I think he did a little too much LDS." The story takes place almost in a city founded by Latter-day Saint pioneers: San Francisco.
1 Three Men and a Baby 81,313,000 177,262,340
2 Beverly Hills Cop II 80,857,776 176,269,952
3 Fatal Attraction 70,000,000 152,600,000
4 Good Morning, Vietnam 58,103,000 126,664,540
5 The Untouchables 36,866,530 80,369,035 Bro. Allen Hall (a Latter-day Saint special effects master) was the visual effects supervisor. Bro. Michael Roberts was the production accountant.
1 Rain Man est. 80,000,000 174,400,000 Latter-day Saint film producer performed in front of the cameras in the film's 4th-billed role as "Dr. Bruner," the psychiatrist of the title character. Bro. Molen was also the film's co-producer and unit production manager. The title character (played by Dustin Hoffman) was based on real-life Latter-day Saint autistic savant Kim Peek.
2 Who Framed Roger Rabbit 78,000,000 170,040,000
3 Coming to America 65,000,000 141,700,000
4 "Crocodile" Dundee II 57,300,000 124,914,000
5 Twins est. 5,5000,000 119,900,000

Webpage created 21 June 2005. Last modified 23 April 2007.