One might debate the quality of some of Steven Spielberg’s movies, but one thing that is truly unquestionable is his legacy as a blockbuster filmmaker. In the last 40-plus years he has made some of the biggest and most popular features of all time, and it has cemented his legacy as a pop culture icon. Furthering proving that point is the latest box office milestone he recently passed, as he has become the first director to see the total gross of their films globally exceed $10 billion.
Looking at Steven Spielberg’s career numbers on Box Office Mojo, it’s been noticed that this past weekend’s haul for Ready Player One was enough to bring the filmmaker’s global total to $10.01 billion. It will surprise nobody that the biggest earners include Jurassic Park ($983.8 million), Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull ($786.6 million), and E.T. The Extra Terrestrial ($717.0 million) – but there is something pretty shocking to be found in the numbers. According to the statistics, going back to 1975 only two movies in Spielberg’s career failed to make more than $100 million globally: 1941 ($92.5 million) and Always ($74.1 million)
Steven Spielberg’s career numbers are certainly helped by the fact that he has been consistently working in the last five decades, sometimes putting out two movies in a single year, but you really recognize how amazing his achievement is when you compare the figures to other blockbuster directors of Spielberg’s ilk. For example, James Cameron – who has two $2 billion earners on his resume – only has a career total of $6.138 billion. Peter Jackson made two incredibly successful trilogies based on the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, but his magic number is only $6.52 billion. Perhaps even more amazing, George Lucas ($3.1 billion) and Ridley Scott ($3.9 billion) are nowhere close.
As noted in my box office report a few weeks ago, Steven Spielberg did go a few years without making a real monster hit, but it seems that Ready Player One has snapped that negative streak. Since being released at the end of March, the movie has made over $114 million domestically, and $475 million globally. It’s on pace to become his sixth biggest film of all time, as its about to beat Saving Private Ryan ($481.8 million), but probably won’t reach War of the Worlds ($591.7 million).
Steven Spielberg is a true blockbuster champion, and it’s important to note that he’s far from finished. He may be 71 years old, but he still has more than a few projects in the pipeline, including another Indiana Jones movie and a remake of West Side Story. It’s honestly not that hard to believe that he could wind up being the first filmmaker to make more than $11 billion globally before he feels it’s his time to fold up his directors chair.