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The 10 highest grossing movie directors of all time

The 10 highest grossing movie directors of all time

Monday 23 January 2023 at 14:48, by Martin Macdonald
The 10 highest grossing movie directors of all time

Following the success of Avatar: The Way of Water, James Cameron is the first director in history to have three movies surpass $2 billion at the worldwide box office.

Cameron's first, Titanic, was released in 1997 and became the highest grossing movie ever at the time, as did his next effort, the first Avatar.

The Way of Water was released in November of 2022 and surpassed $2bn in January of 2023. The money, incredibly, continues to roll in.

Despite Cameron's success, he doesn't actually take the top spot on our list of the most successful directors. That honour goes to Steven Spielberg. whose movies have grossed no less than $10,657,071,461, with Jurassic Park emerging as his biggest hit in 1993.

As well as obvious success, Spielberg has enjoyed longevity in the business as he made his theatrical directorial debut in 1974 with The Sugarland Express.

Third on our list is the Russo brothers, Joe and Anthony, and their box office success can be attributed to the Marvel Cinematic Universe as the co-directed Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame.

Rounding out the top five is Peter Jackson of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit fame, and Michael Bay, whose biggest movie is Transformers: Dark of the Moon.

Highest-grossing directors

Director Worldwide Box Office Biggest Movie
Steven Spielberg $10,657,071,461 Jurassic Park
James Cameron $8,238,937,410 Avatar
The Russo Brothers $6,840,246,172 Avengers: Endgame
Peter Jackson $6,536,703,723 The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Michael Bay $6,495,374,196 Transformers: Dark of the Moon
David Yates $6,350,769,729 Harry Potter and the Deathy Hallows: Part 2
Christopher Nolan $4,963,005,708 The Dark Knight Rises
J.J. Abrams $4,648,965,502 Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Tim Burton $4,413,226,120 Alice in Wonderland
Ridley Scott $4,366,290,985 The Martian

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