The 1980s were a huge decade for cinema as it is really when franchise productions started to dominate the box office.
In the top 10 highest-grossing movies of the 1980s, six are part of a franchise, though some, admittedly, are movies that kicked off a particular franchise.
The most successful movie of the decade was E.T. - the Extra-Terrestrial which has grossed $792,942,069. Produced and directed by Steven Spielberg, it is one of the most beloved family movies of all time and in 1994, it was added to the United States National Film Registry of the Library of Congress, who deemed it "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."
The icing on the cake is the $1bn E.T. made in merchandising over the next couple of decades.
Spielberg's dominance of the box office was evident in the 1980s as he was involved in some capacity with no less than four movies in the top 10. He directed E.T. and the movie in second position, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, while it was his Amblin Entertainment production company that helped to develop Back to the Future Part II and Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
In what was a sign to come in terms of the superhero movie dominance that would be at its peak in the 2010s, the first live-action Batman is the third highest-grossing movie of the 80s, with takings of $411,348,924.
Rain Man and Back to the Future Part II round out the top five, with $354,825,435 and $331,950,002 earned respectively.
In 1988 at the time of its release, Who Framed Roger Rabbit was the most expensive movie ever produced, costing around $50m. It made that back, and then some, with box office takings of $329,803,958.
Most successful movies of the 1980s
Year of Release
Box Office Gross
|E.T. - the Extra-Terrestrial||1982||$792,942,069|
|Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade||1989||$474,171,806|
|Back to the Future Part II||1989||$331,950,002|
|Who Framed Roger Rabbit||1988||$329,803,958|
|Look Who's Talking||1989||$296,999,813|
|Coming to America||1988||$288,752,301|
|Star Wars Episode VI - Return of the Jedi||1983||$252,583,617|
|Crocodile Dundee II||1988||$239,606,210|