The musical has long been established as its own cinematic genre. The marriage between beautiful images on a screen and an equally breathtaking soundtrack leaves a lasting impression on an unbeatable audience. Honestly, we’ve all experienced the euphoria of having songs stuck in our heads after seeing a musical on the big screen, whether it’s from our childhood or today’s instant classics. In fact, musical films have created some of the greatest moments in cinematic history and their appeal to a broad demographic is unmatched.
Of course, blessing our eyes and ears is a tall order for filmmakers. However, after musicals’ long history in entertainment, knowing what works (in terms of money, of course) is set in stone. From Disney animated classics to more modern live musicals like Bohemian Rhapsody and The sound of music, the popularity of these films translates directly into a big salary. If you want to see if your favorites have made the cut, we’ve put together a list of the 12 highest-grossing musical films of all time.
12 Sing (2016) – $634.2 million
Musicals and animation pretty much go hand in hand these days, and when you mix fun, cute animals with a super-talented, stacked cast, you get the 2016 movie. To sing. When the koala Buster Moon, played by Matthew McConaughey, is faced with the task of saving his beloved theater, he gets the idea of hosting a singing contest. This opens the door to great performances from Tori Kelly, Seth MacFarlane, Taron Egerton, Scarlett Johansson and Reese Witherspoon, to name a few. With $634.2 million in sales, this one will have you on your feet, ready to dance in no time.
11 Moana (2016) – $643.3 million
The evolution of the “Disney Princess” in today’s society can be seen in the extraordinary story of Moana. In 2016, audiences were introduced to Moana as she braves the ocean to restore Te Fiti’s heart and save her family back home. This action-packed adventure and inspiring story of bravery and perseverance is accompanied by an equally incredible soundtrack. This musical film made $643.3 million.
ten My Fair Lady (1964) – $652.6 million (adjusted for inflation)
It’s time to include more than one throwback on this list! When you think of old Hollywood, omitting Queen Audrey Hepburn is a crime against humanity. my lovely lady is a 1964 musical romance film that follows Henry Higgins (Rex Harrison) as he attempts to transform a working-class girl into someone who can pass in a high-class environment. With the figures adjusted for inflation, my lovely lady raised the colossal sum of $652.6 million.
9 Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) – $903.7 million
You can’t really make a movie about Freddie Mercury and Queen without it being a musical. Bohemian Rhapsody hit cinema screens in 2018 and chronicled the life and career of Freddie Mercury and the band Queen. The film, which included classics from the band in the soundtrack, cemented Rami Malek as an elite actor with his portrayal of the late rock star. If you haven’t seen this movie yet, it sure won’t disappoint, especially since it grossed $903.7 million.
8 The Jungle Book (2016) – $966.6 million
We all know the genre of live-action remakes of Disney movies. When the 2016 live-action remake of The jungle Book came out, most of us already knew about Mowgli’s adventurous story in the jungle. However, bringing a new light to this beloved classic fits perfectly into the world of cinema. The film, which earned $966.6 million, included recognizable songs, such as “The Bare Necessities” and “I Wanna Be Like You.”
seven The Lion King (1994) – $968.5 million
Hakuna Matata! That means no worries, for the rest of your life. The Lion King has to be one of Disney’s most popular musicals and as a franchise. In effect, The Lion King went beyond just being a favorite movie from our childhood. From the emotional impact of Mufasa’s death to the newfound family dynamics with Timon and Pumba, the story of The Lion King is part of movie history to this day, and the original 1994 animated version made $968.5 million!
6 Aladdin (2019) – $1.05 billion
The Disney part of this list is far from over. Aladdin, 100% a proven Disney classic, saw its live-action remake released in 2019. The cast, which included Mena Massoud as Aladdin, Naomi Scott as Jasmine and Will Smith as Genie, breathed new life into this fan favorite in not only in the portrayal of the characters, but also in the music. If you want to check out this one, which made $1.05 billion, it’s time to be part of a whole new world!
5 Beauty and the Beast (2017) – $1.26 billion
The original animation The beauty and the Beast was released in 1991, and 26 years later the live-action movie starring Emma Watson and Dan Stevens was released. Also called The beauty and the Beast, this remake stays true to the original not only in the plot and overall aesthetic of the film, but also in the inclusion of the songs we all know and love. Moreover, to complement this, this musical has also released original music which further enhances the story. It grossed an incredible $1.26 billion!
4 Frozen (2013) – $1.29 billion
We never “Let It Go”! Frozen, as a movie and franchise, has grown into an empire that has taken Disney to a whole new level that we never knew it could reach. A love story between sisters, one an ice queen and the other a fun-loving princess, has become a defining classic for children around the world. Therefore, the fact that this movie crossed the billion dollar mark with a gross of $1.29 billion is expected to say the least.
3 The Sound of Music (1965) – $1.36 billion (adjusted for inflation)
Let’s take a small step away from the Disney movies. The sound of music, considered by many to be one of the greatest musicals, and even one of the greatest movies of all time, grossed $1.36 billion (adjusted for inflation). Julie Andrews personified a character that people of all ages have clung to even after all these years, singing some of the greatest tunes any of us will ever forget.
2 Frozen 2 (2019) – $1.45 billion
It’s very rare to see a sequel, and not a remake, surpass the hype and popularity of the franchise’s first film. However, Frozen 2 absolutely did exactly that. The film grossed $1.45 billion and followed Anna and Elsa as they navigate the unknowns of their past. Full of heartfelt family moments, love and beautiful songs here and there, Frozen 2 elevated the already successful franchise. It’s the perfect time to walk straight to “Into The Unknown” if you haven’t seen that movie already.
1 The Lion King (2019) – $1.66 billion
At the top of our list we have The Lion King — Again? Live action Lion King the film made an incredible $1.66 billion. Yes, you heard right. When this film was announced, the debate about whether it was a true “live action” film began. Of course, using real animals isn’t possible for a movie like this, given their unpredictable nature and the obvious fact that they can’t talk. However, despite this heated debate, the film was visually stunning and well worth watching.