April 10, 2021

The 10 highest-grossing films on Netflix

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Life is not easy even if you’re Netflix, a household name and streaming giant now up against titans like Disney+ and HBO Max. Though Netflix was never home base for every superhero movie or Star War, it usually had a rotation of some of the most popular movies in history, but that lineup looks different now in the throes of the streamingars.

With that in mind, we decided to figure out the top 10 highest grossing movies on Netflix. These titles barely crack to the top 100 box office rankings, but they create a list so intriguing and varied that we kind of want to binge all 10 in order.

Here are the 10 highest-grossing movies available on Netflix right now.

1. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)

"Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" is a family outing available on Netflix.

“Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” is a family outing available on Netflix.

Image: paramount

The thing about high-grossing movies is that they are often disappointing sequels to greater films. No Indiana Jones fan in good conscience would recommend the 2008 installment, but here we are because it made a boatload of money. Indy, a now sexagenarian Harrison Ford, takes on Soviet agents in search of a crystal skull with special powers, at the behest of a kid named Mutt (Shia LeBeouf). The search leads to a reunion with old flame Marion (Karen Allen), and you can work out the math on that one yourself! 

Cate Blanchett logs an early and intriguing villainous role as Irina Spalko, head of the Soviet agents. Crystal Skull has all the elements of an Indiana Jones adventure on paper (mysterious objects, over-the-top antagonists, freaky creatures, and obstacles), but doesn’t make the emotional impression of its predecessors, no matter who its dad really is.

How to watch: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is now streaming on Netflix.

2. Ne Zha (2019)

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This Chinese film is based in the mythology of the demonic being Nezha and his origins. Nezha is born of a Demon Orb created in opposition with a Spirit Pearl, but a curse upon the orb means he will die three years after being born. Ne Zha’s parents fight for his life while also lying to him about his true origin. He trains to hunt demons until learning of his true self, and then he must make the eternal choice of which side he chooses, regardless of where he came from.

How to watch: Ne Zha is now streaming on Netflix.

3. The Wandering Earth (2019)

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Frank Gwo’s 2019 action film, based on the novella by Liu Cixin, centers around a group of astronauts in the year 2061 and their mission to protect Earth. As the sun expands, it threatens our planet, but moving away from the solar system’s center means venturing toward other obstacles — like Jupiter. The perilous mission to move our planet is not without casualties or risk, and an unforgettable interstellar adventure unfolds.

How to watch: The Wandering Earth is now streaming on Netflix.

4. How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014)

Set five years after How to Train Your Dragon, this DreamWorks sequel catches up with Hiccup and Toothless living peacefully among the villagers. Hiccup and Astrid run into the evil Drago Bludvist, who wants to take over the world, and Hiccup also meets his long-lost mother and learns that she too rides dragons. Drago gains power and drives apart Hiccup and Toothless, so Hiccup has to save the village without his best friend — but with his mother now behind him.

How to watch: How to Train Your Dragon 2 is now streaming on Netflix.

5. The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)

The Lost World is a unique sequel in that the book came out after the first Jurassic Park film, increasing pressure not only on the filmmakers but on author Michael Crichton as well. Ian Malcolm returns to the world of Jurassic Park after a young girl is attacked and a sinister company threatens to take over John Hammond’s company. Beyond the comfort of seeing Goldblum and Attenborough reprise their roles amidst inevitable dinosaur battles, The Lost World gives us Ian’s daughter Kelly and their relationship to fight for.

How to watch: The Lost World: Jurassic Park is now streaming on Netflix.

6. Casino Royale (2006)

Daniel Craig’s first outing as James Bond was both a powerful debut and effectively a franchise reboot — bringing our double O into the 21st century (post-Die Another Day) with unprecedented sleekness and visual effects. Casino Royale set a new standard not only for Bond but for action films, with spectacular action sequences and the unexpected emotional core of Bond’s relationship with Vesper (Eva Green).

How to watch: Casino Royale is now streaming on Netflix.

7. Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (2008)

Alex, Marty, Gloria, and Melman may have decided to head back to zoo life in New York City, but those plans get derailed when their plane crashes en route. They meet other animals and branch off with their own species, learning more about how each animal lives (and loves, if you’re Gloria) in the wild. 

How to watch: Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa is now streaming on Netflix.

8. Quantum of Solace (2008)

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Not the best Daniel Craig Bond film, not even the best on this list, Quantum of Solace will certainly scratch an itch for someone out there. This time, Bond is after Quantum, an ultra-elite shadow organization of wealthy and powerful individuals. This leads to run ins with the CIA, multiples casualties, and ghosts of Vesper’s past while Bond tries to outrun his own.

How to watch: Quantum of Solace is now streaming on Netflix.

9. The Croods (2013)

Prehistoric animated fiction is a wider genre than you’d expect, with The Croods often getting lost against giants like Ice Age. Here in the Croodaceous period, Grug (Nicolas Cage) rules over his family, which naturally compels daughter Eep (Emma Stone) to rebel and start talking to a boy. When Eep’s family is forced out of their home and faces the growing fear of an apocalypse, they have to accept or at least align with Eep’s new companion and find a way to survive.

How to watch: The Croods is now streaming on Netflix.

10. Operation Red Sea (2018)

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This 2018 action film is another Chinese box office smash available on Netflix, directed by Dante Lam and based on a true story. During Yemen’s civil war, hundreds of Chinese and other foreign nationals were evacuated by the Chinese Navy. The Jiaolong Assault team of the Marine Corps takes on a group of pirates and eventually starts evacuating civilians, but more and more obstacles endanger the mission as it unfolds.

How to watch: Operation Red Sea is now streaming on Netflix.

11. Despicable Me (2010)

Successful super villain Gru (Steve Carell) is living his best life when he adopts three young girls and ends up accidentally caring about them. The responsibility and affection of parenting are at odds with his villainous nature, placing his entire career and lifestyle in jeopardy. This heartwarming story of an unlikely family led to multiple sequels, but it was always the original that stole our hearts (and introduced us to Minions). 

How to watch: Despicable Me is now streaming on Netflix.

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