Old School Americana & Nostalgia


The 10 Highest-Grossing Christmas Movies of All Time

The 10 Highest-Grossing Christmas Movies of All Time

With the holiday season in full swing, Odometer is taking a look back on the Top 10 high-grossing Christmas movies of all time. 

Although famous cult classics like White Christmas and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation tend to be the most talked about films during the holiday season, both didn’t have the best runs at the box office. 

With a budget of $2 million, White Christmas achieved only $30 million at the box office. The National Lampoon’s holiday classic secured $73.3 million during its theatrical run with a budget of $25 million. 

Note: This list does not include action-packed films that took place during the holiday season, such as Die Hard, Gremlins, and Batman Returns. 

The top-grossing holiday films are listed below.

The Grinch (2018) – $512,285,215

Starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Cameron Seely, and Rashida Jones, The Grinch follows the classic tale of the infamous Grinch plotting to ruin Christmas for the whos down in Whoville. This was in order for him to get peace and quiet during the holiday season. However, with the help of Cindy-Lou Who, the Grinch was able to overcome his cynical views of Christmas and he discovered the true meaning of the holiday season.

According to The Numbers, The Grinch made $270,834,950 in the domestic box office and $241,450,265 internationally. Altogether, it was a huge holiday success with $512,285,215. 

Home Alone (1990)- $476,680,911

A true cult classic without any introduction, Home Alone follows pre-teen Kevin McCallister, who was accidentally at his Chicago-area home while his family flew to Paris for Christmas. Eventually discovering her son was home by himself, Kevin’s mother found ways to travel halfway across the world to reunite with him. However, being home alone wasn’t the only issue for Kevin, a duo of criminals, known as the Wet Bandits, were breaking into homes on Kevin’s street and were eyeing his home. Not allowing the not-so-smart robbers to get what they want, Kevin set up booby traps throughout his home and made the criminals ultimately regret their life choices. 

After Kevin trapped the Wet Bandits and they were arrested, Kevin’s mother, as well as the rest of his family, reunited with him just in time for Christmas. The film starred Catherine O’Hara, Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, and Daniel Stern. It raised $285,761,243 in the domestic box office and $190,919,668 internationally. The total worldwide box office was $476,680,911.

Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992) – $358,994,850

Much like its successor, Home Alone 2 revisits Kevin McCallister. Although he’s not at his home this time around, he gets lost in New York City after a mishap at a Chicago-area airport caused him to be separated from his family. As his family went to Florida, he went to the Big Apple. He encounters the Wet Bandits, only this time, they’re seeking revenge against him. They ultimately regret messing with him and are caught once again. The family manages to find Kevin and celebrate by having Christmas at The Plaza. Macaulay Culkin reprised his role as Kevin McCallister.

The Home Alone sequel achieved $173,585, 516 domestically and $185,409,334 internationally. The total at the worldwide box is $358,994,850.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) – $345,445,403

Starring Jim Carey and Taylor Morrison, How the Grinch Stole Christmas is the live-action version of the Dr. Seuss classic. It also gives a different spin on the tale, including the origin of the Grinch. 

The film achieved $260,348,825 domestically and $85,096,578 internationally. Altogether the film’s worldwide box office number is $345,445,403 

Disney’s A Christmas Carol (2009) – $315,709,697

A new spin on Charles Dickens’ classic novel, A Christmas Carol visits the story of Scrooge as he is visited by three spirits in order to save his soul. After a night of self-discovery, Scrooge has a change of heart and learns the true meaning of the holiday. Starring in the film are Jim Carrey, Gary Oldman, Coin Firth, and Steve Valentine. 

The film secured $137,855,863 domestically and $177,853,834 internationally. Worldwide it achieved $315,709,697. 

The Polar Express (2004) – $312,183,437

Inspired by Chris Van Allsburg’s book, which shares the same name, The Polar Express follows a young boy who embarks on a magical adventure to the North Pole on Christmas Eve. While on his journey, he learns about friendship, bravery, and the Christmas spirit.  Starring in the film are Tom Hanks, Chris Coppola, Michael Jeter, and Leslie Zemeckis. It raised $188,042,855 domestically and $124,140,582 internationally. Therefore secured $312,183,437 worldwide. 

Love Actually (2003) – $248,065,238

Not a typical holiday classic, Love Actually follows the lives of eight different couples while they deal with their love lives in various ways in London, England. Hugh Grant, Martine McCutcheon, and Liam Neeson starred in the film. It achieved $59,472,278 domestically and $186,244,221 internationally. Total worldwide box office success is $245,716,499.

Elf (2003) – $224,912,848

While it is now a go-to for the holiday season, Will Ferrell’s Buddy the Elf wasn’t exactly a worldwide box-office success. Elf follows Buddy, who was raised by elves after he slipped away from the orphanage in Santa’s gift bag. Upon learning that he is human and his father is on the naughty list, Buddy decides to go to New York City to meet and show his father the true meaning of Christmas. Starring with Ferrell in the film were James Caan, Zooey Deschanel, Jon Favreau, and Peter Dinklage. 

The film only generated $178,100,000 domestically and $46,812,848 internationally with a worldwide box office of $224,912,848.

Jingle All the Way (1996) – $129,832,389

Refusing to let his son down once again, a workaholic father must find a way to get his son what he wants most for Christmas – a Turbo Man action figure. Unfortunately, every store is now sold out of the doll, so the father must travel all around town to find one. The film starred Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sinbad, and Phil Hartman. It secured $60,592,389 domestically and $69,240,000 internationally, with a worldwide box office of $129,832,389. 

Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)- $101,616,441 

Starring Danny Elfman, Catherine O’Hara, and Chris Sarandon, The Nightmare Before Christmas is unique not only by how it was made, but how it’s a multiple holiday film. The movie follows Jack Skellington, known as the King of Halloween Town, as he discovers Christmas Town. He then decides to bring Halloween Town’s version of the holiday to the world in not the best way. 

Although now widely known and popular, the film’s original international and domestic box office run wasn’t great. Domestically it hit $87,607,116 and $795,112 internationally. Totaling to $88,402,228 at the worldwide box office. However, the film has since returned to theaters multiple times and has raised more than $100 million.