The Race To $1 Billion: 13 Movies That Crossed The Line In Record Time

The Avengers 2012

When a studio releases a brand new blockbuster, only their highest of hopes allow dreams of a billion dollar box office haul. While cinema has seen thousands of films reach six digits, to date only 33 of them have gone beyond it. It's a crazy rare feat, and this feature we will celebrate not only the titles that have reached that level, but reached it the fastest.

In celebration of Ryan Coogler's Black Panther joining the esteemed billion dollar club this past weekend, we've put together this feature to take a look at all of the previous blockbusters that managed to accomplish the feat in less than a month. All of the titles here finished with wildly major final box office numbers, but they also had the effect of truly lighting the world on fire. Let's dive in!

Beauty and the Beast Disney 2017

13. Beauty and the Beast

Release Date: March 17, 2017

Days It Took To Reach A Billion: 29

Final Total: $1,263,521,126

Disney has had some remarkable success creating live-action adaptations of their animated classics - including The Jungle Book, Cinderella, and Maleficent, but none of that success touches what Bill Condon's Beauty and the Beast was able to accomplish in the spring of 2017. Admittedly in only just made the cut-off for this feature, hitting the billion mark 29 days into its release, but that's still remarkably impressive.

Captain America Civil War

Tie-10. Captain America: Civil War

Release Date: May 6, 2016

Days It Took To Reach A Billion: 24

Final Total: $1,153,304,495

Now we dive into the Marvel section of this feature, as weirdly the Marvel Cinematic Universe's greatest hits all managed to bring in a billion dollars worldwide in the same amount of time. We'll start with Joe and Anthony Russo's Captain America: Civil War, which is one of two trilogy closers you'll find here - though those familiar with it know why it's kind of special. It may not be an Avengers film, but it built an ensemble on the same level, and used all of that star and pop culture power to rake in cash at the box office.

The Avengers Age of Ultron

Tie-10. The Avengers: Age of Ultron

Release Date: May 1, 2015

Days It Took To Reach A Billion: 24

Final Total: $1,405,403,694

There is a strong argument to be made that Joss Whedon's The Avengers: Age of Ultron didn't really live up to expectations - but that's really only because the insane expectations that were established by its predecessor. Being real, the mere fact that it is on this list is a sign of its phenomenal success. It is one of only seven movies in history to make north of $1.4 billion, and has final figures that represent its epicness.

Black Panther Marvel

Tie-10. Black Panther

Release Date: February 16, 2018

Days It Took To Reach A Billion: 24

Total So Far: $1,080,210,005

Now we arrive at the most recent addition to this esteemed list. Ryan Coogler's Black Panther managed to make over a billion dollars in 24 days, is currently the best reviewed film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and has quickly cemented an incredibly important place in pop culture. The world has been stunned by the amount of money that this feature has brought in, and nobody knows exactly what the final total will wind up being.

Iron Legion Iron Man 3

9. Iron Man 3

Release Date: May 3, 2013

Days It Took To Reach A Billion: 22

Final Total: $1,214,811,252

It took the previously mentioned trio of Marvel films to hit a billion in 24 days, but Shane Black's Iron Man 3 was just a bit faster than those titles. In 2013, the world was aching for more of The Avengers after the previous year's incredible hit, and they flooded theaters worldwide to see the finale of Iron Man's trilogy of solo films. It accomplished the sixth highest worldwide opening of all time when it was first released, and while it's considered to be one of the more controversial franchise titles, it's inarguably also one of the most successful.

The Avengers 2012

Tie-4. The Avengers

Release Date: May 4, 2012

Days It Took To Reach A Billion: 19

Final Total: $1,518,812,988

The world had never seen anything like Joss Whedon's The Avengers prior to its release, and that curiosity wound up driving one of the most insane box office performances that the world had ever seen. The blockbuster became the first movie in history to open with more than $200 million at the domestic box office, and then it spent the next few weeks just hauling in cash worldwide - leading it to become, at the time, the third highest grossing film of all time.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows -- Part 2

Tie-4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2

Release Date: July 15, 2011

Days It Took To Reach A Billion: 19

Final Total: $1,341,511,219

Finales are generally good at bringing in a lot of cash, as even audiences only vaguely familiar with a series will want the opportunity to learn how it all ends. This maxim proved very true for David Yates' Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 back in the summer of 2011, when it went on a crazy box office tear and brought in a billion worldwide in just 19 days. As you may have noticed from other release dates on this list, it's not easy bringing in that much money that quickly during the heart of blockbuster season, but that just proves how nuts people were going for this one.

Avatar 2009

Tie-4. Avatar

Release Date: December 18, 2009

Days It Took To Reach A Billion: 19

Final Total: $2,787,965,087

Because of a very different movie calendar, cheaper ticket prices, and a different international distribution model, it took James Cameron's Titanic a full 73 days before it was able to reach the billion mark back in 1997/1998, but Avatar took a fraction of that time to reach the benchmark in 2009/2010. Admittedly it was also benefited by the fact that audiences were paying extra for 3D glasses, but there's still no questioning the global phenomenon that the film spurred. It's still one of only three films to make more than $2 billion total, and remains to this day the highest grossing blockbuster of all time.

Star Wars The Last Jedi

Tie-4. Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Release Date: December 15, 2017

Days It Took To Reach A Billion: 19

Current Total: $1,331,679,765

Black Panther actually isn't the only active blockbuster featured on this list. Since December, Rian Johnson's Star Wars: The Last Jedi has successfully become one of the highest grossing movies in one of the most popular franchises of all time - and a lot of that money came in within the first few weeks of release. With audiences perhaps motivated by spoiler fears and wanting to see the film reveal its major secrets and huge twists on the big screen, the blockbuster managed to make a billion dollars before its third weekend.

The Fate Of The Furious Charlize Theron Vin Diesel

Tie-4. The Fate of the Furious

Release Date: April 14, 2017

Days It Took To Reach A Billion: 19

Final Total: $1,236,005,118

F. Gary Gray's The Fast and the Furious has a special distinction on this list, as it is the only title that actually made more than 80 percent of its total box office grosses from overseas (totaling over a billion dollars compared to the $226 million haul domestically). That's a shocking ratio compared to the other movies in this feature - most of which made 60-70 percent in foreign markets - but money is money, and this one managed to make a whole lot of it in a short period of time.

Furious 7 Tyrese Michelle Rodriguez Paul Walker Ludacris

3. Furious 7

Release Date: April 3, 2015

Days It Took To Reach A Billion: 17

Final Total: $1,516,045,911

The most successful blockbusters of all time tend to have a certain hook that sets them apart from other titles, but the one possessed by James Wan's Furious 7 is terribly depressing. The film was famously delayed by a full year because of the untimely death of Paul Walker, forcing some major changes in the script - and the world became fascinated with knowing how the franchise would handle the exit of Walker's Brian O'Conner. To everyone's great relief it was handled gracefully within a ridiculous, action-packed blockbuster, leading the movie to hit the billion dollar mark in just 17 days.

Jurassic World

2. Jurassic World

Release Date: June 12, 2015

Days It Took To Reach A Billion: 13

Final Total: $1,671,713,208

Even after The Avengers: Age of Ultron it was hard to imagine any film reaching the summer blockbuster bar set by The Avengers, but then Colin Trevorrow's Jurassic World said, "Hold my beer." Not only did the hit long-awaited sequel manage to beat the Marvel movie's opening weekend record, it also only took 13 days to make a billion dollars worldwide. That's an average of $77 million per day - which is a total that most films would kill to hit in an opening weekend.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Rey BB-8

1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Release Date: December 18, 2015

Days It Took To Reach A Billion: 12

Final Total: $2,068,223,624

It's a remarkable thing for a film to make more than a billion dollars in less than a month... but it's unreal to accomplish that same feat in less than two weeks. Still, that's exactly what J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: The Force Awakens was able to do when it tilt the world off its axis in late 2015. Audiences had been experiencing a Star Wars drought for a full decade, and that hunger wound up creating a ticket-buying frenzy - leaving the film to become the third highest grossing movie of all time. It's scary how fast this one reached the billion dollar mark, and it's hard to imagine any film doing it faster.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

NJ native who calls LA home and lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran who is endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.