The ten years between 1990 and 2000 were flooded with movies. Star Wars made the first of many spin-offs set in the popular far away galaxy. Science fiction continued to explode with new stories, and Disney was churning out animated features left and right.
If you were a 90s child, you might even remember going to see some of these now-classic movies. The data from Box Office Mojo shows just how much money many of these timeless 1990s films have earned. Whether it was a sci-fi adventure, a Disney fairytale, or a doomed love story, there is a movie from each year of the decade that dominated the box office.
Ghost (1990): Life After Death
Patrick Swazye’s Sam Wheat has the perfect life. Until he is murdered. Yet his story does not end with his death. Sam lingers in the world as a ghost and sets off to uncover the truth behind his premature demise. But if he cannot learn how to control his supernatural form, he may lose his lover to the same evil that killed him.
Ghost‘s closest competitor in 1990 was the first Home Alone movie. Though the latter outshone Ghost domestically, the paranormal tale earned more in the long run. Sam Wheat’s adventures after his death grossed roughly $ 505 billion, and the film now holds a spot on the ‘classics’ list.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991): The Future Returns
Years ago, Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) and her unborn child were targeted by Skynet, the evil artificial intelligence from the future. They escaped, but now her eleven-year-old son is threatened again. A new Terminator has been sent to kill John (Edward Furlong), the future leader of the resistance. With the help of an old enemy-turned-friend, John and Sarah fight to save their lives and preserve the future.
Terminator 2: Judgment Daybeat out many other popular movies that year, including Silence of the Lambs and the Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Making roughly $ 520 million, the second installment in the sci-fi action series was a huge success that would lead to future sequels.
Aladdin (1992): Pure Fairytale Magic
In 1992, Disney’s newest love interest was Aladdin, a kind-hearted street urchin whose biggest concern is finding his next meal. But when the Grand Vizier swindles Aladdin into stealing a genie lamp, the hero finds himself in a whole new world of trouble. Faced with the threat of an all-powerful Jafar, Aladdin has to rely on his friends and his pure heart if he hopes to defeat the sorcerer.
Although a few movies drew in more money during 1992 than Aladdin, time has deemed it the highest grossing film from that year, earning just over $ 500 million. Even thirty years after its release, the titular thief remains a favorite of Disney fans to this day.
Jurassic Park (1993): History In The Present
Scientists have done the impossible; they have brought dinosaurs back to walk the earth. A small civilian group is selected to receive a tour of the developing dinosaur theme park. When a power outage hits, the dangerous creatures are freed and on the prowl. Trapped with the predators in the wild, the group must find a way to survive the ancient threats come to life.
The blockbuster scored over $ 400 million domestically, and in the years since has passed the one billion dollar mark worldwide. Its popularity secured two additional films to complete the trilogy. Jurassic Park also inspired the Jurassic World series that would come along just over twenty years later.
The Lion King (1994): Disney’s Pride
Young Simba is next in line to rule the animal kingdom. But while he is enjoying the freedom of youth, his outcast uncle, Scar, is plotting to become king. Scar, a universally hated Disney character, orchestrates the death of his brother and takes over the pride. After spending years in hiding, Simba journeys back home to defeat his villainous uncle and reclaim his throne.
The animated Disney film grossed over $ 1 billion in today’s money. Not only did it beat out other popular films of the year, like Forrest Gumpbut The Lion King made more money than any Disney animated feature that came before it. The film remains a classic and a favorite over 15 years later.
Toy Story (1995): A Brand New Set Of Adventures
What happens to your toys when you’re not playing with them? The answer became one of Pixar’s best movies. Andy, the owner of the toys, adds Buzz Lightyear to his collection, and Woody struggles with the new dynamic. But when Woody and Buzz find themselves in danger of being left behind when Andy moves, they must work together to find their way back to their friends.
Though Batman Forever made more money than Toy Story in that initial release year, Toy Story eventually bested the hero of Gotham. The notion of toys coming alive resulted in a successful series churned out by Pixar. With Lightyear on the way, you can be sure that there are plenty of toy stories left to tell.
Independence Day (1996): Humans Vs. Aliens
In this action-packed sci-fi film, a massive alien invasion has come to Earth. After the decimation of the largest cities across the globe, the survivors scramble to form a plan of attack. With little else to rely on besides their wits and will, humanity must fight against the invaders for their freedom.
Releasing over the United States’ ownIndependence Dayweekend, the movie became a summer blockbuster. It was one of many apocalyptic stories told as the science fiction gained popularity. Independence Day’s success can be seen in its earnings, as it grossed more than $ 817 million dollars.
Titanic (1997): The Famous Tragic Love Story
On a luxury steamship traveling across the Atlantic, wealthy young Rose falls for the charming yet poor Jack. The two spend their time on the massive ship rebelling against the upper class and falling in love. But their playful, romantic tale turns into a horror story when the Titanic hits an iceberg. As the ship begins to sink, Rose and Jack struggle to survive the catastrophe and stay together.
You may be surprised to learn that Titanic was not the top of the box office in 1997, the year of its release. However, time has made it one of the highest grossing films in cinema history. The film grossed $ 2.2 billion, making it a legendary movie that has withstood the test of time.
Armageddon (1998): The End Is Nigh
A massive asteroid is heading for Earth, and the only way to stop it is by planting a bomb beneath the rocky surface. Harry (Bruce Willis), a skilled oil driller, volunteers himself and his crew to drill into the asteroid and get the job done right. But time is quickly slipping away, and meteorites from the asteroid start impacting Earth’s surface. If the crew can not destroy the asteroid, then life on Earth will cease to exist.
With a release date at the very end of 1997, Titanic was still riding a very high wave of success in the following year. However, Armageddon was the film released in 1998 that made the most money. This end-of-days movie grossed $ 553.7 million.
Star Wars: The Phantom Menace (1999): The Hero Came Before The Villain
Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) race to save Queen Padme Amidala (Natalie Portman) when her planet Naboo is attacked. They escape and land on Tatooine, where they meet a young Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd). The group comes up with a plan to rally the people of Naboo and fight back against the evil Trade Federation. But the heroes must be careful, for there is a Sith Lord is lurking in the shadows, using them for a plot of his own.
The fourth (but really first) Star Wars The movie was highly anticipated by fans. The first film in the trilogy telling tale of Anakin’s transition to Darth Vader was still incredibly successful. Grossing just over a billion dollars, The Phantom Menace paved the way for many more Star Wars movies to come.
NEXT: The Best Action Movies Of The 90s