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The Highest-Grossing Horror Movies of All Time



highest-grossing horror movies

The Highest-grossing Horror Movies of All Time

Horror films date back to the early 1900s, with Hollywood producing iconic movies such as Frankenstein (1931), Dracula (1931), and The Mummy (1932). Over time, this genre has evolved, expanding into sub-genres like slasher films and supernatural horrors.

In celebration of Halloween this year, we’ve ranked the top 15 highest-grossing horror movies of all time, using data from The Numbers.

Data Overview

The numbers in this graphic represent worldwide box office revenues. To compare revenue from these different time periods, all figures have been converted to 2022 USD. We used the CPI Inflation Calculator, a free tool created by Ian Webster.

The table below provides both dollar figures (inflation adjusted and non-adjusted).

MovieReleasedGlobal Box Office Revenue
(USD millions)
Adjusted for inflation
(USD millions)
The Exorcist1973$428,824,083$2,826,528,589
Jaws 21978$208,900,376$937,667,387
The Silence of the Lambs1991$275,726,716$592,459,852
It: Chapter Two2019$467,561,586$535,226,330
The Blair Witch Project1999$248,300,000$436,173,130
Bram Stoker's Dracula1992$215,862,666$450,274,187
Interview with the Vampire1994$223,564,608$441,481,017
The Nun2018$363,391,647$423,312,046
The Ring2002$248,218,486$403,794,263
The Conjuring2013$316,479,150$397,581,826
Resident Evil: Afterlife2010$295,874,190$397,096,652

After accounting for inflation, we can conclude that The Exorcist (1973) and Jaws (1975) are the two highest-grossing horror movies of all time. Furthermore, both of these movies are the first of their respective franchises.

The Jaws Franchise

The original Jaws was directed by Steven Spielberg, and featured a mechanical shark named “Bruce”.

Several sequels were released in the following years, each with declining critical reception.

TitleMetacritic Score
Jaws (1975)87
Jaws 2 (1978)51
Jaws 3-D (1983)27
Jaws: The Revenge (1987)15

The Exorcist Franchise

The original Exorcist film was also a massive success, even being called “the scariest movie ever” by LIFE magazine.

While the sequels failed to recreate the original’s success, a new trilogy was announced in July 2021, directed by David Gordon Green. The first of this series, The Exorcist: Believer, was released on Oct. 6, 2023.

As of Oct. 29, the film has grossed $109 million worldwide.

The Top Horror Movies of 2023

While no titles from 2023 made it into the top 15 list, many of them have still been successful.

As of Oct. 29, The Nun II is the best performing horror flick of 2023, with $263 million in global box office revenue (current USD). Further behind is Insidious: The Red Door ($186M) and Scream VI ($169M).

Where does this data come from?

Source: The Numbers

Data notes: Ranking was accessed on October 29, 2023. Please note that this data source is updated daily, and that the ranking will change over time. Lastly, amounts are inflation-adjusted to the date of release. Successful films continue earning some box office revenue as time goes on, so there are some slight limitations to this approach.

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Public Opinion

How Much Do Americans Trust the Media?

Media trust among Americans has reached its lowest point since Trump won the 2016 presidential election.



How Much Do Americans Trust the Media?

Media trust among Americans has reached its lowest point in six years.

Gallup began its survey on media trust in 1972, repeating it in 1974 and 1976. After a long period, the public opinion firm restarted the polls in 1997 and has asked Americans about their confidence level in the mass media—newspapers, TV, and radio—almost every year since then.

The above graphic illustrates Gallup’s latest poll results, conducted in September 2023.

Americans’ Trust in Mass Media, 1972-2023

Americans’ confidence in the mass media has sharply declined over the last few decades.

Trust in the mass media% Great deal/Fair amount% Not very much% None at all

In 2016, the number of respondents trusting media outlets fell below the tally of those who didn’t trust the media at all. This is the first time that has happened in the poll’s history.

That year was marked by sharp criticism of the media from then-presidential candidate Donald Trump.

In 2017, the use of the term ‘fake news’ rose by 365% on social media, and the term was named the word of the year by dictionary publisher Collins.

The Lack of Faith in Institutions and Social Media

Although there’s no single reason to explain the decline of trust in the traditional media, some studies point to potential drivers.

According to Michael Schudson, a sociologist and historian of the news media and a professor at the Columbia Journalism School, in the 1970s, faith in institutions like the White House or Congress began to decline, consequently impacting confidence in the media.

“That may have been a necessary corrective to a sense of complacency that had been creeping in—among the public and the news media—that allowed perhaps too much trust: we accepted President Eisenhower’s lies about the U-2 spy plane, President Kennedy’s lies about the ‘missile gap,’ President Johnson’s lies about the war in Vietnam, President Nixon’s lies about Watergate,”
Michael Schudson – Columbia Journalism School

More recently, the internet and social media have significantly changed how people consume media. The rise of platforms such as X/Twitter and Facebook have also disrupted the traditional media status quo.

Partisans’ Trust in Mass Media

Historically, Democrats have expressed more confidence in the media than Republicans.

Democrats’ trust, however, has fallen 12 points over the past year to 58%, compared with 11% among Republicans and 29% among independents.


According to Gallup, Republicans’ low confidence in the media has little room to worsen, but Democrat confidence could still deteriorate and bring the overall national reading down further.

The poll also shows that young Democrats have less confidence in the media than older Democrats, while Republicans are less varied in their views by age group.

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