Top 10 Highest-Grossing Horror Movies of All Time

It’s the Halloween season! Can’t get spookier, can it? Watch out for the pumpkin pie! It’s coming back. What have you got as your costume, is it scary enough? In case you forgot, here’s a little something to get you in the spooky mood.

Today we’re counting down the top 10 highest-grossing horror movies of all time based on worldwide ticket sales and not adjusted for inflation so if you’re ready, let’s roll starting us off at number

10. The Nun

Sitting at number 10 with a global box office revenue of $365 million and a production budget of $22 million is “The Nun”. This 2018 American gothic supernatural horror film was directed by Corin Hardy. Written by Gary Dauberman from his work with James Wan. The Nun was released on September 7th, 2018. It starred Demian Bichir, Taissa Farmiga, Bonnie Aarons, Vera Farmiga, Jonas Bloquet and Charlotte Hope. The Nun ended its opening weekend having grossed $53 million. 

Plot Summary

“A priest and a novice arrive in Romania to investigate the death of a young nun. However, things take an ugly turn after they encounter a supernatural force.”

Title: The Nun (The NUИ)

Release date: 7 September 2018 

Director: Corin Hardy

Cinematography: Maxime Alexandre

Story by: James Wan, Gary Dauberman

Screenplay: Gary Dauberman

Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures

Box office: $365.6 million [i

Budget: $22 million

9. Prometheus

With Worldwide ticket sales of over $403 million and a production budget of $130 million, it was released on 31 May 2012 and stars Noomi Rapace, Logan Marshall-Green, and Michael Fassbender. Prometheus grossed $51 million dollar in its opening weekend. 

Plot Summary

“After a clue to mankind’s origins is discovered, explorers are sent to the darkest corner of the universe. Their different expectations take a toll on them when they find something unimaginable.”

Title: Prometheus

Release date: 31 May 2012 

Director: Ridley Scott

Cinematography: Dariusz Wolski

Story by: Jon Spaihts, Damon Lindelof

Screenplay: Gary Dauberman

Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures

Box office: $403.4 million [ii

Budget: $130 million

8. Signs

Eighth on our list of highest-grossing horror movies of all time is Signs. It has a global box office gross of $408 million with a production budget of $72 million. Signs was released on September 2nd, 2002, and stars Mel Gibson and Joaquin Phoenix. It had an opening weekend gross of $60.1 million. 

Plot Summary

“Father Graham Hess and his family migrate to a farmhouse that later becomes the site of strange crop circles that suggest the existence of alien life.”

Title: Signs

Release date: 29 July 2002 

Director: M. Night Shyamalan

Cinematography: Tak Fujimoto

Story by: M. Night Shyamalan

Screenplay: M. Night Shyamalan

Distributed by: Buena Vista Pictures Distribution

Box office: $408.2 million [iii] 

Budget: $72 million

7. The Exorcist

At number seven spot is The Exorcist, with a global box office of $441 million. This is an incredible feat considering its small production budget of $12 million. The Exorcist was released on 26 December 1973 and stars Max von Sydow and Linda Blair. It had an opening weekend gross of $8.2 million.

Plot Summary

“Regan, a young girl, displays bizarre behavior after playing with an Ouija board. Chris, her mother, and an actress consult two priests who conclude that Regan is possessed by a demonic entity.”

Title: The Exorcist

Release date: 26 December 1973 

Director: William Friedkin

Cinematography: Owen Roizman

Story by: William Peter Blatty

Screenplay: William Peter Blatty

Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures

Box office: $441.3 million [iii] 

Budget: $12 million

6. It Chapter Two 

Chapter Two with a global box office of $473 million on a production budget of $79 million sits in 6th place on our list. It was released on September 6, 2019, and stars Bill Hader, Jessica Chastain, and James McAvoy. opening weekend gross of $185 million.

Plot Summary

“Twenty-seven years after their first encounter with the terrifying Pennywise, the Losers Club have grown up and moved away, until a devastating phone call brings them back.”

Title: It Chapter Two 

Release date: 6 September 2019

Director: Andrés Muschietti

Cinematography: Checco Varese

Story by: Stephen King

Screenplay: Gary Dauberman

Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures

Box office: $473.1 million [vi

Budget: $79 million

5. Jaws 

With $476 million grossed in worldwide ticket sales on a production budget of 12 million, Jaws comes in at number 5 on our list of highest-grossing horror movies of all time. It was released on June 20th, 1975, and stars Roy Schneider, Robert Shaw, and Richard Dreyfuss. Despite its poor opening weekend total of only $7.8 million, Jaws recovered to rally a total of $476 million. 

Plot Summary

“A police chief, a marine scientist, and a fisherman spring into action after a white shark terrorizes the inhabitants of Amity, a quiet island.”

Title: Jaws 

Release date: 20 June 1975 

Director: Steven Spielberg

Cinematography: Owen Roizman

Story by: Peter Benchley, 

Edited by: Verna Fields

Screenplay: Peter Benchley, Carl Gottlieb

Distributed by: Universal Pictures

Box office: $476.5 million [iii] 

Budget: $12 million

4. World War Z

The 4th highest-grossing horror movie of all time is World War Z, with total worldwide ticket sales of $540 million on a production budget of $190 million. It was released on June 21st, 2013, and stars Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, and Daniela Kertesz. It had an opening weekend box office of $66.4 million. 

Plot Summary

“Gerry, a former United Nations employee, unexpectedly finds himself in a race against time as he investigates a threatening virus that turns humans into zombies.”

Title: World War Z

Release date: 21 June 2013

Director: Marc Forster

Cinematography: Ben Seresin

Story by: Matthew Michael Carnahan, J. Michael Straczynski

Screenplay: Matthew Michael Carnahan, Damon Lindelof, Drew Goddard

Distributed by: Paramount Pictures

Box office: $540.5 million [vi

Budget: $190–269 million

Here comes the top three highest-grossing horror movies of all time, any guesses?

3. I Am Legend 

With a global box office gross of over $585 million on a production budget of $150 million, I Am Legend is the third highest-grossing horror movie of all time. It was released on December 14, 2007, and stars Will Smith and Alice Brega. I Am Legend had an opening weekend gross of $77 million. 

Plot Summary

“Robert Neville, a scientist, is the last human survivor of a plague in the whole of New York. He attempts to find a way to reverse the effects of the man-made virus by using his own immune blood.”

Title: I Am Legend

Release date: 14 December 2007

Director: Francis Lawrence

Cinematography: Andrew Lesnie

Story by: Matthew Michael Carnahan, J. Michael Straczynski

Screenplay: Mark Protosevich, Akiva Goldsman

Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures

Box office: $585.4 million [vi

Budget: $150 million

2. The Sixth Sense

Number two is The Sixth Sense. It had worldwide ticket sales of $672 million on a production budget of only $40 million it was released on September 6, 1999, and stars Bruce Willis and Haley Joel Osment with an opening weekend of just about $50 million. I see dead people!…

Plot Summary

“Malcolm Crowe, a child psychologist, starts treating a young boy who acts as a medium of communication between the former and a slew of unhappy spirits.”

Title: The Sixth Sense

Release date: 6 September 1999

Director: M. Night Shyamalan

Cinematography: Tak Fujimoto

Story by: M. Night Shyamalan

Screenplay: M. Night Shyamalan

Distributed by: Buena Vista Pictures Distribution

Box office: $672.8 million [vi

Budget: $40–55 million

1. It

The number one highest-grossing horror movie of all time is “It” Released on September 8, 2017, It has grossed a total of $700 million in worldwide ticket sales. It had a production budget of only $40 million! Directed by Andrés Muschietti, It stars 

Bill Skarsgård, Jaeden Martell, and Finn Wolfhard with an opening weekend gross of $190 million.

Plot Summary

“Seven helpless and bullied children are forced to face their worst nightmares when Pennywise, a shape-shifting clown, reappears. The clown, an ancient evil torments children before feeding on them.”

Title: It

Release date: 8 September 2017

Director: Andrés Muschietti

Cinematography: Chung-hoon Chung

Story by: Stephen King

Screenplay: Chase Palmer, Cary Fukunaga, Gary Dauberman

Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures

Box office: $701.8 million [vi

Budget: $40 million

Conclusion

Those are the top 10 highest-grossing horror movies of all time based on worldwide ticket sales. The figures and values provided above were not adjusted for inflation. All data is current as of 1 November 2022. Happy Halloween!