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Top 5 Grossing Dance Movies

Updated on September 30, 2014
Footloose | Source

Who Wants to Dance?

Films centered around the art of dance have been popular since the beginning of movie history. Their stories have ranged from young people chasing a dream, to the difference between ballet class and breakdance clubs, to using dance as an act of rebellion. Along the way, they’ve generated some serious revenue at the box office.

This is not a list of my personal favorites, but of the dance films that have made the most money at the box office from 1977 to October 2014. Enjoy!

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1. Magic Mike

Magic Mike, a story centered around a couple of Tampa-based male strippers, grinded its way into theaters on June 29, 2012, and was greeted by a $39 million opening. Steven Soderbergh directed a beefcake cast including Matthew McConaughey, Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, and Joe Manganiello. Guided by a script written by Reid Carolin, Magic Mike collected $113.7 million during its box office run (that’s a lot of sweaty one-dollar bills), and has a rumored sequel in the works. Channing Tatum received MTV Movie Award nominations for Best Male Performance and Best Shirtless Performance, while he and the rest of the gang (Kevin Nash, Matt Bomer, Joe Manganiello, and Adam Rodriguez) received a nod for Best Musical Moment for their rendition of “It’s Raining Men.”

2. Black Swan

Black Swan pirouetted into theaters on December 3, 2010, earning a mere $1.4 million its opening weekend. Acclaim for Natalie Portman’s portrayal of ballerina, Nina Sayers, and the buzz that it wasn’t “just another girly dance movie” helped Black Swan take in more than $106 million at the box office. Andres Heinz came up with the story and penned the screenplay with Mark Heyman and John McLaughlin. Natalie Portman took home the Best Actress statue from the Academy Awards, and the film was honored with an additional 4 nominations for Best Director (Darren Aronofsky), Best Cinematography (Matthew Libatique), Best Editing (Andrew Weisblum), and Best Picture (Mike Medavoy, Brian Oliver, Scott Franklin). Not too shabby for a little movie about the competitive world of ballet.

Saturday Night Fever
Saturday Night Fever | Source

3. Saturday Night Fever

The movie that made John Travolta a superstar, Saturday Night Fever, was released on December 16, 1977 in a mere 504 theaters. It still managed to earn $3.8 million in its opening weekend. At the 1978 Golden Globes, it was nominated in four categories: Best Motion Picture-Musical or Comedy, Best Motion Picture Actor-Musical or Comedy (John Travolta), Best Original Score-Motion Picture, and Best Original Song-Motion Picture (“How Deep Is Your Love”). John Travolta followed this up with an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role. Even though the film remained in a modest 726 theaters, it managed to garner over $94 million during its run. The screenplay is based on a magazine article by Nik Cohn entitled, “Tribal Rites of the New Saturday Night” and was adapted for the screen by Norman Wexler.

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4. Flashdance

Jennifer Beals’s iconic dance sequence to the song “Maniac” has often been imitated and parodied since the release of Flashdance on April 15, 1983. The movie picked up $4 million its opening weekend, and an overall total of $92.9 million, falling just short of the number one spot. “Flashdance…What a Feeling” won Best Original Song at the 1984 Academy Awards. The film picked up three more Oscar nominations for Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, and Best Original Song for “Maniac.”

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5. Save the Last Dance

Save the Last Dance was released in theaters on January 12, 2001 and quickly raked in over $23 million. The film was directed by Thomas Carter, and earned more than $91 million during its theatrical run. Julia Stiles and Sean Patrick Thomas won Best Kiss at the 2001 MTV Movie Awards. Sean Patrick Thomas also picked up the Breakthrough Male Performance Award, while Julia Stiles was nominated for Best Female Performance. The movie was also nominated for Best Dance Sequence.

Julia Stiles in Save The Last Dance
Julia Stiles in Save The Last Dance | Source

6. Footloose

Dean Pitchford penned the 1980’s classic, Footloose which was released on February 17, 1984. It brought in $8.5 million in the first weekend, and $80 overall. The soundtrack garnered a Grammy nomination for Best Album of Instrumental Score Written for a Motion Picture or Television Special. The music was also nominated for two Academy Awards in the Best Original Song category for “Footloose” and “Let’s Hear it for the Boy.

Channing Tatum's Wedding
Channing Tatum's Wedding | Source

7. Step Up

Duane Adler, who also wrote Save the Last Dance, penned the screenplay for Step Up with Melissa Rosenberg. Step Up opened in theaters on August 11, 2006 and picked up $20.6 million its first weekend. Its box office total was over $65 million. The film won a Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie: Dance and was also nominated for Choice Movie: Drama and Choice Movie Actor: Drama (Channing Tatum). The stars of the film, Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan were married on July 11, 2009.

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    • Megavitamin profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Katyzzz, thanks for the comment. The list is strictly based on money earned at the movie theater box office, not a list of personal favorites. To see where your favorites stand on this list, check out:

    • katyzzz profile image


      8 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      I love dance and music, how about Turning Point and Don Qixote plus Swan Lake The Nutcracker etc etc.

      I'm going to pause now and have a look at your videos


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