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Top Grossing Pirate Movies

Updated on June 29, 2013

Yo Ho Ho!

ARRRRGH! Who doesn’t love pirates? Obviously people are willing to part with their hard-earned cash to be entertained by swashbucklers, since the movies on this list have earned a combined total of well over a billion dollars at the box office.

This list covers pirate movies from 1980 to June 2013. These are not my favorite pirate movies, but these are the ones that made the most money during their box office run.

1. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest

The Pirates of the Caribbean:  The Curse of the Black Pearl was so successful it inspired a sequel, Pirates of the Caribbean:  Dead Man’s Chest, which was released on July 7, 2006 and picked up a staggering $135.6 million.  The film won an Oscar for Best Achievement in Visual Effects and was nominated for Best Achievement in Art Direction, Best Achievement in Sound Mixing, and Best Achievement in Sound Editing.  The love was also shared at the MTV Movie Awards where Johnny Depp won Best Performance and the film took home Best Movie.  In addition, Keira Knightley was nominated for Best Performance, while Bill Nighy was nominated for Best Villain.  Gore Verbinski directed the hit while Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio penned the script.  The film made over $423 million during its run in theaters.

2. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End

Gore Verbinski and friends struck again on May 25, 2007 when Pirates of the Caribbean:  At World’s End swept into theaters to the tune of $114.7 million opening weekend.  It went on to earn more than $309 at the box office.  The Academy Awards recognized the Makeup and the Visual Effects with Oscar nominations.   Johnny Depp was once again honored with an MTV Movie Award for Best Comedic Performance for his portrayal of Captain Jack Sparrow.  The film received a Best Movie nomination, and Keira Knightley was nominated for Best Female Performance.  Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio once again authored the script.

3. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

On July 9, 2003, the world’s fascination with nomadic seamen plundering booty and hanging out with parrots was renewed with the release of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. It quickly earned over $46 million and $305 million total. Everyone was introduced to Captain Jack Sparrow, as brilliantly portrayed by Johnny Depp. He was nominated for his first Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role, and won an MTV Movie Award for Best Male Performance and was nominated for Best Comedic Performance. The Black Pearl was nominated for four additional Academy Awards: Best Makeup, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Visual Effects. The MTV Movie Awards also honored the film with nominations for: Best Movie, Best On-Screen Team (Orlando Bloom & Johnny Depp), Best Villain (Geoffrey Rush), and Breakthrough Female Performance (Keira Knightley). Gore Verbinski directed the film while Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio, Stuart Beattie, and Jay Wolpert are credited with its screen story, with Elliott and Rossio helming the screenplay.

4. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Johnny Depp once again donned his famous eye-liner to become Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean: on Stranger Tides which was released in theaters on May 20, 2011. With Gore Verbinski’s exit, the film was directed by Rob Marshall and earned over $90 million its first weekend—almost twice the opening of the original. Even with the departure of Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley, the fourth installment of the Pirates franchise garnered more than $241 million as it cruised through theaters. Despite all the cast and crew shake-ups, Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio returned to pen the latest adventure.

5. Hook

For some it’s a beloved movie from childhood, for others, it’s far from the best tale about Peter Pan, the boy who refused to grow up. No matter what personal feelings there are, Hook scooped up over $13.5 million in its opening weekend starting December 11, 1991. The film went on to gross over $119 million while in theaters. Based on the characters created by J.M. Barrie, James V. Hart and Nick Castle developed the screen story, and Hart and Malia Scotch Marmo wrote the screenplay. Hook was nominated for five Academy Awards for: Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Best Costume Design, Best Visual Effects, Best Makeup, and Best Original Song for “When You’re Alone.” Unfortunately, Julia Roberts was nominated for a Razzie for Worst Supporting Actress for her turn as Tinkerbell. Hook was directed by Steven Spielberg.

6. The Goonies

A timeless classic, The Goonies, was released on June 7, 1985 and pulled in a respectable $9.1 million. That figure quickly ballooned to over $61 million during its theatrical run. Interestingly, Richard Donner directed the film, while two of his famous colleagues created the script. Steven Spielberg is credited with coming up with the story, while Chris Columbus scribed the screenplay. Many of the primarily-kid cast were nominated for Young Artist Awards including Martha Plimpton (Stef), Corey Feldman (Mouth) and Jeff Cohen (Chunk). The movie also picked up a nomination and Sean Astin won for Best Starring Performance by a Young Actor-Motion Picture.


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    • Megavitamin profile image

      Megavitamin 7 years ago

      Kosmo, you should definitely see the first Pirates movie. It's the best of the series (so far). Thanks for the suggestion!

      Sandyspider, I LOVE Johnny too! Thanks for the comment :0)

    • Sandyspider profile image

      Sandy Mertens 7 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

      Anything that Johnny Depp is in. Even some of his bad movies, I will watch. Love all his Pirate movies.

    • Kosmo profile image

      Kelley 7 years ago from California

      As incredible as it may seem, I've never seen any of those Johnny Depp pirate movies! But one of these days I'm sure I will, since I certainly enjoy the action-adventure genre. My all-time favorite pirate movie is "The Crimson Pirate," starring Burt Lancaster. Why don't you do a 20 best of all time list or something? Later!