The 20 Biggest Summer Blockbusters Of All Time

What’s the best way to escape the summer heat? Going to the movies! Seriously. It’s dark, they’ve got the AC cranked up to subzero temperatures, and there’s all sorts of cold drinks and ice cream. What’s not to love!? With that in mind, it’s no wonder that studios save their heavy hitters for these hot ’n’ humid months, thus creating a movie sub-type all its own: The Summer Blockbuster.

  • Spider-man 2

  • Star Wars: The Phantom Menace

  • E.T.

  • Grease

  • Jaws

  • The Lion King

  • The Avengers

  • Finding Nemo

  • Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Arc

  • The Dark Knight

  • Independence Day

  • Forrest Gump

  • Ghostbusters

  • Jurassic Park

  • Star Wars: Return of the Jedi

  • Star Wars: A New Hope

  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest

  • Star Wars: The Emperor Strikes Back

  • Shrek 2

  • Batman

Steven Spielberg is widely credited for spawning the genre, with the success of Jaws in 1975. Since then, the biggest flicks and franchises of all time tend to come out around this season. Harrison Ford is arguably the Summer Blockbuster king, with lead roles in both the Star Wars and the Indiana Jones series! We’ve got superheros like Batman and Spiderman, and family friendly animation classics like Finding Nemo and The Lion King. Yup, pretty much the greatest movies of all time have a summer release date. But which one is the biggest, baddest summer blockbuster of all time? We’ve ranked the top 20 highest summer earners ever, so head up to the gallery above and catch the face off!*

[Photo: Paramount/Universal/Disney/LucasFilms]

*Note: Face/Off with Nicholas Cage and John Travolta did not make the list.