The 50 Highest-Grossing Horror Movies of All Time

korionov/iStock via Getty Images
korionov/iStock via Getty Images

Although horror movies aren’t usually met with the highest of critical acclaim, year after year, the big blockbuster scares come through and make some major cash. No matter how ridiculous a horror movie might be, if it seems the slightest bit scary and is backed by effective marketing, it’ll sell.

If you’re looking for a flick to get you in the mood for Halloween, here are the 50 highest-grossing horror movies of all time, according to Box Office Mojo. You can decide if they were worth the hype—and major earnings—or not.

1. It (2017)

Warner Bros.

Andy Muschietti’s adaptation of Stephen King’s It was so highly anticipated, it could’ve bombed with viewers and still would’ve made a ton of money. Thankfully, the film performed well critically, holding a solid 86 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes, and even the most die-hard King fans were impressed by it. The film earned a hefty $327,481,748.

2. The Sixth Sense (1999)

Buena Vista Pictures

One of the most iconic horror films of the 1990s, The Sixth Sense showcased a new side of Bruce Willis’s talent and shot child actor Haley Joel Osment—who earned an Oscar nomination for the role—to the top of Hollywood's A-List. The M. Night Shyamalan film, best known for its classic “I see dead people” line, earned $293,506,292.

3. The Exorcist (1973)

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

Undoubtedly one of the best horror movies of all time, William Friedkin's The Exorcist is a true classic. It went on to become the first horror movie to ever be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards, and earned $232,906,145.

4. It: Chapter Two (2019)

Warner Bros.

Two years after Andy Muschietti’s It took the top spot on this list, its sequel has been quickly working its way up since it debuted in early September. The film has made more than $195 million so far—and is still earning.

5. What Lies Beneath (2000)

Though it had the double star power of Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer, What Lies Beneath was not exactly met with critical acclaim. However, the creepiness of a haunted house never fails to bring in big audiences, and the film made a substantial $155,464,351.

6. The Blair Witch Project (1999)

Artisan Entertainment

Regarded as the movie that made the “found footage” approach so popular today, The Blair Witch Project was indeed a sleeper hit, and really drew attention to itself by listing the cast as “missing” or “deceased” during promotion. It earned $140,539,099, making it one of the most successful independent films ever.

7. The Conjuring (2013)

Michael Tackett - © 2012 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All rights reserved.

Considered one of the best horror movies of the 2010s, James Wan’s The Conjuring started a major franchise, generating popularity from the fact that the first film was rated R simply for being too scary. Marking the second time the Saw director worked with star Patrick Wilson (the first being for 2010’s Insidious), The Conjuring was an automatic success and saw $137,400,141 in earnings.

8. The Ring (2002)

DreamWorks

Gore Verbinski’s The Ring started a cultural phenomenon of passing on chain mail or else, as the Naomi Watts-led film saw her trying to figure out the mystery of a videotape which seemingly killed people if they didn’t get someone else to watch it within a week. The film spawned a 2005 sequel and a reboot in 2017. The original made $129,128,133.

9. The Nun (2018)

Martin Maguire, Warner Bros. Entertainment

One of the most highly-anticipated horror movies of 2018 was The Nun, the sixth film in The Conjuring Universe. Although the movie completely bombed with critics and fans alike, it made an impressive $117,450,119 in the U.S.

10. The Grudge (2004)

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Directed by Takashi Shimizu, the same person who wrote and directed the Japanese original, Ju-on: The Grudge (2002), The Grudge received mixed reviews. But it was a hit with horror fans simply for the creepiness of it. The film earned $110,359,362.

11. Paranormal Activity (2009)

No doubt inspired by The Blair Witch Project, Paranormal Activity started a franchise of “found footage” films, with the first movie’s trailer including “real footage” of moviegoers watching the film in theaters to see their terrified reactions. The first film earned $107,918,810.

12. Paranormal Activity 3 (2011)

Paramount Pictures

The third film in the Paranormal Activity series, which explored where it all began with the protagonist’s childhood, made almost as much as the original, coming in at $104,028,807.

13. The Conjuring 2 (2016)

The sequel to The Conjuring was nowhere near as popular as the first, but it still attracted viewers who wanted to see the continuation of real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren’s story. The film made $102,470,008.

14. Annabelle: Creation (2017)

Warner Bros. Entertainment

Another film in The Conjuring Universe, Annabelle: Creation is an origin story for the possessed Annabelle doll, and although it wasn’t met with much praise at all, it still managed to earn $102,092,201.

15. The Others (2001)

Miramax

A creepy mind-bender starring Nicole Kidman, The Others is a perfect example of how desperately audiences are looking for a genuinely scary film without special effects and with limited jump scares. The movie earned $96,522,687.

16. The Haunting (1999)

The 1959 novel The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson has been adapted for the big and small screen numerous times, with 1999's The Haunting being the most commercially successful among them. Despite the film bombing with critics (it has a 16 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes), it still brought in $91,411,151 in earnings.

17. The Amityville Horror (1979)

MGM Home Entertainment

Based on a true story, the original Amityville Horror is surprisingly still the highest-grossing in the sea of sequels, spin-offs, and remakes. It earned $86,432,000.

18. Paranormal Activity 2 (2010)

The “found footage” approach worked well the second time around, as although the third film surpassed it, the sequel still made $84,752,907.

19. Annabelle (2014)

Warner Bros. Entertainment

Fans of The Conjuring were definitely curious to find out more about Annabelle, the creepy doll briefly included in the 2012 film—curious enough to shell out $84,273,813 at the box office.

20. Insidious: Chapter 2 (2013)

The second film in the Insidious series surpassed the original, as horror fans were clearly eager to see what would happen next in James Wan’s world. The sequel made $83,586,447.

21. Poltergeist (1982)

Warner Home Entertainment

One of the most iconic horror movies to come out of the 1980s, Poltergeist spawned multiple sequels, spin-offs, and even a remake. It also inspired countless horror movies to come after—not many of which came even close to its $76,606,280 in box office receipts.

22. The Ring Two (2005)

Gemma La Man, DreamWorks Pictures

Fans of The Ring were still hooked to the deadly VHS tape and were desperate to find out what happened to Naomi Watts following the first film. The sequel didn’t do nearly as well as the first, but still managed to earn a respectable $76,231,249.

23. The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)

Bringing in a new angle to possessions and exorcisms, The Exorcism of Emily Rose showed the legal issues that come with a supernatural death. The film received modest appreciation from critics, but earned a hefty $75,072,454.

24. Annabelle Comes Home (2019)

Warner Bros. Entertainment

While the latest entry in The Conjuring Universe couldn't surpass many of its predecessors, the creepy doll storyline was still interesting enough that Annabelle Comes Home managed to scare up a total of $74,149,597 at the box office.

25. 1408 (2007)

Based on a short story by Stephen King, 1408 was a pretty divisive film, however the box office didn’t represent so. The movie, which stars John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson, earned $71,985,628.

26. Mama (2013)

George Kraychyk, Universal Pictures

Andy Muschietti’s third film on the list is Mama, which wasn’t exactly met with critical acclaim, but had a creepy enough story and big-name stars Jessica Chastain and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau to sell. The film earned $71,628,180.

27. Insidious: The Last Key (2018)

The fourth time proved to be yet another charm for the Insidious series, with the fourth and most recent installment collecting $67,745,330 at the box office—an impressive amount that managed to out-earn both the original 2011 film and its third installment.

28. Lights Out (2016)

Warner Bros. Entertainment

Supernatural entities tormenting generations of family members seem to be a staple story of today's horror genre, and David Sandberg's Lights Out—which earned $67,268,835 and holds an impressive 86 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes—is yet another example of the haunted house subgenre.

29. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019)

Oscar-winning horror legend Guillermo del Toro produced and helped develop the story for this adaptation of Alvin Schwartz's best-selling horror series for kids. The film earned $66,962,903 nationwide.

30. The Final Destination (2009)

Warner Home Video

The grim reaper struck box office gold yet again with the fourth (but still not the final) installment in the Final Destination series. With a haul of $66,477,700, 2009's The Final Destination is the franchise's biggest box office hit

31. The Amityville Horror (2005)

Before Ryan Reynolds became "Ryan Reynolds," he starred in this poorly received remake of the 1979 original. Though it holds a 23 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes, it still managed to take in $65,233,369 at the box office.

32. The Omen (1976)

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Richard Donner's satanic kid flick boasted an all-star cast that included Gregory Peck and Lee Remick, which led to an impressive haul of $60,922,98. It also ruined "Damien" as a kid's name.

33. White Noise (2005)

Michael Keaton took a surprising dive into the world of horror with Geoffrey Sax's White Noise, the story of a bereaved widower who is drawn into a mysterious world of paranormal investigation when he is led to believe that is wife is trying to communicate with him from beyond. The movie made a solid $56,386,759.

34. The Haunting In Connecticut (2009)

Lionsgate

This 2009 film, which is purportedly based on a true story, sees a family move into a new home, which used to operate as a mortuary, in order to be closer to the cancer hospital where their teenage son has been undergoing treatment. But the house's past catches up to the family and, as is so often the case in a movie like this, all hell breaks loose. The movie earned $55,389,516.

35. THE CURSE OF LA LLORONA (2019)

Michael Chaves directed this sixth installment in The Conjuring series, which was released as The Curse of the Weeping Woman in some markets. After making its debut at SXSW in 2019, the film went on to earn $54,733,739 at the American box office (despite largely mixed reviews).

36. The Omen (2006)

In 2006, John Moore took on the rather unenviable task of re-creating Richard Donner's classic devil-of-a-kid movie. While the effort was valiant, neither the film—nor its box office earnings—couldn't compete with the original. It made $54,607,383 at the box office.

37. The Woman in Black (2012)

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Daniel Radcliffe proved his post-Harry Potter power in this well-received supernatural thriller based on Susan Hill's 1983 novel. Radcliffe plays a grieving widower in Edwardian London who is sent to a remote country village to attend to the affairs of a local eccentric. The film earned $54,333,290 in the U.S.

38. Evil Dead (2013)

This 2013 remake may have been missing much of the fun spirit of Sam Raimi's original 1981 cult classic, but it still collected $54,239,856 in ticket sales.

39. Final Destination 3 (2006)

The third film in the Final Destination saga, which takes place five years after the original film and sees death coming for Mary Elizabeth Winstead and her friends, out-earned the original film, but not by much: $54,098,051 vs. $53,331,147.

40. Insidious (2011)

FilmDistrict

The original film in the Insidious series, directed by James Wan and starring Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne, kicked the franchise off to a profitable start with its $13,271,464—enough of a profit (not to mention the critical acclaim) to spawn three additional films.

41. Paranormal Activity 4 (2012)

With a box office haul of $53,900,335, the fourth film in the Paranormal Activity series also happens to be its fourth most profitable film (two more movies followed).

42. Final Destination (2000)

Though it may seem counter-intuitive that a film with "Final" in the title would kick off a horror franchise, this surprise 2000 hit—which sees Devon Sawa narrowly escape death, only to have death try to finish the job—made $53,331,147 and kicked off a five-film franchise.

43. THE DEVIL INSIDE (2012)

Paramount Home Entertainment

Just as box office insiders worried that the found footage genre had met its own end, William Brent Bell's The Devil Inside—in which a daughter uses an exorcism to get to the truth about why her mother is locked away in a hospital—managed to take the top spot at the box office during its first week in release and earn a total of $53,261,944.

44. Insidious: Chapter 3 (2015)

Leigh Whannell wrote and directed the third film in the Insidious series, which worked as a prequel to the original two films. The film cleaned up, earning $52,218,558.

45. Ouija (2014)

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

A young woman learns about the evil powers contained within a Ouija board in this 2014 supernatural thriller, which—despite poor reviews—earned more than $103 million worldwide on a $5 million budget ($50,856,010 in the U.S.). That box office success led to 2016's Ouija: Origin of Evil, which worked as a prequel.

46. STIGMATA (1999)

Oscar winner Patricia Arquette plays a Pittsburgh hairdresser with no religious beliefs ... until she starts speaking in tongues, being attacked by unseen forces, and being affected by stigmata. Though the 1999 film was panned by critics, it has managed to out-earn many of the horror films that have come in its wake with its $50,046,268 take.

47. THE POSSESSION (2012)

Reportedly based on a true story, The Possession tells the story of a young girl who becomes fixated on a wooden box she found at yard sale—a box that, it turns out, was built to contain an evil spirit. The film wasn't a hit with critics (it has a 39 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes), but it did earn $49,130,154.

48. Sinister (2012)

Summit Entertainment

Scott Derrickson, who would go on to become a part of the Marvel Universe with Doctor Strange (and its upcoming sequel), co-wrote and directed this tale of true crime writer Ellison Oswalt (Ethan Hawke) dealing with a 10-year-long bout of writer's block. His solution? Move his family into a new home, whose previous owners were murdered in an unsolved case that Oswalt hopes to make the basis for his next book, without telling his family about the home's past. Never a good idea. The movie earned a total of $48,086,903.

49. The Skeleton Key (2005)

In the midst of her run as rom-com queen of the 2000s, Kate Hudson took a detour in the horror genre with The Skeleton Key, which saw her leaving her job as a hospice nurse to care for an elderly couple (played by Gena Rowlands and John Hurt) in New Orleans, whose house—she begins to discover—is full of dark secrets.

50. Poltergeist (2015)

This remake of the Steven Spielberg-produced horror classic didn't make much of an impact on moviegoers when it landed in theaters in 2015, but it drummed up enough in U.S. ticket sales ($47,425,125) to land the last spot on this list.

11 of Our Favorite Horror Books

Penguin/Image Comics/Amazon
Penguin/Image Comics/Amazon

We’re firmly in that time of year when the air is colder, the nights are longer, and the books in our to-read pile are getting scarier. Cracking open a horror book in your comfiest chair is one of the best ways to embrace the Halloween season, and at Mental Floss, we’ve got plenty of suggestions for your next title. From genre classics that should be on everyone’s list to a few offbeat entries—including a must-read comic starring a spectacularly creepy ice cream man—here are our favorite horror books you should pick up.

1. The Penguin Book of Exorcisms // Joseph P. Laycock; $16-17

Penguin/Amazon

What better way to embrace spooky season than with this collection, which features real-life accounts of exorcisms from around the globe? When you're done, crack open The Penguin Book of Witches and The Penguin Book of Ghost Stories, which will also send shivers up your spine. —Erin McCarthy, Editor-in-Chief

Buy it: Bookshop, Amazon

2. The Witches // Stacy Schiff; $15-$17

Back Bay Books/Amazon

Few things are scarier than actual history, as Stacy Schiff's painstakingly researched and beautifully written account of the Salem Witch Trials—which began in 1692 and ended less than a year later, with 25 people dead—shows. —E.M.

Buy it: Bookshop, Amazon

3. The Haunting of Hill House // Shirley Jackson; $9-$15

Penguin/Amazon

Often described as one of the scariest books ever, Shirley Jackson's tale of four paranormal investigators who set up shop in a haunted house will fill you with creeping dread, making it the most perfect of reads for this time of year. At around 200 pages, it's a quick read—and when you're done, you can fire up one of the novel's TV and film adaptations to keep the creepiness going. —E.M.

Buy it: Bookshop, Amazon

4. Horrorstör // Grady Hendrix; $13-$14

Quirk Books/Amazon

If you’ve ever panicked while traversing the mazelike layout of your local IKEA, Horrorstör will be all too relatable. In this book, Orsk, a Swedish furniture store in Cleveland, Ohio, is the scene of some very paranormal activity, which spurs a handful of employees to brave an overnight shift to find out the origins of these malevolent spirits. It’s the perfect read for anyone who’s ever thought their 9-to-5 was quite literally out to get them. —Jay Serafino, Special Projects Editor

Buy it: Bookshop, Amazon

5. Blood Meridian // Cormac McCarthy; $10-$16

Vintage/Amazon

Awash in gruesome imagery and some of the most disturbing acts of violence ever put on the page, Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian isn’t a horror tale of the jump-scare variety. Instead, it achieves pure terror by examining man’s hateful, vengeful nature under the guise of a Western. —J.S.

Buy it: Bookshop, Amazon

6. Ice Cream Man // W. Maxwell Prince, Martin Morazzo, Chris O'Halloran; $15-$17

Image Comics

The spirit of EC Comics and its lurid horror anthology titles lives on in Image’s Ice Cream Man. With his sharp white uniform and truck full of sweets, the titular ice cream peddler meddles in the lives of others, often with terrifying results. —Jake Rossen, Senior Staff Writer

Buy it: Bookshop, Amazon

7. The Ruins // Scott Smith; $14-$16

Vintage

Tourism takes a horrific turn in this unsettling potboiler about a group of American tourists who find that an ancient Mayan site isn’t too welcoming to visitors—and neither are the acidic vines that singe both skin and soul. —J.R.

Buy it: Bookshop, Amazon

8. Cujo // Stephen King; $15-$17

Gallery Books/Amazon

Published in 1981, this New York Times bestseller is not for the animal lovers out there. It starts in the town of Castle Rock, Maine, which becomes terrorized by a once-friendly Saint Bernard. While this is all happening, the Trenton family moves into the seemingly idyllic town only to realize it isn't as lovely as it appears. Parents Vic and Donna are having marriage issues, and their son Tad can't sleep due to the terrors coming from his closet. Little do they know that the real monster is waiting for them outside. —Elaine Selna, Commerce Writer

Buy it: Bookshop, Amazon

9. Ring // Koji Suzuki; Prices vary

Vertical/Amazon

Before the Japanese horror movie and the American remake, Ring was a bestselling novel. Published in Japan in 1991, the book turned the VCR into an instrument of terror at the height of its popularity. There are major differences between the original story and its screen adaptations, but the basic plot should be familiar to any horror fan: After watching a cursed video tape, the main character has seven days to solve the tape's mystery and escape death. —Michele Debczak, Senior Staff Writer

Buy it: Amazon

10. Let the Right One In // John Ajvide Lindqvist; $14-$18

St. Martin's Griffin/Amazon

John Ajvide Lindqvist’s 2004 Swedish novel chronicles the friendship of a young boy named Oskar and his enigmatic new friend, Eli, who happens to be a very old vampire. Let the Right One In has all the trappings of a grade-A horror story—bloodlust, mystery, plot twists, etc.—set against a backdrop of real-world issues, from bullying to alcoholism. The protagonists may be children, but the adult themes of this novel gear it towards older readers. —Ellen Gutoskey, Staff Writer

Buy it: Bookshop, Amazon

11. Carrie // Stephen King; $7-$14

Anchor/Amazon

King's debut novel from 1974 still ranks among his best. It revolves around a teenage outcast named Carrie White who gets bullied at school and has to deal with an abusive mother at home. Any hope she has of fitting in is soon dashed as she begins developing strange telekinetic abilities. —E.S.

Buy it: Bookshop, Amazon

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15 Extremely Valuable Funko Pop! Figures That Might Be Hiding In Your Collection

In the 1990s, collectors salivated over Beanie Babies. In the 2000s, it was Pokemon. Today, the collectibles market is dominated by Funko Pops!, the ubiquitous vinyl figures that turn pop culture characters into block-headed, saucer-eyed cute bombs.

While Funko has a deep bench of licenses, many figures are exclusive to retailers, available for a limited time, or are otherwise hard to find. After perusing recent auction sales and Funko online price guides, we’ve excavated a few figures that are being bought and sold for stacks of cash larger than the toys themselves—and could be hiding in your very own collection. Take a look at 15 of the most sought after and valuable Funko Pop! figures that could net you a small fortune on the secondary market.

1. Ghost Rider Metallic Freddy Funko // $4210

The spirit of vengeance was unleashed as an ultra-exclusive variant edition that's a mash-up of the Marvel hero with Funko mascot Freddy Funko. Released in 2013, it was limited to just 12 figures. As a result, it’s a high-ticket item. The Pop Price Guide, which tracks Funko Pop! values and sales, estimates it at $4210.

2. She-Ra // $690

Funko

The warrior princess of the 1980s Masters of the Universe spin-off cartoon made a splash in 2013. The figure wasn’t a limited edition, but so many fans snapped her up that she’s hard to find.

3. Mike Wazowski Glow-in-the-Dark // $1960

The jolly green creature from 2001’s Monsters, Inc. was available in a limited glow-in-the-dark edition beginning in 2011, but collectors had to go on a scavenger hunt—only 480 were produced.

4. Reggae Rasta // $1200

Walmart

This Bob Marley-inspired figure has been sought after by collectors for sporting a limited-edition green outfit instead of the multi-colored one in the image seen above. That regular version sells for around $400.

5. Holographic Darth Maul // $5070

The horned villain from The Phantom Menace, 1999’s Star Wars prequel, got the glow-in-the-dark treatment from Funko in 2012. San Diego Comic-Con attendees had first crack at the variant, which was limited to 480 figures.

6. Master Chief // $650

Funko

The hero of the Halo 4 video game was a Blockbuster Video exclusive and commands $650 on the open market.

7. Ken Griffey Jr. Bronze // $3150

One of Major League Baseball’s most celebrated players got the Pop! treatment in 2018, with just 24 gold-finish variants made for fans at Seattle's Safeco Field (which was renamed T-Mobile Park in late 2018). The current market value is $3150.

8. Headless Ned Stark // $980

Funko

One of the most tragic and unexpected deaths on Game of Thrones was immortalized in this 2013 San Diego Comic-Con exclusive, which features the head of the Stark family and his detachable melon. The Pop Price Guide has valued Stark at $980.

9. Black Ranger Freddy Funko // $1850

This hybrid of Funko mascot Freddy Funko and the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers was limited to fans attending the Funko Fundays event at 2017's San Diego Comic-Con. Only 24 were produced, which is why they’re extremely difficult to find, even on auction sites.

10. The Notorious B.I.G. Metallic // $1930

Funko

The late rap headliner got the deluxe treatment in 2011, with a metallic coat and hat version that was limited to 240 pieces. (The regular version is pictured.) Its listed value is $1930.

11. Batman Blue Metallic // $1400

The Dark Knight is looking a little more ostentatious in this 2010 San Diego Comic-Con offering, with a shiny blue cowl and accessories.

12. 1970s Elvis Presley Glow-in-the-Dark // $2170

Funko

A 1970s-era Elvis (above) comes in a special glow-in-the-dark version that has an estimated value of $2170. Another limited chase figure that depicts him at the height of his powers in the 1950s will run you as much as $1700.

13. Clown Dumbo // $5900

The ear-shaming of Disney’s 1941 animated classic Dumbo continues to strike a chord with people. The 2013 edition of Dumbo in clown make-up was limited to 48 pieces for San Diego Comic-Con attendees.

14. Planet Arlia Vegeta // $3500

Funko

The flame-haired Vegeta from Dragon Ball Z was exclusive to fans at the 2014 New York Comic Con and the Toy Tokyo store in New York City.

15. Bob’s Big Boy // $850

This iconic advertising character was a San Diego Comic Con exclusive in 2016. Only 1000 were made.

This story was updated in 2020.