'Jaws' - 1975
The movie that started it all.
1975's "Jaws", directed by Steven Spielberg, is widely credited with cementing the concept of the summer blockbuster.
With lines literally wrapping around the block at theatres around the world, the film broke box office records and has brought in $260 million in the nearly 50 years since its release.
'Star Wars' - 1977
if "Jaws" invented the summer blockbuster, then George Lucas' "Star Wars" took it to new heights.
Spawning one of the biggest and most beloved movie franchises of all time, the 1977 original starring Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford completely changed the game for big budget Hollywood entertainment, and earned over $300 million at the box office.
'Grease' - 1978
Based on the hit stage musical, "Grease", starring Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta, caused a sensation at the summer box office in 1978, capitalizing on a wave of '50s nostalgia, great performances by a more-than-slightly-too-old cast and a soundtrack of impossibly catchy tunes, all to the tune of nearly $160 million in ticket sales.
'E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial' - 1982
Steven Spielberg was back on top of the box office again in the summer of 1982, winning over families around the world with his exciting and emotional story of a boy and an alien from outer space in "E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial".
The film has earned nearly $360 million at the box office.
'Top Gun' - 1986
In 1986, Tom Cruise conquered the summer movie season, starring in Tony Scott's action-packed drama "Top Gun", about an elite fighter pilot school.
Grossing over $170 million at the box office, the film is finally getting a long-awaited sequel this summer with "Top Gun: Maverick".
'Beverly Hills Cop II' - 1987
Eddie Murphy was king of the box office in the summer of 1987 with his sequel "Beverly Hills Cop II", from "Top Gun" director Tony Scott.
Grossing over $150 million, the action comedy brought in fans eager to see Detective Axel Foley's next adventure.
'Batman' - 1989
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In 1989, director Tim Burton completely changed the game when it came to superhero movies with "Batman", starring Michael Keaton in the title role, facing off against Jack Nicholson's Joker.
On top of the $250 million the movie made at the box office that summer, it also inspired endless amounts merchandise and toys, along with sequels.
'Ghost' - 1990
Romantic drama's may not be blockbuster behemoths anymore, but in the summer of 1990, the movie to beat was "Ghost", starring Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore and Whoopi Goldberg.
Most famous for its sensual pottery scene set to the Righteous Brothers' "Unchained Melody", the movie made nearly $220 million at the box office.
'Terminator 2: Judgment Day' - 1991
In 1991, James Cameron followed up his Arnold Schwarzenegger hit "The Terminator" with a sequel that did everything bigger and better.
With incredible action sequences, cutting edge visual effects and an emotional story, "Terminator 2: Judgement Day" scored $200 at the box office and cemented itself as blockbuster movie classic.
'Jurassic Park' - 1993
Rarely one to rest on his laurels, Steven Spielberg proved why he was the summer blockbuster in 1993 with the groundbreaking horror-adventure movie "Jurassic Park", which brought dinosaurs back to life on the big-screen using state-of-the-art animatronics and bleeding edge computer animation.
Between its original release and subsequent re-releases, "Jurassic Park" has earned an amazing $978 million worldwide over the last 30 years.
'The Lion King' - 1994
Photo: Walt Disney Co./courtesy Everett Collection
The Disney Animation renaissance of the '90s reached its apex in the summer of 1994 with the release of the epic "The Lion King".
Inspired by William Shakespeare's Hamlet, the story of a young lion who must claim his destiny as king the pride lands became a runaway blockbuster success, earning nearly $860 million at the box office in the decades since its release.
'Independence Day' - 1996
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There's nothing like some epic scale destruction to bring in audiences.
In 1996, Roland Emmerich's "Independence Day" grossing $306 million, bringing in audiences excited to watch massive alien invasion of Earth, with Will Smith saving the day.
'Men In Black' - 1997
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Will Smith was back on top of the box office in the summer of 1997 with the sci-fi action-comedy "Men in Black", co-starring Tommy Lee Jones.
The film, about a secret government organization tasked with protecting Earth from extra-terrestrials, brought in $250 million at the box office and spawned a series of sequels.
'Armageddon' - 1998
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Asteroids heading toward Earth and promising total extinction was all the rage in 1998, and Michael Bay's "Armageddon" was right there to scoop up the box office prize, becoming that summer's biggest blockbuster and earning over $550 million worldwide.
'Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace' - 1999
20 years after redefining the summer blockbuster, George Lucas revived his most famous franchise with the prequel "Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace", which took the Skywalker saga back to its origins with a young Anakin Skywalker, who would grow up to become the evil Darth Vader.
Fans, who had been anticipating the film for decades, lined up for weeks in some cases to be the first to see it, helping bring its box office total to $924 million worldwide.
'Shrek' - 2001
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An animated satire featuring Mike Myers as an ogre and Eddie Murphy as a donkey may have seemed out-of-left-field, but in the summer of 2001, "Shrek" became the biggest blockbuster around, grossing over $480 million worldwide.
Along with kicking off a series of sequels and spin-offs, the movie also cemented Dreamworks Animation as a family movie powerhouse.
'Spider-Man' - 2002
The new era of the superhero movie went into full swing, literally, in the summer of 2002, with the release of Sam Raimi's classic "Spider-Man", starring Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst.
Along with breaking the record for biggest opening weekend, the film managed to earn a huge $820 million at the box office, spawning two direct sequels, and inspiring a slew of superhero movies.
'Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest' - 2006
In the summer of 2003, fans were clamouring for more Jack Sparrow.
While the first film in the series was a big success in its own right, the sequel "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" blew it out of the water with both its epic scale and over $1 billion at the box office.
'The Dark Knight' - 2008
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After successfully rebooting the Batman franchise with "Batman Begins" in 2005, director Christopher Nolan took things to another level with "The Dark Knight". Earning critical acclaim and a posthumous Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for Heath Ledger's turn as the Joker, the film became 2008's undisputed summer movie champion, earning over $1 billion in the process.
'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2' - 2011
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10 years after launching the movie franchise, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" brought the series to a close in epic fashion, easily becoming 2011's movie of the summer.
Fans around the world packed movie theatres to witness Harry defeat Voldemort, helping the movie gross over $1.3 billion worldwide.
'The Avengers' - 2012
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Marvel's first teamup movie proved once and for all that superhero movies were no joke.
2012's "The Avengers" brought together characters like Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hulk and more to massive success and over $1.5 billion at the box office.
'Jurassic World' - 2015
Over 20 years after Steven Spielberg's groundbreaking "Jurassic Park", the franchise was revived with a whole new epic scope for "Jurassic World".
Led by Chris Pratt, the film earned nearly $1.7 billion at the box office, becoming the biggest movie of summer 2015, and spawning two more sequels, including this summer's conclusion, "Jurassic World Dominion".
'Wonder Woman' - 2017
Superhero movies had already come to dominate the box office landscape, but in 2017, director Patty Jenkins and star Gal Gadot proved that women also have what it takes.
"Wonder Woman" was that summer's biggest blockbuster, earning over $820 million worldwide and introducing legions of new fans to the classic DC superhero.
'The Lion King' - 2019
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Lightning really did strike twice at the summer box office when Disney released the computer animated remake of "The Lion King" in 2019.
With hyper-realistic visuals, and an all new voice cast, the movies grossed a jaw-dropping $1.6 billion at the box office, dwarfing the original.
'Black Widow' - 2021
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After the pandemic all but shut things down in 2020, the summer box office started coming back to life in 2021 with the release of Marvel's "Black Widow", which became the biggest movie of the season and earned a respectable $380 million worldwide, setting the stage for the true return of the summer blockbuster in 2022.