With Transformers: The Last Knight now in theaters it’s the perfect time to look back at the top 10 most successful movies based on properties that started as toys.
To qualify for this top 10 a movie has to be based on a line of toys, be it action figures, bricks or really any game (that isn’t played on a screen). This time we’ll be looking at worldwide box office, unadjusted for ticket price inflation since it wouldn’t make much of a difference and also the toys to movies trend is relatively recent. So without further ado these are the top 10 highest grossing movies based on toys. There will be quite a bit of Transformers (generally a whole lot of Hasbro) here so better buckle up and understand that whatever I might say here is very much my opinion.
10. G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009) – $302.5 million
G.I. Joe started as a line of action figures produced by Hasbo that go back all the way to the 60’s. There was also the cartoon series that started in 1985 and then at some point 24 years later this movie that had little in common with either one. The Rise of Cobra was not a commercial success, yet Paramount still moved ahead with a sequel, which we’ll see higher on the list.
9. Battleship (2012) – $303 million
Very loosely based on the game of the same name (also known as Battleships) this movie was actually not as awful as you’d think a movie based on this property could be. Of course it’s not a great movie either, but you could say it has its good moments, with the highlight being the part where the heroes are playing a version of the game against alien ships (oh yes). Because Battleship cost $209 million and didn’t come even close to recouping that, it’s considered one of the bigger box office flops of 2012.
8. The LEGO Batman Movie (2017) – $310.9 million
This is the second animation (released in theaters) based on the toy bricks made by the Lego Group, which started manufacturing them in 1949. Today Lego is probably the most recognizable brand in the world, making or licensing toys, video games, movies and really just about anything you can imagine (that isn’t rated R, for now). Lego really is everywhere and now they even have a cinematic universe that started back in 2014 with The LEGO Movie and continued with The LEGO Batman Movie. Up next is Ninjago in September and The LEGO Movie 2 in 2019.
7. Trolls (2016) – $344.6 million
Trolls is another thing that ended up much better than probably anyone expected. Based on the very ugly dolls originally created in 1959, dolls that were nowhere near as ugly in the animation, Trolls was one of the pleasant surprises of 2016, both at the box office and critically. It was even nominated for Best Original Song at the Oscars, but did not win. A sequel is currently scheduled for April 2020.
6. G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013) – $375.7 million
A better G.I. Joe movie in every way, Retaliation made me actually want a 3rd film, and obviously that’s never going to happen because why would they make a sequel to a good movie, right? Honestly at this point it might be a little too late for another G.I. Joe movie.
5. The LEGO Movie (2014) – $469.2 million
Without a doubt the best movie in this top 10 and probably the most unexpectedly great. Who thought a Lego movie would be a good idea? Warner apparently and Phil Lord and Christ Miller made it happen. The same two Lucasfilm fired from the Han Solo movie.
4. Transformers (2007) – $709.7 million
I think it’s pretty sad that five movies in this is still the best installment. With all its many flaws it’s still a very entertaining movie and honestly after watching it in 2007 I thought there was potential for so much more and Michael Bay could only go higher from there. Well, the ones that followed did get higher numbers at the box office, but that was it. Transformers is based on a line of toys that Hasbro started making in 1984, initially with molds from other companies like Bandai.
3. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009) – $836.3 million
This is the one we try to forget.
2. Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014) – $1.104 billion
At this point you could already tell Michael Bay wanted out and this was just a paycheck, a very big paycheck that convinced him to come back despite him saying Dark of the Moon would be his last one. Remember when Age of Extinction was supposed to really be his last one? Yeah, maybe the one after The Last Knight, maybe.
1. Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011) – $1.123 billion
I feel like things got a bit better with Dark of the Moon and for me I’d say this ranks 2nd among the Transformers movies. Or maybe I’m completely wrong since I’ve only ever seen Dark of the Moon once, 6 years ago in theaters. I mean this one made the most money, so it can’t be that bad. That’s how these things work, right?
That’s it for toys, so which of these 10 movies would you say is your favorite? I’m sticking to my guns, The LEGO Movie all the way.