Before we venture into the list of movies that distinguished Leonardo DiCaprio as an actor to have started some of the highest-grossing movies in history, let’s get to know DiCaprio a little bit.
Leonardo DiCaprio’s highest-grossing record did not begin with his recent acts. His first Oscar nomination was way back in 1993 for the role he played in a movie titled “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape“. Even though he had become a reputable figure in Hollywood, it wasn’t until his role in James Cameron’s Phenomenal movie that DiCaprio became an international sensation and superstar.
The Journey of Leonardo DiCaprio to the Highest-Grossing Movies
Leonardo Wilhelm DiCaprio was born on November 11, 1974, in Los Angeles, California, to Irmelin and George DiCaprio. When he was just a toddler, his parents split up, which left DiCaprio in the care of his mother, a German-born legal secretary. Despite his parents ‘ early divorce, DiCaprio stayed close to his father, a comic book artist, and distributor. DiCaprio pursued his artistic side at his parents’ advice, acquiring an early interest in acting.
DiCaprio’s journey began at a very early age of five, taking after his father who was also a comic writer and distributor. He had made numerous appearances in commercials and educational films. He took his first step into the world of acting in the early 1900s, where he featured in television shows like “The New Lassie” and “Roseanne”. In a contest with about 400 other actors, Leonardo was awarded the role for acting alongside Robert De Niro in a high-grossing movie title “in This Boy’s Life” in 1993.
This was just the first step up the ladder of High grossing movies by Robert DiCaprio. He was welcomed with an Academy Award nomination for the best supporting actor for his phenomenal representation of a teenager with a learning disability in the movie Gilbert Grape, 1993. DiCaprio would then play some more roles in other movies in the mid-90s before hitting the jackpot with a role he played as Romeo.
After appearing in Baz Luhrmann’s contemporary adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic love story, “Romeo and Juliet,” in 1996, he became a teen’s favorite. With the release of James Cameron’s blockbuster Titanic in 1997, DiCaprio became an international sensation. Titanic was one of the highest-grossing movies of all time because of its excellent looks and moving depiction of Jack Dawson, a destitute artist who falls in love with an upper-class passenger (played by Kate Winslet).
#1. Romeo and Juliet ($46.35Million)
Although Leonardo had the looks that would make him the lead role in romantic & Drama movies like Romeo and Juliet, he has had to demonstrate that it took more than good looks to make a great actor. You may call it a gift, but on the contrary, to attain such a reputation of being the most sort-after actor who leads a movie not just to the top of the charts. His remarkable performances in his roles contribute immensely to the success of the movies he’s featured in.
Leonardo is the ticket to the high grossing movies in the industry today, with his ability to portray complex characters in some of the most mind-boggling psychological thrillers. Baz Luhrmann, director of the movie, was amazed by Leonardo’s audition for the role.
“When I saw Leonardo I thought, god, that’s how he should look but can he act?” Luhrmann said during a recent appearance on iHeartRadio.
The traditional Romeo and Juliet narrative is reimagined in the modern-day metropolis of Verona Beach. Two fighting families, the Montagues and Capulets, have children who meet and fall in love. Because they know their parents would not allow them to be together, they must hide their love from the rest of the world. Obstacles abound, including Juliet’s cousin Tybalt and Romeo’s buddy Mercutio, as well as several conflicts. Even though it is set in current times, the narrative of the “star-crossed lovers” remains ageless.
#2. The Man in the Iron Mask ($56.97Million)
One of DiCaprio’s most challenging roles is the dualist role he plays in “The man in the Iron Mask“. DiCaprio portrays both the dictatorial King Louis XIV, who dominates France with an iron fist and his twin brother Philippe, who languishes in jail behind an iron mask, his identity hidden to prevent Louis’ kingdom from being overthrown. The picture came in second place after Titanic which was the highest-grossing movie at the time, another Leonardo DiCaprio blockbuster, with $17 million in its opening weekend.
The movie’s story goes like this: The people of Paris are hungry, but King Louis XIV (Leonardo) of France is more concerned with money and bedding women. Aramis, Athos, and Porthos come together to replace the king after a young soldier dies for the sake of a prostitute. Hidden from many, there is a second monarch, a twin (also played by Leonardo) who was imprisoned for 6 years under an iron mask after being concealed at birth.
Although the movie was a blockbuster, critics were not so happy with the movie, neither were they pleased with DiCaprio’s performance. Some thought Dicaprio was not fit for the role, depicting him as an actor who should feature in love-drama and charming prince roles. One particular critic noted that Dicaprio was more suited for the “pure-hearted, right-thinking Philippe, the king’s twin brother”.
#3. Blood Diamond ($57.37Million)
With an opening weekend sale of $8,648,324 million, Blood diamond was off to a good start in the Box office. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio; who plays Danny Archer, as the lead actor alongside Djimon Hounsou; playing Solomon Vandy, the two make a formidable pair in bringing this movie to our list of high grossing movies.
Blood Diamond, a gripping thriller about the chase of a valuable gem in war-torn Sierra Leone, earned DiCaprio his third Academy Award nomination. Sierra Leone was the setting of choice to carry out the captivating and eye-opening plot laid out in this grossing movie.
DiCaprio plays the character of Danny, who stumbles upon information about a large piece of Diamond and intends to manipulate his way into a piece of it. Danny will assist Solomon in his search for his family… as well as a buyer for the diamond. On the other hand, Danny is compelled to acquire moral lessons not just because of his connection with Solomon, but also because of a new acquaintance with Maddy, a U.S. reporter (Jennifer Connelly).
Despite her suspicions of Danny, she is interested in the narrative he can tell her about the ins and outs of the illicit guns and diamond trade. Maddy’s work in Sierra Leone and other war zones is dismissed by Danny as “writing about it” — that is, watching and exploiting, just as he does. But she is enthralled by the cause, especially after meeting Solomon.
The movie would close at $171,377,916 in the worldwide box office in 2016. You might wonder why it is on our grossing list, don’t forget to adjust for the ever-inflating Dollars. In its time, this movie performed very well and received the accolades it deserved.
#4. Gangs of New York $77.81Million
The star of this movie, Leonardo, acts as Amsterdam Vallon, co-starring with Cameron Diaz and other prominent figures like Daniel Day who plays Bill “The Butcher”. DiCaprio teamed up with Director Scorsese to make this daunting movie. The two would further work together to produce some of history’s greatest television dramas. Gangs of New York received positive remarks from critics and also had a box office success.
With a budget of about $100 Million, the movie grosses at $193, 772, 504 from its worldwide sales. Some critics declared the movie a masterpiece, saying it was a “grand American epic movie”. Critics like Todd McCarthy asserted that the movie may not stand shoulder to shoulder with the best of the best out there but was still an “impressive and densely realized work that bracingly opens the eye and mind to untaught aspects of American history.”
As the American Civil War rages on, in the godforsaken enclave of early-1860s Lower Manhattan known as the Five Points, the ruthless Nativist Bill “The Butcher” Cutting reigns supreme over a region rife with crime, prostitution, thievery, and murder. An orphaned Irish-American, Amsterdam Vallon, returns to this melting pot of depravity sixteen years after his father was brutally murdered by Bill’s blood-stained hands; nonetheless, a lot has happened since then.
Who can forget the once-innocent youngster, now a young man intent on vengeance, who climbs his way up the Five Points hierarchy? Will the risky yet sweet fruit of revenge ever be tasted in Amsterdam? While DiCaprio’s efforts were outstanding, the majority of the awards for the lead role went to Daniel Day-Lewis(who played Bill ‘the butcher’).
#5. The Aviator ($102.61 Million)
Released on Christmas day, 2004, the movie received positive reviews from critics, with DiCaprio’s and Blanchett’s performances being the gravity of the most accolades. Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures and 20th Century Fox, the movie spent a humongous amount of $110 million and grossed an even larger amount of $214 million. Dicaprio was nominated for his role as Howard Hughes but didn’t get the award. However, the co-star of the movie, Blanchett, was nominated twice at the Academy Awards and the British Academy film – for and won the Award for best-supporting Actress.
Howard Hughes played by Leonardo Dicaprio, was a cunning entrepreneur, gorgeous movie producer, and relentless American pioneer – but he saw himself first and foremost as an aviator. This is another movie where DiCaprio is cast on a movie directed by his Director buddy, Scorsese. This was also not the end of their adventure in the movie business.
In this stunning epic, director Martin Scorsese concentrates on the most prolific time in Hughes’ life (played by Best Actor Golden Globe winner DiCaprio): the mid-1920s through the 1940s.
It was a period of amazing aeronautical invention, stormy love relationships (including one starring Cate Blanchett as Katharine Hepburn), and vicious business struggles.
#6. The Wolf of Wall Street ($116.9 Million)
No one else was more suited for this role than the master of disguise, Leonardo DiCaprio, who is skilled in expressing internal emotional conflict and pain. Again, Dicaprio, working with Martin Scorsese, who directed the movie, has led the cast’s team into another groundbreaking movie, the wolf of Wall Street. The Movie is based on the 2007 memoir written by Jordan Belfort, who recounts his career in the stockbroker business in New York. Jordan narrates how his firm, Stratton Oakmont, utilized fraudulent means to run his business on Wall Street, leading to the destruction of his life’s work.
Leonardo Dicaprio co-produced the movie and stars as Belfort. For its revelation of the hidden and dark part of Wall Street, this movie would go on to be a worldwide success adding it to the list of highest-grossing movies directed by Scorsese and starred by Leonardo DiCaprio. The movie also made an entry into the Guinness World Record for the most instances of swearing in a film.
Produced with a budget of about $100 million, the movie achieved worldwide success and grossed at $392 million worldwide, making it another entry to the list of DiCaprio’s highest grossing movies. In the United States alone, the movie grossed about $116.9 Million, Making it one of the highest-grossing movies of that year.
Leonardo DiCaprio was nominated and won the role for Best Actor award for his remarkable performance in this movie at the 71st Golden Globe Awards. Critics hold an approval rating of 79% with praises geared to the leading actor DiCaprio and Jonah Hills, who played as Dicaprio’s colleague.
#7. Shutter Island ($128.01 Million)
Shutter Island is a psychological thriller that features Leonardo DiCaprio (Edward Daniels) as an investigator working for the US Marshal. He is tasked with investigating a psychiatric facility on Shutter Island when one of its patients is reported missing. The movie was released on February 19, 2010, with many critics dishing out commendable remarks.
Yet again, this is another collaboration between director Martin Scorsese and DiCaprio. In the united states, the move grossed to about $128. 01 Million at the Box Office, and grossed over 264$ million Box Office worldwide, making it into the list of a joint effort between Martin Scorsese’s and Leonardo DiCaprio’s highest-grossing film.
The captivating plot of the movie where DiCaprio plays Teddy Daniels; an up-and-coming US marshal, is ordered to look into the disappearance of a patient from Boston’s Shutter Island Ashecliffe Hospital in 1954. He’d been pushing for a job on the island for personal reasons, but he soon suspects he’s been lured there as part of a twisted scheme hatched by medical physicians whose unconventional therapies range from immoral to illegal to downright evil.
Teddy’s keen detective abilities quickly uncover a promising lead, but the hospital denies him access to information that he believes would blow the case wide open. Teddy begins to doubt everything – his memory, his companion, even his sanity – as a cyclone cuts off connection with the mainland, more dangerous felons “escape” in the turmoil, and the baffling, impossible clues grow.
#8. Catch me if you can $164.62 million
Catch me if you can, released in 2002, is a crime-thriller that featured some of the best cast to ever perform on the screen. Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks played the leading role, and the movie-an adaptation of the screenplay by Jeff Nathanson- was produced and directed by Steven Spielberg.
Even though its budget was not a handful compared to DiCaprio’s other successful movies, “Catch me if you can” with a budget of $52 million, went on to become a successful release, earning $164.62 million on the US Box Office and grossing $352.1 million worldwide. This makes it one of Leonardo’s most successful movies ever.
Critics commended the leading actors’ performances as accurately depicting the life of the con artist Frank Abagnale. With a score of 7.9/10 offered by some critics, and 96% awarded to the movie by reputable sites like the Rotten Tomatoes, it is no wonder the movie went on to gross as much as it did.”Catch Me If You Can” went on to become the eleventh highest-grossing film of 2002, while Spielberg’s Minority Report was the 10 highest-grossing film.
In the movie, DiCaprio depicts the real story of Frank Abagnale Jr., a Pan Am pilot, doctor, and legal prosecutor who, before turning 19, successfully duped millions of dollars in cheques. An FBI agent makes it his personal goal to apprehend him. On the other hand, Frank not only avoids capture but enjoys it.
#9. The Revenant ($183.64 million)
With a budget of $135 million, the casts of the movie delivered one of the best iconic and highest-grossing movies in history. The Revenant is Leonardo DiCaprio’s third highest-grossing movie of all time with a worldwide gross of $533 million. This is Leonardo’s most successful movie in recent time which earned him several awards including Best Actor at the Academy Awards; Golden Globe Awards; Screen Actors Guild Award; BAFTA Awards; and the Critics Choice Award.
The movie made $14.4 million on its first day of release, placing it top at the box office. The movie earned $39.8 million in its first weekend from 3,375 theatres, above early estimates by 70%, and placing second at the box office behind Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($42.4 million), which was in its fourth weekend of release. It was the director’s largest opening of all time, and DiCaprio and supporting actor Tom Hardy’s fourth-highest grossing movie of all time.
In Oscar winner Alejandro G. Iárritu’s cinematic masterpiece, Leonardo DiCaprio provides an Oscar-winning performance. “The Revenant,” based on actual events and nominated for three Academy Awards (actor, cinematography, and directing), follows famed adventurer Hugh Glass (DiCaprio) on his search for survival and justice.
Glass is left for dead by a deceitful member of his hunting squad after a severe bear assault (Tom Hardy). Glass fights a grueling winter in new territory against incredible obstacles and unspeakable loss. This epic quest portrays the astonishing strength of the human spirit in a visceral and engaging experience unlike any other.
#10. Inception $292.59 million
Inception is a remarkable piece of art in the genre of psychological thrillers. The movie achieved worldwide success and premiered in many countries, competing with several of their indigenous movies for the most grossing movies of all time.
For a total of US$823 million worldwide, Inception grossed US$292 million in North America, $56 million in the United Kingdom, and about $475 million in other countries. Asian and European countries were the highest-grossing markets after the United States and Canada. It was the sixth highest-grossing film in North America in 2010, after formidable competitors like Toy Story 3, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows(part 1), etc., and the fourth-highest-grossing film in 2010.
Dominic Cobb played by Leonardo DiCaprio, is a spy who, rather than breaking into someone’s house, workplace, or even computer, obtains the information he requires by entering their head through dreams. Cobb is also a fugitive who misses his kids. Someone approaches Cobb and offers him a job, but instead of providing knowledge, the man wants Cobb to implant something, a procedure known as “inception,” which is difficult to do.
Cobb is hesitant to do it but accepts when the guy offers to assist Cobb in returning to his children. So he gathers his crew, but after they get started, they discover things Cobb didn’t tell them about that might damage the mission, and they’re unsure if they should continue.
#11. Titanic $659.33 Million
In 1997, DiCaprio’s career was catapulted to new heights by yet another sad love story. In James Cameron’s Titanic, he starred alongside Kate Winslet and depicted the sinking of the titular ocean liner. He portrays Jack, a lowly artist on board who falls for the affluent and beautiful Rose (Winslet). The duo is threatened not just by Rose’s fiancé (Billy Zane) but also by the ship after it collides with an iceberg. It was the most expensive film ever filmed at the time, with a production budget exceeding $200 million.
The iconic James Cameron directed, wrote, produced, and co-edited Titanic, a 1997 American epic romance and catastrophe film. The movie is somewhat a blend of history and fiction and stars the incredible Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet.
Titanic was the first movie to break the $1 billion mark with a worldwide gross total of nearly $1.84 billion. Until James Cameron’s Avatar overtook it in 2010, it was the highest-grossing film. Titanic 3D, which was released on April 4, 2012, to mark the sinking’s centenary, grossed an extra $343.6 million worldwide, bringing the total to $2.195 billion and making it the second film to gross more than $2 billion globally.