Since motion pictures were created more than a century ago, people around the world have remained captivated by the technology's ability to entertain, inform, and allow us to exercise unparalleled creativity. To be sure, with around five months still remaining in 2013, audiences have spent more than $6.4 billion at the box office so far this year.
Let's grab a ridiculously expensive bucket of popcorn and take a look at the biggest blockbusters -- and the company's behind them -- so far in 2013.
|Rank||Title||Company / Distributor||
Iron Man 3
|Disney (NYSE: DIS ) / Buena Vista||$1,211.7||$407.1||$200|
|2||Fast & Furious 6||Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA ) / Universal Studios||$712.7||$237.3||$160|
|3||Man of Steel||Time Warner (NYSE: TWX ) / Warner Brothers||$635.8||$285.8||$225|
|4||Despicable Me 2||Comcast / Universal Studios||$595.6||$287.2||$76|
|5||The Croods||DreamWorks (NASDAQ: DWA ) / 20th Century Fox||$582.4||$186.2||$135|
|6||Monsters University||Disney / Buena Vista||$535.7||$251.8||$200*|
|7||Oz the Great and Powerful||Disney / Buena Vista||$491.9||$234.9||$215|
|8||World War Z||Viacom (NASDAQ: VIAB ) / Paramount||$458.7||$189.2||$190|
|9||Star Trek Into Darkness||Viacom / Paramount||$448.8||$225.3||$190|
|10||G.I. Joe: Retaliation||Viacom / Paramount||$371.9||$122.5||$130|
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Disney's Iron Man 3 easily tops the list as the only company to surpass the $1 billion mark, exceeding the second-place $713 million take of Fast & Furious 6 by a whopping 70%.
Curiously enough, Iron Man 3 is also the only movie so far this year to crack the top 10 in the list of highest worldwide grossing films of all time, coming in at No. 5 behind the likes of Avatar, Titanic, Marvel's The Avengers, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2.
That said, am I the only one surprised at the global success of Fast & Furious 6? Perhaps it's just that Comcast's racing flick currently stands at only fifth on the domestic ticket sales front, but apparently international audiences in particular have really resonated with the film, making up 66.7% of the total.
The same goes for DreamWorks' surprisingly popular hit The Croods, which currently stands at ninth place in the U.S. for the year. The Croods' international audiences, however, made up more than any other movie in this list, at 68% of its box office total.
Of course, I would have been shocked if Time Warner's Man of Steel hadn't made the top three, and remember this Superman reboot has been in theaters for roughly only six weeks. In addition, the world was pleasantly surprised when Time Warner subsequently gave DC Comics fans reason to rejoice by announcing that Batman will join the title character in a sequel planned for a 2015 release.
For now, though, Time Warner investors can also enjoy the surprising strength and comparatively low production budget of Despicable Me 2, which was only released on July 3 and effectively played the role of the silver bullet to Disney's The Lone Ranger a few weeks ago.
Don't roll the credits just yet
In the meantime, however, let's not forget there's still plenty of time for this list to change as 2013 rolls on.
Remember, News Corp.'s 20th Century Fox unleashes The Wolverine this weekend, which I'm guessing should have little trouble recouping its estimated $125 million budget given the relative success of the company's previous X-Men films.
Then again, Disney also has a few more cards to play this year, including DisneyToon's Planes, a promising spinoff from Pixar's Cars franchise, which also launches two weeks from today.
For the comic-book fans out there, Disney is also offering Thor: The Dark World in November. And if you can't wait until then and don't mind comic book movies of the R-Rated variety, Comcast's Universal is bringing both 2 Guns and Kick-Ass 2 to theaters in August.
Some of the biggest competition to mix up the current top 10, however, should arrive as 2013 comes to a close.
In November, for example, Lions Gate (NYSE: LGF ) will release The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, which has some big shoes to fill after the first film in the franchise achieved more than $691 million in global ticket sales last year.
Finally, Warner Brothers has plenty at stake with The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, which arrives in December and follows a more than $1 billion showing from 2012's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
While there's still plenty of money to be made on the big screen, you can also bet these companies know the opportunity doesn't end with their movies' theatrical runs. The future of television begins now -- with an all-out $2.2 trillion media war that pits cable companies such as Cox, Comcast, and Time Warner against technology giants such as Apple, Google, and Netflix. The Motley Fool's shocking video presentation reveals the secret Steve Jobs took to his grave, and explains why the only real winners are these three lesser-known power players that film your favorite shows. Click here to watch today!
But what do you think? Is there another movie coming this year you think could change the list above? Feel free to weigh in using the comments section below.