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The Biggest Owen Wilson Movies Of All Time

It's hard to miss Owen Wilson, with his blonde hair, easygoing attitude, and iconic delivery of the word "wow." He stands out in a sea of American movie stars that can often blend together and his distinctive traits have led to him becoming an enduring staple in the pop culture landscape well into the modern world, where he headlines projects ranging from "Loki" to "Marry Me." His persistently popular nature has ensured that his box office track record, according to data compiled by The Numbers, is littered with sizeable hits, with such projects that include a trilogy of family movies, adaptations of classic TV shows, and ensemble comedies that feature Wilson in scene-stealing supporting roles, among many other strains of cinema. 

The reasons behind why these particular Wilson movies managed to score so high at the box office are as varied as the assorted genres this performer has occupied. However, the biggest Owen Wilson features ever at the worldwide box office do share a common trait of tending to exemplify why moviegoers are so interested in heading out to a movie theater and seeing the newest project containing this affable actor. 

One note before going forward: this list only covers the box office results of movies featuring live-action performances from Owen Wilson. This means that some lucrative projects, like all three "Cars" titles, where Wilson stars as Lightning McQueen, are excluded from this piece.

Starsky and Hutch

Today, Hollywood's go-to way of exploiting beloved TV shows for further profit is to just do a new season of "Full House" or "Roseanne" complete with the original cast back in front of the camera. However, for a while, the preferred method of wringing a few more dollars out of small-screen entertainment was to translate them into big-screen movie adaptations starring big-name actors. Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, many projects in this vein turned up, including "The Brady Bunch Movie" and "The Beverly Hillbillies," to varying degrees of box office success.

"Starsky and Hutch" was not the most lucrative of these films, but it did prove to be a solid moneymaker thanks to the presence of Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson in the lead roles. The duo were red-hot comic superstars when the film arrived in 2004, with the pair hot off of hit comedies like "Meet the Parents" in the years preceding the release of "Starsky and Hutch." Putting them together for an adaptation of a beloved TV show like "Starsky and Hutch," plus throwing in rising comedy star Vince Vaughn as the baddie, was a recipe for box office success. 

The project grossed $170.2 million worldwide, $88.2 million of which came from North American screenings. Though nowhere near as big as "Meet the Parents" or its sequels, it still nearly tripled its budget worldwide. Plus, it was one of Wilson's five biggest movies globally at the time of its release.

The Haunting

Before he was a fixture of lucrative Ben Stiller comedies, Owen Wilson was taking on supporting roles in features like "The Haunting," a 1999 horror remake headlined by Liam Neeson and Rachel Weisz. The project had a lot going for it on paper, including the fact that it was helmed by "Speed" and "Twister" director Jan de Bont, as well as a sizeable $90 million budget that promised lots of big-screen spectacle for moviegoers. To be sure, "The Haunting" didn't make pennies with its $180.1 million box office haul, which made it one of the first movies featuring Wilson to crack $100 million worldwide. It also ensured that "The Haunting" was the 21st-biggest movie of 1999 globally and one of the biggest horror films of that year at the worldwide box office.

Still, on its considerable budget, "The Haunting" was expected to do better. Part of the problem here was timing. "The Haunting" dropped in July 1999, just as a little movie called "The Blair Witch Project" was ramping up in limited release and proceeding to redefine the horror genre forever. A more familiar remake like "The Haunting" couldn't compete with a scary film that innovative, even if "The Haunting" was the only one of the two films that featured Owen Wilson.

Marley and Me

Family audiences had a lot of options over the holiday season in 2008. Adam Sandler had the high-concept kid-friendly tale "Bedtime Stories," while the fully animated kids book adaptation "The Tale of Despereaux" also occupied movie theaters. However, far above all of them was "Marley & Me," an Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston vehicle adapted from a popular book about an unruly golden retriever. The recipe for why this movie proved so appealing was no mystery. Combining dogs and broadly appealing comedy has often been a roadmap to box office glory. Plopping in big names like Wilson and Aniston, not to mention well-liked source material, only further sweetened the pot.

"Marley & Me" grossed $247.8 million in its worldwide box office run, an impressive sum given its $60 million budget. Its financial run was especially impressive in North America, where it scored an opening weekend that still stands at the fifth-biggest Christmas weekend debut in history. It was an especially exciting victory for Wilson as a leading man, given that this was one box office hit where he wasn't just a member of an ensemble cast like the "Fockers" or "Night at the Museum" movies. He and Aniston were front-and-center on the ads for "Marley & Me," and the film's lucrative run was mainly attributable to their presence. The man who had only a small role in "Armageddon" a decade earlier was now headlining Christmas box office juggernauts.

Wedding Crashers

Though it can seem strange to consider now, there was a time in 2005 when the only thing moviegoers wanted to see was Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson act raunchy at weddings. Then again, even if neither Vaughn nor Wilson headline big-screen R-rated comedies in the modern world, maybe the appeal of "Wedding Crashers" can still be parsed out. The wish-fulfillment fantasy of this premise, as well as the appealing juxtaposition of classy weddings with sophomoric humor, is certainly unique among mainstream comedies. Plus, Vaughn and Wilson were hot off several box office hits, including "Starsky and Hutch" from earlier that year.

Even considering these ingredients, it's still shocking just how lucrative "Wedding Crashers" was. Though its $283.2 million worldwide box office gross puts it behind several other Wilson movies globally, much of that sum came from an astonishing $209.3 million domestic haul. This made "Wedding Crashers" part of an ultra-rare breed of R-rated comedies preceding "The Hangover" that cracked the $200 million mark at the North American box office. It was also a big feat for Wilson and proved that he could headline successful comedies even when he wasn't partnered up with Ben Stiller. 

No matter how you look at it, the box office haul of "Wedding Crashers" was a remarkable achievement that spoke to just how much this project had resonated with people seeking out laughs in the summer of 2005.

Little Fockers

Arriving six years after "Meet the Fockers," "Little Fockers" was never going to be as big as its direct predecessor. Even with Owen Wilson returning from the previous movies alongside big-name actors like Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro, there had just been so much time since the last "Fockers" film that there was no way it could be as successful. Plus, this project didn't have as innately of a compelling premise as its predecessor. Whereas "Meet the Fockers" did a natural reverse on the premise of "Meet the Parents" by having the husband's wacky parents encounter the wife's stern parents, "Little Fockers" had commercials focused on more generic antics about raising kids.

Still, it's a testament to how big the "Fockers" franchise was at that point that "Little Fockers" still made a pretty penny at the worldwide box office. Grossing $310.6 million worldwide, including a substantial $148.4 million in North America, this was a solid haul on a $100 million budget. While below the other two entries in the "Fockers" franchise, "Little Fockers" was only slightly behind the $330.4 million haul of "Meet the Parents." 

Beyond that, it ended up outgrossing most other movies Wilson has ever appeared in while also becoming one of the biggest projects released in December 2010. Though it couldn't hope to be as lucrative as "Meet the Fockers," "Little Fockers" still proved solidly successful.


With "Wonder," Owen Wilson returned to a domain that had treated him well at the box office in the past — family movies. Though some of his most famous star vehicles were PG-13 and R-rated films aimed at grown-ups, PG-rated fare had treated Wilson well thanks to franchises like "Cars" and "Night at the Museum." For "Wonder," Wilson paired up with Julia Roberts to adapt a famous book of the same name by R. J. Palacio. Launched in November 2017, "Wonder" managed to continue Wilson's hot streak in the genre.

Though it opened five days before Pixar megahit "Coco," "Wonder" still managed to garner tons of family moviegoers. This was thanks to the widespread fame of its source material as well as its feel-good premise being just what audiences like to watch during the holiday season. Globally, "Wonder" grossed $311.9 million. Not only was this remarkably profitable on just a $20 million budget, but it also became only the second motion picture featuring Owen Wilson to crack $300 million worldwide since 2010. It was extra impressive considering distributor Lionsgate didn't have an enormous amount of experience distributing hit family movies before "Wonder" came along. While the studio had struggled in this space, getting a reliable family movie draw like Owen Wilson onboard to "Wonder" was certainly one reason this film became such a sizeable hit.

Meet the Parents

The most successful comedies at the box office tend to be rooted in relatable scenarios. "Meet the Parents" was certainly part of that trend with its plot about a man, Greg Focker (Ben Stiller), who must meet his fiancée's parents and ends up getting into comedic shenanigans in navigating the culture shock from interacting with his in-laws. In the middle of these antics, Focker meets an ex-lover of his girlfriend played by none other than Owen Wilson. One of several pairings of Stiller and Wilson, "Meet the Parents" was also one of several box office hits to feature these two comedic actors.

Launched in October 2000, "Meet the Parents" did not debut in a timeframe where comedies typically excel. This unorthodox release date, as well as the potent combination of Stiller with Robert de Niro, ended up working like gangbusters as "Meet the Parents" scored $330.4 million worldwide. This put the film well into the land of profitability while also putting it above all but six movies at the worldwide box office in 2000. That's what happens when you deliver a comedy that just resonates as relatable to people.

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb

In 2006, "Night at the Museum" was a pop culture phenomenon, a film that captured the zeitgeist by marrying a genuinely clever original idea with comedy star Ben Stiller and a perfect Christmas release date. Despite this success, blind love for a single movie can't last forever, and "Night at the Museum" was no exception. By 2014, when its second sequel, "Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb," debuted, things had changed dramatically. 

For starters, the concept just wasn't as fresh anymore, and this new installment's most significant innovation was moving the action to London. The other problem was that Ben Stiller was in the middle of a box office slump. Fairly or not, the timing of "Secret of the Tomb," coming fresh off Stiller's major original box office flops like "The Watch" and "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty," made it look like Stiller was looking for an easy box office hit to restore some of his clout.

Whatever the reason for its existence, "Secret of the Tomb" was a decent but not spectacular performer and grossed $353.7 million worldwide, a notable step down from its two predecessors. "Secret of the Tomb" had several other family movies, including "Annie," to deal with in its December 2014 release date. Still, it is likely that the biggest problem here was just that "Night at the Museum" had lost some of its magic to audiences.

Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian

Owen Wilson and the rest of the "Night at the Museum" cast returned for "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian," a sequel to the beloved 2006 movie "Night at the Museum." After the success of the original, a sequel that spent more time with a bunch of museum exhibits coming to life was basically a license to print money. Unsurprisingly, then, "Battle of the Smithsonian" grossed $402.2 million globally, the 12th biggest haul for a 2009 release at the worldwide box office.

If there was one downside here, it was that "Battle of the Smithsonian" made less than its predecessor, falling approximately 30% behind the original's worldwide haul. This could be attributed to the differing release dates of the two projects. While the original "Night at the Museum" could stick around for eons over Christmas 2006, "Battle of the Smithsonian" debuted in the more competitive May 2009 timeframe, where it had to contend with "Up" just eight days into its North American run. 

Still, a $402.2 million gross is nothing to sneeze at and speaks to the positive buzz of the original "Night at the Museum" as well as how helpful it was to have prominent cast members like Owen Wilson back in a notable capacity.

Meet the Fockers

After "Meet the Parents" made so much moolah, it was only a matter of time before a sequel emerged. However, what was less inevitable was just how successful this follow-up, "Meet the Fockers," would be. After all, comedy sequels often crash and burn at the box office. Successors to smash hits like "City Slickers" or "Neighbors" have ended up bombing quite notably. It's hard to tell the same joke twice, and audiences have often said "no thanks" to the promise of a sequel to their favorite comedy.

Luckily, "Meet the Fockers" had an ace up its sleeve in the form of cast member newcomers Dustin Hoffman and Barbara Streisand, who brought some big names and the promise of even bigger laughs to the project. Add in all the goodwill built up by the original "Meet the Parents," alongside Ben Stiller's increased profile in the four years between installments, and it was no wonder "Meet the Fockers" cracked $516.5 million globally. This sizeable gross could also be chalked up to the decision to debut the film in December instead of October, which was the month that "Meet the Parents" arrived. The end of the year holidays allowed "Meet the Fockers" to keep going on at the box office, resulting in a massive haul that proved to be a boon to the entire cast of the movie, including supporting player Owen Wilson.


Most Owen Wilson movies are ones headlined by the actor or, if it's an ensemble feature, one where he's a prominent fixture on the posters or in the trailers. For the 1998 film "Armageddon," though, Wilson was barely featured on any of the marketing. Why would he be? This was long before "Wedding Crashers" or "Midnight in Paris" repeatedly cemented the man's ability to draw in an audience. This Michael Bay blockbuster came out in the earliest days of his career when he was just another member of a larger ensemble cast hoping to save the planet from an asteroid.

"Armageddon" was a Bruce Willis vehicle first and foremost. This means that the $554.5 million worldwide gross of "Armageddon" was due to the love for disaster movies and Willis star vehicles in this era rather than a comment on Wilson, who dies halfway through the runtime of this blockbuster. Reflecting on this is a good reminder that movie stars don't just emerge overnight, they grow their fame, skills, and box office glory over time. Wilson wasn't the reason for the success of "Armageddon," but it wouldn't be long before he started headlining movies whose box office success was largely because of this charming actor.

Night at the Museum

"Night at the Museum" was one of those box office hits that smartly played off box office smashes of years past. For one thing, its premise concerning CGI beasts that come to life and wreak havoc, complete with Robin Williams on the cast list, couldn't help but conjure up memories of the 1995 Christmas hit "Jumanji." Meanwhile, this title's December 2006 release date also harkened back to how leading man Ben Stiller's last mega-smash hit in theaters, "Meet the Fockers," was also released just in time to coincide with end-of-the-year festivities.

Taking cues from what made money in the past included getting Owen Wilson in the cast of "Night at the Museum" as the scene-stealing Jedediah. Wilson had proven to be a beloved part of past Stiller hits like "Starsky and Hutch," why shouldn't he also be around for this new family movie? Combining so many ingredients from different box office hits worked out great for "Night at the Museum," which ended up grossing $579.4 million worldwide.

 Blowing past all expectations, it also managed to leapfrog past all other 2006 movies at the domestic box office save for "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest." This remarkable box office run, the biggest for any live-action movie Wilson's been involved in, serves as a reminder of how hits of today are built off successes of the past.