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Bruce Willis' Highest-Grossing Movie Might Surprise You

For fans of Bruce Willis, March 2022 will best be remembered as the month that marked the end of the A-lister's revered acting career. As March wound down, Willis' family broke the news on Instagram that he would be taking a step back from the acting business. In announcing the actor's retirement, the Willis family also confirmed that the actor was struggling with aphasia, a cognitive condition that affects the way you communicate both verbally and in written form (per The Mayo Clinic).

Tragic details of his retirement aside, Willis leaves behind a body of work that would be the envy of virtually any star in Hollywood. The actor first tasted mainstream success in the mid-1980s via ABC's hit detective series "Moonlighting." By the end of the decade, he was one of the biggest action stars on the planet, thanks largely to his star-making turn as quippy NYPD Detective John McClane in 1988's "Die Hard." And yes, Willis' post-"Die Hard" career has produced one of the most diverse résumés of any actor of his era, with the star fronting high-profile comedy, drama, action, and indie films throughout his career. 

Some of Willis' other blockbuster flicks not named "Die Hard" include everything from 1998's "Armageddon" to 2012's "Looper." But you might be surprised to learn which of his films was the top money maker.

The Sixth Sense is the biggest hit in Willis' blockbuster career

According to The Numbers, the 1999 supernatural stunner "The Sixth Sense" is the top-grossing film in Willis' impressive oeuvre. While many of his films scored a substantial sum at the box office, "The Sixth Sense" stands far above other notable titles like "The Fifth Element," "Pulp Fiction," "12 Monkeys," and each of the numerous "Die Hard" sequels. In fact, the final tally between the first and second spots wasn't even particularly close. 

"The Sixth Sense" scored a worldwide box office total of $673 million, besting Willis' second-place film, "Armageddon," by more than $100 million. In a rare instance of art and commerce co-existing, "The Sixth Sense" is also one of the best-reviewed films in the actor's body of work, and currently owns an 86% Fresh critical rating on Rotten Tomatoes. If these numbers prove anything, it's that M. Night Shyamalan's twisty supernatural thriller not only connected big time with moviegoers, it was a hit with critics, too. As a result, what was considered an unusual career pivot at the time for an actor primarily defined by his action roles has, in hindsight, paid off in more than one way.

While Haley Joel Osment's turn as a kid tormented by ghosts was the most talked-about performance of the film, arguments can certainly be made that Willis' nuanced work as the psychiatrist anchored the film emotionally. One might even argue that "The Sixth Sense" features the finest performance of this star's storied career. As such, it's more than fitting that the movie ranks number one among the actor's highest-grossing films.