‘Argo’ among top 15 highest-grossing Best Picture winners

Awards season may be over, but Best Picture winner “Argo” is still earning kudos where it matters most: the box office.

Now that the Ben Affleck-directed film has surpassed the $130 million mark domestically, it joins the elite group of 15 top-grossing Best Picture winners since box office results starting being calculated. That’s an impressive feat considering “Argo’s” relatively small production budget of only $44 million.

Fellow 2012 Best Picture nominees “Lincoln” ($178 million), “Django Unchained” ($159 million) and “Les Miserables” ($146 million) may have out-performed “Argo” at the domestic box office, but “Argo” is having the last laugh after winning three Oscars on Sunday (Best Picture, Adapted Screenplay and Film Editing) including the coveted top prize.

With “Argo’s” box office expected to climb in the coming weeks thanks to the Oscar boost, it’s still too early to see where it will ultimately place on the list of highest-grossing Best Picture winners. However, we can be assured it won’t end up anywhere near the #1 earner “Titanic” (1997) at $600 million or even the second-place finisher “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” (2003) at $377 million.

At the very bottom of the box office pile is “The Hurt Locker” (2009), which only managed to secure $17 million domestically, thus making it the lowest-grossing Best Picture winner since box office results were tabulated. Last year’s winner “The Artist” earned $44 million, while 2010 champ “The King’s Speech” made off with an impressive $135 million.

Here’s the list of the top Best Picture winners according to domestic gross.

#1 — $600 million — “Titanic” (1997)
#2 — $377 million — “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” (2003)
#3 — $329 million — “Forrest Gump” (1994)
#4 — $187 million — “Gladiator” (2000)
#5 — $184 million — “Dances with Wolves” (1990)
#6 — $172 million — “Rain Man” (1988)
#7 — $170 million — “A Beautiful Mind” (2001)
#8 — $170 million — “Chicago” (2002)
#9 — $141 million — “Slumdog Millionaire” (2008)
#10 — $138 million — “Platoon” (1986)
#11 — $135 million — “The King’s Speech” (2010)
#12 — $132 million — “The Departed” (2006)
#13 — $130 million — “The Silence of the Lambs” (1991)
#14 — $130 million — “American Beauty” (1999)
#15 — $130 million — “Argo” (2012) — still in theatres

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