Before turbulence rocked her personal life, this was shaping up to be a great year for Sandra Bullock. She won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role as the lead in The Blind Side. That hit drama earned a whopping $255 million at the domestic box office, according to industry tracking website Box Office Mojo, making it the most successful film of all time led by a female star.
The incredible success of The Blind Side in 2009 capped a tremendous year at the box office for Bullock. She also co-starred with Ryan Reynolds in the smash romantic comedy The Proposal, which earned $160 million. (She also starred in the flop All About Steve, but why focus on the negative?)
But Bullock isn't the only woman to play the leading role in a box office success.
Here are the Top 5 female-starring blockbusters, and the amount of money each took in, in domestic box office sales:
1. The Blind Side (2009) - $255 million
2. My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002) - $241 million
3. Sex and the City (2008) - $152 million
4. Erin Brockovich (2000) - $125 million
5. The Devil Wears Prada (2006) - $124 million
It should be noted that some don't consider "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" to be a film driven by a top female star, because actress Nia Vardalos was relatively unknown at the time.
But before Sandra or Nia, Goldie Hawn showed Hollywood that an actress could lure big audiences on her own. Her 1980 comedy Private Benjamin earned $69 million, a huge score at the time. (In today's ticket prices, it would have brought in about $173 million). That film succeeded primarily on Goldie's star power, and earned her an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress.
All of these films owe a debt to Golden Age legends such as Betty Grable, Ingrid Bergman, Joan Crawford and child star Shirley Temple, who was ranked by one poll as the biggest box-office star for four years in a row, from 1935 to 1938. Doris Day was another groundbreaker, with a string of comedy hits in the 1960s that made her the top box office female star of the era.
- What Is the Most Successful Zombie Movie Ever?
- Why Do 3-D Movies Make Some People Hurl?
- What Is the Most Successful Movie Franchise of All Time?
Got a question? Email it to Life's Little Mysteries and we'll try to answer it. Due to the volume of questions, we unfortunately can't reply individually, but we will publish answers to the most intriguing questions, so check back soon.