I knew someone once who had no interest in science-fiction, and dismissed it with “That could never happen.” That seems to be the mainstream attitude toward SF — try to pit Farscape against Survivor and you know exactly what will happen — and yet they love to see films about the impossible. (Well, as long as the words “Star Trek” aren’t in the title.) According to the IMDB, 15 of the top 20 all-time grossing movies in the U.S. are science-fiction or fantasy — including the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy and four of the five Star Wars films (The Empire Strikes Back is #21). As much as people like to disdain Star Wars fans, there aren’t enough for the movies to do that well without the mainstream flocking to the theaters as well.

Now, I’m including The Sixth Sense, Spider-Man, and Pirates of the Caribbean, but even if you’d rather not, that’s still more than 50%. And the other five films include two movies about talking animals (Finding Nemo and The Lion King) and one about a guy surrounded by incredible coincidence (Forrest Gump).

Studios have clearly noticed the trend, since they keep making the films, but do you think the average Joe will notice how much sci-fi he actually watches? Nah, that could never happen.

From IMDB: All-Time USA Boxoffice as of July 7, 2004:

Rank Title Gross
1. Titanic (1997) $600,779,824
2. Star Wars (1977) $460,935,665
3. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) $434,949,459
4. Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999) $431,065,444
5. Shrek 2 (2004) $410,688,506
6. Spider-Man (2002) $403,706,375
7. Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, The (2003) $377,019,252
8. Passion of the Christ, The (2004) $370,203,632
9. Jurassic Park (1993) $356,784,000
10. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, The (2002) $340,478,898
11. Finding Nemo (2003) $339,714,367
12. Forrest Gump (1994) $329,691,196
13. Lion King, The (1994) $328,423,001
14. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001) $317,557,891
15. Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The (2001) $313,837,577
16. Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002) $310,675,583
17. Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983) $309,125,409
18. Independence Day (1996) $306,124,059
19. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003) $305,388,685
20. Sixth Sense, The (1999) $293,501,675

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