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Top 25 Most Successful Screenwriters in Box Office History

by Ken Miyamoto on January 14, 2022

When it comes to box office receipts, these are the most successful screenwriters working today.

Screenwriting success can be defined in many different ways:

  • Oscar wins
  • Acclaim from critics
  • Box office revenue

The latter is the greatest industry barometer. Box office success doesn't always mean one writer's body of work is of higher quality than their peers. But it does hold a lot of power in Hollywood. When a movie is a financial success, the screenwriter's clout within the industry increases immensely. Film/TV industry power players flock to success, which offers screenwriters the ability to broaden their reach — and it opens up doors to pitch and sell those spec scripts they've been forced to shelve in favor of writing assignments.

Box office success is a magical key for screenwriters. One that opens many doors within the industry. And you need to remember that at one time, these successful writers were where most of you are today — trying to break through those Hollywood walls.

With that in mind, we want to celebrate some of those successful screenwriters (since we've endlessly heard about blockbuster directors and actors). Click the link to their IMDB profile. Learn where they started. Google them to learn even more about their screenwriting background.

So, who are the most successful screenwriters in box office history?

[Editor's Note: Box office numbers last updated January 11th, 2022.]

#1 (Tied): Christopher Markus

$9,367,535,948

Most known for Avengers: Endgame (2019), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), and Captain America: Civil War

#1 (Tied): Stephen McFeely

$9,367,535,948

Most known for Avengers: Endgame (2019), Captain America: Civil War (2016), and Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

#2: Steve Kloves

$7,543,616,013

Most known for the Harry Potter franchise

#3: James Cameron

$6,960,358,807

Most known for Terminator (1984), Aliens (1986), Titanic (1997), Avatar (2009)

#4 (Tied): Fran Walsh

$6,592,712,675

Most known for The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

#4 (Tied): Peter Jackson

$6,592,712,675

Most known for The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

#5: Chris Morgan

 $6,569,443,399

Most known for the Fast & Furious franchise

#6: David Koepp

 $6,170,073,679

Most known for Jurassic Park (1993), Mission: Impossible (1996), and Spider-Man (2002)

#7: Philippa Boyens

 $6,025,640,892

Most known for The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

#8: Andrew Stanton

 $5,649,675,696

Most known for his Pixar movies

#9: Chris McKenna

$5,472,890,869

Most known for the Sony/Marvel Spider-Man movies

#10: Terry Rossio

 $5,472,627,147

Most known for Aladdin (1992), Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), and Shrek (2001)

#11: Erik Sommers

$5,441,877,520

Most known for the Sony/Marvel Spider-Man movies

#12: Ted Elliott

 $5,291,588,531

Most known for Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003) and Shrek (2001)

#13: Robert Wade

$5,061,655,217

Most known for the James Bond franchise

#14: Neal Purvis

$4,902,276,439

Most known for the James Bond franchise

#15: Christopher Nolan

$4,846,309,121

Most known for The Dark Knight Trilogy, Inception (2010), Interstellar (2014), Tenet (2020)

#16: Lawrence Kasdan

 $4,437,431,066

Most known for Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), The Big Chill (1982), Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983), and Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens (2015)

#17: J.J. Abrams

$4,391,635,119

Most known for Super 8 (2015) and Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens (2015)

#18 (Tied): Ken Daurio

$4,326,403,446

Most known for the Despicable Me franchise

#18 (Tied): Cinco Paul

$4,326,566,957

Most known for the Despicable Me franchise

#19: Akiva Goldsman

 $4,179,411,522

Most known for A Beautiful Mind (2001), Batman & Robin (1997), Cinderella Man (2005), The Da Vinci Code (2006)

#20: Ehren Kruger

$4,155,236,006

Most known for the Transformers and The Ring franchises

#21: Guillermo del Toro

$4,140,610,996

Most known for The Hobbit franchise, Pan’s Labyrinth (2006), The Hellboy Franchise, and The Shape of Water (2017)

#22: John Logan

 $4,120,068,977

Most known for Gladiator (2000), Skyfall (2012), Spectre (2015), and Alien: Covenant (2017)

#23 (Tied): Roberto Orci

$4,000,547,615

Most known for Star Trek (2009), Mission Impossible III (2006), Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)

#23 (Tied): Alex Kurtzman

$4,000,547,615

Most known for Star Trek (2009), Mission Impossible III (2006), Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)

#24: Linda Woolverton

$3,975,174,163

Most known for The Lion King (1994), Beauty and the Beast (1991), and Maleficent (2014)

#25: George Lucas 

$3,923,243,353

Most known for Star Wars

CLICK HERE for a complete list.


Ken Miyamoto has worked in the film industry for nearly two decades, most notably as a studio liaison for Sony Studios and then as a script reader and story analyst for Sony Pictures.

He has many studio meetings under his belt as a produced screenwriter, meeting with the likes of Sony, Dreamworks, Universal, Disney, Warner Brothers, as well as many production and management companies. He has had a previous development deal with Lionsgate, as well as multiple writing assignments, including the produced miniseries Blackout, starring Anne Heche, Sean Patrick Flanery, Billy Zane, James Brolin, Haylie Duff, Brian Bloom, Eric La Salle, and Bruce Boxleitner, and the feature thriller Hunter’s Creed starring Duane “Dog the Bounty Hunter” Chapman, Wesley Truman Daniel, Mickey O’Sullivan, John Victor Allen, and James Errico. Follow Ken on Twitter @KenMovies


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