Julia Roberts is undoubtedly one of the most well-loved and acclaimed stars in the movie industry. Her early beginnings of her as an actress date back to the 1980s, with a string of small, uncredited film and television appearances. Her first credited role of Ella was in the 1988 film Satisfactionand she subsequently gained some recognition in Mystic’s Pizza and Steel Magnoliasa film for which she earned her first Academy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actress, an award she would eventually win a few years later, but in the Best Actress category, for her role in the movie Erin Brockovich.
By 1990, Roberts had established herself as one of the most successful leading actresses of that time, starring in films such as beautiful woman, Sleeping with the Enemy, Notting Hill and My Best Friend’s Wedding, among many others. Yet, despite being one of the greatest stars in the history of rom-coms, Roberts decided she would not be pigeonholed in one genre and kept on working in every possible movie, filling her repertoire with productions ranging from comedies, dramas, thrillers, action , and children’s movies, all of which proved to be highly successful.
Throughout the 90s and part of the 2000s, per Forbes, Roberts was the highest-paid actress in the industry, and also one of the few who managed to turn the vast majority of her films into box office hits, reaping more than $100 million worldwide per movie. Here is a review of Julia Roberts’ highest-grossing films of hers.
8 My Best Friend’s Wedding — $299M
In this 1997 rom-com Roberts stars as Julianne, a woman who discovers her true feelings for her best friend Michael (Dermot Mulroney) after he announces he’s getting married to his girlfriend (Cameron Diaz). Heartbroken, Julianne travels to Chicago in order to help with the event’s preparations, but with the secret intention of stopping the wedding at any cost. My Best Friend’s Weddingdirected by PJ Hogan, earned rave reviews and became a worldwide box-office hit, earning over $299 million and ranking as one of the top 10 grossing films of 1997.
Hook is a 1991 film directed by Steven Spielberg that serves as a sequel to JM Barrie’s novel Peter and Wendy. In the movie, the audience is introduced to lawyer Peter Banning (Robin Williams), who is really Peter Pan, but as a grown-up who has forgotten all about his background and his childhood. Captain Hook, on the contrary, is far from letting go of the past, and so he takes revenge by kidnapping Peter’s kids and taking them to Neverland. Therefore, Peter must work hard not only to remember his childhood from him, but also to regain his powers from him in order to find his children from him. In this movie, Roberts played Tinker Bell, Peter Pan’s fairy sidekick. Hook was very well received by audiences, grossing $300.9 million worldwide.
Roberts, Owen Wilson and Jacob Tremblay star in this 2017 film that traces the life of Auggie (Tremblay), a boy born with Treacher Collins Syndrome who must face a pretty difficult challenge: attending school for the first time. Supported by his parents Isabel (Roberts) and Nate (Wilson) and his older sister, Auggie attempts to fit in among the other kids, making some valuable friendships along the way. Wonderdirected by Stephen Chbosky, is inspired by the novel of the same name by RJ Palacio, and earned rave reviews from critics and audiences alike, with the cast’s performances being especially praised. Wonder earned $306 million at the box office. Per Collider, a Wonder spinoff called White Bird: A Wonder Story is set to release Fall 2022 and stars Helen Mirren.
5 Runaway Bride—$309.5M
Runaway Bride became the second film co-starring Roberts and actor Richard Gere, a pair that already proved successful in beautiful woman, which was also directed by Garry Marshall. Even though it didn’t earn glowing reviews from critics, this 1999 film became a huge box-office success, grossing $309.5 million worldwide. In the film, Gere stars as Ike Graham, a New York reporter who wants to write a story about Maggie Carpenter (Roberts), a commitment-phobic woman who abandons her suitors at the altar. Naturally, after the two meet, their respective lives change forever.
4 Ocean’s Twelve—$362M
Ocean’s Eleven‘s worldwide success in 2001 led to the release of its sequel, Ocean’s Twelve, three years later. The second installation of Soderbergh’s Ocean’s trilogy featured most of the actors from the first film, and while it received mixed reviews from critics, the film proved to be a box-office success, earning $362 million worldwide. In this film, Danny Ocean (George Clooney) and his gang are no longer involved in heists, but instead are enjoying their lives thanks to the money they got from robbing Terry Benedict’s (Andy Garcia) casinos. However, the businessman eventually tracks them down and, with a death threat, demands that they pay him back with interest. Now that the gang is short on cash, they plan a new heist, only this time in Amsterdam. And Tess (Roberts), who is back together with Danny, is forced to join the crew by posing, ironically, as a pregnant Julia Roberts.
3 Notting Hill—$363.8M
Notting Hill, starring Roberts and Hugh Grant, is a 1999 rom-com that became a true genre classic and, at the same time, the highest-grossing British film of all time, earning a total of $363.8 million. Directed by Roger Michell, the film follows the love story between Will Thacker (Grant), a London bookseller, and Anna Scott (Roberts), an acclaimed actress who happens to visit her store. Yet, Will and Anna are from completely different worlds, so their relationship may get a little more complicated than they expect.
two Ocean’s Eleven—$450.7M
Featuring a packed cast of talented figures such as George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Andy Garcia, Bernie Mac, and Julia Roberts among many others, it came as no surprise when Ocean’s Eleven It became an absolute box-office hit, garnering rave reviews and a worldwide gross of $450.7 million. In this Steven Soderbergh film, which marks the beginning of a trilogy inspired by the 1960 production of the same name, Clooney is Danny Ocean, a con man who has just been released from prison and has a plan in mind: to rob the Bellagio, Mirage, and MGM Grand casinos simultaneously, making a million-dollar haul and attempting to win back his ex-wife Tess, who is now dating the casinos’ owner. In order to achieve his goal, naturally, Danny cannot work alone: he must rely on a team of experts with artists willing to do anything to secure the loot.
1 Pretty Woman—$463.4M
Roberts’ highest-grossing film is precisely the one that made the audience fall in love with her for the first time: beautiful woman. Roberts’ best-known part could have gone to Winona Ryder, Drew Barrymore, Molly Ringwald, or Jennifer Connelly, among many other actresses, yet Gary Marshall took a chance on Robert, who was just starting out, and the film’s overwhelming success proved him right. The story of Hollywood sex worker Vivian Ward falling in love with Edward Lewis (Richard Gere), a businessman who hired her as an escort for a week, conquered the entire world and became the third-highest-grossing film of 1990 with a worldwide gross of $463.4 million. Roberts and Gere’s chemistry transcended the screen, cementing the film as a true cinema classic and shattering records for being the best-selling romantic comedy in the United States.