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Film & TV

Clint Eastwood’s Amazing Milestone

Clint Eastwood in The Mule (Trailer image: Warner Bros/YouTube)

This weekend Clint Eastwood’s The Mule will cross the $100 million mark at the domestic box office. It’s a mulestone! It’s hard to overstate how impressive this showing is: A movie about an 80-something codger driving around the country became one of the biggest hits of the year in relation to its cost despite being mostly dismissed by critics and getting no love at the Golden Globes or the Oscars. The success of The Mule is as remarkable as the success of Crazy Rich Asians.

It seems safe to say that Eastwood is the most enduring movie star in the entire history of the medium. Compare, for instance, John Wayne. Pretty long career. It got rolling with his first hit, 1939’s Stagecoach, and Wayne was still starring in blockbusters 30 years later, with his crowning achievement as Rooster Cogburn in 1969’s True Grit. He made a couple more movies in the 1970s before he died at 72 in 1979.

Eastwood’s career as a movie star has gone on far longer. With The Mule, he has now had a string of $100 million hits (in inflation-adjusted dollars) dating back 51 years, all the way to his first one, A Fistful of Dollars, in 1967. The chart below (from BoxOfficeMojo.com, with The Mule‘s numbers through January 23) is wild: Twenty-five hit movies. Twenty-five! In six different decades! And several more that fell just shy of the $100 million mark. There is no one like Clint. Ever.

Clint Eastwood Movie Grosses, Adjusted for Ticket Price Inflation

Rank Title (click to view) Studio Adjusted Gross Unadjusted Gross Release
1 Every Which Way But Loose WB $328,771,000 $85,196,485 12/20/78
2 Any Which Way You Can WB $237,288,700 $70,687,344 12/17/80
3 In the Line of Fire Col. $223,164,900 $102,314,823 7/9/93
4 Unforgiven WB $220,246,200 $101,157,447 8/7/92
5 Magnum Force WB $202,884,200 $39,768,000 12/25/73
6 Dirty Harry WB $196,886,800 $35,976,000 12/22/71
7 The Enforcer WB $196,014,600 $46,236,000 12/22/76
8 The Good, the Bad and the Ugly UA $188,877,500 $25,100,000 12/29/67
9 Sudden Impact WB $187,900,400 $67,642,693 12/9/83
10 Gran Torino WB $179,352,400 $148,095,302 12/12/08
11 Escape from Alcatraz Par. $154,697,200 $43,000,000 6/22/79
12 Space Cowboys WB $151,510,800 $90,464,773 8/4/00
13 The Bridges of Madison County WB $148,458,600 $71,516,617 6/2/95
14 Firefox WB $143,461,100 $46,708,276 6/18/82
15 Million Dollar Baby WB $141,602,100 $100,492,203 12/15/04
16 The Outlaw Josey Wales WB $134,814,100 $31,800,000 6/30/76
17 Tightrope WB $129,385,900 $48,143,579 8/17/84
18 For a Few Dollars More UA $112,875,000 $15,000,000 5/10/67
19 A Fistful of Dollars UA $109,112,500 $14,500,000 1/18/67
20 The Gauntlet WB $106,961,600 $26,414,658 12/21/77
21 Pale Rider WB $105,334,500 $41,410,568 6/28/85
22 Thunderbolt and Lightfoot UA $104,786,600 $21,700,000 5/24/74
23 Heartbreak Ridge WB $101,557,300 $42,724,017 12/5/86
24 City Heat WB $100,537,700 $38,348,988 12/7/84
25 Absolute Power Sony $98,500,400 $50,068,310 2/14/97
26 The Mule WB $98,122,800 $98,122,805 12/14/18
27 Paint Your Wagon Par. $92,207,800 $14,500,000 10/15/69
28 The Dead Pool WB $83,276,600 $37,903,295 7/15/88
29 Bronco Billy WB $81,456,800 $24,265,659 6/11/80
30 High Plains Drifter Uni. $80,096,600 $15,700,000 8/22/73
31 Hang ’em High UA $75,824,400 $11,000,000 8/3/68
32 A Perfect World WB $67,835,300 $31,130,999 11/24/93
33 The Eiger Sanction Uni. $62,549,300 $14,200,000 1975
34 Play Misty for Me Uni. $58,010,900 $10,600,000 11/12/71
35 The Rookie (1990) WB $46,244,400 $21,633,874 12/7/90
36 Where Eagles Dare MGM $45,150,000 $7,100,000 3/12/69
37 Blood Work WB $40,775,000 $26,235,081 8/9/02
38 Trouble with the Curve WB $40,747,400 $35,763,137 9/21/12
39 Joe Kidd Uni. $33,623,500 $6,330,000 7/14/72
40 Kelly’s Heroes MGM $30,294,200 $5,200,000 6/23/70
41 True Crime WB $29,595,900 $16,649,768 3/19/99
42 Two Mules for Sister Sara Uni. $29,420,300 $5,050,000 6/16/70
43 Pink Cadillac WB $27,621,100 $12,143,484 5/26/89
44 Coogan’s Bluff Uni. $21,437,600 $3,110,000 10/2/68
45 Honky Tonk Man WB $13,775,300 $4,484,991 12/17/82
46 The Beguiled Uni. $6,020,000 $1,100,000 3/31/71
47 White Hunter, Black Heart WB $4,950,800 $2,319,124 9/14/90

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