After less than four weeks in theaters, Baz Luhrmann Elvis grossed over $106 million in the United States and Canada, according to boxofficemojo.com. The film, starring Austin Butler as the king, Elvis Presley, is already the fourth highest-grossing musical biopic since the mid-1970s.
How high will it rise on the list of highest-grossing musical biopics? It’s a quick start, but it’s not even halfway to matching the leader’s “domestic” (i.e. US and Canada) revenue. (Can you guess what it is? All will be revealed.)
The 25 musician biopics on this list span a wide range of genres. Pop/rock artists are the focus of eight of the 25 films, followed by R&B (four); rap and traditional pop (three each); country, latin and classical (two each); and contemporary Christian (one).
Biographies of five of the 10 artists who made up the first class of induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame dot this list. In addition to Elvis, there are biopics of James Brown, Ray Charles, Buddy Holly and Jerry Lee Lewis here.
Methodology: Boxofficemojo.com maintains top-grossing movie lists searchable by dozens of “genre keywords.” Below “music,” we manually extracted biopics, which we define as films in which actors play musicians. Four of the biopics listed here aren’t listed under music on boxofficemojo.com, so we’ve inserted them manually, using box office numbers found elsewhere on the site.
Boxofficemojo.com’s searches date back to the mid-1970s, so music biopics released before that, such as those from 1972 lady sings the blues (about Billie Holiday) and 1968 funny girl (about Fanny Brice) are not listed here. But a sequel to funny girlreleased in 1975, is present and accounted for.