So much emphasis in the world of movies is placed on opening weekends and debuting big. Blast ’em with overwhelming marketing, score a huge first couple of days in theaters, and then coast to the finish line. That’s the way it’s been for decades now, and it shows no signs of turning around.

But there are still success stories from the cinema world that don’t open huge. Dig around a little on Box Office Mojo and you’ll find the names of monster hits that never went to number one on the box office chart. It’s an interesting group of films. A couple were word-of-mouth indies. A few were big animated movies released around Christmastime, when theaters are full of blockbusters (and families on vacation), so while they never quite reached the box-office zenith, they still had big first and second weekends. At least one was an Oscar Best Picture winner. (It’s also more than 25 years old, which really tells you what a cultural touchstone it was if it’s still on this list.) And several grossed more in domestic theaters than Justice League while never earning the coveted title of “number one movie in America.”

Curious? Here they are in ascending order: The biggest domestic hits that never reached the top of the box office.

Gallery - Movies You’ll Be Shocked to Learn Were Rated G:

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