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15. Schindler's List (1993)

Domestic gross (inflation adj.): $146.4 million
Domestic gross: $96 million

Schindler’s List represented a major turning point in the career of director Steven Spielberg. He had mostly been associated with feel-good science fiction movies like E.T. or action-adventure yarns like Jurassic Park. However, the 1993 World War II drama represented a complete change of direction and recast him as a serious filmmaker. He won his first Best Director Oscar for his effort, and the film itself won Best Picture.

Despite the award and universally positive word-of-mouth, the movie didn’t get much of a bounce at the box office, in part because of its length. At over three hours long, it was only possible for theaters to show it a certain number of times during the day, and multiplexes were not yet in the practice of showing the same film simultaneously in eight theaters. Another factor was the movie’s grim subject matter, which didn’t invite many repeat viewings.

Photo: Universal Pictures