10 Highest-Grossing Steven Soderbergh Movies

Movies


There are few filmmakers working today who have revolutionized the medium quite like Steven Soderbergh. With a lengthy filmography that’s filled with underrated gems, Soderbergh has utilized unusual distribution methods throughout his career, and taken advantage of the streaming revolution. While not all of Soderbergh’s films are equal in terms of quality, his sheer productivity ensures that he is consistently working on a new project.



While he has addressed concerns about the lack of data transparency, many of Soderbergh’s most recent films have gone directly to streaming services like Max and Netflix. While this suggests a major shift in the industry at large, Soderbergh has also directed several major commercial hits that satisfied both critics and audiences. He is perhaps best associated with his more experimental work, but that doesn’t mean that Soderbergh can’t deliver an old-fashioned crowd-pleaser every once in a while.



10 ‘Logan Lucky’ (2017)

Worldwide gross: $48,453,605

Image via Bleecker Street

Logan Lucky was a return to cinema for Soderbergh after his brief “retirement” from narrative features and served as a revitalization of the modern heist genre that he helped to innovate. Although making an original film with such a sizable ensemble of movie stars would seemingly set a film up for success, Logan Lucky’s underperformance suggests that audiences are more interested in established franchises. With not even $50 million globally, Logan Lucky failed to kickstart a new comedy franchise for Soderbergh to helm.


Despite ostensibly being a box office dud, Logan Lucky is an underrated gem that features many great actors acting against type. In one of his best non-James Bond roles, Daniel Craig delivered a hilariously fun performance as the idiosyncratic bank robber Joe Bang. A duo of relatable performances from Channing Tatum and Adam Driver signified that Soderbergh was interested in working with the industry’s most seemingly versatile stars.

Logan Lucky

Release Date
August 17, 2017

Director
Steven Soderbergh

Runtime
119

Rent on Amazon

9 ‘Side Effects’ (2013)

Worldwide gross: $63,414,135

Jude Law as Dr. Jonathan Banks talking to someone off-camera in Side Effects
Image Via Open Road Films

Side Effectswas Soderbergh’s last film before his brief “retirement” period, and embodies what a unique storyteller he is. Although the film deals with hyper-specific issues within the healthcare industry, Side Effects manages to synthesize its loaded political commentary with dynamic performances from acclaimed actors. Thanks to the star power of Jude Law, Rooney Mara, Julia Roberts, and Channing Tatum, Side Effects managed to earn over $63 million during its box office run at the beginning of 2013.


While it is by no means a traditional blockbuster, it’s impressive that Side Effects was able to generate such a significant audience for what was ostensibly an arthouse thriller. The film was unafraid to deal with challenging subject material regarding pharmaceutical malpractice and drug abuse; it’s to Soderbergh’s credit that he made these issues palatable for a general audience who otherwise may not have been interested.

Side Effects

Release Date
February 7, 2013

Director
Steven Soderbergh

Runtime
100

Watch on Prime Video

8 ‘Out of Sight’ (1998)

Worldwide gross: $77,745,966

Jennifer and Lopez and George Clooney gaze at each other in profile in Out of Sight
Image via Universal Pictures


In addition to being one of his best films, Out of Sight solidified the importance of Soderbergh’s working relationship with George Clooney, an actor whom he has frequently gone back to working with. While Clooney’s prospects as a movie star had diminished in the aftermath of Batman & Robin’s critical failure a year prior, Soderbergh proved that he was a charismatic leading man well-suited for darkly comic material. At over $77 million, Out of Sight succeeded in revitalizing a very old-fashioned style of romantic espionage cinema.

While its success isn’t comparable to the later collaborations between Soderbergh and Clooney, Out of Sight’s strong reviews and idiosyncratic tone certainly helped it reach a broader audience. The film was based on a popular crime novel of the same name by Elmore Leonard, and received Academy Award nominations for both Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Adapted Screenplay.


Out of Sight

Release Date
June 26, 1998

Director
Steven Soderbergh

Runtime
123

Rent on Amazon

7 ‘Contagion’ (2011)

Worldwide gross: $136,515,867

Anna Jacoby-Heron as Jory Emhoff and Matt Damon as Mitch Emhoff looking back at a person offscreen in Contagion
Image via Warner Bros

While not a traditional horror film by any stretch of the imagination, Contagionmay be the scariest film that Soderbergh has ever directed. While the film’s analysis of the realistic ramifications of a global pandemic felt spooky upon its initial release in 2011, they felt eerily prophetic in the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis in 2020. While Contagion may have earned more attention in recent years due to its similarities to current events, the film managed to earn well over $100 at the global box office during its initial run.


Despite featuring standout performances from stars like Kate Winslet and Gwyneth Paltrow, Contagion emphasized the importance of its ensemble by using a nonlinear narrative structure. This was perhaps Soderbergh’s way of showing the widespread effects that a crisis like this would have, and how various infrastructures would collapse without proper communication.

Contagion

Release Date
September 8, 2011

Director
Steven Soderbergh

Cast
gwyneth paltrow , Tien You Chui , Josie Ho , Daria Strokous , Matt Damon , Monique Gabriela Curnen

Runtime
106

Rent on Amazon

6 ‘Magic Mike’ (2012)

Worldwide gross: $167,282,206

Magic Mike and a group of male strippers dancing in Magic Mike (2012) (1)
Image via Warner Brothers


Although it may have seemed like a traditional crowd-pleaser based on the marketing alone, Magic Mikeis a surprisingly dark drama about the inherent challenges of masculinity. Drawing more from 1970s character dramas than comedies like Striptease, Magic Mike still managed to gross over $150 million and become one of the bigger “original” hits of 2012. The film also solidified Channing Tatum’s prominence as a movie star, and only shortly after Soderbergh had given him a supporting role in his 2011 crime thriller Haywire.

In addition to the strong response from critics and audiences, Magic Mike was successful enough to launch a franchise that grew even more experimental with each installment. While Soderbergh did not direct the more comedically-minded 2015 sequel Magic Mike XXL, he returned to the series for the emotionally powerful 2022 trilogy-capper Magic Mike’s Last Dance.

Magic Mike

Release Date
June 24, 2012

Director
Steven Soderbergh

Runtime
110

Watch on Hulu


5 ‘Traffic’ (2000)

Worldwide gross: $207,515,725

Michael Douglas on a private plane in Traffic
Image Via USA Films

While his films are no stranger to critical acclaim, Traffic finally won Soderbergh the Academy Award for Best Director. The unforgettable ensemble crime drama utilized three interlocking storylines to explore the effects of the international drug war on law enforcement officers, dealers, undercover cops, and the victims caught in between them. While the award-season success alone was enough to make Traffic one of Soderbergh’s biggest hits, it also passed the $200 million mark at the global box office.

Considering how unfiltered the film is in its depiction of drug abuse, it’s surprising that Traffic was able to have such significant mass market appeal. While stories about the drug crisis are frequently told on television, Soderbergh managed to successfully interweave his strong political message with an intriguing narrative packed with memorable characters. It’s a rare film that is both viscerally enthralling and very educational.


Traffic (2000)

Release Date
December 27, 2000

Director
Steven Soderbergh

Runtime
147

Rent on Amazon

4 ‘Erin Brokovich’ (2000)

Worldwide gross: $256,271,286

Erin Brockovich (Julia Roberts) sitting in Ed's office in Erin Brockovich
Image via Universal Pictures

Released the same year as his Academy Award-winning film Traffic, Erin Brokovich became Soderbergh’s most successful biopic ever. While not entirely accurate to the true story that its based on, Erin Brokovich nonetheless reached an audience due to its association with events that had been extensively documented by the media. Erin Brokovich frames its narrative as an inspirational “David vs. Goliath” story that earned it over $250 million at the box office, a rare feat for a legal thriller.


While Erin Brokovich’s story didn’t seem like the basis of a traditional crowd-pleaser, the film attracted a significant audience based on the star power of Julia Roberts. Roberts’ snarky, charismatic interpretation of the titular role proved that she was far more than just a romantic comedy star; it also earned her a well-deserved Academy Award win for Best Actress.

Erin Brockovich

Release Date
March 17, 2000

Director
Steven Soderbergh

Runtime
131 minutes

Watch on Netflix

3 ‘Ocean’s Thirteen’ (2007)

Worldwide gross: $311,312,624

Matt Damon, George Clooney and Brad Pitt in 'Ocean's Thirteen' sitting at an airport with sunglasses on
Image via Warner Bros. Pictures


While it was ultimately the lowest-grossing film in the original Ocean’s trilogy, Ocean’s Thirteen still managed to end the initial series on a high note, grossing over $300 million at the global box office. While the material may not have felt as fresh as the first two installments, Ocean’s Thirteen took the series in a more comedic direction through the insertion of more humorous banter and more elaborate heist sequences. A delightfully villainous performance from Al Pacino also helped add additional star power to the film.

TheOcean’s franchise has struggled in the aftermath of Ocean’s Thirteen, as the deaths of Bernie Mac and Carl Reiner meant that the original cast would not be able to reunite in full. While 2018’s Ocean’s Eight attempted to revitalize the series with a prequel story, it failed to capture the unique charisma of the original trilogy.

ocean’s thirteen

Release Date
June 6, 2007

Director
Steven Soderbergh

Runtime
122


Rent on Amazon

2 ‘Ocean’s Twelve’ (2004)

Worldwide gross: $362,744,280

Danny Ocean, Reuben Tishkoff, Rusty Ryan, and Basher Carr sit behind bars in 'Ocean's Twelve'.
Image via Warner Bros. Pictures

Despite earning almost $100 million less than its predecessor, Ocean’s Twelvewas a very successful sequel that proved the heist movie formula was still effective. In addition to reassembling the incredible cast from the first film, Ocean’s Twelve made its ensemble more exciting by adding Vincent Cassel and Catherine Zeta-Jones. The film managed to subvert audience expectations by breaking the fourth wall with celebrity cameos and a satire of Hollywood stardom.

While it may have been considered a mild disappointment in comparison to the first film, Ocean’s Twelve is a much better movie than it is often given credit for. Rather than repeating the same formula and offering diminishing returns, Soderbergh chose to reinvent the wheel by crafting a “hangout” movie with the stars of the original film. It’s a much more interesting project than a quasi-remake of the first film would have been.


Ocean’s Twelve

Release Date
December 9, 2004

Director
Steven Soderbergh

Runtime
120

Rent on Amazon

1 ‘Ocean’s Eleven’ (2001)

Worldwide gross: $450,717,150

Danny Ocean (George Clooney) sitting at a betting table in Ocean's Eleven
Image via Warner Bros.

Ocean’s Elevenwas by far the most financially successful film of Soderbergh’s career, signifying that he had left his independent roots behind and become a Hollywood blockbuster director. Earning over $450 million worldwide, Ocean’s Eleven took advantage of Goerge Clooney, Brad Pitt, and Matt Damon when they were at the height of their powers, and launched a highly successful franchise that is still generating new installments.


In addition to once again popularizing the heist genre, Ocean’s Eleven became one of the most successful remakes ever. While the original film of the same name from 1960 starring “the Rat Pack” hadn’t exactly been a critical hit, Ocean’s Eleven received strong reviews in addition to its impressive box office sum. While Soderbergh has created more artistically minded films in recent years, he still hasn’t topped the mass market appeal of Ocean’s Eleven.

Ocean’s Eleven

Release Date
December 7, 2001

Director
Steven Soderbergh

Cast
George Clooney , Cecelia Ann Birt , Paul L. Nolan , Carol Florence , Lori Galinski , Bernie Mac

Runtime
116 minutes

Rent on Amazon

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