Highest-Grossing Musician Biopics


After less than a week, Bob Marley: One Love is already one of the top-grossing biopics of a musician in domestic box-office history. The film, which stars Kingsley Ben-Adir as reggae legend Bob Marley, has grossed $52 million in the U.S. and Canada.

Here are the 25 top-grossing biopics of musicians in terms of domestic box office. These films cover a remarkably wide range of genres. Pop/rock artists are the focus of seven of the 25 films, followed by R&B (five); rap and traditional pop (three each); country and classical (two each); and Latin, contemporary Christian and reggae (one each).

Biopics of four of the 10 artists who comprised the inaugural induction class at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame dot this list. In addition to Elvis Presley, there are biopics here of James Brown, Ray Charles and Buddy Holly.

If you want to dig deeper into Marley, we have a story about how the film brought the 1976 Smile Jamaica Concert and Exodus recording sessions to the big screen.

Methodology: Boxofficemojo.com maintains lists of top-grossing films searchable by dozens of “genre keywords.” Under “music,” we extracted biopics, which we define as films in which actors portray the musicians. Five of the biopics listed here aren’t listed under music on the boxofficemojo.com site, so we manually inserted them, using box-office figures found elsewhere on the site.

We didn’t include some high-grossing films about real-life music personalities because they’re not biopics in the traditional sense. These include The Sound of Music (which tells the story of Maria von Trapp and the Trapp Family Singers); Green Book (pianist and composer Don Shirley); Florence Foster Jenkins (heiress and amateur soprano by that name); and Music of the Heart (violinist and music educator Roberta Guaspari).

Here are the 25 biopics of music stars with the highest domestic (defined as U.S. and Canada) grosses:

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