By Daniel Bukszpan

On Friday, Sept. 24, 2011, the Brad Pitt movie "Moneyball" opened across the U.S. It had the misfortune of opening alongside the 3D re-release of "The Lion King," which easily and unsurprisingly became the highest grossing film of the weekend. "Moneyball" was right behind it, however, earning a respectable $21 million at the box office.

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Slideshow: Highest grossing sports movies

The movie is based on the 2003 book of the same name. Pitt plays Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland A's, whose job is to create the best possible team with a fraction of the money that other teams pay to recruit star players. Beane recruits players based on an analysis of their performance, as opposed to a general appraisal of their overall statistics. In the end, Beane builds a competitive team at a low cost.

"Moneyball" did well in part because it had what a lot of sports movies have -- the inspiring tale of an underdog who beats the odds. It's a simple formula, but when filmmakers get it right the result is often a story for the ages -- one that remains popular long after the movie leaves the theaters.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to read them first! collected the domestic gross box office of sports movies, using data from and adjusting the numbers for inflation. What are the highest grossing sports films of all time? Take a look.

Highest Grossing Sports Movies Slideshow


5. Rocky II (1979)

Domestic Gross: $85 million Adjusted for Inflation (2011): $266 million The original "Rocky" was hugely successful and won the Oscar for Best Picture of 1976. While the sequel didn't quite reach those same heights, it more than held its own, earning both positive reviews and more than $85 million at the box office -- a gold mine in 1979. This was enough to earn “Rocky II” the distinction of highest grossing sequel of all time, before "The Empire Strikes Back" took the title the following year.


4. Rocky IV (1985)

Domestic Gross: $128 million Adjusted for Inflation (2011): $269 million The fourth installment in the "Rocky" franchise, "Rocky IV" was the most overtly commercial of any of the other films. In it, lead character Rocky Balboa goes up against Ivan Drago, a steroid-enhanced boxer from the Soviet Union who has killed someone in the ring. At the time of its release, "Rocky IV" received reviews that were lukewarm at best, many of which characterized the film as cartoonish and inane. Nonetheless, it became the highest grossing installment of the franchise, and it remained the highest grossing sports film until 2009.


3. The Blind Side (2009)

Domestic Gross: $256 million Adjusted for Inflation (2011): $270 million "The Blind Side" is a 2009 film based on the Michael Lewis book "The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game." The movie documents the rise of Michael Oher, a football player who grows up in abject poverty and eventually becomes an offensive lineman for the Baltimore Ravens. The film stars Sandra Bullock as Leigh Anne Tuohy, who along with her husband adopts Oher. Bullock was highly praised by critics for her performance and took home the Academy Award for Best Actress.


2. Rocky III (1982)

Domestic Gross: $125 million Adjusted for Inflation (2011): $293 million "Rocky III" was one of the highest-grossing installments in the Rocky franchise, but today, few people remember it for the plot. It remains memorable today for two reasons: Mr. T and the movie's theme song, "Eye of the Tiger."


1. Rocky (1976)

Domestic Gross: $117 million Adjusted for Inflation (2011): $467 million The entire "Rocky" franchise has taken in $567 million (not adjusting for inflation) at the U.S. box office since the original film appeared in 1976. Some of the installments made more money than others, and some got better reviews. Few people dispute, however, that the original film is a poignant work of art.

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