Ask anyone about Michael Keaton’s most famous movies, and you’ll probably hear a variety of answers. Tim Burton’s Batman and Beetlejuice will certainly come up. And Keaton‘s Oscar-nominated turn in Birdman and entrance into the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) with Spider-Man: Homecoming will earn mentions too. Yet, none of those beloved movies is the actor’s biggest hit. Most fans will never guess the answer.
Michael Keaton is best known for ‘Batman’ and ‘Beetlejuice’
Early on in his career, Keaton earned attention for his star-making turn in director Ron Howard’s Night Shift. Subsequent hits Mr. Mom and Gung Ho established the actor as a legitimate comedy star. But it wasn’t until he teamed with Burton for 1988’s Beetlejuice that he’d found the collaboration which would steer the course of his career.
The following year, Burton and Keaton reteamed for Batman, a project for which most fans thought the actor was a poor fit. Yet, his performance was met with much acclaim and led the movie to become a massive box office hit. With $411 million worldwide way back in 1989, Batman still stands among Keaton’s biggest hits. But it’s not at the top of the list.
But his biggest hits are in the world of animated film
According to The-Numbers.com, Batman is only the fifth highest-grossing film in which Keaton has appeared. Beating it out are 2006’s Cars — in which he voices Chick Hicks — and Spider-Man: Homecoming with $461 million and $878 million worldwide, respectively. Ironically, Keaton doesn’t appear in the sequels of either movie, 2011’s Cars 2 and 2019’s Spider-Man: Far From Home.
Much like Cars, the actor’s top two most successful movies are actually both voice roles. At second place is his role as Ken in 2010’s Toy Story 3, which earned $1.1 billion. In that Oscar-winning movie, he acts opposite Jodi Benson’s Barbie. But Keaton‘s biggest hit is 2015’s Minions at $1.2 billion. In the movie, the actor briefly appears as Walter Nelson, the father of a family of thieves who helps the titular creatures on their way to Villain-Con.
Michael Keaton could top himself with his role in ‘The Flash’
Of course, Keaton’s highest-grossing movies could definitely change in the coming years. The actor is as busy as ever. And while many of his films are unlikely to reach such money-making heights, he also has two ongoing franchise roles. Moreover, Keaton returns to both of them in 2022.
The actor will be back in a small role as Adrian Toomes/Vulture in Sony’s upcoming Spider-Man spinoff Morbius. That movie stars Jared Leto as the titular anti-hero, also known as The Living Vampire. And Keaton has a more substantive part in The Flash. That movie sees him return as Batman after 30 years and bring his version of the character to the DC Extended Universe (DCEU).