We usually associate blockbusters with those brainless summer movies: guns, explosions, sex, and tons of special effects. But the movies that actually make the most money usually touch a special chord with audiences. No matter how much money a studio pours into marketing, a bad film is still a bad film.

As a result, most of the films on this list are actually pretty good. Five of them were nominated for Oscars for Best Picture, and they cover a relatively wide range of genres (though they do skew a bit towards sci-fi).

Please note that while most of these films premiered during the 1990s, this is also when ticket prices were highest. If we were to adjust for inflation or count up the number of people that saw every movie, the list would be incredibly different, with Gone With the Wind blowing away the competition. Also note that these are the North America figures, completely ignoring Asia, Europe, Africa, South America, and the bustling Antarctic movie scene. Finally, we're not counting video rentals, because that's a completely separate industry unto itself.

1. MOVIES 10 - 8

10. The Sixth Sense - $293,000,000

Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Year released: 1999

The little kid who saw dead people had us all spooked last summer, but couldn't quite convince the Academy voters that he was the Best Supporting Actor of the year. Not that it can be called difficult to steal scenes from Bruce Willis. We'd say this one was mostly a word-of-mouth winner, which is the best kind, and it is a welcome addition to the top ten.

The location shooting for this film took place entirely in Pennsylvania, in both Blue Bell and Philadelphia. Director Shyamalan also wrote the quirky screenplay that kept everybody guessing. It was his third film, a previous film being Wide Awake, a movie about a kid who goes looking for God and thinks to ask Rosie O'Donnell. She directs him to Tom Cruise.

9. Independence Day - $306,000,000

Director: Roland Emmerich
Year released: 1996

Aliens blow up the White House, and the whole world gets together to kick some alien butt with all the nuclear weapons we've been stockpiling. More special effects, loud music, one-liners, a cast of thousands, and one tiny thread of a storyline. And in case you missed him in Jurassic Park, you get to see more of Jeff Goldblum as the action egghead character we have all come to love.

Co-written and directed by Roland Emmerich, the director of Stargate, the movie was one of a number of recent films that searched for a new bad guy. The departure of the Russians from the position left a void. Hollywood needed a group that was irremediably evil and lacking in sympathy. The aliens answered that need.

8. Return of the Jedi- $309,000,000

Director: Richard Marquand
Year released: 1983 & 1997

This third installment of the Star Wars trilogy, Return of the Jedi is known for the introduction of characters such as Jabba the Hutt and the Ewoks, as well as finally revealing the face of Darth Vader. While diehard fans of the series will usually claim this to be the weakest episode, it still retains the spirit of the first two Star Wars movies.

Return of the Jedi was re-released in 1997 (along with the first two films) where it made an extra $46 million, bumping it into the top 10.