Stewart, Jimmy: Box-Office Star–Most Popular Films

For ten years, Jimmy Stewart was on the list of the Top Ten Stars, an annual poll based on the rankings of US distributors and movie owners.

His initial appearance was in 1950, occupying fifth place, a result of two commercial Westerns, Winchester 73 and

In 1955, Stewart occupied the top position, a function of his appearances in Rear Window and The Glenn Miller Story.

Stewart dropped out of the Top Ten list in 1960 and was placed on the list only once more, in 1965, occupying eighth place, after appearing in the smash hit, Shenondoah.

 

Stewart’s most commercially popular films at the box-office (by year, in chronological order):

The Stratton Story, 1949,                                 $4.0 million

The Greatest Show on Earth, 1952               $14.0 million

Rear Window, 1954                                             5.7 million

The Glenn Miller Story, 1954                            7.0 million

The Man Who Knew Too Much, 1956             4.1

Vertigo, 1958                                                         4.0

Anatomy of Murder, 1959                                  5.5

Mr. Hobbes, 1962                                                4.0

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, 1962    4.0

How the West Was Won, 1962                         12.15

Shenondoah, 1965                                               7.75

The Cheyenne Social Club, 1970                       5.25

The Shootist, 1976                                                5.9 millions

 

Analysis

Half of Jimmy Stewart’s greatest commercial hits were in the 1950s, the best decade of his career.

Three of the 13 hits were directed by Hitchcock

Two of the 13 features were directed by John Ford

Two of the 13 films were bio-pictures, The Stratton Story in 1949, and The Glenn Miller Story in 1954

Three of the films starred or co-starred John Wayne

Stewart played a secondary, supporting role (the sad clown) in Cecil B. DeMille’s The Greatest Show on Earth, which won the 1952 Best Picture Oscar.

Stewart received Best Actor nomination for only one of these 12 films, Preminger’s Anatomy of Murder, in 1959

Steawrt’s Best Actor Oscar Award (for The Philadelphia Story) and other nominations (always in the lead category) were in other films, indicating the disparity between artistic quality and commercial success.