Hollywood’s Highest-Grossing Director at the Box Office Is on Borrowed Time

In all entertainment mediums, there are stars and then there are legends. Steven Spielberg, having burst onto the pop culture landscape in the mid-1970s as a wunderkind director with a singular eye for cinema, remains among the most legendary and elite filmmakers of his or any generation. Aside from his laundry list of accolades, his half-century behind the camera has also given him the distinction of being the world’s highest-grossing director. With 33 films to his name, his work has grossed a collective $10.7 billion worldwide. To put that in perspective, James Cameron is the world’s second highest-grossing director but currently trails Spielberg by approximately $2 billion. However, as the means of distribution and exhibition continually evolve, with streaming services and on-demand availability tightening their grip on audiences, the reigning king of the box office has seen diminishing returns in the last decade. Has the all-time highest-grossing director been set back by a new model for film viewing, or has he merely lost a measure of his once seemingly bullet-proof bankability?

​ Despite racking up huge box office numbers, Steven Spielberg has seen diminishing returns in recent years and another director is on his tail.