Here Are Six Top-Grossing Music Biopics Of All Time So Far

BY Dora Dzaka February 25, 2024 6:32 AM EDT
Photo Source: Instagram/@tupac

Films under the music biopic genre have the amazing ability to distill the life stories of outstanding musicians into gripping feature-length stories.

Many great music biopics have been made over the years, including the successful Bob Marley story Bob Marley: One Love and the Johnny Cash film Walk The Line.

The exciting thing is that fans have a ton of upcoming biopics to look forward to as many upcoming biopics have been announced, written, and even produced for music lovers to check out in the future.

These biopics tell the stories of lesser-known artistes as well as the well-known stories of megastars like The Beatles or Bob Dylan. There’s just so much upcoming music biopics to be excited about for moviegoers.

In addition to serving as a fantastic homage for ardent fans of the artiste, these movies serve as a gateway for new viewers to become familiar with the artiste’s body of work. While we await the release of all the 2024 biopics, here are some from the past that garnered massive success.

Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance With Somebody (2022) – Domestic gross: $23.7 million

This film, which was directed by Kasi Lemmons, starred Naomi Ackie. In 1983, when Houston was just 19 years old, Stanley Tucci co-starred as Clive Davis, signed her to Arista Records. Davis witnessed her amazing ascent but was powerless to stop her terrible decline. The movie takes its name from Houston’s 1987 hit, which peaked at No.1 on Billboard’s 2023 list of The 500 Best Pop Songs: Staff List. 

Respect (2021) – Domestic gross: $24.3 million

In this biopic, Jennifer Hudson portrayed Aretha Franklin, charting her journey from singing in her father’s church choir to her undeniable position as the Queen of Soul. The Billboard 200 peaked at No.151 for the soundtrack. 

Notorious (2009) – Domestic gross: $36.8 million

In this biopic, Jamal Woolard played Christopher Wallace, also known as The Notorious B.I.G. who, at the age of 24, was shot and killed in 1997 and was the biggest star in the world of rap music at the time. The movie also starred Anthony Mackie, Derek Luke, and Angela Bassett. The Billboard 200 charted the soundtrack at No.4. 

What’s Love Got to Do With It (1993) – Domestic gross: $39.1 million

In this biopic, Angela Bassett plays the iconic Tina Turner, for which she was nominated for an Oscar in the Best Actress category. Laurence Fishburne, who portrayed her violent husband, Ike Turner, was nominated for an Oscar in the Best Actor category. Turner’s biggest hit, which topped the Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks in 1984 and took home Grammys for record and song of the year, served as the inspiration for the movie’s title. On the Billboard 200, the soundtrack to a movie peaked at No.17. 

All Eyes on Me (2017) – Domestic gross: $44.9 million

In this movie, Demetrius Shipp Jr. played Tupac Shakur, and Jamal Woolard played Christopher “The Notorious B.I.G.” Wallace from Notorious again. Shipp’s father collaborated with 2Pac on music videos; the 25-year-old rapper was shot and killed in 1996. The 1996 double-disc album by 2Pac—his second to top the Billboard 200—inspired the movie’s title. 

Straight Outta Compton (2015) – Domestic gross: $161.2 million

In this N.W.A. biopic, which also featured Corey Hawkins as Dr. Dre, Jason Mitchell as Eazy-E, Neil Brown Jr. as DJ Yella, and Aldis Hodge as MC Ren, Ice Cube was portrayed by his real-life son, O’Shea Jackson Jr. Jerry Heller, the manager of the N.W.A., was portrayed by Paul Giamatti. Ice Cube and Dr. Dre served as producers for the movie, which was produced by members of N.W.A. 

In addition to producing, Tomica Woods-Wright, the widow of Eazy-E, also provided creative consultations along with MC Ren and DJ Yella. The title of the movie came from N.W.A.’s debut album, which, after the movie came out, hit a new peak at No. 4 on the Billboard 200.