Paul Dano: 7 Highest-Grossing Movies

Paul Dano: 7 Highest-Grossing Movies
Paul Dano: 7 Highest-Grossing Movies

With a screen acting career of over a quarter of a century, Paul Dano’s growing list of highest-grossing movies is a testament to his growth as an actor. Arguably, the New York City-born actor is one of the most creatively talented performers of his generation. Paul Dano’s love for acting began in his childhood in New Canaan, Connecticut’s community theater. Unsurprisingly, Dano’s career began as a stage actor.

Although he’s known for his works on the big screen, he continues to work in theater and television. As of 2024, Dano may have only starred in 37 movies, but his credits are filled with several successful and popular movies. Some of his popular starring roles include The Girl Next Door (2004), There Will Be Blood (2007), Love & Mercy (2014), The Fabelmans (2022), and Dumb Money (2023). Over the years, these have been Paul Dano’s highest-grossing movies.

Little Miss Sunshine (2006) – $101 Million

The tragicomedy Little Miss Sunshine is one of those movies that can keep audiences glued and laughing at their screens. With a low production budget of $8 million, Little Miss Sunshine packed a hilarious cast that convincingly breathed life into Michael Arndt’s screenplay. The movie’s exceptional cast comprised Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Greg Kinnear, Paul Dano, Alan Arkin, and then-10-year-old Abigail Breslin. First released at the Sundance Film Festival on January 20, 2006, Little Miss Sunshine cast Paul Dano as Dwayne Hoover.

As an aspiring fighter pilot, Dwayne had taken a vow of silence until he achieved his goal. When his younger sister, Olive Hoover (Abigail Breslin), qualifies for a beauty pageant, the entire family drives cross-country from Albuquerque, New Mexico, to Redondo Beach, California, in their worn-out yellow Volkswagen van. Although encountering several setbacks along the way, the family learns to stick together and support each other. Little Miss Sunshine (2006) grossed $101 million at the Box Office to become Paul Dano’s first movie to cross the $100 million Box Office mark.

Watch Little Miss Sunshine on Hulu

Prisoners (2013) – $122.1 Million

Paul Dano in Prisoners (2013)

Denis Villeneuve’s 2013 thriller Prisoners packed a cast of Hollywood A-listers in an emotional, suspenseful screenplay. It’s no surprise it did exceptionally well at the Box Office. Prisoners (2013), whose production budget was about $46 million, grossed $122.1 million at the Box Office. Paul Dano was cast as Alex Jones, a suspected kidnapper with a seemingly low IQ. Prisoners follow the abduction of two little girls and the lengths a father would go to find his daughter. Besides Paul Dano, Prisoners starred Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, Terrence Howard, Maria Bello, and Melissa Leo.

Watch Prisoners on Netflix

Cowboys & Aliens (2011) – $174.8 Million

Paul Dano in Cowboys & Aliens (2011)

After its theatrical release in 2011, Jon Favreau’s Cowboys & Aliens was received with mixed to average reviews. Although considered a Box Office disappointment, it is still one of Paul Dano’s highest-grossing movies. Cowboys & Aliens was produced on a $163 million budget but only managed to gross $174.8 million at the Box Office. However, looking back over a decade later, Cowboys & Aliens deserved far more accolades than it ever got. Paul Dano was cast as Harrison Ford’s on-screen trouble-making son, Percy Dolarhyde. Cowboys & Aliens also starred Daniel Craig, Olivia Wilde, and Sam Rockwell.

Watch Cowboys & Aliens on Apple TV+

Looper (2012) – $176.5 Million

Paul Dano in Looper (2012)

Time travel, gunfights, and Bruce Willis were all it took to make Rian Johnson’s 2012 science fiction action thriller Looper a massive success. Paul Dano may only have had a small screen time, but his character’s presence sets in motion the movie’s events. With only a few more million more than Cowboys & Aliens (2011), Looper is still one of Paul Dano’s highest-grossing movies. Supporting Bruce Willis in the lead role is Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who plays the younger version of Willis’ character. Looper also starred Emily Blunt, Jeff Daniels, and Piper Perabo. After its theatrical run, Looper (2012) grossed an impressive $176.5 million on a production budget of $30 million.

Watch Looper on Netflix

12 Years a Slave (2013) – $187.7 Million

Paul Dano in 12 Years a Slave (2013)

Like the year before, 12 Years a Slave (2013) surpassed Paul Dano’s highest-grossing movies in the last two years. 12 Years a Slave was another huge Box Office success, grossing $187.7 million on a $20–22 million budget. Paul Dano delivered an unforgettable performance as John Tibeats, the carpenter at William Ford’s (Benedict Cumberbatch) plantation. Directed by Steve McQueen from an adapted screenplay by John Ridley, 12 Years a Slave received critical acclaim. It was one of the movies the Library of Congress selected in 2023 for preservation in the National Film Registry.

Watch 12 Years a Slave on Apple TV+

Knight and Day (2010) – $262 Million

Paul Dano in Knight and Day (2010)

“No one follows us, or I kill myself and then her.”

Director James Mangold’s 2010 satirical action comedy Knight and Day is one of Paul Dano’s highest-grossing movies and one of the most successful satirical action movies of the century. Watching Tom Cruise play a comical action hero alongside Cameron Diaz was a delight. Paul Dano played a supporting role as Simon Feck, a perpetual battery inventor. Produced with a high budget of $117 million, Knight and Day grossed $262 million at the Box Office. For more than a decade, Knight and Day was Paul Dano’s highest-grossing film until 2022.

Watch Knight and Day on Hulu

The Batman (2022) – $772.2 Million

Matt ReevesThe Batman is currently Paul Dano’s highest-grossing movie in his acting career. Playing his most iconic role, Paul Dano portrayed DC’s supervillain Edward Nashton/Riddler. The Batman is still considered as one of the best DC-based superhero films. Dano was both terrifying and amazing as the movie’s villain. With Matt Reeves working with a production budget of $185–200 million, The Batman became the seventh-highest-grossing film of 2022, grossing $772.2 million at the Box Office. The Batman was the first time Robert Pattinson was playing the Bruce Wayne/Batman character. The Batman also starred Zoë Kravitz, Jeffrey Wright, Andy Serkis, and Colin Farrell. If you enjoyed reading about Paul Dano’s highest-grossing movies, check out Rebecca Ferguson’s 7 Highest-Grossing Movies.

Watch The Batman on Netflix

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