The 10 Highest-Grossing Jennifer Hudson Films, Ranked
16th June 2022

Gaining her fame as the 2004 finalist on the third season of the highly competitive television show, American Idol, Jennifer Hudson, also known as J.Hud, has excelled over the years as a singer, releasing hit songs like Spotlight early on in her career, even receiving Best R&B Album in the same year for her studio debut album, Jennifer Hudson. Even amidst the unpredictability of tragic death which struck her life with the loss of three of her family members, she still managed to stay focused on her music career, which awarded her songs with top artists such as Missy Elliot, and Robin Thicke, Ludacris, and Ne-Yo. Her rise in the music entertainment industry transitioned to a thriving career as an actress, starring alongside some of Hollywood’s most brilliant talents such as Forest Whitaker, Terrence Howard, and Kerry Washington. Here are 10 highest-grossing Jennifer Hudson films of all time.

 

10 Sing – $631.064 Million

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As famous and recognized as actors/entertainers like Jennifer Hudson are, some of their highest-grossing movies don’t show their faces, but only feature their voices, such as computer-animated films. In 2016, the animated musical comedy film, Sing, follows the life of a koala named Buster Moon played by the Hollywood giant, Matthew McConaughey, who is fighting to keep his struggling theater open after being threatened foreclosure by Judith (Rhea Perlman). He intends to hold a singing competition with a $1,000 as the incentive, but a typo puts $100,000 as the initial grand prize before the flyers are blown about the city. Droves of animals appear to audition, and Buster finally chooses a pig named Rosita (Reese Witherspoon), a porcupine named Ash voiced by the gorgeous Scarlett Johansson, a sheep named Eddie Noodleman (John C. Reilly), and Eddie’s grandmother, Nana Noodleman (Jennifer Saunders), who was a famous singer in her younger years. Jennifer Hudson lent her voice as the younger depiction of Nana in the film. Against a budget of only $75 million, the film more than tripled its earnings with $631.064 million at the box office.

 

9 Sex And The City – $415.25 Million

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As one of the most-watched women’s HBO television series in recent television history, Sex and The City came about in 2008 delving into the lives of the same four characters, namely Carrie Bradshaw played by Hollywood actress Sarah Jessica Parker, Samantha Jones (Kim Cattrall), Charlotte York Goldenblatt (Kristin Davis), Myranda Hobbes (Cynthia Nixon), and a new addition to the cast, Carrie’s assistant, Louise (Jennifer Hudson). The film begins with Carrie assessing the events in her friends’ lives as well as her own – Charlotte is happily married to Harry Goldenblatt (Evan Handler); Miranda settles down with her child’s father; Steve (David Eigenberg) to raise their son; Samantha has relocated her business to Los Angeles to be with her superstar boyfriend Smith (Jason Lewis), and she is thinking of moving in with John “Mr. Big” Preston played by actor Chris Noth and getting married. After a few hiccups and even betrayals, the two eventually get married, and the romantic drama grossed a total of $415.25 million at the box office.

 

8 Dreamgirls – $155.620 Million

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Made as an adaptation of the 1981 Broadway film of the same name, Dreamgirls actually got its inspiration from the historical events behind the making of the Motown record label and one of its most popular musical acts, The Supremes. Motown Records is largely responsible for establishing music genres such as Rhythm & Blues (R&B), which found its roots in the African American community and is still a thriving market to this day. The film features a host of some of the most popular African American musicians and actors in modern entertainment, such as Jamie Foxx, Eddie Murphy, Anika Noni Rose, the pioneering actress and singer Beyonce Knowles, Danny Glover, Sharon Leal, and the lead star of the movie, Jennifer Hudson. The movie was particularly special for Hudson, as it was her acting debut. The film was met with favorable responses and grossed a total of $155.620 million at the box office.

 

7 Cats – $45.486 Million

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Based on the 1981 stage musical of the same name, Cats was released in 2019 and was actually inspired by T.S. Eliot’s 1939 old poetry collection, Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats. One would think that it was all about feisty felines strategizing a plot for the complete domination of their furry canine rivals. However, it is vastly different and follows Victoria the White cat (Francesca Hayward) who is taken under the wing of the “Jellicles” after being abandoned by her owner in the streets of London. The Jellicle consist of Cassandra (Mette Towley), Mr. Mistoffelees (Laurie Davidson), Munkustrap (Robbie Fairchild), and Demeter (Daniela Norman). Jennifer Hudson plays the role of Grizabella the Glamour Cat and it even features Taylor Swift playing the role of Bombalurina. The film grossed a total of $45.486 million at the box office.

 

6 The Three Stooges

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The Three Stooges slapstick comedy film was released in 2012 and was based on the famous and hilarious film shorts from 1934 to 1959. The entire film is broken into three distinct parts, which is similar to how the original film shorts were packaged years ago. The film surrounds the lives of three unintentionally comedic characters, beginning with Moe (Chris Diamantopoulos), the short-tempered and bull-headed leader of the three; Larry (Sean Hayes), the smartest and most relaxed of the Stooges; and Curly (Will Sasso), the goofy and seemingly unhinged member of the trio. Jennifer Hudson plays the role of Sister Mary, a nun who works at the Sisters of Mercy Orphanage, which is run by Sister Mary-Mengele (Larry David), and is also the place where the Three Stooges will call home after being abandoned as children. Other renowned celebrities in the movie include the beautiful and silver-tongued Sofia Vergara, Jane Lynch, and Stephen Collins. Against a $30 million budget, the film grossed a modest $54.052 million internationally.

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5 The Secret Life Of Bees – $39.994 Million

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This next movie is another one of Hudson’s most iconic moments as a budding actress and also came two years after her acting debut in Dreamgirls in 2006. The Secret Life of Bees is a drama film adapted from a novel of the same authored by Sue Monk Kidd and was released in 2008. The movie’s producers are Lauren Shuler Donner and I Am Legend actor Will Smith, with Jada Pinkett-Smith as the executive producer. Set in 1964 Southern Carolina, it follows the life of Lily Owens (Dakota Fanning) who lives on a peach orchard with her abusive father, T. Ray Owens (Paul Bettany). It’s understood that through an accidental shooting, Lily shot her mother, Deborah Owen (Hilarie Burton) as she was trying to escape T. Ray. Lily becomes close friends with her father’s hired black help, Rosaleen Daise-Boatwright (Jennifer Hudson). To celebrate her 14th birthday, Lily goes to the signing of the Civil Rights Act with Rosaleen but is a first-hand witness to the racism and injustice that dominated the atmosphere at that time. The two eventually run away together to meet Rosaleen’s sisters, August Boatwright acted by Queen Latifah, who has a successful bee-keeping business, June Boatwright (Alicia Keys), and May Boatwright (Sophie Okonedo). The film grossed $39.994 million at the box office.

 

4 Respect – $32.882 Million

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In 2008, Beyonce played the role of the gospel, blues, R&B, and jazz singer, Etta James, in the biographical film Cadillac Records alongside the American Heist actor Adrien Brody and Jeffrey Wright. In 2021, it was Hudson’s turn to play the role of an iconic singer, Aretha Franklin, in the biographical musical drama film Respect. The film goes into the depths of Aretha’s upbringing, like her involvement in the church choir and the traumatic assault she experienced at the hands of a family friend, causing her to become pregnant, as well as the death of her mother. Her father, C.L. Franklin (Forest Whitaker) is the pastor of the largest Baptist church in Detroit. Years later, now a mother of two, she meets Ted White performed by the comedian Marlon Wayans, a local producer, who organizes a meeting between Aretha and Columbia Records executive John Hammond (Tate Donovan) after hearing her sing. He would later become her manager and abusive husband, which caused the marriage to break down. Aretha went on to focus on her music career but later turned aggressively to drugs and alcohol with the pressure that came along with stardom. Despite a great cast of actors, the film was a flop and grossed $32.882 million against a $55 million budget.

 

3 Black Nativity – $7.4 Million

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Once again, Hudson finds herself in another musical drama film in 2013’s Christmas holiday-themed Black Nativity, written and directed by Kasi Lemmons but is based completely on the 1961 play written by Langston Hughes. Hudson also finds herself playing the main role of Naima, the mother of the main actor, Langston (Jacob Latimore), who gets evicted from her Baltimore apartment, forcing Langston to live with his grandparents in New York City. He encounters a few trials along the way and is even framed as a wallet thief and put in jail before finding his grandparents, Reverend Cornell Cobbs (Forest Whitaker) and Aretha Cobbs (Angela Bassett). Langston meets a man in prison whose name is Tyson played by the Fast and Furious actor Tyrese Gibson and requests a gun from him. After trying to stick up Tyson with the gun he gave to Langston, it’s revealed that Tyson is his father and was paid $5,000 by Reverend Cobbs to leave Naima and Langston in hopes that Naima would return to her parents. They all meet at a church service where Langston Hughes’ Black Nativity play is being performed, and the family is reunited. The film grossed $7.4 million against a $17.5 million budget.

 

2 Chi-Raq – $2.7 Million

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Despite being a multi-million dollar director and actor, Spike Lee still purses passion projects that shine a light on pertinent issues surrounding racism, classism, and sexism in society, especially among the African American community and Black culture. His 2015 musical crime comedy-drama, Chi-Raq, was one of those passion projects that focused on the unrelenting gun violence that has plagued Chicago’s Southside for many years. The film’s events are narrated by the award-winning Pulp Fiction actor, Samuel L. Jackson, and explains the ongoing war between The Spartans gang, led by rapper/gang leader Demetrius (Nick Cannon), also known as “Chi-Raq,” and the Trojans, led by Lord Cyclops (Wesley Snipes). After a slew of dangerous close shootouts which claimed the life of an innocent girl named Patti, who was the daughter of Irene (Jennifer Hudson), Demetrius’ girlfriend, Lysistrata (Teyonah Parris) decides to put an end to the violence by rallying all women to go on a no sex strike with the slogan, “No Peace, No Pussy.” The film also includes A-list actors like John Cusack, Angela Bassett, and Dave Chappelle, but flopped at the box office, grossing $2.7 million against a $15 million budget.

 

1 The Inevitable Defeat Of Mister And Pete – $506, 303

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Hudson’s next movie can also be considered a passion project despite including a cast of very influential celebrities. The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete is a 2013 drama film that follows the less-than-ideal circumstances of Mister (Skylan Brooks) and his brother Pete (Ethan Dizon) as they struggle to survive following the arrest of their mother Gloria (Jennifer Hudson) by police. Holding on to the hope of a child actor casting call, they persevere though surrounded by a hostile environment. Other actors included in the movie include the Get Rich or Die Tryin‘ star Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, music artist Jordin Sparks, Anthony Mackie, and Jeffrey Wright. The film grossed $506,303 against a $300,000 budget.

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Sources: Empire Online, Spirituality and Practice, Roger Ebert, The Guardian, Indie Wire

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