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The Numbers - Movies Released in 1981

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This list shows all films released in 1981, including films that went direct-to-video, or only got an international theatrical release. For each film, we use the first date on which it was made available to the public, which might include international theatrical or domestic video releases that were a few days, or sometimes more, earlier than the domestic (US/Canada) theatrical release.

See also: Top 1981 Worldwide - Domestic Release Schedule for 1981 - Most Popular 1981

← Movies Released in 1980Movies Released in 1982 →
Release DateMovieGenreProduction
Budget
Domestic
Box Office
to Date
Trailer

January, 1981

January 1 Death Hunt   $5,000,000  
The Devil and Max Devlin   $16,000,000  
Fort Apache, The Bronx   $29,200,000  
My Dinner With Andre   $5,250,000  
The Private Eyes   $18,000,000  
Roar Adventure $17,000,000 $2,110,050  
Scanners Horror   $14,200,000  
 
January 30 The Incredible Shrinking Woman Comedy   $20,259,000  

February, 1981

February 11 Le dernier métro Drama   $3,000,000  
Sphinx Thriller/Suspense $10,000,000 $2,000,000  
 
February 13 American Pop Drama   $6,000,000  
The Dogs of War   $0  
Eyewitness   $6,400,000  
Sunday Lovers   $0  

March, 1981

March 6 All Night Long Comedy   $7,800,000  
On the Right Track   $13,000,000  
 
March 13 Back Roads Comedy   $11,809,387  
The Funhouse Horror   $7,000,000  
Modern Romance Romantic Comedy   $29,137  
 
March 15 Confidence   $0  
 
March 20 Amy Drama   $0  
Cutter’s Way   $0  
The Final Conflict Horror   $20,471,000  
Kelly   $0  
The Postman Always Rings Twice Drama $12,000,000 $12,200,000  
 
March 27 Eyes of a Stranger Horror   $546,724  
Thief Action   $4,300,000  
 
March 31 Pick-up Summer   $28,756  

April, 1981

April 10 Excalibur Adventure   $34,200,000  
From Mao to Mozart Documentary   $0  
Going Ape!   $0  
The Howling Horror $1,000,000 $17,985,000  
Knightriders Action   $0  
Nighthawks Action $5,000,000 $14,600,000  
This is Elvis Documentary   $429,146  
 
April 17 Caveman Comedy   $15,965,000  
Improper Channels   $0  
 
April 24 Beyond the Reef   $547,525  
Cattle Annie and Little Britches Drama   $115,679  
The Hand Horror   $2,000,000  
Second-Hand Hearts   $0  
 
April 30 Friday the 13th Part 2 Horror $1,250,000 $21,722,776  

May, 1981

May 1 Graduation Day Thriller/Suspense $250,000 $23,894,000  
Hard Country   $0  
The Jazz Singer   $27,118,000  
King of the Mountain Drama   $958,637  
 
May 15 Happy Birthday To Me   $10,609,514  
Take This Job and Shove It   $17,569,000  
 
May 22 Bustin' Loose Comedy   $31,261,000  
The Four Seasons Comedy $6,500,000 $42,488,161  
Glen or Glenda   $0  
The Legend of the Lone Ranger Western $18,000,000 $13,400,000  
Outland Action   $20,000,000  

June, 1981

June 5 Cheech & Chong's Nice Dreams   $37,000,000  
The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia   $14,000,000  
 
June 12 Clash of the Titans Adventure $15,000,000 $30,000,000  
History of the World: Part I Comedy $11,000,000 $31,672,000  
Raiders of the Lost Ark Adventure $20,000,000 $248,159,971  
 
June 19 The Cannonball Run Action   $57,498,710  
Superman II Adventure $54,000,000 $108,185,706  
 
June 26 Dragonslayer Action $18,000,000 $6,000,000  
For Your Eyes Only Action $28,000,000 $54,800,000  
Force: Five   $8,000,000  
The Great Muppet Caper Adventure   $31,206,251  
Stripes Comedy $10,000,000 $85,300,000  

July, 1981

July 1 S.O.B. Comedy   $14,867,086  
 
July 10 Escape from New York Action $6,000,000 $25,244,700  
The Fox and the Hound Adventure   $43,899,231  
 
July 17 Arthur Comedy   $81,464,486  
Endless Love Drama   $33,000,000  
 
July 23 Gas   $0  
 
July 24 Blow Out Thriller/Suspense $18,000,000 $13,747,234  
Comin' at Ya!   $6,704,127  
Eye of the Needle Thriller/Suspense   $17,583,000  
Nobody's Perfekt   $995  
Tarzan, The Ape Man Action   $36,565,000  
Wolfen Horror   $11,000,000  
Zorro, The Gay Blade Comedy   $10,000,000  
 
July 31 Under the Rainbow Comedy $20,000,000 $18,826,490  
Victory Action   $10,853,000  

August, 1981

August 7 Condorman Action   $0  
An Eye for an Eye Action   $7,496,681  
Heavy Metal Adventure $9,300,000 $19,571,091  
Hell Night Horror   $2,300,000  
Soggy Bottom, U.S.A. Comedy   $19,225  
Student Bodies Comedy   $1,582,148  
 
August 14 Chu Chu and the Philly Flash   $221,898  
Deadly Blessing   $2,800,000  
 
August 19 Prince of the City Drama   $9,000,000  
 
August 21 An American Werewolf in London Horror   $31,973,249  
First Monday in October   $12,000,000  
Heartland Drama   $0  
Honky Tonk Freeway Comedy   $939,423  
 
August 28 Body Heat Thriller/Suspense   $24,058,000  
Gallipoli $3,000,000 $5,732,587  
Private Lessons Comedy   $18,064,851  

September, 1981

September 17 Tim   $0  
 
September 18 Continental Divide Romantic Comedy   $15,578,000  
The French Lieutenant's Woman Drama   $22,600,000  
Mommie Dearest Drama $5,000,000 $19,032,000  
Raggedy Man Drama   $11,000,000  
 
September 23 Only When I Laugh   $25,782,304  
 
September 25 Aus dem Leben der Marionetten Drama   $0  
Carbon Copy Comedy   $8,400,000  
Chariots of Fire Drama $5,500,000 $57,159,946  
So Fine   $10,000,000  
Southern Comfort Thriller/Suspense   $2,939,174  
True Confessions   $12,200,000  

October, 1981

October 2 Paternity   $18,838,000  
Zoot Suit Drama   $380,302  
 
October 9 Rich and Famous   $13,000,000  
Tattoo   $860,472  
 
October 16 All the Marbles   $4,300,000  
 
October 23 Das boot ist voll Drama   $1,016  
Enter the Ninja Action   $0  
The Pit Horror   $560  
Silence of the North Drama   $344,837  
 
October 30 Halloween II Horror $2,500,000 $25,533,818  
Looker Thriller/Suspense   $3,281,232  

November, 1981

November 6 Time Bandits Adventure $12,000,000 $37,400,000  
 
November 13 Dead and Buried   $216,166  
The Pursuit of D.B. Cooper Adventure $12,000,000 $2,104,164  
 
November 19 Absence of Malice Drama   $33,312,129  
Roadgames Thriller/Suspense   $0  
 
November 20 Man of Iron   $0  
Ragtime Drama   $17,468,158  

December, 1981

December 2 Whose Life is it Anyway? Drama   $6,100,000  
 
December 4 On Golden Pond Drama   $119,285,432  
Reds Drama $33,500,000 $50,000,000  
 
December 9 Taps Drama $14,000,000 $35,856,053  
 
December 11 Buddy Buddy Comedy   $5,299,037  
Four Friends Drama   $0  
Pennies from Heaven Musical   $6,200,000  
Rollover Drama   $10,217,873  
 
December 18 Ghost Story Horror   $16,202,210  
Heartbeeps Comedy $10,000,000 $6,000,000  
Neighbors Comedy   $29,916,207  
Sharky's Machine Thriller/Suspense   $32,984,898  
 
December 25 Modern Problems Comedy $8,000,000 $24,474,312  
 
December 31 Charlie Chan and the Curse of the Dragon Queen Comedy   $0  
Clash of the Titans - dup Action   $0  
The Looney, Looney, Looney Bugs Bunny Movie Adventure   $0  
St. Helens Adventure   $0  

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