‘Avatar’ Is Breaking Records… Kind OfPublished by Clay Cane on Friday, January 22, 2010 at 9:54 am.
While Avatar is breaking records at the box office, there are a couple things that folks are forgetting — inflation. Movie ticket sales are higher than they have ever been, especially with the 3D/IMAX premium surcharges that go with an Avatar ticket. So, when inflation is adjusted, Avatar is currently at #32 for the all-time movie sales. It still has a long way to go before it truly breaks records. Alt Film Guide stated:
Things change quite a bit when inflation is added to the box-office accounting — even without considering Avatar’s 3D/IMAX premium surcharges, which can add quite a bit to the cost of a movie ticket. Box Office Mojo estimates that Avatar is now #34 on the all-time domestic box-office chart adjusted for inflation, slightly ahead of Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man ($510.7m in 2002) and a few millions behind the Ryan O’Neal-Ali MacGraw vehicle Love Story ($514.4m in 1970). (If 3D/IMAX premium surcharges were included in the calculations, Avatar would be much further behind.)
it’s worth remembering that those are approximations based on average ticket prices — which can vary widely depending on where a movie made most of its money, e.g., a top-dollar New York house, in thousands of cheap small-town theaters, or at 3D/IMAX theaters that charge a premium. It’s also worth remembering that population increases, changes in movie-going demographics, and the growth of entertainment alternatives should all be taken into consideration when comparing the box-office success of movies from different eras.
According to Box Office Mojo, here are the top grossing films of all time:
1. Gone with the Wind (1939)
2. Star Wars Fox (1977)
3. The Sound of Music (1965)
4. E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
5. The Ten Commandments (1956)
6. Titanic (1997)
7. Jaws (1975)
8. Doctor Zhivago (1965)
9. The Exorcist (1973)
10. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)