I’m bored, so….
1 Gone with the Wind MGM $1,600,193,400 $198,676,459 1939^
2 Star Wars Fox $1,410,707,200 $460,998,007 1977^
3 The Sound of Music Fox $1,127,929,800 $158,671,368 1965
4 E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial Uni. $1,123,486,300 $435,110,554 1982^
5 Titanic Par. $1,074,383,500 $658,672,302 1997^
6 The Ten Commandments Par. $1,037,520,000 $65,500,000 1956
7 Jaws Uni. $1,014,384,200 $260,000,000 1975
8 Doctor Zhivago MGM $983,152,800 $111,721,910 1965
9 The Exorcist WB $875,945,400 $232,906,145 1973^
10 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Dis. $863,280,000 $184,925,486 1937^
11 101 Dalmatians Dis. $791,344,600 $144,880,014 1961^
12 The Empire Strikes Back Fox $777,590,600 $290,475,067 1980^
13 Ben-Hur MGM $776,160,000 $74,000,000 1959
14 Avatar Fox $770,261,700 $760,507,625 2009^
15 Return of the Jedi Fox $744,950,500 $309,306,177 1983^
16 Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace Fox $715,276,800 $474,544,677 1999^
17 The Sting Uni. $706,011,400 $156,000,000 1973
18 The Lion King BV $705,680,400 $422,783,777 1994^
19 Raiders of the Lost Ark Par. $698,083,500 $242,374,454 1981^
20 Jurassic Park Uni. $682,750,300 $357,067,947 1993^
21 The Graduate AVCO $677,758,500 $104,934,895 1967^
22 Fantasia Dis. $657,704,300 $76,408,097 1941^
23 The Godfather Par. $625,066,700 $134,966,411 1972^
24 Forrest Gump Par. $622,081,300 $329,694,499 1994
25 Mary Poppins Dis. $619,200,000 $102,272,727 1964^
26 Marvel’s The Avengers BV $611,701,097 2012
The Exorcist and the Graduate seem like the two most unlikely films on the list
This list has the advantage of actually conveying accurate information about the historic popularity of films as opposed to how much they’ve been able to jack up the ticket prices. Neither Hollywood or the media ever use it.
I’m more surprised about 101 Dalmatians.
well, Snow White is just ahead of it.
GWtW was a blockbuster and so was Ten Commandants, so Doctor Zhivago, Exorcist, Graduate, Godfather and the Sting are smaller films that worked out. (remember that Godfather was supposed to be a quick violent gangster pic)
It might be helpful to note the number of rereleases Gone With the Wind had to get to $1.6 million. For instance, how much did it make during it’s initial run (of course that initial run probably lasted 3 years. lol)?
No love for Teletubbies The Movie?
Same with Star Wars and Titanic.
And with GWtW, DZ and Titanic, there are there sweeping love stories for women, yet they usually are subjected to generic romcoms and Magic Mike to go with Twilight and soon 50 Shades of Grey
The Avengers is #26 already?
I know, right? That’s I went top 26, to show that lunacy
Star Wars’ll eventually transplant Gone with the Wind since Lucas keeps rereleasing it theatrically.
Keep in mind that all the big Disney films have had multiple re-releases.
I would have expected Lion King to be #2 Disney after Snow White.
The lack of comedies is interesting
It’s reassuring that for all the beat up of Avatar’s record setting box office takings, its only at 14. Yeah I’ve never understood why anyone would quote figures for non-adjusted figures – thats like saying the kid flipping burgers at McDonalds now makes more money in a week than a doctor or lawyer 80 years ago. Seems self-evidently ridiculous and useless to me. And we’re probably going to hear about it all again when DKR releases, how it breaks into the “top 5 all time” grossers.
Going back a little to what I said earlier, four of the top eight films on that list are aimed generally at women, and yet the fare out there for women is not very interesting.
So, while there is a thread out there asking if Hollywood hates adults, wouldn’t the bigger question be why does Hollywood hate women?
Gump, Graduate, and The Sting are at least nominally comedies, something worth noting since I suspect the comedic element paired with some more “serious” content is a large part of their appeal. In a way that is also something of the case for the Pirates of the Caribbean movies and it also goes to show that one can make a lot of cash by finding a way to appeal to a broader selection of the audience as the Depp factor and the lighter tone kept the movies from being more purely “guy” films. I suspect that a big reason why Hollywood doesn’t make more films with that sort of broader appeal, or ones more like Titanic is that it is a tricky mix to program unlike a more by the numbers approach. Regardless of how “good” those films are seen to be artistically, there is some craft and deftness of touch involved to find a path that doesn’t push too far one direction or the other and cause a film to be thought of as being for a certain subsection of the audience. Even more tricky nowadays might be to make another film like Gump which also crossed generational barriers.
I wholly disagree with the content of the following article, but its interesting to read an opinion from the other side.
Well he points out that you could just number them by tickets sold, but that cinema projection isn’t the only means of seeing a movie anymore (true). So it’s hard to see how many people really have watched x movie over time.
For me, that way madness lies. Going to the theater and home or online viewing are such different animals that I’d hate to see those numbers conflated.
“Next consider the fact that if you didn’t see Gone with the Wind in theaters in the 1940s when it came to your town you were apt to believe you may never see it.”
Yeah, it’s really difficult to compare box office totals not just because of inflation but because the nature of the game was so different (to use a sports analogy). I mean, it’s like network TV ratings today. Of course a sitcom on NBC isn’t going to get the ratings that a sitcom thirty years ago got but that’s because there’s so much more competition out there (cable channels, internet, DVDs, etc). I think the fact that Gone with the Wind was effectively “the only game in town” is going to have an effect on the number of people that flocked to see it.
Santino, when current movies are on two screens regular, two screen 3D, at a 10 screen megaplex with another blackbuster taking two screens as well, there isn’t really much of a game either. While GWtW was racking up the miles, today’s crap is just a variation of that.
Also there was the fact that studios owned many of the movie houses and only played its films in those houses.
I wonder how many screens GWtW was playing on at it’s max, how screens did The Avengers open on?
“When current movies are on two screens regular, two screen 3D, at a 10 screen megaplex with another blackbuster taking two screens as well, there isn’t really much of a game either.”
Exactly. This is even hard to compare between current films – The Dark Knight Rises probably won’t hit $200+ million opening weekend like The Avengers because it doesn’t have the 3D markup advantage.
Also, the increase in population from Gone with the Wind days has to skew numbers if you try to compare attendance. There’s way more screens now, way more theaters, and way more people.
Which makes GWtW’s numbers that much more impressive.
GWtW, i feel, compares perfectly to DZ and Titanic the way that women went back and back again to see the movie.
Another big difference is that GWtW was playing on the same screens for six months at a time. Never happens today.
^^yep, and it kept getting re-released too.
It makes my movie heart happy to see splendid, literate, intelligent films like The Godfather and Doctor Zhivago so prominent on a list like this (and Zhivago even cracking the Top 10!).
It makes my movie heart hurt that they have to share some room with schlock like Forest Gump and films whose literary bases were of the comic book form. However, I’ll deal with it. I’m most surprised there aren’t a slew more “Parts II … III … XX,” etc., on the list, kicking off such delightful surprises as The Sting and Fantasia, but I’ll happily deal with that.
Interesting to note that both 1965 and 1973 have two entries each. 1994 does, too, but that was long after the average moviegoers’ age dropped by 25 years. Think of the amount of volume Doctor Zhivago and The Sound of Music, and The Sting and The Exorcist produced in 1965 and 1973 dollars, respectively. It makes one reel.
Doesn’t The Graduate kind of stick out? A comedy, though based off a small novel, and with a hot young director, but Hoffman still wasn’t anybody.
Did it just catch the wave of disillusionment? the right film at the right time?
^^Yep. it’s like Easy Rider in that sense to me. A film that was probably much better in the 60’s but is still watchable now.
Anyway, this list is just more proof on how mass taste has declined over the years ;-)
Well, is it that mass taste has declined or that studios just aren’t taking the “risks” that they took from 66 to 80?
Again, when Heaven’s Gate killed UA, it killed the greatest period of artistic freedom directors had in Hollywood.
Heaven’s Gate coincided with corporations buying into the film industry and the film industry becoming just a cog in a greater corporate machine, purely about money and less and less about art.
“Interesting to note that both 1965 and 1973 have two entries each. 1994 does, too, but that was long after the average moviegoers’ age dropped by 25 years. Think of the amount of volume Doctor Zhivago and The Sound of Music, and The Sting and The Exorcist produced in 1965 and 1973 dollars, respectively.”
Maybe they played as double bills? lol