Why ‘Avatar’ is Actually the 26th Biggest Movie of All Time

I’m not saying it’s rank won’t increase, but here’s an interesting point from The Live Feed:

Boxoffice is arguably more straightforward to report than TV ratings. You have this weekly Top 10 list of returns, you compare each movie to the other movies. TV ratings are a murky swamp where one network’s hit is another network’s flop and context is not just a factor, but often the entire story.

Han fucking soloYet one respect in which boxoffice reporting is pretty odd — emphasizing ticket grosses yet rarely mentioning ticket sales. That would be like always reporting how many ad dollars sold off Lost and not mentioning the number of viewers that actually watched the show. With everybody reporting how Avatar is The Biggest Movie of All Time based on grosses ($1.859 billion and counting), it’s important to remember how rising ticket prices skew the returns.

Here’s the Top 10 movies of all time … by number of tickets sold:

1. “Gone With the Wind” (1939) 202,044,600
2. “Star Wars” (1977) 178,119,600
3. “The Sound of Music” (1965) 142,415,400
4. “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial” (1982) 141,854,300
5. “The Ten Commandments” (1956) 131,000,000
6. “Titanic” (1997) 128,345,900
7. “Jaws” (1975) 128,078,800
8. “Doctor Zhivago” (1965) 124,135,500
9. “The Exorcist” (1973) 110,568,700
10. “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” (1937) 109,000,000

Read More: The Live Feed

, , ,

  • 5by5

    You mean the Smurfs in Ferngully didn't make the bank they claimed? Pesky inflation.

21
More in Avatar, Marketing, Movies
Why Biologists Should Run From Their Labs Directly to the Movie Theaters, Put On 3-D Glasses and Watch “Avatar”

Biologist Carol Kaesuk Yoon has written one of the best essays I've come across regarding James Cameron's masterpiece (yes, I really think so), Avatar, for the New York Times: When...

Close