The Avengers Is Now the Number 3 Movie of All Time, But Where Does It Stand Adjusted for Inflation?
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The Avengers Is Now the Number 3 Movie of All Time, But Where Does It Stand Adjusted for Inflation?

By Dustin Rowles | Box Office Round-Ups | June 3, 2012 | Comments ()


There were two big stories at the box-office this weekend. First off, Snow White and the Huntsman performed better than studio-tempered expectations, landing at number one with a tidy $56 million, good for the fourth highest opening of the year so far (also, more than Battleship has made over its entire run). The stunning visuals certainly helped the movie, but the lack of competition probably didn't hurt, either, as nothing has been particularly impressive since The Avengers opened in the first week of May.

In fact, The Avengers has accounted for roughly half of the entire May box office. Moreover, the second big story of the weekend box office is that, on Friday, The Avengers surpassed The Dark Knight to become the third highest-grossing film of all time. It's up to $550 million now, and it's still on pace to hit $600 million, which unfortunately will fall shy of number one and two on the box-office list, Avatar and Titanic. Nevertheless, it is an outstanding commercial achievement. Not to take anything away from it, however, but where does that put The Avengers on the all-time list when inflation is accounted for? Let's start from number one and keep going until we get there, shall we?

1. Gone with the Wind -- $1.6 billion

2. Star Wars -- $1.41 billion

3. The Sound of Music -- $1.127 billion

4. E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial -- $1,123 billion

5. Titanic -- $1.07 billion

6. The Ten Commandments -- $1.03 billion

7. Jaws -- $1. 014 billion

8. Doctor Zhivago -- $983 million

9. The Exorcist -- $875 million

10. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs -- $863 million

11. 101 Dalmatians -- $791 million

12. The Empire Strikes Back -- $777 million

13. Ben-Hur -- $776 million

14. Avatar - $770 million

15. Return of the Jedi -- $744 million

16. Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace -- $715 million

17. The Sting -- $706 million

18. The Lion King -- $705 million

19. Raiders of the Lost Ark -- $698 million

20. Jurassic Park -- $682 million

21. The Graduate -- $677 million

22. Fantasia -- $657 million

23. The Godfather -- $625 million

24. Forrest Gump -- $622 million

25. Mary Poppins -- $619 million

26. Grease -- $609 million

27. Thunderball - $592 million

28. The Dark Knight -- $588 million

29. The Jungle Book -- $583 million

30. Sleeping Beauty -- $575 million

31. Shrek 2 -- $562 million

32. Ghostbusters -- $560 million

33. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid Fox -- $558 million

34. Love Story -- $554 million

35. Marvel's The Avengers -- $552 million

So, number 35, with an outside shot of cracking the top 25 all-time before the end of its run. It's a far cry from the third most attended film of all time, but it's not a bad take for a comic-book whose scene-stealer was a petulant green CGI monster. (2).gif

Other things also happened at the box office this weekend, though it seems silly to address most of them. MIB III took a 46 percent nose-dive to land at number two with $29 million. After The Avengers $20 million at number three, the box-office made a swan dive to number four with Battleship's $4.8 million then The Dictator's $4.7 million.

Meanwhile, a movie I was excited about based on the first one, Piranha 3DD totally struck out, eking out only $186,000 on 86 screens. I guess Eli Roth really was the draw for the first film. At least Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom, expanding to 16 screens, maintained it's eye-popping $53,000 per screen average. If you don't live in a major city, Moonrise should be coming to your town very soon.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • Palaeologos

    Can only add to the other caveats about the numbers; it's not just inflation, but (as mentioned) ever-higher ticket prices and overall attendance.  A movie that makes $200 million domestically over the weekend--if we take a conservative estimate of $10 per ticket--represents 20 million tickets, which sounds like a lot.  Compare this to the depths of the Great Depression, when 60 million people went to the movies per week, and this at a time when the U.S. population was what, 13o million?

  • junierizzle

    Disqus! My Conan Avatar lives on!

  • Socraz6

    Yay Moonrise coming to smaller markets!

  • Matchetes

    It's a good thing that being able to pull up past comments is a recent thing, otherwise that time I said "mark my words, the Avengers is going to crash and burn" would be pretty embarrassing.

  • Tyburn Blossom

    I have a friend who announced on facebook just before it opened that she thought MIB III was going to overtake Avengers in the box office. This is the same person who posted yesterday that she enjoyed Battleship, didn't understand why it was considered a failure, and that everyone should go see it. There's no accounting for tastes.

  • TheOriginalMRod

    Someone already had my name too (really... there is another MRod out there???) ... this sucks.  There are just WAY too many people on social media.... sons of bitches...

    The irony of the box office sales being adjusted for inflation is that movies used to run for months at a time. Not to mention there weren't as many screens. I am not sure that inflation should really apply. How long did Gone With the Wind run?  Also, no one used to say, "I'll wait until it comes on cable/DVD..." If you wanted to see a movie you HAD to go to the theater.


  • QueeferSutherland

    I was wondering why the box office roundup had 28 comments at 9am Eastern (the only real time zone). There is a new comment system. Ooooh, and they took a common word for conversation and made it edgy through spelling changes and uncommon letters. Dope.

    Just kidding this is kewl.

  • SaBrina

    Ooooh, and they took a common word for conversation and made it edgy through spelling changes and uncommon letters. Dope. 

    It took me literally minutes to understand what you meant by this. Disqus?  Discus? Discus throw? Discus? What what what?

  • BWeaves

     Well, I only just "got it" because SaBrina mentioned it.  I thought it was a funny spelling of "discus"  because people throw stuff out there.  Then again, due to my advanced age, I guess I would think it was some ancient P.E. apparatus used in the first Olympics.

  • A. Smith

    I think the domestic inflation total means little now as long as the worldwide totals gain more and more traction and credibility.

  • Alexa Hardy

    Finally, someone who knows what they're talking about....

  • Info

    The next step would be to take the inflation-adjusted figures and divide by the number of years the movie has been available for viewing. 

    Hey, none of these stats are perfect, but what can ya do?

  • TheOtherGreg

    Yes, Prometheus looks to be the next movie for me too.

  • Green Lantern

    "I am curious. Do you know anyone that paid to see MIB 3? I don't know a
    single person that did. And I know a lot of people in that target
    audience. Every one I know said "eww...Not another Will Smith movie". "

    Seanx40 - *I* personally have no intention on spending money for MIB3.  I'm certainly content to wait until it hits one of my movie channels, thankyaverymuch...and I watched both of the others...even paying for #2 in the theater. 

    Yeah, I'll admit that in public.  I'm amongst friends here.

  • superasente

    Quick etiquette question regarding the new disqus thing:  should we flag the spambot?   

  • Bert

    I betcha Marvel's doing all kinds of "flagging the spambot" these days with that kind of coin.

  • Superasente

    Nice to see The Godfather up there.

  • I'll wait until I have something to say before commenting, I guess. Er, wait.

  • Muhnah_Muhnah

    Uh...can't have my usual username AND can't upload my avatar! What gives?

  • Fredo

    How soon before The Dark Knight Rises beats The Avengers' record?

  • Alex Hardly

    When they convert it to 3D

  • Littlejon2001

    I'm so tired of these "Adjusted For Inflation Lists". Let's be real. There's more competition for movies now then when Gone With The Wind was in theaters. Star Wars was also released multiple times in theaters. Adjusted numbers don't really impress me.

  • Hiro_the_Eighth_Samurai

    The bigger issue is that bloated numbers shouldn't impress you either. Just imagine as ticket prices continue to climb. More people still saw Titanic, and that only came out 15 years ago. So, when movie ticket prices are, on average, 20 bucks or more and leave Avengers in the dust, are you sure that you won't complain even though another movie was seen only by around half of Avengers' viewers? 

  • Jenne Frisby

    Do you mean that there are more entertainment possibilities now (including staying home and reading the internet) that people can choose besides going to the movie theater? I'm pretty sure that the major studios (combined) made twice or three times more movies a year back then than they do now. You make a good point about the Star Wars movies... no doubt they've substantially benefited from re-release. 

    I think I'll like this new commenting system- once I get the hang of it. I enjoy the "like" option, as I often see comments that amuse me, but don't always have the time to type out a worthwhile comment saying so. I do wish there was an edit feature available, but I'll be brave and try to proofread. 

  • Alex Hardy

    Saying that major studios made more movies in the past than now is laughable. 

    Laughable troll is laughable.......

  • Jenne Frisby

    I wonder if my experience with Snow White and The Huntsman was tempered slightly by the fact that The Avengers was the last thing I saw in the theater. Because that movie was so damned satisfying, and the gif up there just makes me want to see it again. Thor II will have some pretty big expectations to meet. 

  • Seanx40

    I am curious. Do you know anyone that paid to see MIB 3? I don't know a single person that did. And I know a lot of people in that target audience. Every one I know said "eww...Not another Will Smith movie". 

  • guest

    While I haven't seen the movie and in all likelihood won't end up seeing it in theaters (out of necessity rather than choice), unless things have changed very recently, Will Smith remains a huge theater draw, and a top 10 (perhaps top 20 - I don't check often) male earner. I feel like this information is still pretty widely known. By that, I mean that I believe that most would know that most would list him as a famous actor before they reached 15. Though I don't doubt your or your friends' distaste for him, I'm surprised that you think that would apply to most movie goers.

  • A. Smith

    I did, unfortunately and unexpectedly in 3D, and it's not bad, not great either, but it did leave a better taste in my mouth than MIB2.

  • L.O.V.E.

    L.O.V.E. is alive!. Yippy Ki-Yay Motherfuckers.

  • Brown

    "MIB III took a 46 percent nose-dive to land at number two with $29 million. "
    Any number under 50% actually isn't that bad.

  • Melody


  • Lauren_Lauren

    Oh no!  One bot got through!  Sic em, Rowles!

  • Groundloop

    At 12:51 AM, Monday June 4, 2012, Skynet became self aware.

  • Archie Leach

    Why isn't there a trash crap transformers or trash garbage twilight crap
    "movie" to confirm what all of us have been stating about the continual
    stupidization of the movie-going audience????

    But then again having Love Story  and/or The Phantom
    Menace clearly shows that stupidization was clearly in place already......

  • I was slightly let down by being unable to use spaces in my name. But I'm sure it's for the best.

    I wonder if "," suvrived..

    Prometheus tomorrow. That should make some dollar.

  • L.O.V.E.

     So ..., signing up on an Ipad is a real bitch. Can't sign up as L.O.V.E., and someone else on Disqus has my old name. So its got that going for it.

  • space oddity

     You know you can just post, same as before. Don't need to register with Disqus (and their RIDICULOUS rules about no punctuation, no spaces in names).

  •  I like the new name, though. Bad Pajiba.


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