This is a follow-to a previous blog of mine which can be found here.
We live in an age where movies make insane amounts of money at the box office. And while every year it seems that a new movie comes along that crushes previous records, everyone seems to forget a little thing called inflation. Basically due to more money being printed, today's dollar is worth less than it was ten years ago. And it's worth even less than it was back in 1939. If you apply inflation to movies of the past, it turns out that biggest money makers of all time actually came out a long time ago. So here are the real top 10 money making movies of all time.
1. Gone with the Wind
1939 money: $390 million
Today’s money: $3.3 billion
Despite all the recent box office successes, this is still the biggest movie of all time. It looks like America did in fact give a damn when this film came out.
2009 money: $2.78 billion
Today’s money: $2.78 billion
Avatar made a buttload of money, but it still didn't overtake the reigning champion.
3. Star Wars
1977 money: $775 million
Today’s money: $2.71 billion
Here's a crazy fact, Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind came out the same year and George Lucas was convinced it would make more money than Star Wars. And Spielberg was sure Star Wars would do better. So the two directors made an agreement, whichever movie made more money, the "winner" would pay the "loser" 1% of what they earned on it. Obviously Lucas won and he was paying Spielberg that 1% up until his recent sale of the franchise to Disney. Considering that Lucas made billions off Star Wars, Spielberg walked away with millions from this little bet.
1997 money: $2.1 billion
Today’s money: $2.4 billion
Not much of a difference since the movie is still recent. It was the first film to make a billion at the box office when NOT adjusted for inflation though. Which is still an incredible feat.
5. The Sound of Music
1965 money: $286 million
Today’s money: $2.27 billion
Turns out the sound of the music sounds a lot like the sound of money.
6. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
1982 money: $792 million
Today’s money: $2.22 billion
Another interesting fact: the worst video game of all time is considered to be the E.T. game made for the Atari video game console. It sold so poorly that there is literally a landfill in Alamogordo, New Mexico where they buried millions of cartridges of the game. That being said, this movie is just flat-out amazing, one of the best ever made. I can't recommend it enough.
7. The Ten Commandments
1956 money: $122.7 million
Today’s money: $2.1 billion
This film is directed by the legendary Cecil B. DeMille and it's actually a remake of his 1923 silent film. It turns out that Hollywood has been remaking movies since the beginning and it's not a recent trend. Oh and by the way, the scene where Moses parts the Red Sea is just awesome.
8. Doctor Zhivago
1965 money: $111 million
Today’s money: $1.99 billion
Probably the least known film on this list, it's one of the most expensive movies ever made at the time, costing an astounding $11 million. Which these days is considered super-low budget for a studio film.
1975 money: $470 million
Today’s money: $1.95 billion
This movie, along with Star Wars, created the concept of the summer blockbuster. Also the studios learned here that they could make even more money off merchandising than with just the movie alone. Jaws was a game changer.
10. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
1937 money: $416 million
Today’s money: $1.75 billion
Surprise! Disney's most successful movie is still its first feature film. While Frozen did insane business, it still fell 500 million short of surpassing this classic.
I hope you learned a little something from this.