The REAL Top Grossing Films of All Time!

The REAL Top Grossing Films of All Time!

With The Avengers tipped to be the third film to pass the $600million mark in movie history, AccessReel thinks money: these world records fail to consider rising ticket prices… Hmmm! So when figures are adjusted for inflation, what flicks come out on top as the Highest Grossing Films of All Time?


Let’s start by looking at the Top 10 Films of All time (US box office) as it stands today without any adjustment for ticket price increases over the years:

  1.  Avatar (2009)  $760million
  2.  Titanic (1997)  $600.7 million
  3.  The Avengers (2012) $600million
  4.  The Dark Knight (2008) $533million
  5.  Star Wars: A New Hope (1977) $460million
  6.  Shrek 2 (2004)  $436million
  7.  E.T (1982)  $434million
  8.  Star Wars: Phantom Menace (1999)  $431million 
  9.  Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Mans Chest (2006)  $423million 
  10.  Toy Story 3 (2010)  $414million

(Kudos to Star Wars that stands strong despite tickets prices in the US in the late 1970s averaging around $2.20 each)

Now let us look at the Top 10 Films of All Time as they stand when the figures are adjusted to reflect the average ticket price for 2012 ($7.92 in the US):

  1.  Gone With The Wind (1939)  $1.6billion (yep, that’s billion with a ‘b’)
  2.  Star Wars IV (1977)  $1.4billion
  3.  The Sound of Music (1965)  $1.12billion
  4.  E.T (1982)  $1.12billion 
  5. Titanic (1997)  $1.07billion
  6. The Ten Commandments (1956)  $1.03billion
  7. Jaws (1975)  $1.01billion
  8. Doctor Zhivago (1965)  $983million
  9. The Exorcist (1973)  $875million
  10. Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs (1937) $863million

My first question is: ‘what the hell’s happened?!’ It seems cinema-goers are far less willing to spend up big at the movies these days, with nine of the ten highest grossing films made 30+ years ago.

My second question is: ‘where’s Avatar?!’ It’s there alright wallowing in 14th position.

My third question is: ‘what on earth is Doctor Zhivago?!’

Oh, and by the way, The Avengers also scrapes into the adjusted list at position 27.

Though we must consider there is some margin of error in these numbers, it certainly is an interesting thought. On a side note: I vote they bring back the days of a film ticket costing $2.20! Who’s with me?!

Sian's love for movies spawned from having a tight mother whose generosity stretched only to hiring movies once a week for entertainment. As a pre-teen Sian spent more pocket money then she earned on cinema tickets and thus sought a job at the cinema. Over the next decade she rose to be one of the greats in her backwater, six-screen cinema complex, zooming through the ranks from candy bar wench with upselling superpowers, to pasty projectionist, to a manager rocking a pencil skirt. Sian went on to study Journalism at university though feels her popcorn shovelling days were far more educational