Not a year seems to go by without a film breaking a box-office records: Dark Knight a contender for biggest all-time earner! Bourne Ultimatum the top August opener! But that’s not because the films actually draw more viewers than the previous record-holders; it's because the figures are in dollars, which are subject to inflation, writes Zachary Pincus-Roth for Slate.
Why do the entertainment industry and media perpetuate such an obvious falsehood? Pure sensationalism, for the most part—publicizing the truth that Rush Hour 2 beat the Bourne Ultimatum in ticket sales would’ve been pretty sobering for 2007’s big summer blockbuster. A look at an inflation-adjusted list compiled by Box Office Mojo reveals the truth: the inflation-aided successes of Titanic and the Shrek and Spider-Man sequels fades before cultural luminaries like Gone With the Wind, Star Wars, The Sound of Music and E.T.