Box Office Records Are Bunk

Measuring a film's success in dollars is misleading
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 6, 2009 6:53 PM CDT
In this image originally released by Universal Pictures, Matt Damon is shown as the character Jason Bourne in "The Bourne Ultimatum."   (AP Photo/Universal Pictures, Jasin Boland, file)
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(Newser) – 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.