Thank Inflation for Avatar's Box Office Record

Gone with the Wind may trump Cameron's epic
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 25, 2010 3:59 PM CST
Advertisements for "Avatar" and a trailer showing the state-backed biopic Confucius at a cinema in Beijing, China, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2010.   (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
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(Newser) Avatar will soon gross $1.85 billion worldwide, but becoming the box office champ doesn't mean it's the most successful movie of all time. Remember, a ticket to Gone with the Wind cost an average of only 23¢—45 times less than an Avatar ticket. This list ranks films by inflation-adjusted domestic gross, and the big picture is quite humbling for Avatar—its $560 million places it 26th, between Grease and Thunderball.

But in truth, it's tough to compare films from different points in film history. For one, the price of tickets has risen faster than the general inflation index, which skews the adjusted gross, reports Derek Thompson of the Atlantic. Globalization is another factor—far fewer people around the world had the opportunity to see Gone with the Wind than Avatar. Safe to say, Avatar is a really big movie. Just maybe not the biggest.

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