When hearing the words highest grossing movies of all time, there is every possibility that what comes to the mind first are films like “Avatar” and Avengers: Endgame. No doubt these films has been the all-time box office champions, however they don’t top the list when accounting for inflation. It should be noted that movie tickets used to cost a mere fraction of what they now cost today. In fact, some of the classics do not have modern television or the rental market to compete with. Without much ado, let’s try to look into the highest grossing movies of all time that we have.
Why Does Inflation Matter?
Just as the way your grandpa use to tell you that back in their days, it’s possible to purchase a cheeseburger for a quarter and fill up their gas tank for $5. This is because, services and products generally cost much less in those days compared to today. Owing to this, it’s of importance to put into consideration the inflated cost of goods when compiling the highest grossing films of all time.
Highest-Grossing Films of All Time
Many of the highest-grossing films ever made had also surprisingly turned out to be the best such that everyone just wanted to see them in theatres. In fact, the hardcore fans count it nothing to go see them over and over again. Some of these movies picture new modes of storytelling while others are a product of built-in anticipation.
Highlighted below are some of the highest-grossing film movies of all time, adjusted for inflation.
1. Gone with the Wind (1939)
Original 1939 Worldwide Box Office: $400.2 million
Global Box Office Adjusted for Inflation: $3.7-3.8 billion
Release date: 1st May 1940 (Australia)
Director: Victor Fleming
Producer: David O. Selznick
2. Avatar (2009)
This movie may be tagged, “Dances with Smurfs” based on your view, however, the innovative and immersive qualities of the film can’t be denied.
Original 2009 Worldwide Box Office: $2.788 billion
Global Box Office Adjusted for Inflation: $3.2-3.3 billion
Release date: 17th December 2009 (Australia) Trending
Director: James Cameron
Film series: Avatar Series
Budget: 237 million USD (2009)
3. Titanic (1997)
I can affirm that no list of the highest box office movies is complete without this movie, where two star-crossed lovers meet aboard the Titanic. Winner of a record-tying 11 Oscars, this makes the star Leonardo DiCaprio and director James Cameron the “kings of the world.”
Original 1997 Worldwide Box Office: $2.187 billion
Global Box Office Adjusted for Inflation: $3-3.2 billion
Release date: 17th December 1997 (Australia)
Director: James Cameron
Featured song: My Heart Will Go On
Budget: 200 million USD
4. Star Wars (1977)
Original 1977 Worldwide Box Office: $775 million
Global Box Office Adjusted for Inflation: $3-3.1 billion
Release date: 27th October 1977 (Australia)
Director: George Lucas
Featured song: Binary Sunset
Budget: 11 million USD
Music composed by: John Williams
5. Avengers: Endgame (2019)
When this movie was released in 2019, it was a global talk for a whole month. Which eventually make Marvel fans to give their money’s worth at the box office. As a matter of fact, it successfully exceeded the $2 billion mark after 2 weeks.
Original 2019 Worldwide Box Office: $2.798 billion
Release date: 24th April 2019 (Australia)
Directors: Joe Russo, Anthony Russo
Box office: 2.798 billion USD
Budget: 356 million USD (2019)
6. The Sound of Music (1965)
The hills were alive with the sound of music, same as the box office when this iconic musical film hit theatres. It describes the life of a cheerful governess, seven unruly children, and their disgruntled father. It was an amazing performance with Lush cinematography and Infectious songs. One could easily conclude that this was why it remained in the theatres for four and half years straight!
Original 1965 Worldwide Box Office: $286.2 million
Global Box Office Adjusted for Inflation: $2.5-2.6 billion
Release date: 17th April 1965 (Sydney)
Director: Robert Wise
7. E.T. “the Extra-Terrestrial” (1982)
Steven Spielberg was able to strike the box office gold with this enduring family classic, concerning the symbiotic relationship between a young boy and a lovable alien. If you were growing up at that time, “E.T.” was essentially baked into your childhood and more like that, it continues to make new fans till this day. Now, who wants some Reese’s Pieces?!
Original 1982 Worldwide Box Office: $792.3 million
Global Box Office Adjusted for Inflation: $2.4-2.5 billion
Release date: 26th November 1982 (Australia)
Director: Steven Spielberg
Featured song: E.T.: The Flying Theme
Music composed by: John Williams
8. The Ten Commandments (1956)
Cecil B. DeMille’s final effort depicts a high point for the historical epic sub-genre, which dominated Hollywood in the 1950s and early 1960s. Charlton Heston who played the role of biblical Moses, squares off against a tyrannical Pharaoh and led the Jews out of Egypt. Despite the near four-hour runtime, the audiences still flocked in droves thereby making it one of the highest-grossing films of all time.
Original 1956 Worldwide Box Office: $122.7 million
Global Box Office Adjusted for Inflation: $2.3-2.4 billion
Initial release: 5th October 1956 (USA)
Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Budget: 13 million USD
9. Doctor Zhivago (1965)
Director David Lean brought his sweeping sensibilities to this tragi-romantic adaptation, set during and after the Russian Revolution. Some critics were hostile to Lean’s revisionist style, but that didn’t stop the film from achieving massive commercial success.
Original 1965 Worldwide Box Office: $245 million
Worldwide Box Office Adjusted for Inflation: $2.2-2.3 billion
Director: David Lean
Featured song: Lara’s Theme
Music composed by: Maurice Jarre
10. Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015)
Rounding out the box office top 10 is the one “Star Wars” reboot that actually managed to appease most viewers. It comes to us from director J.J. Abrams, who played it safe by delivering a somewhat familiar plotline. Given the sheer ruthlessness of certain fans, who can blame him?
Original 2015 Worldwide Box Office: $2.068 billion
Worldwide Box Office Adjusted for Inflation: $2.1-2.2 billion
Release date: 17th December 2015 (Australia)
Director: J.J. Abrams
Box office: 2.066 billion USD