Friday, December 03, 2010

"Avatar" versus "Gone with the Wind"

Movie history was made in 2010, when James Cameron’s Avatar surpassed his previous blockbuster, Titanic, as “the most successful movie ever”, based on worldwide box-office. The problem is, this is all Hollywood hype. A look at Box Office Mojo, and their list of the all time top movies adjusted for inflation, shows that it's a mere 14th place, well behind the likes of Doctor Zhivago and 101 Dalmatians! Even Titanic makes it to #6. For all the hype, "adjusted" is the only fair way to measure box-office success. In US box-office, Avatar's adjusted gross is $773,179,000. The champion is still Gone with the Wind (1939), whose adjusted gross is a huge $1,606,254,800. In 1939 dollars, that was only $198,676,459 - but it means that it was seen by considerably more people than Avatar, and those dollars could buy you a heck of a lot more 71 years ago than Avatar's comparatively meager returns could buy you right now. While it’s impossible to work out the worldwide gross, let’s just say that, even in the UK, the story of Scarlett O’Hara was the biggest film ever.