We hear a lot of noise about how great the movies Deadpool and Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice are doing in the box office lately. And don't misunderstand me, they're both doing quite well! And let me be even clearer: I LOVE BOTH MOVIES. I'm not here as a hater or a 'Marvel Fan-Boy' to trash either of these films. No, this is about reality and perception.
So far Batman Vs Superman had done just over 500 million in less than a week. Deadpool, which has had longer mind you, had done over 619 million.
This is awesome! It's a great time to be a comic nerd, I have to say.
To put this into perspective, the epic MGM Gone With the Wind has only done 400 million worldwide...period! So, obviously, these two comic epics are going to totally school the Civil War classic hands down, right? Not even in the same league, right? Maybe. Maybe not.
The top ten movies according to their total box office take in are:
You see, it's all about perception. The numbers I gave you were from BOX OFFICE MOJO and reflect total box office earnings. Cash money taken in. But, if you think about it, that kind of calculation skews things when looking at the overall offering of movies through the ages. Why, you ask? Ticket Prices.
Today's ticket prices run around an average $8-9. In 1939, when Gone with the Wind debuted, ticket prices were, on average, $ .23 . So when talking top movie draws, total money doesn't tell the tale. The same amount of tickets sold in 1939 will in no way meet the total for the same number of tickets today. So all the chest thumping may be a bit inflated to say the least.
Here is the top ten of all time when number of tickets sold is taken into consideration:
Suddenly the list becomes more diverse and spans the ages from Gone With the Wind in 1939 to Sound of Music in '65, Star Wars in 77, E.T. in '82 and Titanic in '97. This list is probably truer to the movies and which of them is the most watched. But there are other problems that make this calculation a bit slanted also.
A movie like Gone With the Wind has many years on its side. You see, by the dates above, some of the movies have the ^ symbol by them. This means they had multiple releases spanning many years. This also skews the totals as some movies have not had that opportunity. I posted number 11 on that list too just to show something very powerful. The new movie, STAR WARS: The Force Awakens, is sneaking up on the top ten in ticket sales all time and it's still in theaters. It's holding its own against many of those movies that have revivals decade after decade and continue to pad those numbers.
Despite this unevenness of sorts, I still think gauging a movies worth by total ticket sales and not cash brought in is, by far, more fair and shows us which movies were most beloved and, probably, worth their place on the top ten.