Friday, January 29, 2010

Scarlett & Rhett: King (and Queen) of The World

So Avatar and Jimmy Cameron think they're hot stuff huh!?  King of the world??  Two billion in box office sales??  Well think again people.  Although Avatar has now topped Cameron's other smash Titanic on the all-time B.O. list and is perched to top two bill, it is not the movie seen by the most people - not even close.  When accounting for pure ticket sales the all-time champ is still Gone With The Wind followed by the original Star Wars.  Where is Avatar on this list you ask.  Number 26 baby.  Sure, it has topped the B.O. but considering tix these days run from $8 to $10 (give or take depending on where and when and all) and when you add to that the inflated price for 3D and/or IMAX - of course it out sold everything else.

On that particular list, after Avatar and Titanic come a bunch of Harry Potter/Lord of the Rings/Pirates movies (and The Dark Knight!) but when you count purely ticket sales - well it's a whole other ballgame.  Below is a list of the top 20 movies by ticket sales.

1. Gone With The Wind
2. Star Wars
3. The Sound of Music
4. E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial
5. The Ten Commandments
6. Titanic
7. Jaws
8. Dr. Zhivago
9. The Exorcist
10. Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs
11. 101 Dalmations
12. The Empire Strikes Back
13. Ben-Hur
14. Return of the Jedi
15. The Sting
16. Raiders of the Lost Ark
17. Jurassic Park
18. The Graduate
19. Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace
20. Fantasia

Now I am not saying all these films are better than Avatar (although most are) nor am I saying they are better than the whole Harry Potter/Lord of the Rings/Pirates movies (though most are) or even that these are all great films.  I happen to loath the Phantom Menace and Sound of Music and am rather uninterested in Ben Hur or The Sting or even Titanic (see Cameron, that one is at least still up there pretty high).  And I know this means nothing to all the Avatar lovers out there (I actually kinda liked the film for what little there was to it) or to the fact that it may inexplicably beat out The Hurt Locker (and/or Inglourious Basterds) for the Oscar - I just wanted to share this little list with all of you out there.  

Avatar will probably pierce the top twenty eventually (it's poised to leap ahead of Grease and The Lion King any day now) but it would take a lot to reach the top on this list - it'll be gone and on DVD before that ever happens.  Movies back in the day (aka: before the video revolution of the eighties) tended to stay in theaters a lot longer than nowadays.  Star Wars opened in May and was still in theaters come December - and then returned to theaters the following spring and summer.   Nowadays, it's all about the DVD sales and rentals so even the biggest movies tend to last only a few months at best.

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