“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” looks ready to demolish box-office records when it comes out Friday, with advance ticket sales that are quadruple the previous record.
So it’s a good time to look back at what are the highest-grossing movies ever. For this list, we looked at domestic box-office grosses adjusted for inflation, to see what old movies would have made in today’s dollars, as calculated by Box Office Mojo. So there’s no “Avatar” on this list.
The original 1977 “Star Wars” comes in high, but not quite first. You might be surprised by some of the other titles.
Adjusted gross: $909,060,000
Unadjusted gross: $184,925,486
Walt Disney's first cel-animated feature-length film, about the princess and the Queen fearful of her beauty, is also the company's biggest hit in adjusted dollars.
Adjusted gross: $922,397,100
Unadjusted gross: $232,906,145
The '70s horror film about a young girl who is possessed is widely regarded as the best in the genre. And at the time it came out, William Friedkin's masterpiece was by far the most terrifying thing around.
Adjusted gross: $1,035,289,700
Unadjusted gross: $111,721,910
The David Learn-directed epic starring British icons Alec Guinness and Julie Christie tells the story of a romance set against the backdrop of World War I.
Adjusted gross: $1,068,177,300
Unadjusted gross: $260,000,000
Steven Spielberg created the summer blockbuster with his thriller starring Richard Dreyfuss about the great white shark lurking just beneath.
Adjusted gross: $1,092,540,000
Unadjusted gross: $65,500,000
The biblical epic has Charlton Heston in his most famous role as Moses.
Adjusted gross: $1,129,857,100
Unadjusted gross: $658,672,302
'Titanic' was director James Cameron's first world-conquering smash, before 'Avatar,' and it launched the careers of Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet.
Adjusted gross: $1,183,065,200
Unadjusted gross: $435,110,554
Spielberg's other biggest movie of all time, 'E.T.,' tells a coming-of-age story about a boy who happens to befriend an alien that's just landed in his neighbourhood.
Adjusted gross: $1,187,744,200
Unadjusted gross: $158,671,368
By far the most well-known and beloved musical film of all time, starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer.
Adjusted gross: $1,485,517,400
Unadjusted gross: $460,998,007
Spielberg may have given rise to the modern blockbuster as we know it now, but George Lucas gave us the biggest blockbuster, and the most successful cinematic sci-fi series ever, which now continues under Disney with 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens.' And Harrison Ford, Mark Hammill, and Carrie Fisher are back again.
Adjusted gross: $1,685,052,200
Unadjusted gross: $198,676,459
It's hard to imagine the effect this epic film set against the Civil War and Reconstruction had on American moviegoing audiences when it came out, breaking all records at the time and earning the highest-ever domestic gross in today's dollars.
But it's safe to say that the story of Scarlett O'Hara (adapted from the award-winning novel), starring Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh, is deeply embedded in the American consciousness.
If you weren't to adjust grosses for inflation at all, these have been the top-performing movies at the domestic box office over their lifetime (you can see the top 10 for worldwide grosses here):
1. 'Avatar' $760,507,625
2. 'Titanic' $658,672,302
3. 'Jurassic World' $652,270,625
4. 'Marvel's The Avengers' $623,357,910
5. 'The Dark Knight' $534,858,444
6. 'Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace' $474,544,677
7. 'Star Wars' $460,998,007
8. 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' $459,005,868
9. 'The Dark Knight Rises' $448,139,099
10. 'Shrek 2' $441,226,247
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