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INFLATED EGO

Technically, “Avengers: Endgame” still has to beat these 38 movies to be the most successful ever

Marvel
These heroes still have some work to do.
  • Adam Epstein
By Adam Epstein

Entertainment reporter

Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Avengers: Endgame took just 11 days to make more than $2 billion at the global box office, passing Titanic to become the second highest-grossing film of all time (at $2.8 billion, Avatar remains in first—for now). The Marvel superhero movie shattered pretty much every opening weekend box-office record in existence.

But Endgame‘s accomplishments aren’t quite as remarkable if you adjust its totals for inflation. The bloated cost of a movie ticket in 2019 (about $9 on average, according to Box Office Mojo) has undeniably helped the film hit gargantuan figures.

Plenty of other films have technically performed better relative to the cost of a ticket at the time of release; 38 such films, in fact.

1
Gone with the Wind
$1.8 billion
2
Star Wars
$1.6 billion
3
The Sound of Music
$1.3 billion
4
E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial
$1.27 billion
5
Titanic
$1.22 billion
6
The Ten Commandments
$1.2 billion
7
Jaws
$1.1 billion
8
Doctor Zhivago
$1 billion
9
The Exorcist
$996 million
10
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
$982 million
11
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
$974 million
12
101 Dalmatians
$900 million
13
The Empire Strikes Back
$884 million
14
Ben-Hur
$883 million
15
Avatar
$877 million
16
Return of the Jedi
$847 million
17
Jurassic Park
$825 million
18
Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace
$813 million
19
The Lion King
$803.2 million
20
The Sting
$803.1 million
21
Raiders of the Lost Ark
$798 million
22
The Graduate
$771 million
23
Fantasia
$748 million
24
Jurassic World
$712 million
25
The Godfather
$711 million
26
Forrest Gump
$708 million
27
Mary Poppins
$704 million
28
Grease
$694 million
29
Marvel’s The Avengers
$693 million
30
Black Panther
$687 million
31
Thunderball
$674 million
32
The Dark Knight
$671 million
33
The Jungle Book
$663 million
34
Sleeping Beauty
$654 million
35
Avengers: Infinity War
$652 million
36
Avengers: Endgame
$645 million

Gone with the Wind (1939) was a singular feat unlikely to ever be duplicated—the biggest movie in the world, then and now. In the first few years after its release, the movie sold more than 60 million tickets, equivalent to roughly half the United States population at the time. Today it’s estimated to have sold over 200 million individual tickets, almost triple Endgame‘s current estimated ticket total (about 70 million). When the film came out, the average price of a movie ticket in the US was just 23 cents.

Things are very different now. Going to the movies is a lot less popular, as people contend with rising ticket and concessions costs and instead spend their time elsewhere—on Netflix, YouTube, Instagram, and Fortnite. Gone with the Wind faced little competition for attention (well, outside of World War II, that is).

The 1939 epic drama may have been more successful in relative terms, but Endgame‘s reach is far wider: No film has opened in more theaters or in more countries than the Marvel epic. So while more people may have seen Gone with the Wind in theaters than will ever see Endgame, the latter may have a broader cultural imprint, plus another lifetime of ubiquity on streaming services, home video, and on-demand.

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