Why Avatar is not the most watched film ever

“Avatar to sink Titanic”, “Avatar the biggest box office success ever”, “Avatar the biggest movie of all time”…


…These are some of the news you can find nowadays, but they don’t seem to be right, do they?



Well, a few days ago I got to thinking: the cinemas are not as cheap as before, I mean, what you paid to watch Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace is almost half what you paid to watch Avatar, isn’t it? Furthermore, when you watched Jurassic Park there were no IMAX™ theatres, right? You might say going to the movies with a friend was much more affordable back then or maybe movies were not affordable per se, perhaps life was just plain cheaper.



In any event I think I was right, “Avatar is not the biggest movie ever”. I reckon you might think it’s brilliant or you might think it’s rubbish, that’s up to you really but the fact is so far Avatar is not the most-watched movie ever and in fact is not even close to that title.  Here’s what I found on Yahoo Movies to back it up:


James Cameron’s sci-fi epic Avatar may have sunk Titanic to become the most successful film of all time in terms of the amount of money it has taken worldwide. However, it still has some way to go in order to become the most popular movie of all time with cinemagoers – according to these statistics.


Avatar’s success is a staggering feat considering it’s not a sequel or a remake, but its ‘most money ever’ box office triumph can be largely attributed to inflation, rising ticket prices and the fact most cinemas are charging extra for 3D movies, thanks to the additional cost of 3D technology and handing out 3D glasses.


If you ignore how much money a film has made, and base its popularity on the number of tickets sold, then Avatar is actually still a long way off number 1. These figures below (based on US cinema attendance) show it’s actually the 26th biggest film of all time so far, having sold 76,421,000 tickets.


Taking worldwide audiences into account, as well as the fact Avatar is still selling out cinemas across the UK and many other countries, it may still go on to topple Gone With The Wind as the most-watched movie ever. However, for now it still has some way to go.


Take a look at the Top 20 movies of all time according to the number of tickets sold, as ranked by US website Hollywood Reporter.


1 Gone With the Wind – 202,044,600

2 Star Wars -178,119,600

3 The Sound of Music -142,415,400

4 ET: The Extra-Terrestrial -141,854,300

5 The Ten Commandments – 131,000,000

6 Titanic – 128,345,900

7 Jaws – 128,078,800

8 Doctor Zhivago  -124,135,500

9 The Exorcist – 110,568,700

10 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs – 109,000,000

11 101 Dalmatians – 99,917,300

12 The Empire Strikes Back – 98,180,600

13 Ben-Hur – 98,000,000

14 Return of the Jedi -94,059,400

15 The Sting – 89,142,900

16 Raiders of the Lost Ark – 88,141,900

17 Jurassic Park – 86,205,800

18 The Graduate – 85,571,400

19 Star Wars: Episode I – 84,825,800

20 Fantasia – 83,043,500


Source: http://uk.movies.yahoo.com/blog/article/11801/avatar-is-actually-26th-biggest-movie-of-all-time.html


January 27th, 2010.




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