The Top 5 Domestic Box Office Grosses Adjusted for Inflation

Titanic ($1,256,546,800)

This 1997 film directed by James Cameron is an epic romance and disaster film based on the true story of the “unsinkable ship” famous for making its first and last voyage in 1912 only to come face to face with an iceberg, causing it to do the very thing that was thought impossible and sink into the icy depths of the sea. Titanic has had two theatrical releases which combined have earned a total of $2.187 billion, making it the highest grossing film of all time in 1998, (without adjusting for inflation) a title that it held until 2010 when James Cameron’s Avatar surpassed it. Titanic was the first movie in history to earn more than $1 billion worldwide.

E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial ($1,314,989,700)

Next up is one of Steven Spielberg’s most loved movies, E.T: The Extra Terrestrial. Released in 1982 this is a science fiction film about the relationship between a young boy and a lovable alien trying to find his way home. This sentimental, touching story (to watch it without crying is to have a heart of stone) was met with both commercial and critical success and is still regarded as one of the greatest science fiction films ever made.  The film has seen a total of three theatrical releases earning a worldwide total of $792 million and was the highest grossing film of all time until Jurassic Park surpassed its record in 1993.

The Sound of Music ($1,320,190,500)

Based on the stage musical of the same name, The Sound of Music is next on our list. The story is set in 1938 and follows an Austrian woman who is training to become a nun. She is sent to work as a governess to the children of a retired naval officer, she teaches them about courage and faith, helping them to deal with the loss of their country during that tumultuous time.  After its multiple releases at theatres the film earned a worldwide total of $286 million at the box office.

Star Wars ($1,651,168,600)

Interestingly the only movie that is part of a franchise on this list and its first entry at that, George Lucas’s much loved Star Wars. Since its original release there have been a total of 10 films in the franchise with the next being set for 2019. This film saw Luke Skywalker join forces with the Rebel Alliance to destroy a huge planet destroying weapon named the ‘Deathstar’. Again, seeing multiple theatrical releases since its first in 1977 the film has made a total of $461 million worldwide.

Gone with the Wind ($1,872,953,700)

Sitting at the top spot is the American romantic epic from 1939, Gone with the Wind. Based on the book with the same title it’s the story of Scarlett O’Hara and her troubled love life set against a backdrop of the American Civil War. The film has been released in theatres countless times, as recently as 2014 to coincide with its 75th anniversary. It’s not a wonder then that this film will be hard to top as long as it keeps gracing our screens. It grossed a total of $198 million which adjusted for inflation is close to the $2 billion mark making it the number one film at the all-time box office.

GONE WITH THE WIND, from left: Vivien Leigh, Clark Gable, 1939

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