Box Office Earnings Leaders Among SF Movies

Box Office Mojo keeps track of the 200 top earning movies of all time on a chart that you can reorder to show the same movies by their earnings adjusted for ticket price inflation.

Avatar is the top grossing movie on the first (unadjusted) list, while Gone With The Wind tops the list adjusted for inflation.

The top 5 fantasy and science fiction movies by each measure are shown below. Where the movie ranked on the overall gross earnings list is indicated by the number in parentheses.

Gross Earnings

  1. Avatar (1)
  2. Marvel’s The Avengers (3)
  3. The Dark Knight (4)
  4. Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (5)
  5. Star Wars (6)

Adjusted for Ticket Price Inflation

  1. Star Wars (2)
  2. E.T.: The Extraterrestrial (4)
  3. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (10)
  4. The Empire Strikes Back (12)
  5. Avatar (14)

I was also interested in which genre movies rose and fell the most when their gross earnings were adjusted for inflation.

Most Places Gained

  • Sleeping Beauty  +151
  • Fantasia  +149
  • House of Wax +98
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs  +95
  • Superman +72
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark +56

Most Places Lost

  • The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2   -144
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1   -142
  • Inception  -140
  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey   -134
  • The Hunger Games: Mockingjay- Part 1   -126
  • I Am Legend (2007)  -125
  • Guardians of the Galaxy  -120
  • Alice in Wonderland (2010)  -115
  • War of the Worlds (2005)  -114

[Thanks to Craig Miller and David K. M. Klaus for the links.]

7 thoughts on “Box Office Earnings Leaders Among SF Movies

  1. I think this list neatly illustrates how popular SFF is with the mainstream audience, and should make us question why SFF book sales are falling.

  2. How come your list of fantasy movies gaining from inflation adjustment doesn’t include The Ten Commandments, which jumps from #175 to #6?

  3. A more accurate measure would adjust for ticket prices adjusted for inflation and sales per unit population. If an adjustment were made for the growth of the marketplace, I wouldn’t be surprised to see “Gone with the Wind” at the top of the chart.

  4. I also note the lack of well regarded films, like THE TIME BANDITS, SEVEN VOYAGE OF SINBAD, KING KONG or any Universal creature film.
    Good isn’t always Big Box Office/

    And the documentary GALAXY QUEST isn’t here either.

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