Clark Gable’s 1939 epic historical romance is still the true Box Office Champion!
When it comes to box office records, we frequently get into heated debates about which movie is truly deserving of the title of highest-grossing movie ever. Despite all of the recent talk surrounding Avatar and Avengers: Endgame, Gone with the Wind is unquestionably the true box office winner when inflation is taken into account.
Inflation has to be factored into the equation when looking at box office data to offer a fair comparison. After accounting for inflation, Gone with the Wind excels in this area compared to the other blockbusters that have drawn the attention of the public. IMDb reports that the Victor Fleming-directed 1939 film won over moviegoers’ hearts and went on to become the highest-grossing film adjusted for inflation, taking in a whopping $4.19 billion.
James Cameron’s Avatar: The Way Of Water
Gone with the Wind Still Beats Avatar and Avengers: Endgame When Adjusted for Inflation
Over its many years at the box office, Victor Fleming‘s Gone With the Wind has brought in $402.3 million. But the real clarity comes when one looks at the box office numbers adjusted for inflation. With today’s ticket prices, the film would have made $4.19 billion in adjusted inflation, according to IMDb.
While Avatar earned $2.923 billion during its run almost ten years ago and also through the recent theatrical re-release, when adjusted for inflation, it stands at $3.82 billion. Similarly, Avengers: Endgame has managed to bring in $3.16 billion by the same standard. Up until that point, Avengers: Endgame would ultimately lose to Avatar, even after accounting for inflation over the previous ten years. However, unadjusted gross is the main focus of box office reports most of the time.
Gone With the Wind (1939)
If Gone With the Wind were released today, it would undoubtedly receive a far wider worldwide distribution. But given the current environment, there would be no guarantee of box office. The film should also be analyzed in light of contemporary social issues. It essentially brushes the subject of slavery under the rug, as many observant critics have quickly noted. According to Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., Gone with the Wind has not fared well against the test of time (via Time).
Moreover, at $3.44 billion, according to Guinness World Records, it became the highest-grossing movie in movie history in 2014.
A still from Avengers: Endgame
James Cameron‘s Avatar has made over $2.9 billion in total revenue, making it the highest-grossing film of all time, according to Box Office Mojo.
The 2009 science fiction movie, starring Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldaña, centers on Jake Sully, an Avatar Program participant who is sent to Pandora, a moon in the Alpha Centauri star system. Jake has to choose between obeying orders and defending the Na’vi people and their home.
A still from Avatar: Way of Water
Thirteen years after the first movie, Avatar: The Way of Water, the follow-up to the blockbuster hit theaters on December 16, 2022, and was once again directed by Cameron. With over $2.320 billion in global receipts, it broke several box office records and became the highest-grossing movie of that year and the third-highest-grossing movie of all time. It is planned that three more Avatar installments will be released in 2025, 2029, and 2031, respectively.
Both Avengers: Endgame and Avatar are streaming on Disney Plus, while Gone with the Wind is available on Max.