Gone with the Wind – Still the biggest film ever

Avatar has taken over a billion dollars at the box office, and according to some excitable commentators is set to be the biggest movie ever. But hold on – that’s if you base a film’s success on how much money it takes. To find out the biggest films of all time in terms of the number of people who actually saw them, you need to look at the number of tickets sold.

It’s simple – ticket prices are obviously far greater now than in the days when you could pay less than a shilling to see The Wizard of Oz at the local Odeon. So it’s become quite easy now for a film to claim to be a record-breaking this or a biggest ever that.   

The trade magazine The Hollywood Reporter this week compiled a list of the 20 most successful movies ever in terms of the number of ‘bums on seats.’ On this basis, Avatar still has some way to go. 

The list makes interesting reading; who would have guessed 101 Dalmations was such a blockbuster? 

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

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