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  1. #1
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Movies With Most Tickets Sold All-Time

    I'd been posting the box office updates for The Dark Knight because I sensed that it had a chance at breaking some box office records. Right now, it's well on its way to becoming only the second movie to ever break $500 million at the domestic box office. I doubt that it will break Titanic's record of $600 million.

    Of course, this does not factor inflation or any other adjustments. Box Office Mojo does a lot of breakdowns, and today I found their estimate for the number of actual tickets sold for each of the top grossing movies. It's interesting to see how the box office chart flips when the estimate accounts for tickets sold rather than just the dollar volume.

    In unadjusted revenue, The Dark Knight is currently #7 all-time with $411 million at the box office. By the end of the weekend, it will likely move up to #4, right behind Shrek 2 and Star Wars.

    http://www.boxofficemojo.com/alltime/domestic.htm

    But, if you run the calculations based on ticket sales, The Dark Knight has got a long way to go. On this measure, The Dark Knight currently ranks #58 with about 58 million tickets sold so far. For reference, the #1 movie of all time based on tickets sold is Gone With The Wind with 202 million tickets sold, and the #1 box office champ Titanic is #6 in tickets sold with 128 million.

    Some of the interesting/unexpected titles on this list include The Exorcist (#9, 111 million tickets sold), 101 Dalmatians (#11, 100 million tickets sold), The Sting (#15, 89 million tickets sold), and The Graduate (#19, 86 million tickets sold).

    http://www.boxofficemojo.com/alltime...st_yr=1&p=.htm

    So, even if The Dark Knight passes Titanic's box office total, it's still less than halfway there when looking at the tickets sold. All this just leads me to wonder whether any movie coming out nowadays will ever challenge for a spot in the top 10 in tickets sold. Most of the movies in the top 20 came out when movie theaters were still the primary or only means of watching a movie.

    Before home video, it was normal for hit movies to play in theaters for months or even more than a year at a time. But now, with the money made from DVD sales far eclipsing movie ticket sales, the studios no longer have as much incentive to keep a movie in theaters for an extended run. With all this factored in, I think The Dark Knight would be lucky if it broke into the top 25.
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  2. #2
    Suspended 3-LockBox's Avatar
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    I wondered the same thing. When Jaws, Star Wars et el was breaking records, it cost about $2.00 to $4.00 for a ticket (at least in my neck of the woods).

  3. #3
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    Wooch,

    Do they have a stat on number of ticket sales plus DVD, VHS, BR sales?
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  4. #4
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GMichael
    Wooch,

    Do they have a stat on number of ticket sales plus DVD, VHS, BR sales?
    Nope. Aside from rental revenues, home video unit sales figures are actually tightly guarded. The box office figures are widely publicized because it's part of the studios' marketing campaigns. Home video sales figures are not as regularly released.

    The Nielson Videoscan data has the unit sales for the retailers that send them data (covers the majority of the market, but not all of it), but you have to subscribe in order to access it, and it's not a 100% sample. The Videoscan data published on various websites will only show the titles, or might show the proportional figures (i.e., how one title's sales represent XX% of the total unit sales for the #1-ranked title).
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  5. #5
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    Oh well. I was curious though. Since the industry has changed so much, that seemed like the best way to compare old apples to new apples.
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  6. #6
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3-LockBox
    I wondered the same thing. When Jaws, Star Wars et el was breaking records, it cost about $2.00 to $4.00 for a ticket (at least in my neck of the woods).
    Yeah, ticket inflation and the current saturation front-loading on movie releases tends to distort a lot of the box office records. With all the emphasis on opening weekend records, people tend to forget that Gone With The Wind played in theaters for years during its initial release, and moviegoing was much more of a regular ritual before the rise of home entertainment.

    I recall that Jaws was also in theaters for more than a year during its initial release. Back then, you also had a lot more second-run theaters, which further distorts comparisons with the number of tickets sold.
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  7. #7
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    filet - o - fish Kam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GMichael
    Oh well. I was curious though. Since the industry has changed so much, that seemed like the best way to compare old apples to new apples.
    they also guard the dvd sales numbers because it's a factor in paying people. the box office numbers they can't hide as they also have to share those with another company, the theaters. BUT dvd sales are entirely all their own, and since some stars have contracts that deal with dvd sales, it's best that the studio is the only one with that info. that way they can ensure nothing but fair and reasonable accounting to everyone, like fox news.

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  8. #8
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    All this just leads me to wonder whether any movie coming out nowadays will ever challenge for a spot in the top 10 in tickets sold. Most of the movies in the top 20 came out when movie theaters were still the primary or only means of watching a movie.
    I think Wooch made a good point - we're not likely to ever see a movie rule the world again like Star Wars, Snow White, Gone With The Wind, etc.

    Not because they don't make great movies anymore, but the world's changed. There are more movies than ever and cinemas are big business - if the film isn't selling out theaters it gets pushed to a smaller venue because next week's new release is in the big theatre. Before you know it that blockbuster has been pushe out of theater altogether very quickly - blockbuster films used to be in theaters for months.

    For all the sales records, I have to admit The Dark Knight is a probably being overrated a bit. It was an awesome movie IMO, but when I look back at the last few years of films, it doesn't seem any more deserving than the likes of LOTR, Transformers,etc. I remember Jurassic Park was a waaay bigger deal all summer. Some how it doesn't seem fitting that TDK will sit higher up the list than a lot of these movies.

    How long will it be until mediocre movies start pulling in half a billion dollars?

  9. #9
    I put the Gee in Gear.... thekid's Avatar
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    I am assuming this # is based on first release sales, otherwise I would think several Disney movies would top the list since Snow White etc were re-released several times pre-DVD release......

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