25 Highest-Grossing Movies of All Time Adjusted for Inflation

The 25 highest-grossing movies of all time adjusted for inflation might give you an idea on what to watch next, if you haven’t yet watched some of the most popular movies ever released. As someone who likes nothing better than a lazy night in front of the TV, favorite snacks in hand and a good movie to watch, researching the most successful movies is something that comes naturally to me.

Throughout history, cinema has kept on adapting and evolving, which is why different genres have thrived at different times, with some more successful than others. While many consider the golden age of cinema to have passed, I tend to disagree. There are just so many options for our consumption that we have a myriad of choices no matter what our individual preference is. There are more movie studios than ever before, and there are many independent or indie options which can provide you with movies which will never be blockbuster hits, but will definitely hit all the right buttons.

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On the other hand, major movie studios develop a formula for box office success, and unfortunately, often keep repeating it to maximize profits despite not offering much in the way of innovation or original storytelling. A glaring example of this is the Transformers series, which has generally been critically panned, while still minting money at the box office. Nowadays, superhero movies are the big earners, with Marvel’s Avengers movie series raking in billions, not to mention the larger extended Marvel cinematic universe, consisting of superheroes such as Iron Man, Black Widow, Hulk, Thor, Spiderman, and many more. In fact, four of the top 10 all time grossing movies (unadjusted for inflation) are superhero movies.

So why are we discussing the top grossing movies of all time adjusted for inflation rather than top grossing movies based on absolute numbers? The former will always skew towards recent movies as the value of money decreases over time. A ticket which cost $1 in 1945 might cost $15 now. Naturally, it would be unfair to compare the relative popularity and financial success of movies when ticket prices have varied so widely across time. That is why adjusting the earnings for inflation presents a more accurate reflection. While it is challenging to adjust for inflation, especially for movies from decades ago, reasonably accurate workings have been carried out. We relied on statistics compiled by IMDB for our ranking.

Highest-Grossing Movies of All Time Adjusted for Inflation

25. Independence Day

Inflation adjusted total box office: $1.73 billion

The 1996 movie about aliens invading and destroying Earth starred Will Smith, Bill Pullman and Jeff Goldblum. More than a quarter of a century later, the film still has an enduring legacy.

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24. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Inflation adjusted total box office: $1.75 billion

The final installment of perhaps the greatest trilogy of all time, The Return of the King brought J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Ring series to its epic conclusion. At a runtime of 201 minutes, it’s also one of the longest movies in our list of highest-grossing movies of all time adjusted for inflation.

23. The Avengers

Inflation adjusted total box office: $1.76 billion

The Avengers was the first coming together of Marvel’s biggest superheroes to fight against Loki, and became a massive success in 2012.

22. Ben-Hur

Inflation adjusted total box office: $1.82 billion

Ben-Hur is one of the greatest books ever written, and the movie based on the book came out in 1955. It set the record for most Academy Award wins in addition to being a runaway box office success.

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21. Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace

Inflation adjusted total box office: $1.83 billion

Episode I came out in 1999 and was quite divisive, having the lowest IMDB rating in our list.

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20. The Jungle Book

Inflation adjusted total box office: $1.83 billion

The Jungle Book was an animated movie based on the book of the same name and released in 1967. The movie and the book were both successful, and resulted in The Jungle Book being an integral part of popular culture.

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19. Jurassic World

Inflation adjusted total box office: $1.84 billion

Released in 2015, Jurassic World was a reboot of the Jurassic Park franchise. While the movie wasn’t a critical success, dinosaur movies are always in high demand, as evidenced by its earnings.

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18. Spider-Man: No Way Home

Inflation adjusted total box office: $1.90 billion

The third part of the Spider-Man trilogy starring Tom Holland, No Way Home deals with Spider-Man’s identity being revealed to the world and a spell involving Dr. Strange going wrong.

17. One Hundred and One Dalmatians

Inflation adjusted total box office: $1.95 billion

Some movies have endured the test of time, and One Hundred and One Dalmatians is one of them, with its charming story revolving around puppies being abducted by the evergreen villain Cruelle De Vil.

16. The Exorcist

Inflation adjusted total box office: $1.96 billion

The only horror movie to make our list of highest-grossing movies adjusted for inflation, The Exorcist was released in 1973 and was horrifying enough to cause people to faint in theaters.

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15. Avengers: Infinity War

Inflation adjusted total box office: $2.05 billion

Released in 2018, the third part of the Avengers series is also said to be the best movie in the Marvel cinematic universe, while laying the groundwork for the final part of the series.

14. The Lion King

Inflation adjusted total box office: $2.1 billion

Probably my favorite movie of all time, The Lion King is an absolute classic and the best part of Disney’s Renaissance era.

13. Jaws

Inflation adjusted total box office: $2.17 billion

Jaws was the first movie to cross $100 million in theatrical rentals (which represents the amount of money that goes back to the studio) when it was released in 1975.

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12. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Inflation adjusted total box office: $2.2 billion

The 1937 Disney classic follows the tale of Snow White and her stepmother’s attempts to assassinate her, even as she lives exiled in the forest with seven dwarfs.

 

11. Jurassic Park

Inflation adjusted total box office: $2.22 billion

The first movie in the popular dinosaur franchise, Jurassic Park featured groundbreaking cinematic effects which showcased a dinosaur theme park run amok after dinosaurs escape their pens following a power failure. The first movie was based on Michael Crichton’s best selling novel of the same name.

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10. Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens

Inflation adjusted total box office: $2.22 billion

When Star Wars returned in 2015, the hype following the movie was incredible, and the movie lived up to it, becoming one of the few movies to gross over $2 billion at the box office.

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9. Doctor Zhivago

Inflation adjusted total box office: $2.25 billion

This 1965 movie was based on a Russian physician and poet who falls in love with the wife of a political activist, despite being married himself.

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8. The Ten Commandments

Inflation adjusted total box office: $2.37 billion

The 1956 movie was based on the life of Moses and the mission that is given to him by God to deliver his people from slavery.

7. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

Inflation adjusted total box office: $2.51 billion

One of Steven Spielberg’s greatest movies (and that’s saying something), E.T. became one of the biggest movies of the 80’s and held the record for the highest-grossing film of all time for 11 years before being dethroned by another Spielberg classic, the aforementioned Jurassic Park.

6. The Sound of Music

Inflation adjusted total box office: $2.57 billion

Released in 1965, The Sound of Music starred Julie Andrews and achieved commercial success in the United States, which was then replicated globally, breaking box office records in 29 countries.

 

Click to continue reading and see the 5 Highest-Grossing Movies of All Time.

 

 

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Disclosure: None. This article is originally published at Insider Monkey.