January 27th, 2010
07:18 PM ET

Putting 'Avatar' in per$pective

As we all know, "Avatar" is making ridiculous amounts of money: it just became the all-time worldwide box office champ, and appears poised to pass "Titanic" for the domestic crown within a couple of weeks.  But what does that mean?  I've given it some thought, and consulted boxofficemojo.com and other resources, and here's some perspective.  (Keep in mind that this would be a lot simpler if theaters and studios released data on tickets sold, but then we wouldn't have as many of these lovely debates.)

Certainly, when you adjust for inflation, "Avatar" is knocked down a few pegs: it's "only" 26th all-time in domestic ticket sales.  "Gone With The Wind" leads that chart, with "Titanic" in sixth place.  "Avatar" would have to boost its current $558 million in grosses to $957 million to top "Titanic" on that chart... and to surpass "GWTW," a mind-numbing $1.5 billion.

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