Yahoo has a list of the top ten highest grossing animated films of all time. Number one is the revolutionary, ground-breaking (and kinda scary if you’re six) Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Adjusted for inflation, the film grossed a staggering $866,550,000. Give or take a nickel.
But I noticed something.
The Lion King, Shrek 2 and Finding Nemo were the only movies on the list that were made in the last 40 years. Every other movie was pre-1967.
The obvious challenge of comparing the gross of these films is the inflation factor. $5.00 for a student ticket sounds like a great deal today, but nobody would dream of dropping that much for a movie ticket in 1940 unless they were sitting on gold-plated diamond-encrusted chair, with their own personal caterer. Come to think of it, that chair would be uncomfortable. I digress.
THE POINT BEING: They determine the gross by looking at how many tickets were sold. That sounds like a good equalizer, right?
Prior to VCRs, DVDs and general thievery, the only way to watch a movie was to go to the theater. As such, films would be released and rereleased in theaters time and again. If you wanted to see a movie, you couldn’t see it unless you went to the theater. No waiting for the DVD, no downloading it, no Netflix to wait for. Not only that, but films that were released at the time had less competition. In 2009, more than 10,000 movies went into pre-production with a budget of $1 million or more.
THE POINT BEING: Calling a film the “highest grossing ever” doesn’t really mean anything, because it can never be apples to apples comparison. Like calling a film the best movie ever. It’s just not feasible.