Why 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' Really Is Not the Biggest U.S. Movie


Disney calls “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” the biggest domestic movie of all time. Rhett Butler may respectfully disagree.

Yes, the seventh installment of the storied space franchise has hauled in enough cash to stretch from here to Pluto. But when ticket price inflation over the decades is factored in, “The Force Awakens” doesn’t even come close to number one.

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“Gone With the Wind” from 1939 sits comfortably atop the all-time list with $1.7 billion adjusted for inflation (tickets were 23 cents in those days) — about $1 billion more than the $758 million in U.S. grosses “The Force Awakens” (average ticket $8.61), which right now ranks at 21 just ahead of “The Graduate” from 1967, according to Box Office Mojo.

Still, the “Star Wars” franchise is represented well. The original film from 1977 is second with $1.5 billion in adjusted bucks, ahead of No. 3 “The Sound of Music,” while “The Empire Strikes Back” from 1980 is 12th and “Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace” is 17th.