Top Highest Grossing Movies Adjusted for Inflation

Avatar and Titanic are high, but they're not number one. Can you guess what is?
1 Beauty-and-the-Beast-2017
Top Highest Grossing Movies Adjusted for Inflation Buena Vista

It's 1937 and RKO Radio Pictures is promoting its new movie. There's a real buzz. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is set to be a sensation: It's the first full-length animated feature from Walt Disney's company, best known for its short films starring Mickey Mouse.

Snow White makes its debut in New York just before Christmas at a lavish screening, attended by Judy Garland and Marlene Dietrichs. When it hits theaters across the U.S. the following February, millions of Americans line up to watch the movie. It pulls in $3.5 million during its original run.

Though $3.5 million may not sound like much by today's standards—161 movies made more than that in 2017—here's what made those box office figures most amazing. In 1938, the average movie ticket cost 25 cents.

For comparison, in 2018, the average American pays $9.18 to go to the flicks.

Inflation in ticket pricing makes assessing the highest-grossing movies of all time as much an exercise in math as in statistical collation. Star Wars: The Last Jedi may have grossed more than $620,000 in 2017, but that's nothing even close to what Snow White has made down the years, if you scale up the ticket prices from the 1930s and 40s in line with inflation.

This gallery of highest-grossing movies uses calculations from film website Box Office Mojo, which keeps track of U.S. box office sales and adjusts them alongside ticket prices in the year of a movie's release. By today's standards, Snow White grossed more than $1 billion. Hi ho, indeed.

Yet even Snow White does not top the all-time highest grossing movie money list, which features 10 billion-dollar-plus grossing movies, and on which recent smashes Black Panther and The Last Jedi are gradually ascending.

Click through the gallery to find out what comes out on top. Frankly, my dear, I don't have a clue...

74. Smokey and the Bandit (1977). Original gross: $126,737,428. Inflated gross: $520,589,600. Universal