FEATURE: Unadjusted vs. Adjusted Box Office

4 02 2010

I don’t know if you have heard, but there is this little movie out in theaters now called “Avatar.”  It has been breaking box office record after box office record, every day stealing the top spot from movies like “The Dark Knight” and “Titanic.”

The past two weeks have brought a tidal wave of incredibly important titles for James Cameron’s motion capture epic.  On Monday, January 25, “Avatar” became the highest grossing film in overseas markets.  The very next day, it became the highest grossing movie worldwide.  On Tuesday, February 2, the day “Avatar” was nominated for nine Academy Awards including Best Picture, it became the highest grossing movie ever at the United States box office.  (All three titles were nabbed from Cameron’s “Titanic.)

Before I delve into deeper analysis, I think some hearty congratulations are in order for James Cameron and everyone involved in bringing “Avatar” to the screen.  No matter what you thought of the movie, you have to appreciate the tremendous amount of work that went into making it.  The amount of money that it takes to pay for a movie ticket has skyrocketed to prices that have forced Americans to reconsider how often they go to theater.  As a result, watching movies on laptops, iPods, and video game consoles has soared.  “Avatar” has returned the urgency to getting full immersion in the theatrical experience, and James Cameron deserves to be raking in all the money that he is.

But does “Avatar” really deserve to be called the biggest movie of all time?  There are people who claim the system by which that claim is made is flawed.  What I want to do is introduce you to the system that the detractors swear by – the “adjusted” system – and let you decide what system you think is the best.

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