View Full Version : The most popular movie of all time?

07-26-2002, 01:08 PM
Do you ever wonder what the most popular movie of all time is? My money is on Star Wars. I know it hasn't made the most money. I think Titanic still holds that one. However, it could be the most popluar movie of all time.

In what way could we judge popularity? That's a tougher question. For some reason movies are judged sucesses or failurs by the amount of money they bring in. This is good, because if the movie doesn't make any money then it should be a failure. Still, it's unfair to judge these movies with money. Case in point. I've seen AOTC 5 times. Four times I paid $3.50 to see and once I paid $6.00 to see it. Add that up and you get $20.00. Now, if I where to see the movie down town Chicago it would cost me $10.00 to just see it once. So, as you can see the money total just isn't fair.

Plus, ANH was the highest grossing movie ever for years. That made it's money in the late 70's and early 80's. I don't remember how much is cost to see a movie then, but it sure was a heck of a lot less than it was when Titanic was out.

So, my point to this is that I bet Star Wars has been seen more than any other movie ever. Smart Money is on ANH, but the other two may hold the title. I wish they would count tickets sold, rather than money. I think Star Wars would dwarf all other movies by millions.

Any one else have any thoughts on this?

07-26-2002, 01:11 PM
That would require a whole lot of work to pull in all of the numbers required to see which movie is most popular.

You'd need movie attendance, rentals, purchases and how many times those people have watched it.

It wouldn't be an exact science but I'm sure it could be done.

Any volunteers? :D

jet chan
07-26-2002, 02:01 PM
in the last 25 years star wars anh is one of if not the most popular
but if you want most popular of all time back in 1939 when gone with the wind came out it made over 80 million at the box office and that was back when you paid a dime or if you were a big spender a quarter to see a movie so in a sense our grandparents went nutty over this film.

07-26-2002, 02:10 PM
I realize that Gone with the Wind and The Sound of Music where very popular. Still your baseing facts on $$ not attendance. There are more people in the world now and in 77' compaired to the 30's and 40's. Plus, there are more movie theaters. Tickets sold is what I'm looking for. I guess movie rentals would be considered too.

It's hard to figures. In fact impossible, but smart money as far as tickets sold has got to be on ANH.

El Chuxter
07-26-2002, 02:10 PM
jet chan beat me to it! :D

Also, when inflation is figured in to the total gross, Gone With the Wind has blown pretty much every other movie into oblivion.

But don't feel bad. SW:ANH beats Titanic by a pretty nice margin when you look at inflation. And its influence on popular culture is pretty much incalulable.

07-26-2002, 03:18 PM
Inflation, money, price. These are all things that do not concern me. My question and statement is what has been watched the most. What movie has sold the most tickets. Sure price has a lot to do with that. But no way does inflation cover the differnce it costs to see a movie in Down Town Chicago vs. the price it costs to see a movie in Farmersville IL (wich is a real town btw). See, that is the key to my argument. I've seen AOTC 5 times, but only paid $20 to see it. Where as someone who may have seen Titianic only 3 times but paid $10 each time to see it still spent more money. Thus makeing Titanics numbers go up.

Still none of this is relevant because when GWTW came out tickes where much cheeper. Still they where more in NYC than in Boreing OR (another real town).

So you see, value and price have nothing to do with my argument. I center around what has been seen the most. I'm sticking with Star Wars :)

07-26-2002, 07:42 PM
I don't think ANY of the SW films can be labeled as the most popular film ever on its own. Together, they are the most popular and profitable film franchise, granted but if you ask people about them separately, they won't be as recognized.

07-27-2002, 12:46 AM
Icatch, the inflation brings the ticket sales to the same price, so if Gone With The Wind made the most money after adjustment, that means it's sold the most tickets.

07-27-2002, 12:51 AM
I understand your question. Tickets sold, not money made. I do believe that Gone With the Wind still holds both records (the money aspect of it is in adjusted dollars). But if you were to conduct a poll tomorrow of every Joe Shmoe out there, undoubtedly Gone With the Wind would turn out to be the most recognized and remembered and seen film of all time.


Exhaust Port
07-27-2002, 10:42 AM
I would still bank on GwtW as been the most popular in the last century. The "adjusted for inflation" figure blows everything else out of the water. Sure, not every kid on the street has seen or even heard of the movie but GwtW has been around for 70 years and SW has been there for a third that.

Again, I think GwtW has reached more individual people in it's existance than SW. How many of the millions of $$ that the SW movies have made to this point have been repeat viewers? I know I've paid to see the first 4 movies quite a few times. In the fanboy community that series is huge but doesn't necessarily translate into a more watched movie outside of that.

07-27-2002, 08:07 PM
one thing that may credit GWTW's success is that when it came out, there was really no other competition for it, other than other movies. and most of the theatres back then were not showing 20 different movies on 30 screens. most likely, the towns only theatre had only one or two screens. the only real competition was radio.

back in the 40's, there was no TV, video games, DVD's, satellite TV, the internet, etc...; today's films have a lot more competition.
and i know of many people who never go to the movie anyore. they just wait and watch it on satellite.

but, icatch, as for it's impact on the entire film making industry, i would bet episode 4 has had the biggest impact. no one really made sequals before star wars, and the movie/toy tie in was almost unheard of before lucas.(B.L.):)

so i agree, that while GWTW may be the inflation adjusted box office and ticks sold champ, Episode 4 has probably been th emost influential.

07-27-2002, 08:35 PM
I would probably have to say Gone With The Wind is the most popular movie of all time if we are going by how many people watched it. That's tickets, T.V. and video, from 1939 to now. Star Wars ANH would run a close second if you look at the time frame between the two films. GWTH 1939 to 2002 that's 63 years, then we have ANH 1977 to 2002 that's 25 years. 63 - 25 = 38 plus years GWTW has over S.W. ANH, that's movie tickets, T.V. and video. Both great films in different era's that will stand the test of time.

07-28-2002, 04:13 AM
Originally posted by derek
one thing that may credit GWTW's success is that when it came out, there was really no other competition for it, other than other movies.Radio was big, and one of the movies that was competition for GWTW was "The Wizard of Oz".

IMO, Star Wars is probably more popular though, it's always being quoted and referred to by TV and movies. GWTW is a big movie, but Star Wars is really more like a modern myth.

07-29-2002, 10:22 AM
It doesn't seem very fair to compair the two of these movies. Differnet era's, different time frame, different everything.

Still, you don't think GWTW had repeat viewers. As stated, there was little competition for it. More than likely the movie was at a towns movie house for a very very long time to accumulate such numbers. That means some people had to have seen it more than once. The Sound of Music was and is another very popular old movie. My greatgrandmother was from England and didn't have a movie house in her town in England. When she came to visit my grandmother hear in the States she saw it something like 6 times! She only visited for a couple weeks. So, multiply viewings of movies isn't a new thing.

Besides a ticket sold is a ticket sold, it doesn't matter who's seeing it.

Again, it's unfair how these and other movies are compaired to one anther, even though they were out in a differnt time. It's no more fair than compairing Babe Ruth with Mark McGwire. No more fair than compairing Jesse Owens with Carl Lewis. No more fair than compairing Abe Lincoln with George W Bush. Although all are similar is status. All are divided greatly by time.

Exhaust Port
07-29-2002, 12:37 PM
So it seems that with your last explaination there that you've successfully voided the original thread topic. It's not a far comparison and therefor can't be truly answered. Perhaps "What is the most popular movie of recent time" would be a better way of putting it. Under that topic I would agree that SW would lead the pack.

07-31-2002, 12:01 AM
Remember also that movies receive much wider releases these days. Gone with the Wind had only a fraction of the screens Star Wars had, which in turn had only a fraction of those dedicated to Titanic. Gone with the Wind also had the disadvantage of having a interminable length.

Exhaust Port
07-31-2002, 09:27 AM
I wonder how many screens GWTW had during it's lifetime in the theaters. As you said JON9000, it would have been a fraction of what new movies get today makes the amount of money it pulled in even more amazing. People would be forced to travel a lot more to see this movie. And we though SW fans were dedicated! ;)

08-11-2002, 02:36 AM
SW probably has the largest "hardcore" following of any film (or set of films). It has become larger than movies, and imprints itelf on every facet of our lives, from mealtime to movietime to bathtime to bedtime. You can literally lead a SW life if you choose.

Also incalculable is the effect SW, both film and franchise, have had on the movie industry and pop culture. Toys are part and parcel now with most every PG rated "action/adventure" movie, that wasn't the case before SW. It also brought fantasy movies back into the spotlight near the end of a decade that was largely dominated by (excellent) gritty, realist, street level movies reflecting the decade in which they were produced. I still think of French Connection, Taxi Driver, The Godfather, and One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest when people start in on movies from the 70's. SW was cut from an entirely different cloth.