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Australian philosopher, literary critic, legal scholar, and professional writer. Based in Newcastle, NSW. My latest books are THE TYRANNY OF OPINION: CONFORMITY AND THE FUTURE OF LIBERALISM (2019); AT THE DAWN OF A GREAT TRANSITION: THE QUESTION OF RADICAL ENHANCEMENT (2021); and HOW WE BECAME POST-LIBERAL: THE RISE AND FALL OF TOLERATION (2024).

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Sunday supervillainy - The Avengers climbs all-time inflation-adjusted ranks

According to Box Office Mojo, The Avengers is now #26 in all-time box office takings in the US, adjusted for inflation. When the calculation is done this way, it still trails a long way behind past mega-blockbusters such as Gone with the Wind and the original Star Wars. But it is now homing in on Mary Poppins and Forrest Gump, and has already overtaken many other classics of popular cinema. However you measure it, The Avengers turned out to be a phenomenal commercial success.

It's not clear just how useful this particular measure is. Surely it's some use - it gives a better indication than raw dollars would do of the huge success of classics such as the aforementioned Gone with the Wind and Star Wars, or the likes of Ben Hur, Jaws, The Sting, and on and on. If we used raw, unadjusted dollars, we would not get any idea of how enormously successful these really were. It's good to have some measure of how movies from different eras stack up against each other.

However, the markets have been very different in these different eras (e.g., there was no prospect, when Gone with the Wind was released, of waiting until it was available on home video in some format or other). Confining the comparisons to the US market produces some distortion, no doubt, though I wonder whether the figures outside the US are even available for movies that are many decades old. All in all, the Box Office Mojo list is probably just an indicator. Still, it's an interesting one, and it's fascinating to me that a movie like The Avengers caught the imagination of the public to such an extent that it will end up, using what is probably the best indicator we have, as one of the top 25 movies of all time in commercial success.

It has currently made about $1.45 billion worldwide. Since it still has some mileage in the American market and has not yet even been released in Japan, it's still on target to reach about $1.5 billion.

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