Gone With the Wind (1939), considered one of the greatest movies of all time. It is the highest grossing film of all time. Why am I saying that when headlines are splashed with Avengers Endgame pushing to supposedly get there against Avatar (2009)? And what does this have anything to do with International Marketing?
First, the reason why Gone with the Wind is still number one, and Avatar and Endgame are far from it is inflation. This is due to inflation. When looking at how much the dollar was worth in 1939, what it could buy you, and if invested what it could become the amount of money the Gone with the Wind made in 1939 far exceeds Endgame’s dollar buying power amount now. In fact, Endgame is currently at about $2.2 billion worldwide: it would still have to earn over $1.4 billion more to try and catch up with Gone. Most people don’t know this. This is because when they are referring to these records, they are not adjusting for inflation.
Which brings us to the first reason this has to do with international marketing. To get publicity, show its success, and get more people to want to go see it records help do that. Now you have tons of ways to try and show “records” such as opening weekend, first day, presales, domestic, international, global, whatever week of the year it is released, holiday, first 10, 21, 30 days, etc. The list goes on and on. Therefore, they usually don’t mention inflation.
Next, Gone with the Wind also came out in a different era. Movies back then were not “blockbusters” like they are today, where they are released around the country simultaneously and internationally within a matter of weeks (typically). Before the 1970’s and movies like The Godfather (1972) movies were released slowly and worked their way across the country and world going from town to town and spreading more by word of mouth. A movie could be in the theaters for a lot longer but moved through town and then on to the next.
Gone is also unique to movies today because it is split down the middle 50/50 domestic and foreign box office sales. Endgame is closer to 30/70, and this isn’t unusual. So, to say that Gone did better internationally than Endgame is not a lie either.
So, with the everchanging release of movies, the amount people go to the theater, and what movies are made the numbers will change as well. Will anyone ever beat the box office of Gone? I don’t know. Maybe. I am curious to see it. It will take a feat of worldwide marketing power and sustained box office draw to do it. Marvel looks like it will come closer than anyone else with Endgame. If this one doesn’t do it, Marvel says that bigger movies are being planned to come out down the road. Maybe it will be one of them.