Top Box Office Movies Feb 2013
Films generate income from several revenue streams including theatrical exhibition, home video, television broadcast rights and merchandising. However, theatrical box office earnings are the primary metric for trade publications (such as Variety and Box Office Mojo) in assessing the success of a film, mostly due to the availability of the data compared to sales figures for home video and broadcast rights, and also due to historical practice. Included on the list are charts of the top box-office earners (ranked by both the nominal and real value of their revenue), a chart of high-grossing films by calendar year, a timeline showing the transition of the highest-grossing film record, and a chart of the highest-grossing film franchises and series. All charts are ranked by international theatrical box office performance where possible, excluding income derived from home video, broadcasting rights and merchandise.
Traditionally, war films, musicals and historical dramas have been the most popular genres, but franchise films have been the best performers in the 21st century, with films from the Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and Pirates of the Caribbean series dominating the top end of the list. Since Superman (1978) there has been new interest in the superhero genre; Batman from DC Comics and films based on the Marvel Comics brand such as Spider-Man, X-Men and films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe have all done particularly well. The only films in the top ten that do not form a franchise are the top two, Avatar and Titanic, both directed by James Cameron. Animated family films have performed consistently well, with Disney films enjoying lucrative re-releases prior to the home video era. Disney enjoyed later success with its Pixar brand, of which the Toy Story films and Finding Nemo have been the best performers; beyond Pixar animation, the Shrek, Ice Age and Madagascar series have met with the most success.
While inflation has eroded away the achievements of most films from the 1960s and 1970s, there are franchises originating from that period that are still active: James Bond and Star Trek films are still being released periodically, and the Star Wars saga was reprised after a lengthy hiatus; Indiana Jones also saw a successful comeback after lying dormant for nearly twenty years. All four are still among the highest-grossing franchises, despite starting over thirty years ago. Some of the older films that held the record of highest-grossing film still have respectable grosses even by today's standards, but do not really compete against today's top-earners: Gone with the Wind for instance—which was the highest-grossing film for 25 years—does not even make the top fifty in the modern market, but, adjusted for inflation, it would still be the highest-grossing film. All grosses on the list are expressed in US dollars at their nominal value, except where stated otherwise.