Users can adjust most of the charts on the site into estimated number of tickets sold or for ticket price inflation.
This is a helpful tool for converting box office earnings into a standard unit of measurement
to help you better judge a movie's popularity and compare it to other movies released
years or decades apart. You will find this feature most insightful on charts in the all-time, genre,
franchise and people sections.
HOW TO USE THIS FEATURE
If a chart can be adjusted for ticket price inflation, there will be a dropdown
box in the upper right-hand corner of the screen labeled "Adjuster." Its default
selection is "Actuals," which means the current data you see on the screen shows
actual box office receipts (i.e., unadjusted dollars).
When you click on the drop-down menu there are several
options. The first is "Est. Tickets" which, if selected, will translate the
figures on the page into estimated ticket sales. All other options in the
dropdown box list specific years (1920s-Present Day) to translate that chart
into a given year's dollars.. For example, if you looked at this weekend's box
office chart and wanted to see what it might have looked like in 1975, simply
select 1975 and the page will automatically refresh with the adjusted figures.
HOW WE ADJUST FOR INFLATION / EST. TICKETS
In most cases you can calculate the estimated number of tickets sold for a given
movie by taking its box office gross and dividing it by the average ticket price
at the time it was released. To adjust it for inflation (or see what it might
have made in the past), you then multiply the estimated number of tickets sold
by the average ticket price of the year you are converting to.
In some cases we are able to obtain the actual number of
tickets sold and we use that figure to base adjustments off of (apart from its
reported gross). Usually this is the case with older movies, especially those
released in the 30s and 40s (like Gone with the Wind).
Some movies have been released several times over the
decades, and we do account for this. For example, Snow White was released
in 1937, but half of its lifetime gross is from re-releases in the 80s and 90s,
so each of these releases is adjusted according to the year it earned its money.
Also, December releases may earn money in two separate years.
To account for this we take a movie's gross from its December opening until
December 31 and adjust it according to the average ticket price that year, then
adjust the remaining gross in the following year according to that year's ticket
Still, many movies from the 80s to mid-90s may not have as
extensive weekend box office data and many movies prior to 1980 may not have
weekend data at all, so the full timeframe for when that movie made its money
may not be available. In such cases (and where actual number of tickets sold is
not available), we can only adjust based on its total earnings and the average
ticket price for the year it was released. Still, this should be a good general
guideline to gauge a movie's popularity and compare it to other movies released
in different years or decades.
Finally, we are not adjusting budgeting or marketing costs at
this time, so please note that if and when you see these figures they are not
adjusted for inflation.
ACCURACY OF FIGURES
Adjusting for ticket price inflation is not an exact science and should be used
to give you a general idea of what a movie might have made if released in
a different year, assuming it sold the same number of tickets.
Since these figures are based on average ticket prices they
cannot take into effect other factors that may affect a movie's overall
popularity and success. Such factors include but are not limited to: increases
or decreases in the population, the total number of movies in the marketplace at
a given time, economic conditions that may help or hurt the entertainment
industry as a whole (e.g., war), the relative price of a movie ticket to other
commodities in a given year, competition with other related medium such as the
invention and advancements of Television, VHS, DVD, the Internet, etc…
Still, this method best compares "apples to apples" when
examining the history of box office earnings.