The highest-grossing films of all time
Only 11 films have held the title of highest-grossing films of all time.
Driving the news: "Avatar: The Way of Water" opened this week and hopes to become the 12th.
- The first "Avatar," released in 2009, is the world's current all-time box office champion, a mantle that goes back more than 100 years.
1939: "Gone with the Wind" blows by "The Birth of a Nation."
- When adjusted for inflation, "Gone with the Wind" remains the highest-grossing film of all time, according to Guinness World Records.
1965: "The Sound of Music" ends "Gone with the Wind's" long run at the top.
1967: "Gone with the Wind" takes back the crown after a re-release on 70 mm film.
1972: "The Godfather" becomes the fastest film to $100 million worldwide on its way to overtaking "Gone with the Wind."
1973: "Jaws" moves into the top spot and is considered the first summer blockbuster, according to Guinness.
- Steven Spielberg's film debuted in more than 400 theaters with a record $7 million weekend, according to Box Office Mojo.
1977: "Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope" overtakes "Jaws," earning more than $300 million worldwide during its original release.
1982: Spielberg is history's box office king once again as "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial" surpasses $600 million worldwide.
1993: "Jurassic Park" shatters the previous record with more than $970 million worldwide, proving only Steven Spielberg can beat Steven Spielberg.
1997: Moviegoers cry countless tears as James Cameron's "Titanic" becomes the first film to earn $1 billion worldwide.
2009: Like Spielberg, Cameron breaks his own record with "Avatar," the world's first $2 billion earner.
2019: Marvel reaches its peak powers as "Avengers: Endgame" earns a worldwide total of nearly $2.8 billion.
- "Endgame" is one of 10 films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to earn more than $1 billion worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo.
2021: "Avatar" takes back the title of the highest-grossing film thanks to a re-release in China.
- To date, it has earned more than $2.9 billion worldwide.