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Stars of Biggest Box Office Movies Over Last 100 Years, Chronilogical


WhyaDuck
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Going off of Box Office records lists, I'm making this list in 5 year periods, not 10. Trying to see who was in the biggest most watched movies therefore making them the most watched faces on the screen in these box office hits. Not saying the best actors / actresses, but the most seen per the box office hits of their times they were in.

 

1915 to 1919 : Henry Walthall and Lillian Gish

1920 to 1924 : Rudolph Valentino and Lillian Gish

1925 to 1929 : Ramo'n Novarro and Ren'ee Ador'ee

1930 to 1934 : Boris Karloff and Faye Wray

1935 to 1939 : Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh

1940 to 1944 : Gary Cooper and Judy Garland

1945 to 1949 : Gregory Peck and Ingrid Bergman

1950 to 1954 : James Stewart and Deborah Kerr

1955 to 1959 : Charlton Heston and Elizabeth Taylor

1960 to 1964 : Sean Connery and Julie Andrews

1965 to 1969 : Dustin Hoffman and Julie Andrews

1970 to 1974 : Paul Newman and Barbra Streisand

1975 to 1979 : Richard Dreyfuss and Carrie Fisher

1980 to 1984 : Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher

1985 to 1989 : Michael J Fox and Whoppi Goldberg

1990 to 1994 : Tom Hanks and Sally Field

1995 to 1999 : Leonardo Dicaprio and Kathy Bates

2000 to 2004 : Ian McKellen and Liv Tyler

2005 to 2009 : Johhny Depp and Elizabeth Swann

2010 to 2013 : Robert Downey Jr and Gwyneth Paltrow

 

again.....a list of actors/ actresses in big box office movies of these time frames, seen often by ticket buying movie audience.

 

Edited by: WhyaDuck on Aug 26, 2013 5:23 PM

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No Doris Day? I find that hard to believe. She was the top box office attraction for 4 years in a row, I believe, in the late 50s/early 60s and she's beat out by Liz Taylor and Julie Andrews? Andrews for one film?

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Mary Poppins in 1964 was a huge box office hit......and in 65 to 69, both Sound Of Music and Hawaii were huge box office hits. ......I like Doris Day.....this is just a list of who was in the big box office hits of these eras, per records by Variety and other sources for each year.

 

Edited by: WhyaDuck on Aug 26, 2013 5:30 PM

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Interesting way to look at things. While I could come up with many questions I'll try to limit them.

 

Was the box office take only in the USA? I ask because of:

1935 to 1939 : Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh

 

Of course I understand 1939 (GWTW), but for Leigh I would think she has fairly weak USA box office numbers from 1935 - 1938. OR did the GWTW box office take just push her two over the top for the 5 year period?

 

Note: If the later is the case, than I would say Olivia DeHaviland should of been listed instead of Leigh. She was also a star of GWTW and I assume her USA box office take was higher than Leigh from 35 - 39.

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The money made off of Gone With The Wind, the other movies of this era aren't even close...and Leigh is seen the most in this movie.

 

again, this isn't the theatre list of who they thought was big box office, this is actors / actresses in the biggest box office movie in these time frames. Now some are in a few big box office movies in these time frames. Some movies were such big box office that it only takes the one because the money of other movies combined would never catch up. ....On money spent, these names listed were seen by alot of ticket buyers in these time frames.

 

Now a Doris Day that spans decades or a John Wayne of course made alot of money.......these are just the stars in big box office movies of these time frames, nothing more.

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This list wouldn't include Libel Lady because it wasn't a big box office hit.....This is only a list of stars in big box office hits, nothing more......Gone With The Wind made 77,641,106 and nothing comes close to that from 1935 to 1939. ....1,000,000 was a big movie. .....

 

In these different eras, what movies did people spend their hard earned money to see, and who was in them. ...I'm not saying these are the best actors or actresses ever or that others didn't make more money over decades of work. .....Sally Field for example was in blockbusters Mrs Doubtfire and Forrest Gump in one time frame. Not saying she was the highest paid actress, am saying she was in 2 movies that combined made huge money and seen by alot of people in that era.

 

Just a list of stars in biggest box office movies in these time periods. Sometimes in more than 1 big box office movie. Mostly just going off the top 5 or top 10 money movies of each year.

 

Now Kathy Bates isn't the main star of Titanic, but she is in it, but she was also in other Big Box Office Movies in 1995 to 1999, so that did add to her in this time frame, that she was in several Big Box Office Movies. ....Had de Havilland been in other big box office movies from 1935 to 1939 that would change it, but there just weren't many big box office movies in 1935 to 1939. Not like Gone With The Wind.

 

Edited by: WhyaDuck on Aug 26, 2013 6:26 PM

 

Edited by: WhyaDuck on Aug 26, 2013 6:33 PM

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It appears I'm still not making myself clear. Why does your method only give ONE actress credit? So use Libel Lady as an EXAMPLE. If it was a top 5 box office hit, what ONE actress would your method give the credit to ; Harlow or Loy?

 

Thus I still say DeHavilland should get credit for GWTW along side Leigh. If you did that I believe DeHavilland would beat Leigh because Dodge City was a box office hit and Leigh didn't have that type of hit in the USA prior to GWTW.

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*The money made off of Gone With The Wind, the other movies of this era aren't even close...and Leigh is seen the most in this movie.*

 

*This list wouldn't include Libel Lady because it wasn't a big box office hit.....This is only a list of stars in big box office hits, nothing more......Gone With The Wind made 77,641,106 and nothing comes close to that from 1935 to 1939. ....1,000,000 was a big movie. .....*

 

Whyaduck:

 

Your premise is wrong on several fronts. First of all, the total you list for GWTW is the collective total from all its reissues over the decades; I have read where its original gross was approximately $8,000,000.00, significant for its era, but not the figures you use. Also, it was premiered mid-December 1939, and didn't go into general release until 1940. So only a small fraction of the initial $8 Million gross would have been achieved in 1939. It would definitely not have catapulted Vivien Leigh into the most watched female of 1935-39; maybe of the year 1940. Gable was the King for a reason, and was probably the most watched male for that 5 year period. Surely Shirley Temple was the most watched female. She was top of the Box Office lists from 1935-38, with Gable at No. 2. Additionally, while most of her movies did not accumulate the highest grosses of the year, the vast majority of the tickets were sold at reduced children's prices, so she probably won by number of tickets sold, which is the number of people who viewed her on the screen.

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I took time to search the internet sites on this, and looked at all the info I could find.... Do not see Dodge City or Libery Lady as big box office hits in 1935 to 1939......The big money movies were Mutiny On The Bounty, Top Hat, San Francisco, How To Be A Detective, One In A Million, Maytime, You Can't Take It With You, Dawn Patrol, Alexanders Ragtime Band, Wizard Of Oz, Mr Smith Goes To Washington....and Gone With The Wind that was easily the biggest box office hit for decades. ......It's off of big box office hits that this list is based on.....So I wouldn't be adjusting things to Liberty Lady or Dodge City as you would. Had they been big box office of that era, I would have.

 

Edited by: WhyaDuck on Aug 26, 2013 7:00 PM

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Well if you're in a big grossing hit in say, 1943, which did $6 M, and your next four movies before 1945 grossed a total of $2 M between them, then your movies did $8 M for that period. But someone can have had two movies a year do an average of $2M each for the five years, totaling $10 M.

 

This is hypothetical, but points out how wrong to go by just raw numbers, and how skewed the results can be. And I stand by what I posted re: GWTW: you cannot use its collective total over FOUR DECADES to say that the star of that movie was the most watched for 35-39, when it had been out the last two weeks of that period, and in limited release.

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I question how informative his 'method' is also. Take Adventures of Robin Hood; "The film was well-reviewed and became the second highest-grossing film of the year".

 

Assusing this stat is correct, DeHavilland with Robin Hood and GWTW would have a higher overall box office than Leigh.

 

I believe Dodge City, released in 1939 was also a top 10 film. So for the movie period 35 - 39 Dehavilland beats Leigh. I assume a few other actresses did also.

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If you normalize box office numbers over the last 100 years, today's stars would pale in comparison to the stars in the 20s and 30s. Current movies post big numbers but also have big ticket prices. Plus many of the classic stars made 5 or 6 films a year; their output far outpaces any of the current actors. Arguably, *The Birth of a Nation* (1915) is still the all-time box office champ.

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I guess there several different approaches to gathering statistics for determining who were the biggest box office draws. Example, I've always had the impression that Abbott and Costello (40's) and Martin and Lewis (50's) were huge box office . They made several pictures each year and did the kind of films that kids went to see multiple times (like Titanic in the 90's). Middle age and older adults would go see their favorites maybe twice but that's all. So the numbers can be looked at in several ways. No Chaplin? Cagney or Robinson in the early 30's? Myrna Loy instead of Vivien Leigh? etc.

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Yes, it all depends on the approach. I believe the method used related to this thread just takes the top movies (5? 10?), for a year.

 

Also, this method appears to use the total top box office take from all years instead of just the box office take for A year. This is why Leigh was tops but that is also why I was the first to question how Leigh could be tops. So to me this method is deeply flawed.

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*Also, this method appears to use the total top box office take from all years instead of just the box office take for A year. This is why Leigh was tops but that is also why I was the first to question how Leigh could be tops.*

 

And with GWTW, it wasn't just one year, but TWO WEEKS of that year, in limited release.

 

Abbott and Costello topped the Boxoffice lists twice, in 1942 and (I think) 1949. Martin/Lewis did the same in 1951 or 52. Both acts were in the Top Ten for a number of years around their peaks, so they would both be contenders for these 5 year stretches.

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