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JOHN BURN-MURDOCH: Which US films had the biggest opening weekends? In this chart, all the box office takings for the opening weekend have been adjusted for inflation to the level of the US dollar in 2019.
In 1979, "Jaws 2" was dominating. And it wasn't long before a wave of sci-fi movies overtook it. First "Star Trek," then "Superman 2." Then "Star Wars, Return of the Jedi" appeared, wiping out all previous records, rapidly overtaken by "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom," which held the top slot for three years, until Tim Burton's "Batman" broke through in 1989.
Nothing else could beat "Batman," not lifelike CGI dinosaurs, or even Jeff Goldblum, nor Disney's "Lion King," until 1995, when "Batman Forever" finally tops it. In 1998, the somewhat mediocre sequel to "Jurassic Park" managed to do what the original could not, and took the top position.
This is the era when the "Star Wars" franchise is rebooted. Pixar are hitting their stride with "Toy Story 2," but still, nothing can take over until "Harry Potter" waves his wand in 2002, only to be immediately overtaken by "Spider Man." The "Spider Man" franchise holds the top spot, only to be briefly usurped by Johnny Depp playing a pirate, before "Spider Man 3" regains the top spot.
Superheroes continue to dominate, as "Batman" returns to number one, this time with Christian Bale as "The Dark Knight." In 2012, Marvel's "Avengers" finally knocks "Batman" off his perch, continuing the parade of superheroes in the top position, until "Star Wars" takes over in 2016.
Finally, this year, "Avengers End Game" does battle with "Star Wars" and takes the top spot, with the largest ever opening weekend of $350 million.
I made this animation using the open source coding platform Observable. The data came from the website, Box Office Mojo, and you can see stats for all sorts of films there.
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