Walt Disney Pictures announced today that The Avengers will likely pass through the $600 million portal of domestic box office greatness today, becoming only the third film to do so. Titanic first broke the barrier when it topped out at $600.8 million after its initial domestic run (adding another $57.9 million during its 3-D re-release last spring), and director James Cameron’s 2009 follow up Avatar set the likely still-safe record of $760.5 million in U.S. box office receipts. Where The Avengers will eventually end up on its theatrical run remains an open question. It grossed $7.2 million for eighth place last weekend; that’s a tiny 19 percent drop from the previous week, and the upcoming July 4 holiday will likely boost its numbers further. The superhero mega-flick has shattered a series of records, including opening weekend, second weekend, and fastest film to reach the $200 million, $300 million, $400 million, and $500 million thresholds.
They are all remarkable achievements. However, with the risk of incurring the HULK SMASH rage of Avengers fans, it should be pointed out that, when adjusted for inflation, The Avengers is in (slightly) less rarefied box office company. According to Box Office Mojo, when converted 2012 dollars, 27 movies have grossed over $600 million in the U.S., including 1994′s Forrest Gump ($622.1 million), 1973′s The Sting ($706 million), 1959′s Ben-Hur ($776.2 million), and 1939′s Gone With the Wind ($1.6 billion).
But Disney and Marvel Studios can take comfort in this unambiguous accomplishment: Even when accounting for inflation, The Avengers is only the second film of the 21st century to join this esteemed assembly of cinema giants.