Used to be when I was a kid the list of highest grossing films was pretty respectable. You had your classics like Gone With the Wind and your new blockbusters like Jaws. Both of those are pretty highly regarded today. I'm sure there was some embarrassing shit on there, but have you looked at the list lately? It's horrifying. I was just looking this weekend for some reason and boy was it a surprise.
Here's the top 19 1/2 (#20, partially cut off, is Harry Potter and the Laundromat of Time or something, who even cares). Of the Top 10 Highest Grossing Movies of All Time as of Today,
3 are based on comic books
7 are sequels, in some form or another (I'm counting Skyfall here)
1 is based on a fucking child's toy
1 is based on a historical event
1 has only been out a few months and has driven parents nationwide mad
Only 1 is an "original" film, in that it originated with its own script and isn't based on a Viewmaster slide, a Burger King food item, or a trading card. That one original film is one of the worst movies ever made.
In an alternate universe, this list could just as easily contain two Garbage Pail Kids live-action films, a movie based on the adventures of a superhero who can control humidity, and a dramatic retelling of a balloon crash. It's depressing but also reflective of a larger truth, which is that most people are fucking idiots.
Don't even go look at the Top 50. It's pretty much the same. Transformers movie, Harry Potter movie, Comic Book movie, Star Wars movie, Pirates of the Caribbean movie. Ugh.
The Adjusted for Inflation list is somewhat better.
Ahhhhhh that's better. There's our old pal GWTW, back in its semi-rightful place on top. Meanwhile, The Sound of Music, The Ten Commandments, Doctor Zhivago, and Snow White are having a drink by the bar and trying to pretend Avatar isn't in the room. E.T. and Jaws are fine. Titanic is just going to be there.
(In case you're wondering, the greatest film of all time, Cannonball Run II, is at #2,377 with a total domestic gross of $28,078,073.)