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The 10 highest-grossing movies of all time may surprise you

Terrifying people has always been good business for Hollywood, and arguably no film scared more people than “The Exorcist.” The film, starring a head-turning Linda Blair, caused some in the audience to actually faint during the its initial release.

(CNN) — If you want to tell the story of America at the movies, look no further than the list of the 10 highest-grossing films of all time.

Yes, we live in an era when the next hit film is as likely to arrive on a streaming service as it is on a movie theater screen. But the calculation of which movies get the biggest audience still matters because Hollywood is a business — and if a film can bring in massive amounts of revenue, it has the power to shift the culture at large.

That’s why the list of the highest-grossing films at the US box office is so telling — as long as you’re looking at the right rankings.

If you gloss over the current domestic box office winners, you’ll get a mixed bag of mostly sequels, superhero movies and a lot of Disney-produced films. Not to mention, nearly every title will be from the last 10 years.

The actual list to review is the one that accounts for inflation. That list includes classics such as “Jaws,” “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” and “The Sound of Music” — movies that aren’t just popular, but that are also milestones in film history and have helped define American culture, for better or worse. (You don’t need to be a film historian to guess that the highest-grossing movies at the domestic box office aren’t that diverse; Hollywood, like the rest of

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