‘The Godfather’ Helped Invent the Blockbuster, Even Before ‘Jaws’ and ‘Star Wars’

In the March 29, 1972 issue of weekly Variety, Paramount ran a 10-page ad for “The Godfather.” This was two weeks after it opened at five Manhattan theaters (then unheard of for a top-tier release), and one week after adding around 290 more in nearly every state.

The ad listed each theater, the gross to date for each city, and noted that it broke gross records for the theaters, cities, and even the states.In today’s dollars, “The Godfather” grossed nearly $740 million.

That’s enough to make it #25 of all time, but “Gone With the Wind,” “Star Wars,” “The Sound of Music,” “Titanic,” and “Avengers: Endame” sold more tickets.

Even so: “The Godfather” may rank higher when it comes to influence.

Here’s why.Before it was an iconic film, “The Godfather” was a bestselling book.

Mario Puzo’s 1969 novel sold over 9 million copies and revived dormant interest in gangster stories.

From the mid-1960s,

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