1946 Top Box Office Movies

1946 22222

James Stewart in It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)

This page looks at the 1946 Top Box Office Movies. World War II ended in 1945 and as the soldiers returned home…they did two things….one they made lots of babies and two they went to lots of movies. 1946 was the peak of people going to movies. In 1946 an average of 90 million admissions were sold on a weekly basis. That 90 million represented almost 60% of the population of the United States. As a comparison, we can look at our current movie going habits…weekly admissions are now roughly 27 million and represent 10% of the population.

This page will look at the biggest box office hits during the biggest box office year ever.I thought when I came up with this idea of doing the biggest box office hits of 1946 that it would be an easy movie page to write. I already had the January 8th 1947 Variety magazine that listed the Top 60 hits of the year so I figured I could knock out the movie page in a few hours….boy was I wrong. The first thing I noticed was that many of top box office hits of 1946 were actually made in 1945.

The second thing I noticed was many of the top box office hits of 1947 were really made in 1946. The third thing I noticed was many of the Oscar® nominated and Oscar® winning films did not make the Variety Top Box Office charts. The final thing I noticed was an issue with foreign films…it sometimes took years after a foreign movie was made for it to make it to North America….the best example of this is Henry V…it was made in 1944 yet it took 2 years to reach North America.

Here is how I came up with the 113 movies on the Ultimate Movie Rankings list…..any box office hit on the Variety lists made in 1946 or was released for the first time in 1946 in North America made the list , and any movie that got an Oscar® nomination or Oscar® win for the 1946 year made the list.

Harold Russell in The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)

Harold Russell in The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)

1946 Top Box Office Movies Can Be Ranked 6 Ways In This Table

The really cool thing about this table is that it is “user-sortable”. Rank the movies anyway you want.

  • Sort by the stars of the 1946 Top Box Office Movies.
  • Sort 1946 Top Box Office Movies by actual domestic box office grosses using current movie ticket cost.
  • Sort 1946 Top Box Office Movies by domestic adjusted box office grosses using current movie ticket cost
  • Sort 1946 Top Box Office Movies how they were received by critics and audiences.  60% rating or higher should indicate a good movie.
  • Sort by how many Oscar® nominations and how many Oscar® wins each 1946 Top Box Office Movies received.
  • Sort 1946 Top Box Office Movies by Ultimate Movie Rankings (UMR) Score puts box office, reviews and awards into a mathematical equation and gives each movie a score.
RankAlphaUMR CoStar LinksB.O. Actual (mil)B.O. Adjusted (mil)Critic Audience RatingOscar Nom / WinUMR Score
Best Years of Our Lives, The (1946)Fredric March & Myrna Loy $23.65$569.6086.00%08 / 0792.62
Jolson Story, The (1946)Larry Parks$18.91$455.7075.50%06 / 0270.08
Duel in the Sun (1946)Jennifer Jones & Lillian Gish $18.41$443.4070.00%02 / 0064.70
Yearling, The (1946)Gregory Peck$14.05$338.5081.33%07 / 0279.98
Saratoga Trunk (1946)Gary Cooper & Ingrid Bergman$13.91$335.1060.00%01 / 0059.60
Blue Skies (1946)Bing Crosby & Fred Astaire$13.51$325.5072.00%02 / 0065.64
Razor's Edge, The (1946)Tyrone Power & Gene Tierney$13.51$325.5079.00%04 / 0177.08
Notorious (1946)Cary Grant & Ingrid Bergman<$13.11$315.7090.00%02 / 0074.10
Till The Clouds Roll By (1946)Judy Garland & Directed by Vincent Minnelli$12.87$310.0068.00%00 / 0062.96
Road to Utopia (1945)Bing Crosby & Bob Hope$12.50$309.9082.33%01 / 0070.10
Two Years Before The Mast (1946)Alan Ladd$11.89$286.4065.50%00 / 0061.78
Green Years, The (1946)Charles Coburn$11.41$274.8070.50%02 / 0064.94
Harvey Girls, The (1946)Judy Garland$11.17$269.1078.50%02 / 0169.29
Margie (1946)Jeanne Crain$11.08$266.9077.50%00 / 0067.42
Easy to Wed (1946)Lucille Ball & Esther Williams$10.89$262.2059.50%00 / 0058.96
Smoky (1946)Fred MacMurray$10.81$260.4071.00%00 / 0064.37
Night and Day (1946)Cary Grant$10.81$260.4049.67%00 / 0054.34
Kid From Brooklyn, The (1946)Danny Kaye & Virginia Mayo$10.70$257.8071.50%00 / 0064.60
California (1946)Barbara Stanwyck & Anthony Quinn$10.54$253.9061.00%00 / 0059.67
Gilda (1946)Rita Hayworth & Glenn Ford$10.27$247.4087.00%00 / 0071.89
Postman Always Rings Twice, The (1946)Lana Turner & John Garfield$10.23$246.4085.00%00 / 0070.95
Holiday in Mexico (1946)Walter Pidgeon$10.18$245.2040.00%00 / 0049.80
To Each His Own (1946)Olivia de Havilland$9.73$234.4081.00%02 / 0170.47
Ziegfeld Follies (1946)Judy Garland & Fred Astaire & Gene Kelly $9.65$232.3070.50%00 / 0064.14
Monsieur Beaucaire (1946)Bob Hope$9.46$227.8075.00%00 / 0066.25
Anna and the King of Siam (1946)Irene Dunne & Linda Darnell$9.46$227.8071.00%05 / 0267.57
Time, the Place, and the Girl, The (1946)Grant Withers$9.19$221.3060.00%01 / 0059.60
Virginian, The (1946)Joel McCrea$9.19$221.3053.00%00 / 0055.91
Two Sisters From Boston (1946)June Allyson$9.01$217.0059.50%00 / 0058.96
Strange Love of Martha Ivers, The (1946)Kirk Douglas & Barbara Stanwyck$8.92$214.8080.00%01 / 0069.00
Stolen Life, A (1946)Bette Davis & Walter Brennan $8.71$209.7072.00%01 / 0065.24
Tomorrow Is Forever (1946)Orson Welles & Claudette Colbert$8.65$208.3077.50%00 / 0067.42
Stork Club, The (1946)Betty Hutton$8.65$208.3056.50%00 / 0057.56
Centennial Summer (1946)Linda Darnell & Walter Brennan$8.11$195.3063.00%02 / 0060.68
Big Sleep, The (1946)Humphrey Bogart & Lauren Bacall$8.11$195.3089.00%00 / 0072.10
Bandit of Sherwood Forest, The (1946)Jill Esmond$8.11$195.3054.00%00 / 0055.65
Dragonwyck (1946)Vincent Price & Gene Tierney$8.11$195.3071.00%00 / 0063.64
Sentimental Journey (1946)Maureen O''Hara$8.08$194.6054.00%00 / 0055.54
Three Little Girls in Blue (1946)June Haver$7.97$192.0054.50%00 / 0055.38
Canyon Passage (1946)Susan Hayward & Dana Andrews$7.84$188.8068.00%01 / 0061.62
No Leave, No Love (1946)Van Johnson$7.81$188.2060.50%00 / 0057.61
Undercurrent (1946)Katharine Hepburn & Robert Mitchum$7.64$184.1063.50%00 / 0058.38
O.S.S. (1946)Alan Ladd$7.57$182.3065.50%00 / 0059.04
Strange Woman, The (1946)Hedy Lamarr$7.57$182.3052.00%00 / 0052.70
My Reputation (1946)Barbara Stanwyck$7.50$180.6065.50%00 / 0058.77
My Darling Clementine (1946)Henry Fonda & Walter Brennan $7.43$179.0085.50%00 / 0067.92
Without Reservations (1946)John Wayne & Claudette Colbert$7.43$179.0070.33%00 / 0060.80
Spiral Staircase, The (1946)George Brent$7.43$179.0084.00%01 / 0067.62
Dark Mirror, The (1946)Olivia de Havilland $7.43$179.0068.50%01 / 0060.34
Blue Dahlia, The (1946)Alan Ladd$7.43$179.0079.00%01 / 0065.27
It's a Wonderful Life (1946)James Stewart & Lionel Barrymore$7.26$174.9092.00%05 / 0079.10
Secret Heart, The (1946)Claudette Colbert & Lionel Barrymore $7.00$168.7064.00%00 / 0056.23
Till the End of Time (1946)Robert Mitchum$6.93$167.0050.50%00 / 0049.62
Cloak and Dagger (1946)Gary Cooper$6.76$162.7066.50%00 / 0056.48
Two Guys From Milwaukee (1946)Dennis Morgan$6.76$162.7064.00%00 / 0055.30
Sailor Takes a Wife (1946)Robert Walker$6.76$162.7061.50%00 / 0054.12
Killers, The (1946)Burt Lancaster & Ava Gardner$6.76$162.7087.00%04 / 0067.71
Bad Bascomb (1946)Wallace Beery$6.44$155.2064.00%00 / 0054.14
Humoresque (1946)Joan Crawford & John Garfield$6.16$148.5067.00%01 / 0054.91
Make Mine Music (1946)Disney Animation$6.08$146.5066.50%00 / 0053.97
Strangers, The (1946)Edward G. Robinson & Orson Welles$6.08$146.5085.00%01 / 0063.06
Deception (1946)Bette Davis & Claude Rains $5.76$138.8069.00%00 / 0053.94
Nobody Lives Forever (1946)John Garfield & Walter Brennan$5.66$136.3076.00%00 / 0056.85
Great Expectations (1946)Alec Guinness$5.41$130.2086.50%05 / 0264.04
Seventh Veil, The (1946)James Mason$5.41$130.2074.00%01 / 0155.96
Song of the South (1946)Ruth Warrick$5.00$123.4561.50%02 / 0146.94
Badman's Territory (1946)Randolph Scott$4.97$119.8059.00%00 / 0046.30
Never Say Goodbye (1946)Errol Flynn$4.91$118.3062.00%00 / 0047.48
Devotion (1946)Olivia de Havilland & Sydney Greenstreet $4.63$111.4059.50%00 / 0045.23
Well-Groomed Bride, The (1946)Olivia de Havilland $4.59$110.7062.00%00 / 0046.30
Love Laughs At Andy Hardy (1946)Mickey Rooney$4.48$107.8063.00%00 / 0046.32
Heartbeat (1946)Ginger Rogers$4.46$107.4040.00%00 / 0035.45
Three Wise Fools (1946)Lionel Barrymore$4.41$106.3064.00%00 / 0046.56
From This Day Forward (1946)Joan Fontaine$4.41$106.1064.00%00 / 0046.53
Angel on my Shoulder (1946)Claude Rains & Paul Muni$4.32$104.2069.50%00 / 0048.81
Locket, The (1946)Robert Mitchum$4.14$99.6071.50%00 / 0049.04
Abilene Town (1946)Randolph Scott$4.07$97.9057.50%00 / 0042.19
Courage of Lassie (1946)Elizabeth Taylor$4.05$97.6059.50%00 / 0043.09
Whistle Stop (1946)Ava Gardner$3.92$94.4050.00%00 / 0038.13
Diary of a Chambermaid, The (1946)Paulette Goddard$3.78$91.1064.50%00 / 0044.44
Sister Kenny (1946)Rosalind Russell$3.78$91.1067.00%01 / 0046.01
Night In Paradise, A (1946)Walter Wanger$3.75$90.4049.00%00 / 0037.04
Gallant Journey (1946)Glenn Ford$3.58$86.3063.00%00 / 0042.99
Henry V (1944)Laurence Olivier$3.23$85.0079.50%04 / 0058.89
Because of Him (1946)Deanna Durbin$3.51$84.6071.00%00 / 0046.48
Bachelor's Daughters, The (1946)Gail Russell$3.42$82.4067.50%00 / 0044.49
Glass Key, The (1942)Alan Ladd$2.83$82.2074.50%00 / 0047.76
Of Human Bondage (1946)Paul Henreid$3.29$79.2058.50%00 / 0039.77
Night in Casablanca, A (1946)Marx Brothers$3.24$78.1063.00%00 / 0041.72
Our Hearts Were Growing Up (1946)Gail Russell$3.22$77.5060.00%00 / 0040.21
Tarzan and the Leopard Woman (1946)Johnny Weissmuller$3.20$77.1058.50%00 / 0039.44
Hoodlum Saint, The (1946)William Powell & Esther Williams$3.12$75.3056.00%00 / 0037.99
Deadline At Dawn (1946)Susan Hayward$3.04$73.3065.00%00 / 0041.91
Bride Wore Boots, The (1946)Barbara Stanwyck & Natalie Wood$2.98$71.7041.50%00 / 0030.61
Do You Love Me? (1946)Maureen O''Hara$2.98$71.7064.00%00 / 0041.19
Kitty (1946)Paulette Goddard$2.97$71.6065.50%01 / 0042.28
Three Strangers (1946)Peter Lorre & Sydney Greenstreet$2.79$67.2066.50%00 / 0041.68
Little Giant (1946)Bud Abbott$2.71$65.2070.00%00 / 0043.01
Dark Corner, The (1946)Lucille Ball$2.70$65.1078.50%00 / 0046.98
Cluny Brown (1946)Jennifer Jones$2.70$65.1079.50%00 / 0047.45
Magnificent Doll (1946)Ginger Rogers & David Niven$2.70$65.1036.00%00 / 0027.01
Time of Their Lives, The (1946)Bud Abbott$2.69$64.8080.00%00 / 0047.64
Verdict, The (1946)Sydney Greenstreet & Peter Lorre$2.68$64.6073.50%00 / 0044.55
Brief Encounter (1946)Trevor Howard$2.67$64.3083.50%03 / 0050.41
Stairway To Heaven / A Matter Of Life And Death (1946)David Niven$2.57$61.8086.50%00 / 0050.24
So Goes My Love (1946)Myrna Loy$2.56$61.6062.50%00 / 0038.93
Wake Up and Dream (1946)June Haver$2.43$58.6064.00%00 / 0039.16
Two Smart People (1946)Lucille Ball$2.35$56.7064.00%00 / 0038.87
Miss Susie Slagle's (1946)Lillian Gish$2.20$52.9066.50%00 / 0039.46
Cross My Heart (1946)Betty Hutton$1.93$46.5067.00%00 / 0038.70
Faithful In My Fashion (1946)Donna Reed$1.31$31.6051.00%00 / 0028.87
Children of Paradise (1946)Jean-Louis Barrault$.81$19.5089.00%01 / 0045.25
Rome, Open City (1946)Anna Magnani$.78$18.9072.00%01 / 0037.17

Possibly Interesting Facts About 1946 Top Box Office Movies

1. The five films that received Oscar® nominations for Best Picture were: The Best Years of Our Lives, Henry V, It’s A Wonderful Life, The Razor’s Edge and The Yearling….the winner was The Best Years of Our Lives.

2. Disabled veteran Harold Russell actually won two Oscars® for his performance in The Best Years of Our Lives….one for Best Supporting Actor and a Special Award for bringing hope and courage to his fellow veterans.

3. Other Oscar® acting winners in 1946 were Frederic March as Best Actor for Best Years of Our Lives, Olivia de Havilland as Best Actress for To Each His Own, and Anne Baxter as Best Supporting Actress for The Razor’s Edge.

4. The biggest Oscar® snubs in 1946? I vote three movies/performances…..#1 Alfred Hitchcock’s Notorious should have either gotten a Best Picture nomination or a Best Director nomination. 2.Henry Fonda in My Darling Clementine gave one of his greatest screen performances in that movie…… and finally 3. Myrna Loy in The Best Years of Our Lives. During Loy’s long and successful career she never got an Oscar® nomination…this would have been the perfect movie to right that wrong.

5. According to Variety the Top Box Office Movie Stars of 1946 were: #1 Bing Crosby, #2 Ingrid Bergman. #3 Fred Astaire, #4 Dorothy Lamour and #5 Gregory Peck.

6. Actors/actresses that made their screen debuts in 1946: Burt Lancaster (The Killers #28), Kirk Douglas (The Strange Loves of Martha Ivers #22), Alec Guinness (Great Expectations #36), Dean Martin and Natalie Wood.

7. Two famous entertainers who passed away in 1946….W.C. Fields and H.G. Wells.

8. Currently a successful box office mark to cross is 100 million... in 2011 thirty movies crossed $100 million, in 2012 thirty-one movies crossed that mark, in 2013 thirty-five got there and in 2014 thirty-three did it. In 1946…when looking at adjusted box office numbers…..an incredible 65 movies would have crossed $100 million.

Want more 1946 Box Office Stats?  How About Adjusted Worldwide Grosses on 36 1946 Movies?

  1. Best Years of Our Lives, The (1946) $859.60 million in adjusted worldwide gross
  2. Big Sleep, The (1946) $316.30 million in adjusted worldwide gross
  3. Blue Skies (1946) $548.00 million in adjusted worldwide gross
  4. Canyon Passage (1946) $266.80 million in adjusted worldwide gross
  5. Deception (1946) $211.80 million in adjusted worldwide gross
  6. Devotion (1946) $193.40 million in adjusted worldwide gross
  7. Easy to Wed (1946) $367.20 million in adjusted worldwide gross
  8. Faithful In My Fashion (1946) $40.60 million in adjusted worldwide gross
  9. From This Day Forward (1946) $152.10 million in adjusted worldwide gross
  10. Harvey Girls, The (1946) $338.10 million in adjusted worldwide gross
  11. Heartbeat (1946) $152.40 million in adjusted worldwide gross
  12. Holiday in Mexico (1946) $372.20 million in adjusted worldwide gross
  13. Hoodlum Saint, The (1946) $102.30 million in adjusted worldwide gross
  14. Humoresque (1946) $220.50 million in adjusted worldwide gross
  15. Kid From Brooklyn, The (1946) $356.80 million in adjusted worldwide gross
  16. Love Laughs At Andy Hardy (1946) $152.60 million in adjusted worldwide gross
  17. My Reputation (1946) $260.60 million in adjusted worldwide gross
  18. Never Say Goodbye (1946) $169.30 million in adjusted worldwide gross
  19. Night and Day (1946) $418.40 million in adjusted worldwide gross
  20. Night In Paradise, A (1946) $143.40 million in adjusted worldwide gross
  21. No Leave, No Love (1946) $246.20 million in adjusted worldwide gross
  22. Nobody Lives Forever (1946) $181.30 million in adjusted worldwide gross
  23. Notorious (1946) $465.70 million in adjusted worldwide gross
  24. Postman Always Rings Twice, The (1946) $334.40 million in adjusted worldwide gross
  25. Saratoga Trunk (1946) $508.10 million in adjusted worldwide gross
  26. Secret Heart, The (1946) $253.70 million in adjusted worldwide gross
  27. Stolen Life, A (1946) $311.70 million in adjusted worldwide gross
  28. Tarzan and the Leopard Woman (1946) $157.70 million in adjusted worldwide gross
  29. Three Strangers (1946) $107.20 million in adjusted worldwide gross
  30. Till The Clouds Roll By (1946) $439.00 million in adjusted worldwide gross
  31. Two Sisters From Boston (1946) $290.00 million in adjusted worldwide gross
  32. Two Smart People (1946) $77.70 million in adjusted worldwide gross
  33. Undercurrent (1946) $276.10 million in adjusted worldwide gross
  34. Verdict, The (1946) $103.60 million in adjusted worldwide gross
  35. Without Reservations (1946) $224.00 million in adjusted worldwide gross
  36. Ziegfeld Follies (1946) $347.30 million in adjusted worldwide gross

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67 thoughts on “1946 Top Box Office Movies

  1. Hi Cogerson, it’s indeed interesting to see what a great year for cinema and the box office 1946 was! Of course there was no TV in those days, but when I compare this page (and others from 30s, 40s and 50s) to the ones listing recent box office years, I can’t help noticing two things. Firstly (and I guess obviously), there were many more successful movies in the old days especially when one considers the adjusted box office gross numbers in light of the population of North America. But secondly, most of these successful movies were made for and appreciated by adults, whereas when one looks at say the top 20 box office films of 2015 or 2016, it seems that the majority are kids/family and superhero movies. Not that I have any-thing against these films (and I enjoyed especially the new Star Trek and X-Men films – though not as much the ones released in 2016), but it does make one wonder whether film audiences have in general become less able to appreciate adult topics, or whether we are getting rather short-changed as compared to our parents and grand-parents due to the studios’ needs to aim for as wide audiences as possible in order to continue making money. Anyway, one my favorite films from 1946, and I admit there are many I still need to see, is the Killers, a quintessential film noir that shot both Burt Lancaster and Ava Gardner to stardom. Though only #53 on the 1946 list in terms of box office returns, it was still a big hit, and based on its adjusted gross value (taking into account that the numbers on this page have not been adjusted to the most recent dollar value like most other other pages), it would have been at least among the top 20 hits today. However, it’s hard to imagine a film with such a complex story-line, dark atmosphere and lack of sensationalism do as well today! A little sad when you think about it.

    1. Hey Phil…your comment got me motivated to finally update this page….with our new box office calculation and our new UMR rating formula…so it is a drastically different page than when you commented yesterday. 29 movies were added to the page….as we went from 84 to 113 movies. I included worldwide grosses on 36 of those movies…which is just a tick under 32%…which I think is actually a pretty good total….and now on to your comment.

      This was the peak for movies…90 million admissions a WEEK…..compared to only 27 million today. So with 3 times the amount of admissions it is only logically that 3 times the movies were hits…when comparing 1946 to 2016 here are the totals….(1) 29 $100 million hits in 2016…..74 in 1946 (2) 13 $200 million hits in 2016…..33 in 1946 (3) 9 $300 million hits in 2016….10 in 1946 (4) 3 $400 million hits in 2016 and 1946 (5) 1 $500 million hit in 2016 and 1946. That seems pretty reasonable considering how many tickets were sold in 1946 (the most ever!).

      You are 100% right….back then….movies were for the adults…on Saturdays…the kids got the B westerns and cartoons….the rest of the week belonged to the adults…..Walt Disney and the end of World War 2 changed that. Today there are only seemed to be a few different types of movies….computer animated, superheroes, sequels and reboots. Goodness…Spiderman is already on it’s 4th reboot.

      Seems movies with adult themes…are saved for Oscar season…..opened in New York…and then gradually make their way to wider releases…Moonlight made less in it’s entire box office run than what Beauty and the Beast made in it’s first 10 hours of release. Not that Moonlight deserved any better than that…as I really did not like that one at all. Yes…it is a good story of a person overcoming a bad childhood….but it was a low budget movie….that was slowed….and had a dreadful third act….probably …in my opinion…..one of the worst Best Picture winners ever….and I have seen them all. Sorry got off track…lol.

      The Killers…would not crack the Top 20 today….it would be like Hell or High Water…a movie that got great reviews….but did not even gross $28 million at the box office….which is 95th for the year….but like The Killers should gain a following through the years.

      Good comment.

      1. Thanks Bruce for updating the page and your comment. I was afraid of being dismissed as a romantic dinosaur. I haven’t seen Moonlight yet, so I can’t comment on that but I suspect Warren Beatty also wished it had not won the oscar 😉 My son wanted us to see Arrival over the week-end and I thought that was pretty good!

        1. Glad you liked Arrival….a much better movie than Moonlight. That was one of my wife’s favorite movies of 2016 as well. 🙂

      2. Phil and Cogerson

        I found interesting info on movie admissions from The Business Insider, January 6, 2015. The magazine printed a graph of the percentage of the population attending movies each year from 1930 to 2000.
        1930—-65% (peak reached, followed by rapid decline due to Depression)
        1933-1944—-attendance bottoms out at 40% and begins slow rise
        1939—-attendance at 45%, begins rise in early forties
        1942—-attendance jumps to 57%, beginning WWII attendance boom
        1943—-attendance reaches post 1930 peak at 60%
        1945—-attendance at 58%
        1946—-attendance at 58%
        1947—-attendance at 50%
        1948—-attendance at 40% (so there was a drop of 18% over a two year period. I don’t think TV could explain this, as it hadn’t hit yet. Off a study by James L Baughman of the U of Wisconsin, only 0.4% of American households had a TV set in 1948. Only 16 stations were operating that year in the entire USA.
        1950—-attendance 38%
        1951—-attendance 30% (this could be due to the effect of TV)
        1953—-27%
        1954—-30
        1955—-31
        1956—-31
        1957—-25
        1958—-21
        steady decline until reaches about 10% in 1968 and stays around that level for rest of century. I think 1954 to 1956 comeback due to widescreen and increasing use of color, but improving TV shows by 1957 started movie attendance back on the skids.

        Why the great drop in 1947 and 1948? I posted my take on that on March 10 on the 1941 box office page. Tremendous inflation of production costs and resulting retrenchment is probably the basic cause, but I threw out several theories I am familiar with. I think the apparent success of 1946 was an illusion to a degree. Increased costs were outrunning increased revenue. Hollywood turned out 492 features in 1941. 350 in 1945. I assume with the same number of theatres fewer features meant more play dates, so the top movies were more successful for the studios. What about for the theatres? Weren’t they showing movies an extra day or two rather than booking in a fresh movie? I would think that would have a negative impact.

        1. John, very interesting, I don’t know much about it, but it seems changes in box office attendance through the years can tell us a lot about the changes in a country’s economy and society. Wow, only 10% of people went to the movies in 1968 – that’s much lower than I would have thought!

          1. Phil

            I didn’t make one thing clear and it is my fault. This is weekly attendance for those years. Not total attendance. Only 10% going all year would be pretty low. It amounts to when it is at 50% and the population is let’s say 120 million, the weekly total is 60 million tickets sold. I noticed re-reading my post that this was not clear.

            sorry again for the confusion

          2. Phil & to whom concerned

            to just clarify further, if the population was 100 million in 1930, they sold 65 million tickets per week for a yearly total of 3.38 billion. When the population reached 200 million in the 1970’s (I believe) at about 10% or 20 million tickets per week, the total tickets sold per year was 1.04 billion. With a population of 330 million, as recently, it would be 33 million tickets sold per week for a total of 1.716 billion tickets sold yearly.

        2. Hey John…..great information here. I have a theory to explain the drop off. First of all…the percentage might have dropped but the tickets sold increased. Between 1945 and 1948 the average weekly attendance was 90 million a week. In 1949 it dropped to 87.5 million a week….and then it fell off the cliff in 1950 as it went to 60 million a week.

          So my theory….maybe the percentage was based on the people in the country at the time. If they did not include the people that were out of country due to the war…which would have been millions of people with the soldiers, nurses and such. So when they came back…the percentage dropped …thought the ticket sales maintained. I of course could be wrong.

          1. Cogerson

            Well, one very good theory there. I also wonder how much the baby boom effects average attendance as the population rapidly increases, but infants don’t buy tickets.

            I am browsing about trying to find facts, and one I have found is that the actual attendance is disputed. According to Thomas Gale, History of the American Cinema (1990), the Census Bureau estimated weekly movie attendance at 90 million in 1946, but the Theatre Owners of America estimated it at 82.4 million. Gallup estimated it at 66 million. The MPAA at 95-100 million.
            But most see a big fall-off starting in 1947.
            Here is the Wall Street Journal figures which have “weekly admissions falling from 80.5 million in 1946, to 78.2 million in 1947, 67 million in 1948, and 62 million in 1949.

            On 1946, one possible factor for why it was such a good year. There was a backlog of films made in the war years which were finally released, including The Yearling, Ziegfeld Follies, Road to Utopia, and Saratoga Trunk, among others. Production costs were apparently charged to earlier years, so profits were higher. Profits were $120 million in 1946, but declined rapidly thereafter.
            The decline of movies in the late forties is pretty vividly shown by one interesting piece of data. During the war years, about 25 per cent of entertainment dollars were spent on movies. By 1950, that percentage had dropped to 12.3%.
            I thought the figures on reissues are interesting also. There were 105 re-issues in 1948, and 136 in 1949.
            Just a bottom line for me, off the chart–whatever the dynamic, I think the war years were an aberration . Considering that more than 10% of the population was in the service, this is really not surprising. 1947 and 1948 saw a return to the status quo ante, but the problems caused by production inflation, which had been masked by the wartime boom, now hit the industry. And then came TV.

  2. The busiest actors of 1946 per the 2 volume set “Forty Years of Screen Credits”. All actors appeared in 7 or more feature films/serials this year. The list is already half the size of 1939.

    16 PIERRE WATKIN
    14 TOM LONDON
    13 EMMETT VOGAN
    12 FRANK SULLY
    12 JOSEPH CREHAN
    11 JEROME COWAN
    10 FRANCIS MCDONALD
    10 HARRY DAVENPORT
    10 JAMES FLAVIN
    10 JOHN ELDREDGE
    10 JOHN LITEL
    10 JONATHAN HALE
    10 RAYMOND HATTON
    9 ADDISON RICHARDS
    9 ADELE MARA
    9 AL ST. JOHN
    9 ANDY CLYDE
    9 EARLE HODGINS
    9 EDMUND COBB
    9 EMMETT LYNN
    9 FUZZY KNIGHT
    9 GEORGE CHESEBRO
    9 GERALD MOHR
    9 JOHNNY MACK BROWN
    9 PAUL HARVEY
    9 RAY COLLINS
    9 SHELDON LEONARD
    9 STEVEN GERAY
    8 CHARLES C. WILSON
    8 DALE EVANS
    8 DICK ELLIOTT
    8 DOUGLAS FOWLEY
    8 FRANK LA RUE
    8 GEORGE CHANDLER
    8 GEORGE CLEVELAND
    8 GRANT WITHERS
    8 HOWARD FREEMAN
    8 JACK ROCKWELL
    8 KERMIT MAYNARD
    8 KIRBY GRANT
    8 RAY COLLINS
    8 ROY BARCROFT
    8 ROY ROGERS
    8 RUSSELL HICKS
    8 SAMUEL S. HINDS
    8 SELMER JACKSON
    8 SMILEY BURNETTE
    8 SONS OF THE PIONEER AND BOB NOLAN
    8 TRISTRAM COFFIN
    8 WILLIAM GARGAN
    7 ALLAN ‘ROCKY’ LANE
    7 ANNE JEFFREYS
    7 BUD OSBORNE
    7 BYRON FOULGER
    7 CHARLES DINGLE
    7 CHARLES TROWBRIDGE
    7 DORIS LLOYD
    7 EMORY PARNELL
    7 FORREST TAYLOR
    7 GABBY HAYES
    7 GRADY SUTTON
    7 HILLARY BROOKE
    7 KANE RICHMOND
    7 LEROY MASON
    7 MARY GORDON
    7 PEGGY STEWART
    7 RAY TEAL
    7 RAY WALKER
    7 ROBERT EMMETT KEANE
    7 ROBERT J. WHITE
    7 ROMAN BOHNEN
    7 SELENA ROYLE
    7 VINCE BARNETT
    7 WILL WRIGHT

    1. Hey Dan….thank you. It was a down year for Addison Richards….only 9 movies…what a slacker….lol. Roy Rogers with 8 movies. Roy and Dale Evans might be the biggest stars on the list. #1 Pierre Watkin is unknown to me…..but I am impressed with his 16 movie output. Good stuff….adds value to the page.

  3. I see that your 1946 is trending again. I have seen the films that were on my to-see list since then like The Spiral Staircase and My Darling Clementine. Funny how I did not like westerns 5 years ago or whenever you did this one.

    Now I watch westerns all the time.

    Gilda and Notorious have switched places as I now place Gilda first.

    1. Hey Flora….yeah….not sure why this is trending….but it needs to be updated…as the box office numbers are not close to the ones I have in my database…..they are much higher…especially since this was the greatest box office year for movies. Flora has turned into a Western fan….love it….as does Steve…..congrats on this accomplishment. 🙂

      1. Cogerson and Dan

        Pierre Watkin was a white-haired, “establishment” type actor–lawyer, physician, public official, business CEO–best known to me for being the first live-action Perry White in the 1948 Superman serial.

        This list is not complete. I have a biography of b-western bad guy Charles King which lists his credits, and he had 11 in 1946. (Yes, a B western bad guy has his own biography. So does Roy Barcroft)

        King had 185 credits in the 1930’s, and 163 credits in the 1940’s, which works out to an AVERAGE of about 17.5 credits per year.

        Because I am a fan of serials, a hobby I have indulged as a retiree, I think I can recognize about 80% of these actors by name, looks, and voice. These type of competent character actors who found a niche in poverty row tended to appear often in B westerns and especially serials, and so are well known to us goofies who enjoy old Hollywood’s bottom budget efforts.

        Of the actors who were stars and were top-billed in their movies, I think Johnny Mack Brown with 9 credits is the top man.

        1. Hey John….thanks for the information on Pierre Watkin. Wow…18 movies a year…now that is a busy year….and to maintain it for an entire year….is really impressive. Glad you are enjoying the serials in your retirement. Johnny Mack Brown is name that pops up on a regular basis when I am doing research on a classic subject. Thanks for the visit and the comment.

          1. Cogerson

            John Mack Brown became famous as a star running back at Alabama (the MVP of the 1926 Rose Bowl) and as a leading man opposite Garbo and others at MGM in the silent days. He was Joan Crawford’s leading man in Our Dancing Daughters, the movie which really made her a star for doing a wild Charleston on a table. In talkies Brown found a niche as a B western star and was among the most successful through the thirties and forties and into the fifties.

            Charles King was a very interesting actor. He was a silent film comedian, but in talkies his rough voice and Texas accent made him quickly into the go to western bad guy. King was rarely the guy in the suit that ran the show. He was usually a down and dirty henchman in grubby regular working cowboy duds who rarely bothered to shave. An actor in those cheap westerns needed a few extra skills. He had to be an excellent horseman. And he was expected to get beat up by the hero in just about every feature, and several times in serials. No one was better at getting beat up in fight scenes than King, who was better than even most stunt man. (a good example is the last few minutes of The Last of the Warrens on you tube, with Bob Steele beating him to a pulp)

            King played the bad guy opposite and got beat up by these cowboy stars this many times
            Bob Steele–29
            Buster Crabbe–24
            Tex Ritter–23
            Johnny Mack Brown–20
            Ken Maynard–16
            Buck Jones–14
            Tom Tyler–12

            Quite a career. What sticks in my mind about ol’ Charley is that he was the first actor I knew by sight back in the very early days of TV when my brother and I used to be glued to the tube during the many B westerns which played back then. I didn’t know Charley’s name for decades, but knew his face and voice. The heroes were a bland lot for this youngster, but Charley was memorable and got all the good lines. “We don’t cotton to strangers in these parts.” “This town isn’t big enough for the both of us.” “We got ways of handling nosey saddle tramps.” A great way to ignite a saloon brawl which he always lost.

            According to his biography, the fights were always filmed on the last day of filming, so Charley and the hero would have time to let the bruises heal. A few shared drinks apparently helped them get into the mood and to be feeling no pain, or at least less pain. One of the quirks of Hollywood is that A budget westerns generally had phony stuntman fights (and even sometimes actors on mechanical horses bouncing up and down before rear projection) while the fights and riding scenes were handled by the actors themselves in the cheaper B’s and so stand up today as much more realistic.

            Sorry for going on off topic, but I was in the grip of nostalgia.

          2. ! Ahh ! – Johnny Mack Brown. As John says he ended his career with a string of B westerns all very much alike and in those westerns from around 1945 – 1953 he gave the hero his own name calling him either Johnny Mack or Johnny Mack Brown.

            2 Our local cinema the Castle use to endlessly repeat each of those westerns in rotation so that we had the impression that he had made hundreds of them and our standing joke was that he kept his horse in the Castle restroom.

            3 Unfortunately he ended his career in 1965 in the way that many cowboy actors of the 1950s did by appearing in an AC Lyles ‘graveyard’ cheapie western full of has- beens. In this one Johnny Mack had the supporting role of a sheriff and another back number, Rory Calhoun was the lead.

          3. I have 79 Johnny Mack Brown films, some from Universal with Fuzzy Knight and the rest are Monogram epics. Have a few of his serials too. The books which I list the credits from or appearances are only from that book. Bess Flowers only has about 10 or 11 credits in the book but she is in what 600 films on the IMDB. I believe I have the Charles King book with the list of people who beat him up. I also have the Films of Johnny Mack Brown book. Maybe Charlie King was killed as much as Sean Bean in films. Who got gunned down the most in westerns or crime pictures?

          4. Hey John.
            1. Thanks for all the information on Mr. Brown.
            2. I did not realize he was a running back at Alabama…..my wife is an Auburn girl…..so I guess I have to not like him…War Eagle….lol.
            3. So Mr. King was the Jack Elam before Jack Elam….lol. Getting beat up in movies is still a great career.
            4. So the Steele/King team made 29 movies together….I imagine they knew how to do a proper fight scene.
            5. I can imagine that the B movies would not have the budget for stuntmen…it was probably one of the questions when they cast…..”Can you take a punch”..”How athletic are you?”
            6. No problem with you going “off topic”….I always find it amazing where a movie or actor will take your memory.
            Thanks for the awesome comment and visit.

          5. Hey Bob….sounds like you have some good memories of JMB. His career was almost 40 years long…..which is very impressive in my book. Thanks fir sharing these movie memories.

          6. Hey Dan…..wow 79 JMB movies is pretty impressive. Sounds like your collection is vast and impressive. I agree Charles King probably has Sean Bean easily beat. Thanks for sharing this information.

  4. These are the only films from 1946 that still have someone on the Current Oracle of Bacon Top 1000 Centers of the Hollywood Universe;

    A Night in Casablanca – 912 Arthur Tovey
    Abie’s Irish Rose – 781 Shelley Winters
    Angel on My Shoulder – 912 Arthur Tovey
    Gilda – 571 William Smith
    Home, Sweet Homicide – 198 Dean Stockwell
    Love Laughs at Andy Hardy – 245 Mickey Rooney
    Night and Day – 912 Arthur Tovey
    Nocturne – 912 Arthur Tovey
    Piccadilly Incident – 848 Roger Moore
    Sister Kenny – 912 Arthur Tovey
    The Fighting Guardsman – 781 Shelley Winters
    The Green Years – 198 Dean Stockwell
    The Hoodlum Saint – 912 Arthur Tovey
    The Locket – 809 Robert Mitchum
    Till the End of Time – 809 Robert Mitchum
    Two Smart People – 781 Shelley Winters
    Undercurrent – 809 Robert Mitchum

    This is a list of films from 1946 that have 4 actors or more who were on the 2000 list but have now fallen off.

    A Stolen Life – 132 Glenn Ford, 222 Bess Flowers, 783 James Flavin, 918 Bette Davis
    Blonde Alibi – 27 Marc Lawrence, 219 Elisha Cook Jr., 506 Douglas Fowley, 682 Ray Teal, 816 Carleton Young, 969 Byron Foulger
    Canyon Passage – 147 Lloyd Bridges, 451 Dana Andrews, 682 Ray Teal, 963 Frank Ferguson
    Cloak and Dagger – 27 Marc Lawrence, 481 Lilli Palmer, 783 James Flavin, 824 Frank Wilcox, 868 Lex Barker
    Do You Love Me – 222 Bess Flowers, 606 Alberto Morin, 868 Lex Barker, 975 Maureen O’Hara, 982 Billy Benedict
    Duel in the Sun – 9 Orson Welles, 156 Gregory Peck, 158 Joseph Cotten, 256 Hank Worden
    Gilda – 132 Glenn Ford, 222 Bess Flowers, 671 Eduardo Cianelli, 894 Philip Van Zandt
    Great Expectations – 122 John Mills, 392 Alec Guinness, 712 Finlay Currie, 973 Jean Simmons
    It Shouldn’t Happen to a Dog – 50 Jeff Corey, 90 John Ireland, 592 Whit Bissell, 648 Harry Morgan, 783 James Flavin
    Joe Palooka, Champ – 50 Jeff Corey, 219 Elisha Cook Jr., 671 Eduardo Cianelli, 894 Philip Van Zandt
    No Leave, No Love – 43 Keenan Wynn, 467 Van Johnson, 959 Leon Ames, 982 Billy Benedict
    Notorious – 222 Bess Flowers, 562 Paul Bryar, 824 Frank Wilcox, 915 Ivan Trisault
    Out California Way – 169 John Dehner, 508 Robert Blake, 611 Don ‘Red’ Barry, 917 Robert J. Wilke
    Rendezvous with Annie – 50 Jeff Corey, 76 Eddie Albert, 222 Bess Flowers, 740 George Chandler, 783 James Flavin, 917 Robert J. Wilke
    Sentimental Journey – 783 James Flavin, 851 Cedric Hardwicke, 969 Byron Foulger, 975 Maureen O’hara
    Somewhere in the Night – 50 Jeff Corey, 90 John Ireland, 503 Richard Conte, 592 Whit Bissell, 648 Harry Morgan, 786 Lloyd Nolan, 894 Philip Van Zandt
    The Big Sleep – 219 Elisha Cook Jr., 222 Bess Flowers, 321 Lauren Bacall, 783 James Flavin
    The Kid from Brooklyn – 81 Lionel Stander, 222 Bess Flowers, 740 George Chandler, 982 Billy Benedict
    The Killers – 45 Burt Lancaster, 50 Jeff Corey, 186 Ava Gardner, 356 Phil Brown, 406 Edmond O’Brien
    The Missing Lady – 256 Hank Worden, 682 Ray Teal, 740 George Chandler, 783 James Flavin
    The Razor’s Edge – 222 Bess Flowers, 420 Maurice Marsac, 562 Paul Bryar, 848 Frank Latimore
    The Return of Monte Cristo – 271 Peter Brocco, 562 Paul Bryar, 894 Philip Van Zandt, 915 Ivan Triesault
    The Searching Wind – 100 Ian Wolfe, 169 John Dehner, 222 Bess Flowers, 420 Maurice Marsac, 963 Frank Ferguson
    Till the Clouds Roll By – 222 Bess Flowers, 270 Frank Sinatra, 326 Angela Lansbury, 467 Van Johnson, 682 Ray Teal, 969 Byron Foulger,
    Without Reservations – 100 Ian Wolfe, 179 John Wayne, 221 John Crawford, 356 Phil Brown, 824 Frank Wilcox, 925 Raymond Burr, 982 Billy Benedict
    Ziegfeld Follies – 43 Keenan Wynn, 237 Peter Lawford, 467 Van Johnson, 555 Hume Cronyn, 682 Ray Teal, 763 Feodor Chaliapin Jr.

    1. Hey Dan….1946 was a stellar year for Arthur Tovey……he was very busy that year with 6 movies making the list. I give Mitchum more credit for having three lead roles on the list. Surprising that some of the other stars (Jennifer Jones, Lillian Gish) did not make the list for Duel In The Sun. Even stranger is the fact that Notorious is listed but Grant, Bergman and Rains are now among the actors listed). Thanks for sharing this information.

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