The Greatest Show on Earth

Jan 10, 1952: “The Greatest Show on Earth” premiered in New York (Best Picture 1953) it was directed by Cecil B. DeMille and in Technicolor – released by Paramount Pictures.

It is a Cecil B. DeMille extravaganza, one of the best he produced and directed – it is a also nice tribute to the Ringling Brothers&Barnum&Bailey Circus .

The film won The Best Picture Oscar for 1952

Box Office success – this was the highest grossing film in the USA in 1952 – way ahead of its nearest rival – these figures are adjusted for inflation to todays finances

DistributorGenre1952 GrossTickets Sold
1The Greatest Show on EarthJan 10, 1952Drama$36,000,00060,000,000
2The Snows of KilimanjaroSep 17, 1952Drama$12,933,40321,555,671
3High NoonJul 24, 1952$8,000,00013,333,333
4The Quiet ManAug 21, 1952Romantic Comedy$7,600,00012,666,666
5Singin’ in the RainApr 10, 1952MGMMusical$7,124,33511,873,891
6The World in His ArmsOct 9, 1952$3,000,0005,000,000
7Million Dollar MermaidDec 4, 1952MGMMusical$2,750,0004,583,333
8Invasion, U.S.A.Dec 10, 1952$1,200,0002,000,000
9Snow White and the Seven Dw…Feb 22, 1944Walt DisneyMusical$1,100,0001,833,333
Total Gross of All Movies$79,707,738
Total Tickets Sold132,846,227

The circus as a cinema subject, gives us dazzling colour and liveliness making it ideal for a Cecil B DeMille production

He himself narrates portions of the film showing the work involved in putting on the Greatest Show on Earth. His was a familiar voice to the American public because for 10 years DeMille came into American households via radio narrating the Lux Radio Theater. In fact until Alfred Hitchcock got his own anthology TV series, DeMille’s voice was probably the most known to the American public of a film director.

When you think about it, outside of main actors, only Cecil B. DeMille and Walt Disney’s name could sell a film and guarantee box office returns in those days

Spectacle was his thing and DeMille was the master.

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