Games People Play…with Statistics

In an article titled "'Avatar' could blow 'Titanic' out of the water on weekend" the stretches the imagination of revenue generated by the movie Avatar as compared to the "other" highest grossing movie Titanic.  So far, Avatar has grossed $1.7 billion as contrasted with Titanic's $1.84 billion. 
The oddity is the fact that Titanic was produced in 1998 and although inflation has been very low in the years since, the inflation adjusted value of the $1.84 billion is now $2.4 billion. as part of the Wall Street Journal, now owned by News Corp., should exhibit better quality in their financial journalism. The fact that doesn't mention inflation at all only furthers the misinformation that is widely diseminated by the media.  Anyone who may be uninitiated about the nuances of inflation will take fantasy as fact. 
On our site, in the righthand column, you can find two inflation calculators in our "Guaranteed" Rates section.  The first calculator is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that starts in 1913 ( in an ironic twist the starting year almost implies that inflation began when the Federal Reserve was created.  Of course, we know this isn't true but it seem odd to begin the data in 1913.)  The second calculator goes as far back as 1800 and is based on the CPI figures from the Historical Statistics of the United States.
A good resource for discerning inflated or skewed statistics can be found in the appropriately titled book, "How to Lie with Statistics." -Touc.

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