No, it's not a fair guide. In 1979, there were no crappy downloadable cam versions that legions of people watch instead of going to the cinema... There wasn't even home video, so the only way to see TMP was in the cinema (and thereafter, hoping it would air on television in about 3 to 4 years at minimum)... Today, so many people will think: 'I'll check it out when it comes out on DVD/blu ray/ whatever'. I think when you take that into account, the whole 'unadjusted gross' check of films that were released prior to the home cinema age is very flawed...
Agreed. I think ST09 and STID gross can only be compared with any Trek movie from TUC/GENS onward.
In 1979-1989 the population was smaller but there was less channels on TV, no internet, no DVD, no Blu-Ray, no PPV, no piracy and movies made their money over several months rather than several weeks. I know VHS started coming in during the mid 80s but it was only in the early-mid 90s that they were in every household I think.