We went through this till we were green in the face in the box-office thread.
You can't compare a movie released in 1979 to one released in 2013. The end. Inflation and population increases mean jack shit.
Yeah, exactly. There is no way to make it apples-to-apples. And a movie matching the theatrical audience of TMP is a major accomplishment (especially considering the much higher home video revenues these days), TMP was a big hit.
So how it got downgraded to 139 I really don't know. 139 is actually in keeping with what the domestic total should have been, if you figure about a 2.5X multiplier on the film's rentals, which is how it was reported in VARIETY (the general idea is that 2.5 times rental equals gross -- that was also rather commonly reported back then, along with the gross 2.5 times budget to breakeven as a general principle.) TMP generated 39 mil in rentals just in 79, and a total of I believe 55 mil overall theatrical. 137.5 goes into 55 how many times? 2.5.
I think the rental multiplier for TMP was much less than 2.5. Subsequent Trek movies had around a 2 multiplier (e.g. TWOK 80M boxoffice, 40M rentals) but there was more interest in TMP among theater owners than other Trek movies so Paramount was able to get better rental deals for it. The final TMP rentals reported by Paramount was 56M. I don't think TMP made 112M domestically but it certainly did better than the 82M that is now assumed to be it's final domestic boxoffice, probably more in the 90M-100M range.