Monday, October 14, 2013

New Math From The New York Times

August 25, 2005
Sharon Waxman of The New York Times adds her two cents to the discussion of Hollywood's disappointing summer. Sales are down 9% and attendance 11.5% from a year ago. Why?
There's finger-pointing everywhere (DVDs, bad movies, too much action, outside competition, savvier audience, etc.), but the truth is it's hard to tell too much about wider trends from yearly fluctuations.

If I had to guess, it would seem to me the size of success of the top films, more than the failure at the bottom (which by definition involves less money), helps determine overall ticket sales more than any other direct factor.

Waxman gives the back of her hand to this theory:
The blockbuster hits of last summer, including Spider-Man 2, Shrek and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban performed more or less on the same level as this year's hits, including Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith, Batman Begins and War Of the Worlds. But too many big-budget movies, including The Island and Stealth, flopped entirely, while other films, from Bad News Bears to Herbie: Fully Loaded to The Great Raid, were disappointing.
"More or less." Let's look at the numbers, shall we? (All grosses domestic, since that's what this is all about.)

2005: Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith: $379 million. War Of The Worlds: $231 million. Batman Begins: $202 million. Total for 2005's top three summer films (at present): $812 million. Since they're not completely played out, let's charitably raise the total to $822 million.

2004: Shrek 2: $441 million. Spider-Man 2: $374 million. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: $250 million. Total for 2004's top three summer films: $1,065 million.

So last year's three top summer film alone grossed $243 million more than this year's. Seems to me that goes a long way--most of the way--in explaining this year's "underperformance."

P.S. Let me pile on. So "Bad News Bears, to Herbie: Fully Loaded, to The Great Raid, were disappointing"? Bears (gross - $32 million), maybe, but Herbie (gross $64 million) had decent legs and might be called a minor hit, while Raid (gross - $7 million, and plenty expensive) was a complete disaster.


Post a Comment

<< Home

web page hit counter