The New Yorker — Gross Points: Is the blockbuster the end of cinema?
The movie Troy is considered a failure even though it grosses a half billion dollars. Sideways is considered a success with a gross of $22 million. The business of movie making is as fascinating as the special effects.
Interesting points in the article, which looks at several recent books about the industry, include:
* Foreign box-office receipts has exceeded domestic receipts since 1993. The entertainment industry is the second largest US export.
* Marketing is the major juice for movies. Average marketing costs have risen from $2 million in 1975 to $39 million in 2003. The push is to generate the buzz for the first weekend.
* It’s the first weekend that counts — typically 25 to 40 percent of its total gross is from the first weekend. Studios book the movie in thousands of theaters and keep 90% of the gross. Theaters don’t mind because they get 100% of the concessions, which is about 35% of their total revenue. Typically a movie will do only half the receipts in the second week.
* DVD sales, television rights and merchandise contracts are major sources of revenue for movies
* TVs hurt movie attendance. In 1947, average weekly movie attendance was 90 million It fell to 15 million by the 1970s and has risen only a little since then. Number of movie released a year has fallen to 200 in 2004 from 700 in 1946.
Tip — How to Save the World: How the ‘Free’ Market Ruins the Entertainment Media who has a comparison chart of 1946 and 2004.