Box Office Records

How are box office results calculated?

Today I heard from Yahoo! that Spider Man became the movie that was fastest to reach $100 Million in box office sales.

Clearly, it will be a blockbuster, but aren’t they jumping the gun just a little? The article states that “the new film reached $100 million in three days”. The thing is that the article was posted on the web at 1:15 ET, just as the Sunday box offices were opening. Granted, the article mentions “estimates”, but still…

It made 114 million.

http://boxofficemojo.com/alltime/weekends/

Due to filmhire (the fee you pay for the rights to show the film) being a percentage of box office (ranging from 35-55%), exhibitors (cinemas owners) have to report the exact number of admissions to the distributors. Incidentally it’s a pretty complicated affair due to guarantee levels for minimum admissions and what-not. The distributors in their turn have to report back to the producers and co-producers who also get paid on a percentage base. There is an obvious marketing interest in getting these figures out so as the years have gone by we have developed a close to real time system. I don’t know what body does it in the States, but in Europe it’s the film distributors associations and the national film institutes who compile the figures. To project from there is fairly easy, but as the previous post shows in relation to the original estimate, it’s often enough off a bit in the calculation.

Screen Digest, Variety and various other publications then publish the figures daily, it’s a little bit like stock tickers for us in the industry…except that you won’t buy or sell - it’s too late for that. It does however influence the continued marketing and exhibition plan. If for instance a film starts to grow unexpectedly in admissions, an extra marketing push could be made and the film will be brought to more screens and vice versa or any variety of creative measures you can imagine.

Sparc

I have a semi-related question.

Quite often one sees rankings with the biggest grossing movies ever or the movie that made the most money the first week etc etc.

Are these figures ever adjusted for inflation? With the help of inflation it seems will be very easy to beat the records set by E.T, Star Wars etc that were set more than 20 years ago.

So what is the biggest movie (moneywise) adjusted for inflation?

What I want to know, is rather than dealing with inflation or any of that crap, why are ticket sales used as the determination of how good a movie did. I’m talking total # of tickets sold. This is a far better indication of how big a movie did, since it will be constant throughout all of time. It just doesn’t make sense to me.

Oh, and I believe the biggest movie moneywise adjusted for inflation was “Gone with the Wind.” “Titanic” actually made a run at that, though.

Box office figures are sometimes adjusted, but within the industry it is sort of an academic exercise, (we live now and it’s real money that counts). Further, all this stuff about ‘highest weekend box office’ and ‘most successful film ever’ is of course very marketing oriented and marketing execs tend to read the stats like the devil reads the Bible. As Twain said; ‘Lies, goddamn lies and statistics’.

In any case, adjusting to inflation doesn’t really do the trick since ticket prices have tended to go up slightly above inflation, so what is done instead is to take the number of admissions and multiply with a current ticket price.

In flat dollar amount the top grossing film at the cinema (video sales and rentals, pay per view and TV distribution not accounted for) is Titanic with a whopping 1.8 billion dollars, followed by Harry Potter at somewhere above 950 million and Star Wars Episode I at approx. 920 million.

Since I’m not in the office right now and I don’t have access to any really good databases from here, I can’t give you the exact figures for adjusted worldwide performance. However, boxofficemojo.com gives us the adjusted figures for the US were number one is Gone With The Wind followed by Star Wars – A New Hope and third is Sound of Music. Titanic is number seven while Harry Potter and Phantom Menace don’t even make it into the top ten. IIRC it’s the same films when counted worldwide, but I can’t swear on it.

Last but not least opening weekend grosses are only sensible to compare back into the 80s. Before that the philosophy of distribution and marketing was very different in as much as that a film would be given time to grow an audience, while nowadays a release is most often preceded by a heavy marketing effort leading to a smashing opening with a relatively short theatrical life, with pay per view, video and DVD releases following quite soon after. The next step, were LOTR and Episode II are forerunners will be simultaneous worldwide releases. In any case with 114 million, Spider Man has reached the uncontested all time number one opening weekend box office in the US, even after inflation adjustment.

For more box office info:
The Internet Movie Database
Box Office Mojo

Sparc

Box office figures are sometimes adjusted, but within the industry it is sort of an academic exercise, (we live now and it’s real money that counts). Further, all this stuff about ‘highest weekend box office’ and ‘most successful film ever’ is of course very marketing oriented and marketing execs tend to read the stats like the devil reads the Bible. As Twain said; ‘Lies, goddamn lies and statistics’.

In any case, adjusting to inflation doesn’t really do the trick since ticket prices have tended to go up slightly above inflation, so what is done instead is to take the number of admissions and multiply with a current ticket price.

In flat dollar amount the top grossing film at the cinema (video sales and rentals, pay per view and TV distribution not accounted for) is Titanic with a whopping 1.8 billion dollars, followed by Harry Potter at somewhere above 950 million and Star Wars Episode I at approx. 920 million.

Since I’m not in the office right now and I don’t have access to any really good databases from here, I can’t give you the exact figures for adjusted worldwide performance. However, boxofficemojo.com gives us the adjusted figures for the US were number one is Gone With The Wind followed by Star Wars – A New Hope and third is Sound of Music. Titanic is number seven while Harry Potter and Phantom Menace don’t even make it into the top ten. IIRC it’s the same films when counted worldwide, but I can’t swear on it.

Last but not least opening weekend grosses are only sensible to compare back into the 80s. Before that the philosophy of distribution and marketing was very different in as much as that a film would be given time to grow an audience, while nowadays a release is most often preceded by a heavy marketing effort leading to a smashing opening with a relatively short theatrical life, with pay per view, video and DVD releases following quite soon after. The next step, were LOTR and Episode II are forerunners will be simultaneous worldwide releases. In any case with 114 million, Spider Man has reached the uncontested all time number one opening weekend box office in the US, even after inflation adjustment.

For more box office info:
The Internet Movie Database
Box Office Mojo

Sparc

What I want to know, is rather than dealing with inflation or any of that crap, why are ticket sales used as the determination of how good a movie did. I’m talking total # of tickets sold. This is a far better indication of how big a movie did, since it will be constant throughout all of time. It just doesn’t make sense to me.

Oh, and I believe the biggest movie moneywise adjusted for inflation was “Gone with the Wind.” “Titanic” actually made a run at that, though. (sorry if this double posted)

Sorry about the double post…

Sorry about the double post…

Sheesh! Wazzup with the servers???

Um, wrong on both counts:

Benjamin Disraeli spoke of “…lies, damned lies, and statistics.”

100 million dollars sounds move impressive then 500,000 tickets sold. Just a WAG.

Nametag;

As far as the sloppy expletive in the quote goes I stand corrected

As for the origin I never bothered to check, but I always heard it attributed to both…and now I discovered that there’s a pretty obvious explanation for that:

So you are undoubtedly right as Mr. Twain confirms himself. :wink:

Sparc

Nametag;

As far as the sloppy expletive in the quote goes I stand corrected

As for the origin I never bothered to check, but I always heard it attributed to both…and now I discovered that there’s a pretty obvious explanation for that:

So you are undoubtedly right as Mr. Twain confirms himself. :wink:

Sparc

I really am not doing this double posting on purpose. It seems to be the servers!

Sparc

Box office is estimated on Sunday after looking at the Friday and Saturday numbers. Tomorrow you will have an accurate number.

Box office may not be the best way as a movie like Potter will have many child (discount) admissions.

Maybe consider how long the movie actually stays in theatres drawing crowds. Titanic did this. So did Memento. Or consider how much profit the film makes.

looking back at the op…

The studios have been doing this for sometime. They have huge databases on boxofffice performance.

So for Spiderman they would look back at previous ‘first weekend of May’ and factor in things like, the weather (hurricane in the gulf?), special sports events that may keep viewers home, (Derby, World Series) and then Sundays figures are estimated. They do have figures from all the major theatre chains for Friday and Saturday. They look at the model and the variables and make a guess.

On Tuesday (late Monday) a ‘real’ number will be released with much less fanfare (because it is ususally a bit smaller)

On some rare occasions a studio will really ‘overestimate’ box office on Sunday night.

Giving the gross allows the easy comparison to the cost to make the movie. For instance, Spider-man made $114 mil and cost $110, so it’s profitable. In wacky world of course.

If you want a good estimate of the top 100 grossing movies of all time adjusted for inflation, check out the-movie-times.com site. They also have the top 100 movies not adjusted for inflation, and the weekly box office figures.

This site has a veritable plethora of statistics, including box-office averages for any of a large number of actors and actresses (you can check out their box-office average for all films they have been in, films they have starred in or their last 10 films, for example).

They also have a neat chart comparing Titanic to Phantom Menace to Harry Potter to Lord of the Rings, so you can see comparitively how each did each week of release, etc.

I am not affiliated with this site in any way, but once I found it I always go there to check box office numbers when I am interested.