MCN Blogs
David Poland

By David Poland

The Stupidest Box Office Analysis Ever?!?!?

Yes, it is saying something remarkable, but a small consulting company in Camarillo called Entertainment Business Group did an analysis of this summer’s box office race and found that you could rearrange the Top Ten by… ahem… analyzing opening weekend success against the overall cost of each film.

And what does this tell you about those films?

And what does this mean in terms of business?

The answer, my friends is, NOTHING!!!!

Really… the only reason for this analysis was to get into The Hollywood Reporter. Goal achieved.

There is no question that more comprehensive analysis of winners and losers are necessary to really understand the box office results. But this “new idea” actually narrows the focus into complete irrelevance.

There is, in reality, a good story in the profitability of Fahrenheit 9/11, which probably is, based on rough quick calculations this morning, the fourth most profitable film of last summer, scoring between $175 million and $225 million in profit, all in.

Spider-Man 2 will, all told, return between $250 million and $350 million in profits to Sony, depending on contractual obligations about which almost no one outside of Sony business affairs knows all the details. That makes it second to Shrek 2’s roughly $600 million in profits and in roughly the same profit category of Harry Potter & The Prisoner of Azkaban.

Floating somewhere just below, but near F9/11 are Dodgeball and The Day After Tomorrow.

The idea that these “consultants” offer, that The Village earned the #3 slot on any summer chart that is not a manipulated scam, is beyond belief. The film, seen by many as a failure, did turn a nice profit. But if ranked on profitability, the film drops lower than the #11 slot it holds based on domestic theatrical gross. It does not join the top three titles.

But even worse that the utter idiocy of these numbers is the idea that they are designed to promote the most damaging mindset in the film business today… and unrelenting obsession with opening weekend above all other things.

The Village grossed 2.24 times its opening this summer, the worst gross-to-opening ratio of any of the top fifteen films of the summer. The only film that was close was Van Helsing, which did 2.32 times opening. In fact, Van Helsing was the only film in the top ten that did less than 2.5 times opening, including the hideous The Day After Tomorrow.


Have to run now, but more on this later…

Be Sociable, Share!

6 Responses to “The Stupidest Box Office Analysis Ever?!?!?”

  1. Sandy says:

    Dave, the country seems to be obsessed by box office numbers on Monday…I don’t know how but when I watch the morning news there’s the box office report alongside news about Iraq and the election….no wonder new entities want to get into the game.

  2. Mark says:

    The Day After Tomorrow was lucky to make a profit. Its a sin.

  3. John Crichton says:

    And again we have another idiotic debate about domestic (well, US and Canada) box office, to the delight of studio heads all over town. Until everyone stops playing their three card monte game, they’ll keep claiming that almost every film looses money. C’mon Dave, you’re smarter than this… aren’t you?

  4. David Poland says:

    My numbers are all in, not just domestic…

  5. John Crichton says:

    Mentioning these numbers in a fleeting manner debunking a pinhead’s wetdream of a new BS statistical tool is not the same of doing a regular feature on true film profitablity. The day people get serious about film revenues is the day someone starts debunking all the supposed “losers” by showing their total revenues from all streams to date. I would suggest to get the ball rolling, start with something like “FIGHT CLUB” that is widely percieved to have not only lost money, but cost Bill Mechanic his job at Fox.
    Just this past friday, Studio Brief had this item:
    “Sales of Home Videos Due To Set New Record in 2004
    Sales of home videos, particularly DVDs, are expected to set a new record this year as consumers spend more than $16 billion on video product, Video Store Magazine reported today (Friday) citing its own market research. A similar prediction was made by Merrill Lynch media analyst Jessica Reif Cohn, who forecast DVD sales at $16.5 billion.”

  6. Jo says:

    Just saw this thread from back in October and had to jump in. People who know the economics of the movie industry care about the domestic box office numbers only in so far as they are linked to the revenue streams from the other exhibition windows (i.e. home video, PPV, premium cable, broadcast, syndication). Actually, in reality, the revenues a studio generates from home video do not have a direct correlation with box office (although the awareness generated helps to keep DVD marketing costs down), whereas the licencing fees from the TV windows (except broadcast) are based on a formula that is directly linked to box office. It’s widely recognised that a theatrical release will often recoup the studios’ P&A, but it’s not until all the revenue streams come in that negative costs are fully covered and sometimes a profit is made.

The Hot Blog

Quote Unquotesee all »

It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon