All time domestic box office results adjusted for inflation

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Allan Mack, Mar 4, 2003.

  1. Allan Mack

    Allan Mack Supporting Actor

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  2. Tim Glover

    Tim Glover Lead Actor

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    Good list. Thanks for sharing that Allan. There were some surprises on there too.
     
  3. Chris Lynch

    Chris Lynch Stunt Coordinator

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    I find it interesting that in the few short years between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, inflation had risen enough to cause Empire to be higher on this list, even though Jedi made more money.
     
  4. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    Given what was happening in this country economically at the time, it doesn't surprise me at all.
     
  5. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    Double Post (due to server freezing up)
     
  6. Ken Chan

    Ken Chan Producer

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    The problem with a list like that is that ticket prices don't necessarily match inflation from year to year. Plus it excludes a lot of other factors, like the simple fact that there are more and more people. Or that people now skip theaters entirely and wait for movies to come out on video, which they couldn't do before.

    Unadjusted gross figures may be so skewed that they're meaningless, but at least they're accurate [​IMG]

    //Ken
     
  7. Tom Ryan

    Tom Ryan Screenwriter

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  8. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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  9. Chuck Mayer

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  10. Chris Atkins

    Chris Atkins Producer

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  11. Dean Kousoulas

    Dean Kousoulas Second Unit

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    Thanks for the list. Does anybody know where I can find the "All-Time Bombs" in box office history?

    Dean
     
  12. Nick_Gray

    Nick_Gray Agent

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    Does anyone know of an economic reason why 1939's Gone With the Wind would get an adjustment factor of 5.95 whereas 1956's The Ten Commandments would get a factor of 11.7? It would seem that pre-WWII and circa-Korea economies wouldn't be that different, certainly not massive deflation after we clawed out of the Great Depression.

    Anyone?
     
  13. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

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    Ken,

    As I've explained before, the "ticket prices" or "butts in seats" view of Adjusted for INFLATION gross is incorrect.

    Forget individuals for a second and instead think of society. Adjusted for inflation gross shows the film's value to society - ie, what society was willing to pay for the film if you will.


    Consider this, if you released XMen 2 and charge $100,000 per ticket how much will the film earn? Maybe you could find perhaps 10 rich goofs that would pay 100K to see one film, but that 1m still would only equal 10 "butts in seat" and in the end you have only made $1m. Of course $1m is $1m no matter what. But consider the realistic release price and say X2 makes $180m. Did the film just get 180 times better? Is that just 180 times more "butts in seats"? Of course not.

    Simple economics accounts for the improved income by fixing a better price point.

    Now again change the ticket price, set it to FREE. Do you think more people would go to see X2 if all showings were free? Of course they would. So now we have even more "butts in seats", but the actual earning is $0.


    The reason I mention these 3 prices is because it doesn't matter if ticket prices follow inflation or not. If ticket prices lag (rise slower than) inflation, then you are moving toward the "free" side. And of course if they lead (rise quicker than) inflation you are shifting toward the "$1m ticket price" side.

    Those shifts in "actual cost" (say in terms of a loaf of bread, a car, gold, whatever) are going to marginalize the amount of buyers you get, either raising or lowering the number (more will buy for lower costs).

    This shift will offset the effect of inflation lagging or leading ticket prices.

    Adjusted for inflation simply asks "how much was society willing to sacrifice in order to go see a film?" Having hamburger instead of steaks once a week, or maybe saving to get a new car sooner...those are the tangible concepts that inflation adjustment is measuring.

    If you put out a really good film, you could, in theory, charge more than regular prices. IMAX does this already (especially considering the running times) and road shows used to do it.


    Yes, video has affected BO, but at the same time population has increased (ie, potential audience). I've yet to here a compelling argument against adjusted for inflation figures that doesn't have some counter effect working in the other direction.

    We are also forgetting impacts like WARS which either took audiences away from theaters, or sent them to theaters for escape. Many other social flucuations affect how much society is willing to spend from its disposable income on movies.

    We simply must generalize a film's appeal based on its BO. But obviously were a research professor to present a thesis on the subject such economic and social details would need to be explored, presented, and explained. For the rest of us the generalization works pretty well.

    In fact, Lew has already made such a point
     
  14. Damin J Toell

    Damin J Toell Producer

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  15. Patrick McCart

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    What is amazing about Gone With The Wind is that it made so much money (the figure on that page is likely accounting for re-releases) with a fraction of the population and screens it took to show Star Wars.
     
  16. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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  17. Seth Paxton

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  18. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

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    No, there is more to consider. I"m going to pick on GWTW (namely because I think it's a dumb movie).

    When it came out, movies did not have to compete against TV.

    Also, there were a lot fewer movies made that year, so it had less competition. I'm sure that theaters kept it playing for months.

    Also consider the fact that not as many women worked, and taking a few hours out to see it again would have increased seats.

    Glenn
     
  19. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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  20. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Why bother "picking on" a movie simply because of its box-office numbers? As for there being "less competition," bear in mind that 1939 was one of Hollywood's most spectacular years for releases that later came to be regarded as classics.

    Would it be incorrect for me to suspect that some Star Wars-related partisanship is at work here? Even if the Lucas movie is not the all-time number one box-office champ, it certainly has raked in the bucks.
     

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