Box Office numbers. Accurate?

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Scott McGillivray, Sep 24, 2003.

  1. Scott McGillivray

    Scott McGillivray Supporting Actor

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    Hi Gang!

    We all know that one of the best indicators of a movies success is what it did in the box office. There are instances where a movie does so-so during its main release and then scores big on video, but for the most part, when we want to talk about how well a movie did, we check the box office numbers.

    However, I wonder if in some instances, these numbers may not be trustworthy. What brought this to my attention was a discussion I had with Casper Van Dien of "Starship Troopers" (ST) fame. He mentioned that "Sleepy Hollow" had done much better than "Starship Troopers" in the box office, but that the numbers were not totally accurate. He indicated that since ST was an R-rated film, a large number of youngsters would buy tickets to G-rated films and simply go into see ST. In fact, Casper had said that a study had been performed for his film to see what percent of under-age kids could buy tickets to a G-movie and go see ST. The results were that 100% of them made it into the R-rated movie.

    Casper also pointed out that at the same time ST was released, Disney re-released "The Little Mermaid". The idea was that Disney knew ST was an R-rated film and that kids needed a G-rated movie to buy tickets for. This would then boost the box office for "The Little Mermaid".

    Anyway, this was all very eye-opening for me. I suspect that there are many learned folks here that know about this practice, but I thought I would pass this on and see if others had comments or additional info on this practice.
     
  2. Matt Stone

    Matt Stone Lead Actor

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    This is a continually discussed topic in the Box Office thread, but basically it's the nature of the beast. It came up most recently with The Matrix Reloaded, which is now the most successful R-Rated film. IIRC, there was talk of X2 getting some of TMR's "youngster money" as a result of sneak-in's during the opening weekend. There are always going to be people that buy tickets to one show and sneak into another, and it always inflates the G, PG, PG-13 movies...but I don't believe the spill-over money is enough to make a significant difference in a films overall box office take.
     
  3. Seth--L

    Seth--L Screenwriter

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    I don't understand why people obsess over gross. What films net is the way of judging success.
     
  4. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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    Gross is the way of judging attendance. I don't see what's so hard to get.

    --
    H
     
  5. Seth--L

    Seth--L Screenwriter

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    If you're interested in attendance, just look at the number of tickets sold.

    Gross is obviously not very accurate way of judging attendence since the price of tickets varies based on theater, day, time, and year.
     
  6. Matt Stone

    Matt Stone Lead Actor

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  7. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    So what's his point? "Sleepy Hollow" is also R-rated and it doubled ST's gross.
     
  8. Scott McGillivray

    Scott McGillivray Supporting Actor

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    Malcom - I think the difference would be that ST was clearly geared to young males whereas "Sleepy Hollow" was perhaps aimed at a slightly older crowd. At least thats how I would see the difference. Heck, I enjoyed them both!
     
  9. Luc D

    Luc D Second Unit

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    It's really strange that more people haven't called into question how ridiculous it is to gage the success of a film based on box office numbers. The real measure of a film's success should be based on ticket sales. After all, kids get into films usually half price, same with seniors, and what about afternoon shows? It's idiotic, but then people like to be impressed by big numbers. After all, a 60 million dollar opening sounds more impressive than 1 million tickets sold, right?

    Then you have misleading statements like "Spider-Man is the third highest grossing film of all time". Sure, but if you take rising ticket sales and inflation into account it might not even make it into the top twenty in terms of actual popularity.

    Besides, wouldn't it be easier to keep track of the number of tickets sales rather than the fluctuating ticket costs?

    I apologize if this is a bit off topic, but it just seems to me that the reason why it's all so unreliable is because it's needlessly complicated.
     
  10. Matt Stone

    Matt Stone Lead Actor

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    Paging Seth Paxton to thread number 160803...[​IMG]

     
  11. Brian Lawrence

    Brian Lawrence Producer

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  12. Robert Floto

    Robert Floto Supporting Actor

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  13. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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  14. MartinTeller

    MartinTeller Screenwriter

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    Unfortunately, even inflation-adjusted numbers don't take home video into account. 4 of the top 5 all-time box office (adjusted for inflation) were released at a time when saying "I'll wait for it to come out on video" wasn't an option.

    Ultimately, any measurement of revenue can only serve to tell you how much money a movie made, not how many eyes have gazed upon it.
     
  15. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    And that bottom line is basically all the studios are interested in, namely how much $$$ did a particular title generate. I'd think they're considerably less interested in the specific number of tickets or how it compares to some other film released 20 years ago.

    Box office historians may be interested. Day-to-day beancounters at the studios are probably not.
     

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