The #1 movie of each box office year has a lot of things in common with each other. It’s not just the type of movie they are: it also has a lot to do with us, the consumer. For example, how quickly we see a movie and the atmosphere in which we like to see movies says a lot about our culture now.
The opening weekend has become more essential to box office numbers than ever before. Spiderman in 2002 became the first movie to make $100 million, making $114 million. After Spiderman the opening weekend record has now been broken 5 times, and there are now 22 movies that have made $100 million in their opening weekend. This year’s #1 movie became the first movie to ever make $200 million in an opening weekend. All 5 movies that have broken the opening weekend record were the #1 movie of their year.
So what does that say about us, the consumer?
We now live in a time where we can get any information we want almost right away. Movies still, despite a decline in attendance, highlight this trend. We need to see things as quickly as possible, and looking at the past #1 movies of a box office year it’s clear our demands need satisfaction right away.
This also applies to us. The internet provides you with quick information, such as this year’s #1 movie or box office predictions for The Hobbit. You can just hop onto the internet, and you can find a site like mine that will tell you this information. Here’s a question, though: why do we still see movies in theaters at all?
With our desire for instant gratification, how come most people don’t run to the internet to find a pirated copy? Why do we still mostly choose to see movies in the theater?
I mean we have to pay to see these things, so what do theater screens have that our computer screens don’t? Another interesting question is, if we hate when people talk at the movies, why don’t we stay at home where there’s a guarantee of silence?
The point I’m making with these questions is that the movie theater experience has a strong appeal. Pirated movies aren’t ending theater going altogether for some reason. For one the screens are bigger at a movie theater; the picture, and sound qualities are better as well. So seeing a movie in Imax which features an even larger screen, even bigger picture quality, and even better sound would definitely enhance the experience.
It’s an interesting feeling when you have a great theater going experience; sometimes it is almost an out of body experience. One thing about a good experience at the movies is the crowd is silent but active at the same time. This means that the audience is reacting to what’s on the screen pulling us in more instead of pulling us away. When this happens together, we join as one. We immerse ourselves into the screen and for 2 hours nothing else has our attention but whatever world we have chosen to go to.
What else do such #1 movies of the year as Avatar, The Avengers, Pirates of the Caribbean have in common? A budget of over $200 million. This compares well with our need for a theater experience because we as consumers value quality theaters and quality production values. The film’s production quality amplifies the theater quality, and those two can often morph into an overall quality experience.
Film I would say is the greatest art form of the last century, and we value the power of a good movie. When we see a great movie, it can–as I said before–create an out of body experience. We as consumers value quality over anything else because what good are good special effects without a good story?
So these factor into what the #1 movie of a box office year says about us as consumers: we value an instant quality theater experience.