Box Office Inflation

4 Oct

What movie has sold the most tickets ever? Looking at the all time box office grosses shows Avatar is currently the highest grossing  film of all time grossing 760 million dollars. In terms of actual physical money made, Avatar is the highest grossing film. If you were to look at tickets sold, Avatar is unlikely to be in the top 20 of all time ticket sales.

The record for most ticket sales belongs to an earlier movie, Gone with the Wind. Avatar‘s 760 million dollars was in theaters in 2009 and 2010. Gone with the Wind was released in 1939. If released when Avatar was, it would’ve made around 1.5 billion dollars: double what Avatar made.

In 1939 the cost of a movie ticket was on average 23 cents, and the average ticket price when Avatar was released in 2009 and 2010 was $7.50. In 1939 Avatar would’ve made 22 million dollars, while Gone with the Wind made 190 million dollars. Some other movies that easily sold more tickets than Avatar are The Sound of Music, Star Wars and Titanic.

The key issue with ticket price inflation is it has led to huge box office numbers but far lower movie attendance. Since 2005 movie attendance has decreased each subsequent year except one, while box office profits have hit record highs.

When Gone With the Wind came out for 23 cents, you got both the movie and they would play some sort of short subject movie and a newsreel. Gone with the Wind was too long for this, but most other movies playing in a theater at that time would show the main movie people came to see, along with a completely different movie called a B movie. The issue here is simply people used to get a lot more for a lot less when they went to the movie.


4 Responses to “Box Office Inflation”

  1. blackjackofalltrades October 5, 2012 at 2:41 pm #

    I think this blog has awesome potential because you give a lot of information that readers would care about especially because almost everyone goes to see movies. I just think it needs to flow better and sound less like you’re writing it for a class. Obviously you are, but maybe putting a more whimsical tone or inviting the readers to participate somehow would be a great way to improve!

  2. cransom6979 October 5, 2012 at 2:46 pm #

    I thought this was very interesting, but I was a tad bit confused in the beginning. I am not a big “box office nerd,” so I did not understand the difference between the box office grosses, actual money made, and ticket sales. Perhaps explain these differences in more detail for those of us who may be “box office dummies.” Overall, I did enjoy this post!

  3. jm32coop October 5, 2012 at 4:01 pm #

    For someone who doesn’t look at films and the business of them that in-depth, I like how you point out glaring strengths and weaknesses in this somewhat unknown topic. I like the ending where you gave it plain and simple, ” The issue here is simple people used to get a lot more for a lot less when they went to the movie.” Nice work.

  4. Mark October 9, 2012 at 4:45 pm #

    I agree with your classmates: you offer interesting information (distinction between ticket sales and gross) that has interesting implications about movie-going trends.

    I would suggest you start writing smaller paragraphs. On your next informational post, as an experiment try writing paragraphs that are no longer than 3-4 sentences. Give the reader lots of opportunities to catch their breath.

    Also, “Be Consistent”: you sometimes capitalize movie titles, and other times don’t; at times all the words in a title are capitalized, while at other times only some are (“Gone With the Wind” vs. “Gone with the wind”; “sound of music” vs. “Star Wars” etc.). The correct move is to capitalize titles, and also to italicize. In any event, a lack of consistency jumps out at the reader and undermines your credibility and authority.

    Lastly, you need to start using Categories and Tags.

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