Tag Archives: Box Office

I Don’t Have to Keep Writing but I will

14 Dec

Today December 14th is the last class of the semester. Over the course of the semester my job has been to take any topic that I’ve found interesting and write a blog about it. I had always been interested in box office over the course of the semester I’ve tried to both give people are interested in box office something new to think and those who aren’t interested in box office spike their interest even a little.

Before I started this blog we spent the first week or two just deciding what our blog should be about. I recall being nervous to say I was going to write about box office because I thought people might find this topic to be ridiculous. I however found people who are also interested in this topic and passionate, but I’ve also found that the people in my class didn’t find it too ridiculous and even if they would never find box office interesting in a million years they’ve still treated my love of the topic with much respect.

So now to the future and what it holds for this box office nerd. I will still keep writing posts, but I feel still haven’t completely figured out what my blog is yet. I know how to write box office analysis in my sleep because I read websites like Box Office Mojo and Box Office Prophets all the time. I’ve come to realize over this semester that I could probably write box office analysis for their sites better than those who already do it. Since I won’t be working for them it’s time to make this site more of my own.

I’ve found that my three favorite posts I’ve done so far are “Why it’s fun to be a Box Office Nerd,” “My collections,” and “Box Office History: The Big Parade.” What I’ve liked about the first two is you can see more of me in my writing. While I am a very analytical person I think analytical writing can sometimes make person seem robotic. In these first two posts I mentioned I’m writing about me and my love of movies and tied it to box office. The last post wasn’t even a class assignment, I did it on my own. What I found was that I ended up writing about my new found love of silent films instead of doing a complete box office analysis.

So in the future I’ll still do box office analysis because it’s fun to do and I’m good at it but I also think it’s time to make this website my own and take it out of the shadow of Box Office Mojo and Box Office Prophets.

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Box Office History: Christmas and New Year’s

10 Dec
christmas tree

christmas tree (Photo credit: peminumkopi)

So far the three weekends that followed Thanksgiving have released a grand total of three movies, an average of one per week. Then the weekend after The Hobbit opens there’s a grand total of eight movies being released the weekend before and during Christmas.

Movies as diverse as the Judd Apatow comedy This is 40, the Quentin Tarantino slavery film Django Unchained,  and the Oscar hopeful Les Miserables will be opening. The fact is that the period between Christmas and New Year’s Day is about ten days and is one of the biggest ten days of the year to see movies.

The reason moviegoing at this time is so huge is that everyone at least gets Christmas Eve and Christmas Day off, and that is the minimum amount of days off people usually get. In fact most people get New Year’s Eve and Day off.

In this span of ten days a movie’s box office gets inflated as if it was getting ten free Fridays.  Christmas, which is the biggest box office day of the year,  is bigger than Independence Day and Memorial Day.

Movie studios began to see the amazing box office potential of Christmas and New Year’s when Titanic opened over Christmas and went on to be the biggest box office hit of all time.  Ever since then we have had movies such as Cast Away, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Night at the Museum, and Avatar open at Christmas.

In fact the Christmas weekend when Avatar broke the second weekend record is the highest grossing weekend of all time. It’s then followed by the New Year’s weekend where a movie’s box office often increases from the Christmas weekend before it.

In the past two years after seeing how well films can do, movie studios decided the more the merrier, and more films started opening over Christmas to get that ten day bump in box office revenue.

These ten days of box office lead to an embarrassment of riches as there really isn’t a single type of film you can’t see over this period. Whatever type of movie you want to see, Christmas and New Year’s have it.

Predicting a Weekend at the Box Office

1 Dec
English: Brad Pitt at the Burn After Reading p...

English: Brad Pitt at the Burn After Reading premiere (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This upcoming weekend at the box office will not excite as much as previous weekends. Since The Hobbit is a mere two weeks away, it’s still easy to be excited about the box office, though.

1. Killing them Softly

There is really only one film I want to talk about going into this weekend, the Brad Pitt film Killing them Softly. This is the only new wide release this weekend, and critics have generally liked the film. The movie is in the gangster genre and features returns to this genre from James Gandolfini and Ray Liotta.

With that in mind, I could see the opening box office for this film reaching the double digit millions, but it will be close.

My prediction: $11 million/$35 million total

My Prediction vs the experts: 

Box Office Mojo: $9.5 million

Entertainment Weekly: $8 million

The Hollywood Reporter: $8 million-$10 million

So what do you think of the box office prospects of this movie and The Hobbit coming in 2 weeks?

Box Office History: The Big Parade *Post below this one is my informational post #5

19 Nov

(Again if you are in my Writing for Electronic Media class and are giving blog feedback my “There was never just one” post right below this one is my information post#5 I did this post on my free time which explains the worse than usual grammar.)

Last semester I took a silent film class. Going into it I was skeptical because I had a stereotype in mind about what a silent movie was like these kids do.  What I found instead was a beautiful and unique art form that was not primitive what so ever in fact the only thing radically different than movies now is no dialogue. That doesn’t mean that silent films were silent in fact most theaters used to have a live orchestra playing music so it was sort of a combination of theater going and a concert.

In fact there are many sequences of large grandeur including the legendary Babylonia sequences in the D.W Griffith silent film Intolerance  that come to mind.  One of the reasons silent films are so negatively perceived is that many silent films were destroyed once sound came along.

So when I decided to start a new post theme about significant movies in box office history either well known or not I decided to start with the often under appreciated silent era. The silent film I’m going to talk about is not well known and not as famous some others. When people think of silent films most look to Chaplin, Keaton, and the highly controversial Birth of a Nation as examples. When The 1925 silent film The Big Parade was released  Birth of a Nation was the highest grossing film of all time. A common unknown fact is that this little known film is actually the highest grossing film of the silent era.

The Big Parade is a two and a half hour war/romance epic about WWI. The movie is broken into two parts one part is a foreign romance that the main character  has with a French woman. The other part is the most extreme anti war movie that had been released up until that time. This part is often considered the influence for two of the greatest anti war movies of all time All quiet on the Western Front and Saving Private Ryan. 

The Big Parade has two famous scenes one is when the main character and the French woman share gum and the French woman doesn’t get the concept and swallows it and a devastating scene where soldiers get killed with a little ping musical noise every time a solider falls.

Another fascinating story about this movie is the star of the film Jon Gilbert had a fall similar to many stars from the silent era. At the time he was one of the biggest movie stars in the world, but When audiences first heard his voice when sound came along they felt it was not what they expected him to sound like. This happened to many stars including another actor Douglas Fairbanks. The fall of these two actors is the inspiration for the Oscar winning film from this year about the silent era The Artist. Imagine a star like George Clooney or Leonardo DiCaprio  falling from the top of the mountain overnight to complete irrelevance then you get the height of the fall of these two actors.

The movie grossed an outstanding for the time $14 million which surpassed the $10 million made by The Birth of a Nation. When released in 1925 the film was such a huge hit with audiences that the film would play in some theaters for over a year. Meaning attendance was so high that theater owners kept playing it continuously for a year before audience attendance finally waned.

One of the reasons this film hasn’t gotten the acknowledgement of some the other famous silent films is there isn’t a true owner of the film. MGM released the film but doesn’t own the rights anymore. There is a group called Kino Video which has been doing amazing film restoration work yet can’t get ownership of this film. VHS copies still exist which is how I saw the film last year but a DVD version is unlikely to come soon.

“There Was Never Just One”: The Current Franchise Era in Hollywood

19 Nov

“There was never just one”: this is the tagline to last summer’s remake of the Bourne franchise, which I believe is indicative of the current era of Hollywood big budget franchises. There can never be just one; in fact, the more the merrier. Remaking Bourne after a brilliant finale to the Matt Damon franchise–just to squeeze every last cent out of it–was not the only head scratcher of the year.

The Amazing Spiderman remade Spiderman five years after the last Tobey Maguire version and 10 years after the massively successful original that everyone has seen. The craziest part is that the movie made huge money ($260 million) at the box office. This feature of franchises leads to a large conflict in the things I value about being a box office nerd and moviegoer.

1. My appreciation for the business side of movie making

    

If I were a businessman in charge of a movie studio, why would I ever think I should just make one? If a movie makes $500 million with the first installment, then common knowledge of sequels tells us that while the next movie might not make as much, it will generate a higher opening weekend than the original. Now, foreign markets make sequels an even bigger no brainer.

Let’s say that of the $500 million made by the hypothetical movie, $160 million of it comes from domestic audiences and $340 million comes from foreign audiences. This is a 32%/68% ratio, which is now common. Then with the sequel that difference increases. If the sequel makes $700 million worldwide, the ratio is usually $200 million domestic and $500 million foreign–with every subsequent sequel that difference increases.

A great example is the Ice Age franchise. The first film’s domestic to foreign ratio was 46% domestic and 54% foreign. For the latest film, which was the fourth movie, the ratio is a mind-boggling 19% domestic and 81% foreign. What I appreciate about this business strategy is that the movie studio that owns the Ice Age franchise essentially has a cash crop on their hands.

Another business strategy I greatly admire is the Marvel cinematic universe. The Marvel cinematic universe is a collection of individual superhero movie franchises that combine to create a superhero team up film. There are four superheroes: Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, and Captain America. Each super hero makes a movie that has loose ties to one another; then they come together as a team to make a movie.

What makes this such a genius strategy by Marvel is that each individual film makes around $400 million worldwide. Then the team up movie The Avengers makes at least $1 billion dollars. If you combine these movies, Marvel makes close to $3 billion and that doesn’t even include merchandising and DVD sales.

2. I’m obsessed with studying stats

I don’t know what it is about statistics, but studying numbers is so much fun to me. Then if you give me numbers for something that I love like movies, then you get why I love studying box office so much. For me the bigger the numbers, the better, and those usually come from the big franchise movies. If you look at the top opening weekends of all time they’re all sequels.

The reason sequels always have a higher opening weekend than original movies is their intense fan base. Original movies need a good reaction by audiences. Original movies tend to open more modestly, and if they have a strong enough audience reaction they get something called “legs.” Legs means they spend a longer time in theaters than franchise sequels, which tend to burn off audience demand quickly.

While seeing a movie with legs is fun (original films like Avatar and Inception are examples), the most fun comes from the freak openings that come from movie franchises.

3. I love movies as an art form

 

I honestly believe that movies can captivate us now more than ever. With the advances in modern technology and the large budgets, the opportunities for amazing out-of-body theater experiences are limitless. However all the money is going to franchises. While movie studios do care about the quality, they care more about protecting the brand than they do about creating the best movie possible.

The best movies come when directors are given a blank check and told to go make any movie they want. However there really are only a handful of directors who get that privilege. These directors, in my opinion, are Peter Jackson, James Cameron, Christopher Nolan, Quentin Tarantino, Steven Spielberg, and Martin Scorsese.

All of these directors needed to prove over a long period of time that they know how to make great movies that audiences want to see. The problem is that there are some great directors who know how to make blockbuster movies, but movie studios are forcing them into franchise hell. I’m thinking of directors like JJ Abrams, Brad Bird, and Joss Wheddon who are all stuck making franchise movies when they could be creating great unique films.

My point is that movie studios think they should never make just one, but maybe they should. Then we can get more risky and more creative movies then we are getting now.

Holiday Season Forecast

3 Nov

The Holiday Season: In the eyes of the movie business you all are already thinking about Christmas.  Forget that it’s only the second day of November and you haven’t even  eaten all of your Halloween candy yet. 

Just as summer starts in the weekend of May the holiday season for movie studios starts the first weekend of November. The holiday season which goes through New Year’s day is the second most lucrative time of the year for movies behind only the summer. As of late however movies released during the holiday season have started to become just as successful as summer.

Movies such as “Avatar”, “Harry Potter”, and “The Lord of the Rings Trilogy” have all been released during this time of the year. This year appears like it will continue this run with the release of “The Hobbit”, “Twilight Saga Breaking Dawn Part 2”, and “Skyfall”. The holiday season looks to start strong with a really interesting looking animated movie “Wreck it Ralph”.

This Weekend:

  Wreck It Ralph

There’s two new interesting movies but the clear #1 movie this weekend will be Wreck it Ralph. The movie has a very fun premise a video game villain is sick of being the villain so he sets off to become a hero. The trailer is hilarious including a scene where he goes to a video game villain support group.

My Prediction: Any other weekend and I’d say this movie is a likely canidate for 50 million dollars. This weekend however due to hurricane Sandy some movie theaters in the biggest city in the US New York  will remain closed. This could hurt Wreck it Ralph’s box office for the weekend I don”t Think it will destroy it but it will feel an effect. You include great reviews and you’ve got a movie that might start slow but stay in theaters a long time. 

$40 million weekend/$160 million total

My Prediction vs the Experts:

Box Office Mojo: $51 million

Box Office.com: $46 million

The Hollywood Reporter: 45 million

Entertainment Weekly: $38 million

My Overall Forecast:

Now I’m going to pick who will make the most overall money over the next two months.

1. The Hobbit  

“The lord of the Rings Trilogy” was one of the most beloved movies of this generation. The last film “Return of the King” went 11 for 11 at the Oscars so it appeared that making the film’s prequel book into a movie would be a no brainier.  I don’t want to go into it in detail but the best way to say it is that it took a little a while to actually begin shooting.

It’s a competitive year for “the Hobbit” to release itself in. Already there have been 3 $400 million dollar movies “The Avengers  (622 million), “The Dark Knight Rises” (447 million), and “The Hunger Games” (408 million) but I believe the film should at least surpass “The Hunger Games and become the #3 movie of they year. If not it will still be a billion dollar movie nonetheless. The budget is also enormous for these movies so the visuals will be fantastic even if the movie isn’t as good as the trilogy.

Forecast: $152 million/ $425 million

2. Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2   

I don’t want to rip on these movies I’m just forecasting how much money movies this holiday season will make. So I will just say this movie will make a  huge amount of money. How huge is the real question to me. Tickets are selling at a record breaking pace and the advance ticket website fandango says that 40% of all advanced tickets are for this movie. These factors combine in me making a bold prediction Twilight will not break “The Avenger’s” all time opening weekend record of $207 million but it will break the last “Harry Potter’s” opening day record of $91 million dollars. So I will say it will become the first movie to make $100 million dollars in one day

Here’s a list of all time opening days

Forecast: $175 million/$335 million

3. Skyfall 

The last film was a disappointment but audiences will forgive “Qauntam Of Solace” especially since Daniel Craig is the second best James Bond of all time. Plus The trailers have been fantastic as are the reviews so we have another no brainer this film will likely become the highest grossing James Bond movie of all time.

Forecast: $75 million/$200 million

Films to Watch For:

                 

Silver Linings Playbook: Jennifer Lawrence “The Hunger Games” officially becomes the hottest actress on the planet. This movie will bring her Oscar nomination total to two already and she’s so young and she also has two high paying movie franchise jobs in the “X men” and “Hunger Games”. Bradley Cooper officially gets himself out of “The Hangover” shadow as well with talks of him maybe getting a nomination too. So box office is tricky to predict for this one because it’s an indie movie but also a strong Oscar contender Forecast: $100 million dollars. (Being released limited first so it’s harder to predict its opening weekend)

Django Unchained: Quentin Tarantino is one the few remaining directors who can do whatever he wants however he wants to do it. Thank god, because this movie looks insanley good.  He’s got Jaime Foxx as a freed slave and Leonardo DiCaprio as an evil plantation owner. Forecast: $40 million(six days released on Christmas which is a Tuesday)/ $130 million

Lincoln: Steven Spielberg is making a movie about Abraham Lincoln. That already has a ton of appeal add in Oscar talk for Daniel day Lewis and the film itself and you’ve got a potential blockbuster. Forecast: $120 million (limited opening)

Rise of the Guardians  Easily the most likely hit of these films but i must applaud the concept. Santa, the Easter Bunny, and The Tooth Fairy combing to make a lethal fighting group. If I were a kid I’d be freaking out and I sort of am already it is a cool concept. Forecast: $55 million (Five days released on Wednesday before Thanksgiving)/ $155 million

What the #1 box office movie of a year says more about us

31 Oct

The current #1 movie of the year 

 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.

Opening Weekend

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?

Instant Gratification 

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?

Theater Experience  

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.

Budget Explosion

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.

Art Form

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.

Weekend Box Office Forecast

19 Oct

Image

This weekend gives us another paranormal activity movie. “Paranormal Activity” is now holding the mantle once held by the “Saw” movies releasing a movie every Halloween.  Coming off yet another 100 million dollar film last year it’s obvious there will be a lot more of these. They’re three key questions to ask while forecasting this weekend.

1. What is the consistent appeal of these movies?

The first film came out of nowhere, costing 30,000 dollars to make and then grossing over 100 million dollars. The second opened to 40 million dollars and the third opened to 52 million dollars and made over 100 million dollars. The common rule of sequels is the second movie has higher opening weekend and total gross and every subsequent sequel faces diminishing returns.”The Paranormal Activity” films have the same found footage premise and yet audiences haven’t gotten sick of it.

The found footage phenomenon tries to give the audiences the impression that what is occurring really happened. “Paranormal Activity” was not the first movie to play this concept to huge box office.

“The Blair Witch Project” in 1999 was the first to use this gimmick to make over 100 million dollars. It was a brilliant marketing ploy at the time audiences really weren’t sure if the movie was real or not. The movie itself wasn’t that great except for the ending. Nevertheless the low-budget nature of both films helps sell the perception that it’s real because they look homemade.

When released “Paranormal Activity” took the found footage gimmick and applied it to a home movie of people sleeping while creepy events occurred. I’ve seen two of the three films in theaters and audiences I believe at this point don’t believe this is real. So it seems there is something more to these films than just being scary because it’s real.

When I went to see the films in theaters the real appeal wasn’t the films themselves but the crowd. Yelling and screaming is important when you go to these movies. If you yell and scream at the screen when you go to see “Looper” or “Argo” people would be pissed. The reason to see these movies is to get the community atmosphere because the films themselves are not that good without the crowd.

2. Does this Franchise finally feel the effect of diminishing returns?

The appeal of these movies has to eventually diminish. While the community atmosphere is still appealing  the films big shock moments that cause the screams are becoming increasingly predictable. Eventually audiences will start to predict the shock moments and the screams and yells will be quieter.

Diminishing returns are inevitable likely starting with this movie but, it doesn’t mean the next few movies won’t make a lot of money.

This leads to question 3

3. How Much Will Paranormal Activity 4 make this weekend?

Since I believe the franchise still has momentum due to audiences liking the community atmosphere it will still have a huge opening weekend. As I pointed out earlier the shock moments are growing more predictable so audiences will start to wonder why they’re paying 10 bucks to see the same movie over and over again.

My Prediction: $44 million the movie begins to experience diminishing returns but still opens huge.

My Prediction vs Experts: My prediction is 44 million dollars

 Box Office Mojo predicts: 42 millions

Box Office.com predicts: 46 million

The Hollywood Reporter predicts: less than 40 million.

As you can see only one of us is making a bold prediction because this movie’s performance is very predictable. Throughout this blog I hope to make more bold predictions and compare my results with experts predictions. I also have the benefit of not worrying about any consequences for making too bold a prediction.

Now that I’ve given my opinion give me your opinion of the films or their Box Office prospects

Predicting a Weekend at the Box Office

17 Oct

How much will Paranormal activity 4 make this weekend? This Friday I’m going to give my first forecast and you can provide your own forecasts based on the information available. I’ll go into depth on my opinion of the franchise and when diminishing returns of audience excitement will begin to take place.

Why it’s fun To be a Box Office Nerd

12 Oct

As someone who loves movies I had started to develop a curiosity about how much a movie I like made. I’m sure some have that same curiosity at one point, but how do take that curiosity and turn it into nerd level of knowledge? It’s easy you’ll come to realize movie Box Office is a fun fixation.

The key is to start small all you have to do is have a favorite movie one you have an undying love for.  Then have some curiosity about how much money it made. Say you’re a girl and your favorite movie is “Twilight “, or you’re me and your favorite movie is “Saving Private Ryan“. As you can see the level of box office information available to you is large. Looking at the level of detail of the information it is likely at this point you’re most basic curiosity over how much your favorite movie made has been satisfied.

Or after seeing this information you want to learn more about how much movies made. then it would be good to start here.  You can navigate through the site for a while and satisfy all your curiosity or you could still be more curious.

A popular phrase in Movie ads is the #1 movie in America. That phrase means the movie that made the most money over the weekend.  Well how much did the current #1 movie in America make and what did some previous #1 movies in America make?

After navigating the large level of information available you might start to realize what makes box office fun. Movie box office is sort of a cross between a statistical study and a guessing game. It’s a statistical study because the behaviors of audiences are studied in depth on a weekend by weekend basis.  For example this weekend’s box office was statistically analyzed in depth by Box Office Prophets.

Movie box office is also a fun guessing game as well. If curiosity has begun to take on nerd qualities and you realize guessing box office is fun then you’ll be able to take past box office data and apply it to future movies.

The fun can start as early as a month in advance because in this age of internet movie tickets can be bought well in advance. Twilight has already started selling a record amount of tickets over a month in advance. Another big movie The Hobbit will start selling tickets well in advance also starting November 7th over a month before its release.

So as you can see in this age of internet and instant gratification it is very easy to become a nerd in an unexpected subject.  To think you were only just a little curious to start with.