The Box Office – A True Test of Movie Quality?

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Why Bother With the Box Office?

Every once in a while I read the box office stats. Why? To see if any movie has come close to topping Star Wars as the highest grossing movie off all time. My trust in these numbers was firm and secure until 1997 when Titanic blew everything away and became the highest grossing movie of all time until, of course, James Cameron decided to make “Titanic 2” with blue people and lots of computer generated effects. Then Avatar became the biggest thing since, well, Titanic. What did this mean? Was my world shattered because as a huge Star Wars, my favorite movie was defeated by Titanic, then again by Avatar, in gross revenue? Hardly. All it meant was that people went in huge numbers to see Leonardo DiCaprio and Na’vi while Star Wars continues to be the greatest cinematic experience of all time. Ticket sales is not a judgement on movies, it just tells us which movies people are going to see.

But it does affect what people see. That’s the catch. If a movie has a high domestic gross people will perceive it as being good and more will go and see the movie. There are plenty of examples where this is true. The opening weekend for Spiderman 3 was huge and people continued to go see it. The film had more of a run than it should have had because the box office (although not a person) compelled people to go see it. “It must be good because it’s a blockbuster!” people would say. Sadly, the movie was poor and if the box office had accurately reflected the picture’s quality, the franchise would be in trouble. But the people came, so another movie is sure to follow

What Can We Really Learn from Movie Ticket Sales?

Movies and the   Hollywood  industry continue to fascinate us (mostly North Americans but people around the world are being sucked into its vortex) and the box office is a fun way to track what trends in film are popular. So you can see how reading the box office gross numbers could benefit anyone related to the film industry. Writers, merchandisers, set designers, for example, should keep a close eye on the box office and see what types of movies are doing well at present and what have done well in the past. So the box office can be a valuable research tool for people interested in gauging popular viewing opinions.

When movies are release and the box office figures come out, it is easy to judge what the public wants and what is a waste of time. Is Fast Five a really good movie? Its box office earnings would indicate the people want it and  Hollywood  provides. It may be the best movie of that particular series of films and maybe in the action/car chase genre in general but as far as valuing its critical appeal, it may not rate as that good a movie. But  Hollywood  doesn’t care and as long as the movie brings in more than it costs to make by a considerable amount, that will be the gauge on whether it goes into production, or stays on the shelf.


Source by Aaron Rowe

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