Stat-tastic Entry 4: Domestic Box Office

Like it or not, the movie industry is part of a money-revolving world

Like it or not, the movie industry is part of a money-revolving world

Next up for Stat-tastic we have Domestic Box Office Performance.  While there are many, many other sources of revenue related to a film other than how many tickets it sells within the US of A (Foreign ticket sales, DVD sales/rentals, merchandise, syndication, etc.), one of the biggest determinations of a movie’s financial success remains how well it performs in the theaters of its country of origin.  The threshold for success is largely determined by how well a movie’s domestic gross stacks up against it’s production budget, but we’ll get more into that in my next segment on Profitability and Return on Investment.  For now, lets just take a look at the pure, unadulterated rakings-in of cash by 2012’s catalog of films.

Completely canceled out by John Carter

Completely canceled out by John Carter

Here are your Top 10 Highest Grossing Films of 2012 and their grosses in millions.  By genre, they are made up of four Sci-Fi, three Action, two Family and one Comedy.  For the purposes of this series, Sci-Fi encompases anything where the chief premise has some sort of fantastical basis (this would make Twilight Sci-Fi… I know, I know, but the next closest genre would be “Random Shit” and I thought Sci-Fi would streamline things a bit).

  1. The Avengers – $623.4
  2. The Dark Knight Rises – $448.1
  3. The Hunger Games – $408.0
  4. Skyfall – $301.3
  5. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – $297.2
  6. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part II – $291.1
  7. The Amazing Spider-Man – $262.0
  8. Brave – $237.3
  9. Ted – $218.8
  10. Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted – $216.4

Takaways here?  Sequels still rule the box office.  Seven films of the Top 10 are sequels, with another adapted directly from an already successful book series.  Only two films (Brave, Ted) made it in with completely original material.  Of those two, Brave rode the dwindling yet still present wave of Pixar support while Ted hitched a ride to the Family Guy driven popularity of writer/director/star Seth MacFarlane (who is also hosting this year’s Academy Awards)

Here are the total grosses of the top 10 films of 2012 and their percentage of the year’s total box office sales compared to 2008-2011

2012: $3.304 Billion – 30.5%

2011: $2.489 Billion – 24.5%

2010: $2.852 Billion – 27.1%

2009: $3.263 Billion – 30.8%

2008: $2.531 Billion – 26.3%

As you can see, the closest comparison of these would be 2009, which nearly matches 2012’s level and percentage of grosses for the Top 10.  One explanation for this is the presence of an incredibly impressive top grossing film in each of those years; 2009 featured the top grossing film of all time, Avatar with $760.5 million, while 2012 featured the third top grossing film of all time, The Avengers with $623.4 million.

In 2012, eleven films grossed over $200 million dollars, tying 2007’s record for most films to reach that milestone in a single year.  When it comes to movies grossing over $100 million though, 2012 fell more or less in line with the average of the past five years with 30 films breaking that barrier.

Here are some other tidbits about the financial titans of 2012:

  • Ted is now the 7th top-grossing R Rated movie of all time
  • Three movies from 2012 are now in the top 15 highest grossing films of all time (not adjusted for inflation)
  • Without adjusting for inflation, The Avengers is the 3rd highest grossing movie of all time in the USA (Adjusting for inflation, if falls to 27th)
  • Skyfall is now the highest grossing James Bond movie of all time by over $100 million
The only movie on IMDB to have fewer ratings than screens it was released onto

The only movie on IMDB to have fewer ratings than screens it was released onto

Let’s take a quick look at the worst performers now.  For fairness’ sake, I’m only including movies that were released on at least 1,000 screens.  Only one of these films (The Words) recouped its production budget.

  1. The Oogieloves and the Big Balloon Adventure – $1.07 Million
  2. The Cold Light of Day – $3.76 Million
  3. Last Ounce of Courage – $3.33 Million
  4. Atlas Shrugged – Part 2 – $3.34 Million
  5. Won’t Back Down – $5.30 Million
  6. Chasing Mavericks – $6.00 Million
  7. The Collection – $6.84 Million
  8. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World – $7.10 Million
  9. Fun Size – $9.4 Million
  10. The Words – $11.5 Million

Other than Seeking a Friend for the End of the World , I doubt anybody will mourn the financial tanking of any of the films listed here.  For the most part, it is nice to take comfort in the fact that terrible movies GENERALLY tend to make much less money than their superior counterparts.

Coming up next, Opening Weekends, followed by the last Stat-tastic segment; Profitability!  Stay tuned and sound off in the comments if anything here surprised you

About r361n4

I'm a student at the University of Washington Majoring Business. I've always loved movies and my goal is to work on the financial side of the film industry. Until then though, I figure I'll spare my friends from my opinions and shout them from a digital mountaintop for anyone who's interested. After all, if a tree falls in a forest and nobody blogs about it, does it really happen?
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6 Responses to Stat-tastic Entry 4: Domestic Box Office

  1. Mr Rumsey says:

    It’s a shame about Seeking a Friend, I liked that one. And although it wasn’t fantastic, it deserved to do better than that 😦

    • r361n4 says:

      It had the unfortunate task of trying to market a mixed-genre movie. Whether it’s horror/comedy, sci-fi/drama, or anything else where it’s not quite clear what genre a movie is going for, the majority of the support tends to come from dedicated fans rather than the general public. Closest movie to breaking this in recent years has been Zombieland

      • Mr Rumsey says:

        Yeah I guess so, Keira Knightley’s fan base is pretty different to Steve Carell’s as well, which presumably didn’t help things.
        I really have to see Zombieland sometime soon!

  2. Very interesting as always. Loving this series 🙂

  3. I love looking at box office stats, when it makes it onto the top 50 I like to guess how far it will go on the list. So whats going to make the most this year?

  4. Pingback: Stat-tastic Entry 5: Opening Weekends | Rorschach Reviews

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