Friday, August 21, 2009

By the Numbers

There's a lot in this world when it comes to film that's open for debate, that's why I love it so. Of course not everyone understands that, but hey, it's their loss for not finding it so enjoyable. The only thing not open for debate? The numbers. When push comes to shove they always tell you exactly how well a movie did... but within those numbers lies something greater... the really bad decisions Hollywood, and movie goers alike, have made. For instance did you know that Paul Blart: Mall Cop made more money during its theatrical run than Milk, The Wrestler, The Visitor, and Doubt COMBINED. The reason that's noteworthy is because they were all made for relatively the same price range ($5-$30million).

Of course that's not a judgment on either way, as you could look at it on one hand as being an indictment of the studios for not being able to capitalize on such low budget/quality films, or the audience for their recent distaste towards Dramas. This series, By the Numbers, will be a collection of trivia facts/curious things about the $ side of Hollywood. Most of this info will come from Box Office Mojo, a box office tracking website that I find very helpful. As a note when I do these I will always go off of the Worldwide gross to date, I always find it ignorant and stupid when people value a film solely on its production in a single market. If that were the case then just about every French, Italian, and Japanese film of the 50s,60s, and 70s are unprofitable because they weren't released in America. Anyways, no more ranting.

This weeks installment: Transformers, Revenge of the Fallen.
Production Budget: $200million
Worldwide Gross to Date: $825,282,355
Profit (excluding promotion): 625,282,355.

Things of note.

For the production budget listed you could make the following films.
Slumdog Millionaire ($15m)
The Hangover ($35m)
300 ($65m)
Knocked Up ($30m)
Juno ($7.5m)
Superbad ($20m)
Taken ($25m)

You'd still have $2.5million left over and these would be your numbers.
Production Budgets Sum: $197.5million
Worldwide Gross to Date: $2,080,091,530
Profit to Date: $1,882,591,530

Now I know that's a very selective, and elitist, list, but hey with that list you get several fan favorites, several classics, and a multi-oscar winner. Lets face it, Transformers 2 will never be anything more than a fan favorite... even if it tries really hard it'll be forgotten by the same people who call it legendary. Why? Because that's the way it really works. We all like to think these huge big budget films are where the money is at, but it's not. The real money, the long term still cashing in 50 years later money, is in the films of quality.

When Hitchcock released Vertigo it was a box office flop, only made $7million. Though even now it's a must have for any Hitchcock fan, sold on any film website, and often argued as one of his great films. Why? Quality... not quantity. You can throw all the money in the world at a film, but if the quality isn't there... the return money won't be either.

This has been By the Numbers... over and out.

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