Boiling Point: Don’t Cry for Hollywood

Boiling PointDear reader, I come to you bearing the gravest of news. Hollywood is not making enough money. Tragic, I know, but there is something we can do. Something we must do. We must get out our checkbooks and donate to the big studios. We must shower them with money. For, hide the children, movie viewership is down to a 16 year low. For crying out loud, only 1.2 billion movie tickets were sold in America!

How have we as a country let this happen? Where have we gone wrong? Reuters, The Daily Mail, they’re all reporting the lackluster year Hollywood has had. This is serious, people. This is big news. Studio executives everywhere are “battling” against a soft audience and struggling to match the numbers of previous years.

Let me find my tiny violin, will you?

Who feels bad for Hollywood? Not me. I mean, first of all, 1.2 billion movie tickets were sold. That’s a lot of tickets. We’re only looking at a decline of around 12% and with an average U.S. ticket price of $7.89, that gives us ticket receipts in the neighborhood of $9,500,000,000. That’s around 9.5 billion dollars. I have trouble feeling sympathy when the industry as a whole is selling that many tickets because we’re not counting rentals, home video sales, and all the other stuff that bring cash into the system.

Making movies is a business, and it’s a big business, but let’s be careful where we assign the blame. It’s not like audiences are to blame for not going to the movies more often. You can say the economy is down, but clearly that’s not a huge factor since the drop in sales isn’t all that much. Look at the popular movies this year – they’re still amazingly profitable. A movie like Transformers 3 still pulled in a ton of dough to the tune of more than $350m. The news agency points to the relatively disappointing opening of Sherlock Holmes, but what they’re forgetting to take into account is that the first film is lackluster. Who came out of that movie loving it? Not many people I know. Sure, it was serviceable, but not one that made me want to rush out and see the next one. Same story on the soft opening of that shitty Chipmunks sequel.

If Hollywood wants to bring more people into the theaters or increase revenue, there are a couple of things they could try. Like first, making better movies. Put a little effort into what you’re pumping out, eh? Second, spend less money making movies. When you blow upwards of $100m on a shitty film, yeah, you’re going to have trouble making that money back. Third, negotiate new deals with the theater chains. Cut the ticket price down a bit, so money is less of a factor.

Let’s not pretend for one second that when people want to see a movie, that they won’t see it. I guarantee you The Dark Knight Rises is going to make money hand over batfist. Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol made some solid money from its early opening, showing a good pace. People will pay to see movies if you make it worth it.

So cry all you want, Hollywood, but you will be crying alone and I don’t even have a violin to play for you. Ticket sales are down, sort of. Some months weren’t, some films do well, that’s the nature of capitalism. Remember, this is a business – make a better product and more people will buy it. But I’ve got no sympathy any time I see a boo-hoo box office is down news article and I go a little bit past my boiling point.

Dry your tears and read more Boiling Point

Robert Fure is many things: horror expert, ruggedly handsome man of the world, witty prose composer, and writer of his own biography page. Beneath the bravado is a scared little boy, ready to grow into an awesome man and make lies about a scared little boy inside of him. Wait a minute...

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