Are cinema box office takings rising or falling?

In the last few weeks, there have been a number of press articles discussing the state of the theatrical box office.  Some suggest that the picture is rosy (“Cinema box office breaks record third year in a row“) while others claim it’s in a decline (“2017 was the worst year for movie ticket sales in over two decades“).

I have been contacted by a few readers who asked about these seemingly-conflicting headlines and wanted to know which picture was more accurate.

The short story is that this is no big mystery – the articles are referring to different countries and sometimes different ways of measuring cinema attendance.  In the case of the articles mentioned above, the first is reporting total box office gross in the …

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48 trends reshaping the film industry: Part 4 – Industry changes

This is the last instalment in a four-part series chronicling 48 trends and changes in the film industry.

To compile this list, I have been back through all of my old research, conducted new projects, read outside research and solicited suggestions from my industry readership (thank you to everyone who contributed). The result is a list of 48 trends and changes affecting the film industry.  For readability, I have split them into four groups:

  • Development and finance
  • Cast, crew and production
  • Distribution and exhibition
  • Industry changes (see below)
  • 37. Cannes festival and market are getting bigger

    The Cannes festival (“Festival de Cannes”) and film market (“Marché du Film”) are the biggest events in the industry calendar and attract film professionals from all over the world.   The 2005 Cannes festival and market …

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    48 trends reshaping the film industry: Part 3 – Distribution and exhibition

    This is the third instalment of a four-part series chronicling trends and changes in the film industry.

    To compile the list, I have been back through all of my old research, conducted new projects, read outside research and solicited suggestions from my industry readership (thank you to everyone who contributed).

    The result is a list of 48 trends and changes affecting the film industry.  For readability, I have split them into four groups:

  • Development and finance
  • Cast, crew and production
  • Distribution and exhibition (see below)
  • Industry changes
  • 25. Cinemas are showing far more than just traditional movie screenings

    In the first half of the 20th century, there was a lot of change in what cinemas screened.  They started showing very short gimmicky films, added live music, replaced the music with …

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    48 trends reshaping the film industry: Part 2 – Production

    This is the second instalment of a four-part series chronicling 48 different trends and changes in the film industry.

    Last week I gave you trends 1 to 12, in the fields of development and finance and in future weeks I will cover distribution, sales, exhibition and structural changes in how the film industry operates.

    This week’s twelve trends focus on the production sector, including details of changes to cast and crew.

    13. Movie production worldwide is booming

    In the ten years between 2000 and 2010, worldwide movie production doubled and has continued to rise since then.  This boom is largely down to cheaper and easier to use technologies for shooting, finishing and distributing movies.  In addition, the internet (especially YouTube) has democratised access to the knowledge needed to …

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    48 trends reshaping the film industry: Part 1 Development and Finance

    Each week over the last five years, I have been covering different aspects of the film industry, explaining and illustrating how they function. Next month, I’ll carry on with my new research but for this month I would like to stop and zoom out a little.

    By taking detailed data dives each week it’s easy to miss the bigger picture and lose sight of the wood for the trees.  So, for the next four weeks, I’m going to summarise the biggest trends and changes we’ve seen in the film industry recently.

    To compile this list, I have been back through all of my old research, conducted new projects, read outside research and solicited suggestions from my industry readership (thank you to everyone who contributed). The result …

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    How profitable are horror movies?

    The horror genre is a perennial favourite among filmmakers.  The general perception is that they are fun to make, achievable on the lowest budgets and can earn a lot of money.

    The final item on that list normally relies on the assumption that the horror movie in question has a chance to be the next Paranormal Activity or Blair Witch Project, both of which were ludicrously successful and therefore almost certainly highly profitable.

    But what of the horror genre more widely?  For every runaway success, there are a whole host of flops and failures which make no money and are barely watched by anyone.  So with a list of all horror movies, let’s take a look at the average profitability.

    This research is just one …

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    Three major ways movie release patterns are changing

    Every few weeks, there is a news story about a new challenge to the traditional distribution model for movies.  The latest of these was the announcement last week that the new Shaft reboot would be using the hybrid release strategy. In the US, it will follow the usual movie release pattern (i.e. theatrical release followed by delayed release onto other platforms), but in the rest of the world, it will premiere on Netflix just two weeks after the US theatrical release. 

    By using this innovative approach, the filmmakers were able to get Netflix to pay for “more than half” of the movie’s reported $30 million budget.

    This news led me to wonder how movie release patterns are changing.  For today’s research, I built up several …

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    The fate of Stephen King movie sequels

    I am putting the finishing touches on a big report into horror movies, due for release in the coming months.  One of the many things I looked at was horror adaptations and so I thought it would be fun to share a small part of what I found as it’s become rather topical.

    A new adaptation of Stephen King’s It is currently doing great business in cinemas worldwide, leading Warner Brothers to start work on a sequel, entitled Chapter One.  Details are still few and far between, but as the current film only adapted half of the original novel, the plot and characters are already common knowledge.

    Excitement for the sequel is high, but the history of Stephen King adaptations contains an ominous warning.  

    Let’s …

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    Patterns among the most profitable movies budgeted $10m to $20m

    This is the latest in a series of research projects I am conducting with Bruce Nash of The Numbers, on behalf of the American Film Market.  In previous articles, we’ve looked at patterns among the most profitable films budgeted between $20 million and $50 million, and those budgeted between $500k and $3 million. This time around, we start to fill in half of the gap by looking at films made for between $10 million and $20 million.

    As before, we’ve reviewed all the films in Nash Information Services’ database in that budget range released between 2000 and 2016. We then identified the sixty most profitable movies, after accounting for all sources of revenue and estimating marketing and distribution costs. That gives …

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    How many films are released each year?

    In an unusual moment of synchronicity this week, three unconnected people have contacted me to ask how many films are released in cinemas each year.  Each had different reasons for asking but all were working from the same basic hypothesis – that the number is increasing.

    In the past, I have looked at the number of feature films made (both in the UK and worldwide) but today we’re going to focus on the number of feature films released in cinemas to the paying public. This doesn’t include film festivals, private screenings or other types of content in cinemas, such as broadcasts of opera of theatre productions.

    The first thing to note is that there is no one simple answer.  Firstly, we need to …

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