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For 2004, is $150M the magic number at the box office now?

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For 2004, is $150M the magic number at the box office now?

Old 06-01-04, 09:20 AM
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For 2004, is $150M the magic number at the box office now?

Last year films were deemed successful if the broke the $100M barrier. Has the ante been upped this year?

I remember that last year Paramount put in a extra effort to get The Italian Job to break $100M over Labor Day, and they did it.

But seems that the films (released in 2004) that have surpassed that mark are not talked about as much this year.

To date, only 5 movies that have gotten over the $100M mark:[list=1][*]The Passion of the Christ ($369M)[*]Shrek 2 ($256M)[*]50 First Dates ($119M)[*]Van Helsing ($110M)[*]Troy ($109M)[/list=1]
Your opinions?
Old 06-01-04, 09:35 AM
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I think $100 million still sounds good to the public at least, but I think with the burgeoning budgets of these newer films and inflation taken into account $150m (maybe even $200m) sounds like a better startoff point for "blockbusters". Just last year Columbia did a massive theater bump at the end of Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle's run to squeak it over the $100m mark.
Old 06-01-04, 09:36 AM
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The "$100 million" as a threshhold has been around for almost 30 years, actually. It was first set by Jaws, and since then has been the unofficial benchmark for a "Blockbuster."

But with rising ticket prices and screencounts, not to mention several films whose budget exceeds that amount, I think the figure is woefully outdated.

In general, I would consider any film that makes over $300 million a "Blockbuster." But really, you have to compare the film's budget to the box office for any sort of meaningful figure. The Passion of the Christ, for example, has astounding numbers even if it were a big-budget film. The fact that it was a low-budget independant film makes those numbers even more incredible. Likewise, Van Helsing and Troy are struggling simply because their budgets were so high.
Old 06-01-04, 09:36 AM
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Considering the budgets of today's movies, they better be hoping to break even and $150M would be barely doing that (with the exception of The Passion). I still think it's stupid for studios to short themselves by adding in the home entertainment market (which wasn't included 20 years ago).

In the trades, you always see the full page add of a movie breaking the $100M mark, but I laugh at it since most films cost well over that amount in budget and advertising.
Old 06-01-04, 11:38 AM
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Devils right. Film is only successful if it breaks even. To have a huge opening is good and all, but it doesn't need to break 150 over a holiday weekend so much as it needs to breaks even and start generating a profit for the film in it's theater run.
Old 06-01-04, 12:00 PM
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Just a sampling of the top movies this weekend (those with over $50 mil in grosses)

Budget, Marketing, & Gross Numbers from Box Ofice Mojo, final gross projections by me

Shrek 2
Budget = $70 million
Est. Marketing = $50 million
Gross to Date = $256.9 million
Final Gross ~= $420 million

The Day After Tomorrow
Budget = $125 million
Est. Marketing = $50 million
Gross to Date = $86 million
Final Gross ~= $215 million

Budget = $175 million
Est. Marketing = $50 million
Gross to Date = $109.6 million
Final Gross ~= $140 million

Mean Girls
Budget = $17 million
Est. Marketing = $25 million
Gross to Date = $73.6 million
Final Gross ~= $85 million

Van Helsing
Budget = $160 million
Est. Marketing = $50 million
Gross to Date = $110.2 million
Final Gross ~= $125 million

Man on Fire
Budget = $70 million
Est. Marketing = $30 million
Gross to Date = $73.3 million
Final Gross ~= $77 million

13 Going On 30
Budget = $37 million
Est. Marketing = $35 million
Gross to Date = $54.5 million
Final Gross ~= $56 million

I think generally movies are just too expensive nowadays. I remember in 1989 when Batman was touted at the most expensive movie ever made, at $35 million. Only 15 years ago, now something like 13 Going on 30 costs the same thing.
Now, here's the top 20 all-time budgets (from http://www.the-numbers.com/movies/records/budgets.html)

Rank Movie Budget Domestic Gross Worldwide Gross
1 Titanic $200,000,000 $600,788,188 $1,835,400,000
2 Wild, Wild West, The $175,000,000 $113,805,681 $217,700,000
3 Waterworld $175,000,000 $88,246,220 $255,200,000
4 Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines $170,000,000 $150,358,296 $427,348,963
5 Van Helsing $170,000,000 $107,300,000 $119,667,790
6 Troy $150,000,000 $102,800,000 Unknown
7 Tarzan $145,000,000 $171,091,819 $447,100,000
8 Die Another Day $142,000,000 $160,932,247 $413,900,000
9 Armageddon $140,000,000 $201,578,182 $554,600,000
10 Lethal Weapon 4 $140,000,000 $130,444,603 $285,400,000
11 Spider-Man $139,000,000 $403,706,375 $821,700,000
12 Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within $137,000,000 $32,131,830 $74,400,000
13 Hulk $137,000,000 $132,160,047 $225,600,000
14 Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World $135,000,000 $93,926,386 $209,486,484
15 Pearl Harbor $135,000,000 $198,539,855 $450,500,000
16 Bad Boys II $130,000,000 $138,540,870 $262,000,000
17 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone $130,000,000 $317,557,891 $975,800,000
19 Dinosaur $127,500,000 $137,748,063 $356,148,063
20 Matrix Reloaded, The $127,000,000 $281,553,689 $727,400,000

The list is only released movies, and I'm not sure what #18 is supposed to be, but I'm sure several more summer films will be up there... Harry Potter 3, Spider Man 2.
Old 06-01-04, 12:39 PM
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I've always went by how much of a profit was made after marketing and production costs, to determine if a film is a box office success. To me, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind was a much larger success than many films that make so much more money in this day and age.
Old 06-01-04, 02:43 PM
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With international and DVD, I really don't think US box office is enough to judge these movies. How can we say a movie didn't do well enough based only on domestic figures? When it's a for sure fact that the studios are greenlighting these budgets with all the other markets in mind.

Regarding 150 million, I think that is now kind of the big amazing place where a movie becomes a big blockbuster. 100 million for moderate to low budget films is still a milestone, and 100 million for a big budget movie just means you're not a complete bomb. But when a movie like Troy will make half a billion dollars internationally, what does one accomplish by only looking at the 140 million dollars from the US? Nothing really. All it really does is just give you a marker to measure north american popularity. Which I suppose is interesting.
Old 06-01-04, 06:37 PM
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I agree with what jaeufraser said. Using domestic as a frame of reference is out of date. International and DVD aren't just sort of an extra anymore - they are every bit as important as the domestic box office now. So why would you say studios are "shorting themselves" by taking DVD into consideration? That's why these films are not too expensive. These businessmen wouldn't keep greenlighting bigger and bigger budgets if they didn't think they could make it back.

I think some reporter a while back demonstrated that bigger budget films DO turn a much larger actual profit than smaller budget films, even when their costrofit ratio is worse.

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