Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Ew. Gross.

Every year (well, except this one, so far), box office grosses get higher. You constantly see reports about some blockbuster or other breaking the record for 4-day opening Labor Day weekend, or biggest R-rated comedy opening, or Biggest Non-Holiday Opening By A Columbus Movie.

But so what? Inflation means that a $50 million opening weekend in 1995 might equal a $65 million opening weekend in 2003 (note: not based on real numbers), with the same number of tickets sold for each of those two openings. And even then, what about the fact that the available audience is different? There are more people now than there used to be, and more screens and seats, so it's not exactly surprising that grosses are higher. And what of the fact that the competition from other entertainment media has increased? These days we've got the Internet, home theater, blah blah blah. Is comparing total box office gross really a useful way to compare... uh... whatever it is that comparing grosses is supposed to compare? Is it meaningful that Titanic grossed more numerical dollars than every movie in the 1930s combined? (This may not be true. It's just hyperbole, for Christ's sake.)

From the studios' point of view: Who cares? The fact that numbers are ever-increasing makes us look good to most people, who don't care, or even know, about the economic implications of rising ticket prices, population, and competition. Wow! Titanic grossed a billion dollars! That's a shitload! It's good advertising for the studios, because they can constantly show off.

But this summer, grosses are down a skosh, and so we have no records being broken. Instead, it's the endless parade of doom-and-gloom articles, which... is still media attention being focused on Hollywood.

Damn, they win either way, don't they?