Video Games Don't Hurt Movie Sales If You Make Good Movies

from the funny-how-that-works... dept

Last week there was some buzz over the idea that the release of Grand Theft Auto IV might hurt opening weekend box office revenues for the movie Iron Man. We were skeptical that it would have a noticeable impact -- and, indeed, the movie received tremendously positive reviews and did much better at the box office than almost everyone expected, making over $100 million. Digg points us to a blog post that points out how this utterly destroys the Hollywood myth from last year that certain movies didn't do well because of the game Halo 3. As the post notes, the secret to getting people to watch a movie appears to be to make a good movie. So, rather than whining about the competition so much, perhaps the industry should take that same effort and use it to... make better movies.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    Dave Barnes, May 6th, 2008 @ 7:41am

    I thought ALL revenue problems were because of

    September 11, 2001.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 6th, 2008 @ 7:47am

    What the hell is a....

    Good movie?

     

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  3.  
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    Skippy T. Mut, May 6th, 2008 @ 7:54am

    All I have to say is...

    DUH!

     

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  4.  
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    John Doe, May 6th, 2008 @ 7:59am

    What movie was out when Halo 3 was released?

     

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  5.  
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    Alimas, May 6th, 2008 @ 8:05am

    Wow

    I WISH they'd make more good movies.

    That'd be awesome. I'd actually start going to theatres!

     

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  6.  
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    Ajax 4Hire, May 6th, 2008 @ 8:14am

    Saw Ironman, it is good

    There has been a dearth of good movies since Dec-2007.
    I knew Ironman would be stellar at the box-office simply because of pent-up demand. The fact that it is good only added to its outstanding $100M 1st weekend.

    If Ironman had emerged in a more crowded market of good movies then it would have not done so $100M spectacular.

    It is good, go see it.

     

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  7.  
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    chris (profile), May 6th, 2008 @ 8:21am

    Re: I thought ALL revenue problems were because of

    not any more, they switched to piracy as the root of all revenue problems in 2005.

     

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  8.  
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    Matt, May 6th, 2008 @ 8:23am

    I've yet to see ironman but definitely plan to!

    everyone seemed to have great reviews of this movie. It definitely seemed to be way over the expectations of everyone who saw it, from SFX to acting.

    However, I would suspect on smaller movies with smaller influence it is possible that a game with an enormous influence could affect movie sales to a moderate degree if both have the same release date. Extreme case scenario only probably.

     

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  9.  
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    Joe, May 6th, 2008 @ 8:49am

    Re: Re: I thought ALL revenue problems were because of

    And then to video games as of September 2007. We all know though that inflated ticket prices with bland movies are the issue...just no one wants to admit it at the corporate level.

     

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  10.  
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    Overcast, May 6th, 2008 @ 8:50am

    But they should sue!!! What if they could have made $125 million???

    Same argument as downloading music.

    And yeah - I spent $$ on GTA IV and didn't have enough to go see Ironman, lol

    Of course, I'm patient and will wait for it to come out on DVD

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 6th, 2008 @ 9:30am

    Re:

    exactly

     

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  12.  
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    Nelsormensch, May 6th, 2008 @ 9:43am

    @John Doe

    I believe Hollywood blamed the very poor performance of "The Heartbreak Kid" on Halo 3. That title not ringing any bells? Exactly.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 6th, 2008 @ 9:44am

    Re:

    Netflix FTW :D

     

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  14.  
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    Skippy T. Mut, May 6th, 2008 @ 9:57am

    Re:

    And then when it comes out on DVD i'll download the DivX copy just like everyone else with half a brain and a broadband connection!

     

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  15.  
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    Sean, May 6th, 2008 @ 9:58am

    Good movie?

    "Video Games Don't Hurt Movie Sales If You Have A Big Name Title" is more like it. I thought Iron Man was a horrible movie, and I'm right. It has nothing to do with it being a good movie at all, on the first weekend of a Marvel comic book hero being put into CGI movie-form with special effects, you can guarantee that the gamer cliq also playing GTA IV wants to be the first to see it so they can write about it on forums.

    Nothing special here, just the same demographic being appealed to on the same weekend.

     

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  16.  
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    Pilotman, May 6th, 2008 @ 10:10am

    Ironman was an awesome film. Lots of tense moments and the effects were good too. I enjoyed the story behind the movie a lot so I'm not sure what Sean sat on but I'm sure something is stuck in his pooper otherwise he would have wrote how good it was too.

    People without a soul are the only ones who didn't like the film. And people without a soul will find anything to complain about.

     

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  17.  
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    Judson, May 6th, 2008 @ 10:13am

    Ironman

    A perfect example of the MPAA blaming yet another outside source for their lack of creativness. Ironman = great movie. Ergo, people will want to go see it in the theater to get the full "effect". It's the mediocre movies that loose revenue from downloads.

     

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  18.  
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    Etch, May 6th, 2008 @ 10:21am

    Re: Re:

    I did that until PS3 with Blu-Ray came out, since then I find that its actually worth it to spend 30 bucks on a title you can enjoy in full HD, and this is what it should be about: Quality viewing and convenience.

     

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  19.  
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    Sean, May 6th, 2008 @ 10:28am

    Pilotman

    Yes Pilotman, since I disagree with you must have something 'stuck in my pooper.' You aren't helping your case that Ironman was a good movie, if it was liked by people who have to make personal attacks at people who disagree, it says a lot about your wit and maturity; and imagine...you thought it was awesome - and I thought it was terrible.

    Thanks Pilotman, digging your own hole.

     

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  20.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger, May 6th, 2008 @ 10:34am

    Re:

    Yeah, that's the movie.

    I remember seeing previews for it. It looked like it sucked. I guess it did.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 6th, 2008 @ 10:35am

    Re: I thought ALL revenue problems were because of

    9+11+2+0+0+1=23

     

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  22.  
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    Chris, May 6th, 2008 @ 1:13pm

    When did a movie making a lot of money start meaning it was good? And when did most people liking something also make it good? Now I can understand if you mean 'good' in the sense that it found a successful way into the market. But most people are idiots and just because most people like something does not mean it's good. Just look at the politicians who get elected because most people like them.

     

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  23.  
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    dorpass, May 6th, 2008 @ 1:49pm

    Re: Pilotman

    Sean, you attack Pilotman, yet you are the one that thinks YOUR opinion is the right one. It didn't even occur to you that you are backing up the original statement here, if the movie targets the same demographic AND lures the same people out, it IS a good movie. That's how it works, bad movies don't lure anyone out (remember Punisher?) and good movies trump their alternatives. In case that logic gets lost on you, imagine that there are two movies targeted towards the same audience that come out at the same time and one of them is better than the other... which one gets the audience? I hope I gave you enough hints to figure that one out.

     

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  24.  
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    Jess, May 6th, 2008 @ 1:51pm

    Good Movie or Good Video Game

    I don't play video games often, but if I compare Halo 3 and Grand Theft Auto IV, Halo was much MUCH more anticipated. People stood outside lined up to get Halo 3 just to beat it in one night.
    I think Halo may have effected movies, maybe. I'll just say that it had more of a chance of influence than GTA could any day.

     

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  25.  
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    John, May 6th, 2008 @ 2:25pm

    Good movies...

    Like the above-poster said, just because a movie makes a lot of money doesn't mean it's good. By the end of summer 1999, "Star Wars: The Phantom Menace" made close to $500 million, yet how many people think it was a great movie?

    Don't forget that there are other factors at work: one movie may make a lot of money simply because there's no competition. Want to see a movie about a comic-book character? Your only choice is "Iron Man".

    Getting back to the idea about quality:
    Please explain why the movie industry should make good movies? I'm sure there are tons of "consultants" whose "expert opinion" is to make another Transformers or Batman movie and not bother with "quality" movies like Sideways or The English Patient.
    Sure, Transformers 2 may not win any awards, but it'll bring in tons of money.

    Think about it: they have an almost non-stop supply of ideas from other sources with which to make good (or bad) movies. Look at this summer's list of big movies:
    Iron Man: based on a comic book
    Speed Racer: based on a Japanese cartoon series
    Indiana Jones: a sequel (#4 in the series)
    The Dark Knight: based on a comic book/ sequel
    Incredible Hulk: based on a comic book/ sequel

    Coming later in the year is yet another Harry Potter movie and the latest Star Trek movie (because Paramount has to do *something* to get their cash cow producing again).

    Hollywood doesn't need to make an original movie: all they have to do is keep churning out sequels and such.
    When Spider-Man and Batman and Transformers and Pirates of the Caribbean dry up, we'll see go back to seeing movies like "Beverly Hillbillies 2", "Gilligan's Island: The Motion Picture", and the latest "Ernest" movies. Wait, Jim Varney (Ernest) passed away awhile ago? No problem, they can make "Son of Ernest!"

    And if non-original movies aren't enough, the industry simply blames someone else when people don't go to the movies.
    It's not that "Son of Ernest Saves the Earth" was a bad movie, it's that pirates got their hands on it so no one went to the theaters. No, wait, people played GTA 4 instead. No, wait, people played Halo 3 instead. No, wait, it was raining that weekend. Yeah, that's why no one went to the movie.

     

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  26.  
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    buckykat, May 6th, 2008 @ 2:39pm

    iron man was really good. not only that, but a movie theater near my house seems to actually get it. for five bucks, you go sit in comfortable leather armchairs with lots of room, a table, and a button to call a waiter. before the movie starts, a guy goes up to the front of the theater, says he hopes everyone enjoys the movie, and reminds you to stay after the credits for the extra little thing(can't spoil it). no excessive previews, just a nice moviegoing experience.

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 6th, 2008 @ 3:24pm

    Sean

    "Video Games Don't Hurt Movie Sales If You Have A Big Name Title" ... you can guarantee that the gamer cliq also playing GTA IV wants to be the first to see it so they can write about it on forums.



    You seem to be saying that video game sales hurt movie participation only when the movie is one the video game players don't want to see? Either you're confused, or you're very confusing...

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 6th, 2008 @ 6:27pm

    Re: Pilotman

    I think Iron Man was a good movie. You think it was a poor movie. We are both correct in our statements about what we think Iron Man is.

    If Iron Man's actually a good movie or a poor movie is a bit harder to determine.

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 6th, 2008 @ 6:36pm

    Re:

    I think "most people like it" is pretty much the definition of good... with most being around 75-80% of the population Mediocre is usually between 60% and 75%. 80%-90% is awesome. 90%+ is fucking awesome. 50% or less is sucks. Though I'll admit this is my personal standard.

    But, honestly, if it can't appeal to the masses it's NOT GOOD. I'm a populist when it comes to art, and I really, really, really hate "high" art. That's different then good art. Good art's stuff like Davinchi or Michelangelo, or for more modern examples go to a local museum and look at the art that actualy conveys a meaning most people can pick up on.

    "High" Art is represented by stuff like Jackson Pollic, or random squiggly lines, or a black canvas, or other art that's obstuficated. If you need to explain it, or if people need to debate over it's meaning (not HOW you did it, but it's meaning) then it's probably not art.

    This is my opinion, at least. I get into a lot of fights over people who refuse to admit that lots of people liking something means it's good. If 10% of the population likes something, it's not good. If only an elite few people trained to appreciate something can like it, it's not good.

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 6th, 2008 @ 6:41pm

    Re: Good movies...

    On the other hand, if the movie doesn't have plot or zip, it's not gonna be good. So "Sideways" or "The english Patent" if done with the same.... zeal... as Transformers 2 would suck many times more. It takes more work, and more zeal, to make a good movie from scratch then to get people to buy a mediocre movie from a group. But if done right Transformers 2 could be a really, really, really awesometastic movie. Not that it will be done right. But I'd rather have that kind of lazy producer wasteing time

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 6th, 2008 @ 7:11pm

    Re: Re:

    Agreed, but only if "The population" means "The people who have seen it" Including people who have not seen it is kinda silly if you're using such large numbers

     

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  32.  
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    PaulT (profile), May 7th, 2008 @ 12:58am

    Re: Good movies...

    Erm... bullsh*t?

    The name has nothing to do with it. "Based on a comic book" means nothing in terms of box office - for every Spiderman and X-Men, there's a Punisher or Hulk - there's no guarantee. Iron Man was perceived as a risky project 6 months ago because the character is one of Marvel's "second tier" characters who had no name recognition outside of comic fans.

    As for quality? You seem to be alone here. Rotten Tomatoes has a score (an aggregate from all reviews) of 96% - extremely high. By contrast to your example, Phantom Menace got 64%. Now, you're certainly entitled to your opinion, but don't extrapolate that opinion into "the movie sucked so everybody else is stupid". It's a matter of taste. Some people don't like Citizen Kane, and there has to be at least one person out there who actually enjoyed Meet The Spartans. Just don't try and push that taste onto everyone else - other people enjoyed Iron Man, you didn't - fine.

    Then, what about the upcoming movies? Well, you have to remember a few things here. First of all, at this point in the season, the "name" movies are being talked about. Original movies haven't made a "name" for themselves yet, so we're hearing about the sequels, remakes and comic/TV adaptations. That's to be expected. However, every year there's a few movies that slip under the radar at this time of year, only to become massive hits later.

    Look at the other movies being released this summer season you haven't mentioned - for example Doomsday, Hancock, Mother Of Tears, Wanted, Kung Fu Panda, The Happening, Babylon A.D., Righteous Kill, Pineapple Express, WALL-E.

    If you don't want remakes/comic book adaptations/sequels to be successful, watch these movies instead. That's just a quick browse through the IMDB upcoming list, and I'm sure I've missed a few that will be successful. Get your head out of your ass and stop seeing the movies you hate only to complain about them afterwards - give your cash to the movies you want to see made!

     

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  33.  
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    PaulT (profile), May 7th, 2008 @ 1:14am

    Re: Re: Good movies...

    Hmmm, OK John I seemed to have gotten your comments and Sean's merged in my mind, so the response was to both of you. But it's the same sentiment overall. You know the old web meme, "Your favourite band sucks!"? Well, that's what it is here. The movie you hate above all others has fans, and some people can't stand your favourite movie. Make sure you keep watching the movies you want to watch, even if you have to loook harder for them, and everyone's happy.

     

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  34.  
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    Inspector Gadget, May 7th, 2008 @ 4:50am

    Multi-billion dollar gaming

    According to last year’s records the video and computer game industry made $9.5 billion whilst the film industry (box office sales) in the US peaked at $10.2 billion. However, with the rate the game industry is currently growing I am certain that it will far outrun the film industry in the very near future. "Decades from now, cultural historians will look back at this time and say it is when the definition of entertainment changed forever" - Doug Lowenstein, ESA President Read the full story here.

     

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  35.  
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    Rose M. Welch, May 7th, 2008 @ 5:53pm

    Re: Re: Off-Topic

    Lots of people like Jackson Pollock and other abstract artists. I like seeing interesting colors in my living room a helluva lot more than I like seeing fuzzy flowers or a creepy scream face. :)

     

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