Piracy Destroying Hollywood Right To Yet Another Record Year At The Box Office... In A Recession

from the cry-me-a-river dept

We've been scratching our heads at the various claims from the movie industry that piracy is destroying the industry -- especially as the trends over the past few years have been significantly more movies being made and significantly more money being made at the box office. And, once again, reports are coming out that 2009 will be another record year at the box office. And it's even more impressive, considering that the country has been in a pretty bleak recession the whole year. You would think that such things, including greater than 10% unemployment would get people to hold back on increasingly expensive nights out at the movies, but people are still going and still paying. So, again, we have to ask where is this evidence that piracy is destroying Hollywood? Or is the same "evidence" like the study we recently saw that came with the headline that Redbox was going to take away revenue, while the actual study said the opposite?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 11th, 2009 @ 12:36pm

    Imagine what the numbers would be if all those pirated copies had been paid for.

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Poster, Dec 11th, 2009 @ 12:40pm

      Re:

      Hi, Mr. MPAA shill!

       

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Dec 11th, 2009 @ 12:46pm

      Re:

      Enough to cause a ripple-effect that causes the collapse of several other American industries because they aren't getting that money?

      Just because it's not getting spent on Movies doesn't mean its not getting spent.

       

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      Alan Gerow (profile), Dec 11th, 2009 @ 12:51pm

      Re:

      Probably lower.

       

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      senshikaze (profile), Dec 11th, 2009 @ 1:31pm

      Re:

      if all of the pirated movies had been paid for, yes it would have been larger, but you have to ask this:

      how many people who pirated would have paid for it if they couldn't pirate it?

      i would actually bet that the studios made money off some of the "pirates", either through theater sales or DVD sales after the movie was released. Yes, some pirated and never paid, but i doubt all.

       

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        TheStupidOne, Dec 11th, 2009 @ 1:52pm

        Re: Re:

        Like me! I "pirated" the new star trek because i couldn't make it to the theater to see it :( but i bought the blu-ray a few months later.

         

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      anonymous jew, Dec 11th, 2009 @ 1:37pm

      Re:

      "Imagine what the numbers would be if all those pirated copies had been paid for."


      Why? The point is that "piracy" is not "destroying" the industry.

       

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      Esahc (profile), Dec 11th, 2009 @ 1:39pm

      Re:

      The same.

       

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    •  
      identicon
      ., Dec 11th, 2009 @ 1:46pm

      Re:

      People can dream is free have no copyrights, patents or trademarks yet :)

      But if you want to venture a guess you have to look at past growth patterns, at which point you would conclude that it probably wouldn't make any difference at all.

       

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    •  
      identicon
      Richard, Dec 11th, 2009 @ 2:58pm

      Re:

      I'm guessing about the same?? If someone takes in a movie its and event, if someone downloads a move it's an incident. As in, they may not even watch it, and if they do... well that doesn't mean they would have went to see it.

      See.. especially when you're talking about movie theater, it's really common for someone to download the move then they go see it in the theater. Well I guess if the movie sucks (as most tend to do these days) then I suppose you missed out on screwing a few thousand folks out of their hard earned money. Don't fret the administration is working hard to get you the police powers you deserve. You'll be throwing the book at those that want to avoid getting taken by a movie, as opposed to taking in a movie.

       

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      The Groove Tiger (profile), Dec 11th, 2009 @ 3:12pm

      Re:

      "Imagine what the numbers would be if all those pirated copies had been paid for."

      Imagine what the numbers would be if they stopped whining about pirates! Higher, I'd bet.

       

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 11th, 2009 @ 2:04pm

    Imagine what the sales figure would be if they distributed the movies in the various forms that the public is demanding.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 11th, 2009 @ 2:22pm

      Re:

      Can't do that, those people might copy it and give it to thier frends, stealing even more money from the movie industry!!

       

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    AC, Dec 11th, 2009 @ 2:25pm

    tired

    I'm getting pretty tired of the MPAA and associated parties. At least the recording industry is seeing a reduction in sales of recorded music (CDs). The movie industry hasn't changed anything and they are still making money hand over fist. If they made $9 Billion in 2008 and stand to make $10 Billion in 2009, that's > 10% growth. How many industries can claim that? In a recession no less. It's infuriating. It would take a huge pair of brass to complain to your boss about not making enough money after he/she gives you a 10% raise for doing the same job you did the previous year.

     

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    Nicholas Moline (profile), Dec 11th, 2009 @ 2:46pm

    Movies in a recession

    Actually studies show that during recessions attendance at movie theaters actually goes up. See when you can't afford to make big purchases for entertainment (like go on vacation, or buy a new video game console or going to theme parks), most people compensate by enjoying more "simple" pleasures, top of that list, going out to the movies. They may end up spending less money on concessions, but attendances at the theaters actually goes up during a recession. Here's one of the many articles I found (in a google search just now saying that), note, I didn't write the article and don't necessarily agree with everything in it: http://www.filmjournal.com/filmjournal/content_display/columns-and-blogs/in-focus/e3i81e87508 e923955fb433337796dfeee9

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 11th, 2009 @ 2:55pm

      Re: Movies in a recession

      You are correct. Movie night out is often one of the cheapest "nights out" that someone can have, certainly cheaper than going out to dinner, and let's not even talk about spending a few hours in the local bar / night spot.

      It's a cheap date.

       

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        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2009 @ 8:47pm

        Re: Re: Movies in a recession

        Don't know where you're eating, but dinner out with my partner certainly isn't more expensive than a movie!

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 11th, 2009 @ 2:48pm

    um duh.. unemployed people don't have much to do, so they need more entertainment. Also movie industry strives not because of, but in spite of, piracy. The fact is most people don't understand how to even obtain pirated movies, if they did, then perhaps there would be more of a problem.

     

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    Simple Mind, Dec 11th, 2009 @ 3:00pm

    Unemployed People

    Unemployed people have nothing to do. They go to the movies to keep from being bored.

     

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    Bob, Dec 11th, 2009 @ 3:06pm

    Is it really a record?

    I was thinking are more people really going to the movies or are these figures based on dollars. I remember when movies cost half the price they do now. Look at it this way if you are charging more and the same number of people are going, of course you would make more money!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 11th, 2009 @ 3:16pm

    Want to stamp out piracy? Produce your goods at reasonable prices. Kind of hard to go through the effort of downloading a movie when I can pick one up for $5. Instead, you charge $20-35 for movies.

    Your prices drive people to find alternatives. Fix the real problem here.

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Endless Source of Useless Information, Dec 11th, 2009 @ 4:22pm

      Re:

      Agreed. Quit ripping people off and maybe pirates will start paying to see your movies. Grossing $9 billion in 2008 and a projected $10 billion in 2009, I think you could afford to charge a little less, No?

      I love when DVD's go on sale, or even Blu-Rays, it shows you a glimpse of how much mark-up is placed on them. I worked at(hate to say it) Circuit City for half a year and was always amazed to see how much mark-up was placed on various items, DVD's, TV's, and iPods especially.

       

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    Freedom is Freeloading, Dec 11th, 2009 @ 4:22pm

    ...

    Domestic box office usually represents about a third of a films total revenue. The other 2/3 are the downstream markets which are atrophying faster than DBO is growing which is why this has also been a record year for Hollywood layoffs.

    As for "more movies being made", that's a bit like judging the health of a star by the light you see today. The movies coming out now, were by and large, secured of financing some two or three years prior during a time when securing financing was much easier for a myriad of reasons. It would be more accurate to look at the production slate for the next twelve to twenty four months and in doing so it will immediately become apparent that production is NOT on the rise nor even holding steady. All the numbers show studio output will be declining dramatically in the next few years and indeed this is the exact strategy they've been outlining in their shareholder reports for at least the last twelve months.

    Finally, cinema attendance has been about the same since the early eighties. Given that, it is easy to see how the waning reliability of downstream markets is having such a ripple effect throughout every corner of the industry.

    It would take a huge pair of brass to complain to your boss about not making enough money after he/she gives you a 10% raise for doing the same job you did the previous year.


    This is an oversimplification of such profound ignorance I would be amazed if Masnick didn't immediately hire you on as a regular staff writer.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Damo, Dec 11th, 2009 @ 4:38pm

    Hmm, I pirate...
    Why?
    Price?
    Now drop the price of over priced content, to an affordable level...
    I become a normal consumer and so do most the other pirates...
    They have more money, we pay less is it so hard.
    Another thought you buy Star Wars on DVD, you have bought the rights for that content, why should you have to buy it again on Blu Ray?
    Why not send your proof of purchase and you only pay for the disc and freight as you already own the rights to view it?
    VHS > DVD > Blueray. Could trebile the price of one product.

     

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    identicon
    Lobo Santo's Ugly Cat, Dec 11th, 2009 @ 6:56pm

    Actually, I have to laugh.

    Not more than a month or so ago, Mike was getting all uppity because the number of movie releases had gone up so much. Now he is all uppity that they also made more money. Yet, basic math shows that they are making LESS money for every release on average. Hmmm.

    So then you go looking for what is up. Well, with a significantly higher number of releases, and with movies often making the majority of their money in theaters in the first 10-14 days, perhaps they have done a better job at hitting the sweet spot, and the quickly changing list of movies at the local theater is giving people a reason to buy (new movies, short term, see it now or wait 6 months for the DVD).

    In the end, it all doesn't matter, the average release made much less money this year, but the costs aren't dropping, so yeah, Hollywood is still facing a squeeze.

     

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    •  
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      PaulT (profile), Dec 11th, 2009 @ 11:53pm

      Re:

      Judging by other threads recently, you must the most recent troll. Random attacks on Mike for being "uppity" (huh?) for pointing out that the industry's claims of dropping revenues and lower production are both false. Some non sequitur conclusions based on shaky premises. Yeah...

      "Well, with a significantly higher number of releases, and with movies often making the majority of their money in theaters in the first 10-14 days, perhaps they have done a better job at hitting the sweet spot, and the quickly changing list of movies at the local theater is giving people a reason to buy (new movies, short term, see it now or wait 6 months for the DVD)."

      Erm, aren't these all positives? Haven't you just admitted Mike's point that despite the rise in "piracy", the studios have reaped rewards by giving people a reason to buy? In that case, what's your problem with Mike's article?

      "the average release made much less money this year, but the costs aren't dropping, "

      Hmmm... actually you're wrong from both ends. The signals are that costs are dropping - or at least should be. That is to say that while the most "successful" movies in terms of total revenue were those costing $200+ million (Transformers 2, Harry Potter), they weren't the most profitable. The most profitable movies this year were movies like The Hangover, New Moon, Paranormal Activity and District 9 - all highly profitable and costing less than $50 million. They were vastly in profit before Michael Bay's explosion bill was paid for.

      As for "the average release made less money", where are you getting those figures? If you reach that by simply dividing the total revenue by the total number of movies then, yeah, you will get a lower number due to the higher number of limited releases. But I'm seeing 27 movies that have broken the $100 million barrier this year - comparable to previous years, as well as a comparable drop off lower down the chart. In other words, despite there being more movies, the success/failure ratio is pretty much the same as previous years.

       

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        identicon
        Lobo Santo's Ugly Cat, Dec 12th, 2009 @ 6:04pm

        Re: Re:

        Haven't you just admitted Mike's point that despite the rise in "piracy", the studios have reaped rewards by giving people a reason to buy?

        Nope, you have to think past the end of your nose.

        The movies aren't making any long term money, it's all short term. DVD piracy is at an all time high, retail sales are dropping off. So what happens? The movie makes an even high percentage of it's total take at the box off, and the average movie is in the theaters for a shorter time (generating less income) which in turn doesn't offset the increase in productions and production costs.

        Double the product made, but only a slight increase in sales likely makes for a poorer bottom line. The pie is slightly larger, but there are twice as many slices, so your slice is much skinnier than it was before.

        As for "the average release made less money", where are you getting those figures? If you reach that by simply dividing the total revenue by the total number of movies then, yeah, you will get a lower number

        Hence why we call it an AVERAGE! As for the number of movies breaking 100 million, if the number is similar to last year, but there are twice as many productions (Mike has been all over this number) then the reality is a much lower percentage of films are in fact "making it big" at the box office. Now add to that lower DVD sales, etc... you can figure it out.

        The other thing too is this: With more movies on the docket, and with a limited number of channels for PPV movies, etc, the movie markers also lose out here. Either their movie runs less time in PPV, or a lower percentage of the movies get PPV time. So once again, while the revenue numbers here may be better or worse, the reality is that the same number divided over twice as many films means on AVERAGE (there is that word again) they made half as much here as well.

        It's all in the numbers, I am taking two items that Mike is swearing is true and drawing the only logical conclusion from them. I would love to see Mr Econ101 refute that.

         

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        •  
          icon
          Nicholas Moline (profile), Dec 13th, 2009 @ 6:26pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          An increase in the number of movies resulting in a decrease in the amount of time a movie is at the theater and a decrease in the amount of time the movie has to do well on PPV does not mean that piracy is the problem, in fact the problems you mention have absolutely nothing to do with piracy, but everything to do with an over-saturated marketplace.

          It is true that there are far too many movies coming out, and competing for the same amount of screens, so they spend less time in theaters. Also IMAX is becoming a bigger and bigger fighting ground for movie placement as more and more movies are taking advantage of these larger formats.

          This year there were two big fiascos that I can recall when it came to IMAX, "Star Trek" only having 2 weeks in IMAX despite huge demand for it to be on more screens, and Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince not coming out on IMAX until weeks after it was out in normal theaters despite their special IMAX 3D offering, because of competition with Transformers already having leased the screens.

           

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          identicon
          Different AC, Dec 13th, 2009 @ 8:59pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          No no no, we can't argue with him. He's obviously a much better economist than these people who put out these studies that say he's full of horse shit.

           

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    •  
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      Almost Anonymous (profile), Dec 14th, 2009 @ 11:29am

      Re:

      Dude, you're not even up to Econ 101 yet, you still need to take remedial math.

      We must assume that there is a finite "pool" of money. Further, there is a finite amount of money from that pool that people are willing to spend on movies. Thus, if you spread this pool (which is larger this year than ever) across every release (to get your average, which is really a fallacy), then yes, the average release might have made less money. However, as I noted, this is a logical fallacy, there really isn't any such thing as an "average release". As for costs not dropping, give me a break, who cares? It's been pointed out OVER and OVER that high production cost does not equal a good movie (read "movie that people want to watch and spend lots of money on").

      The total industry is growing, they have absolutely nothing to complain about.

       

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  •  
    identicon
    Corn Farmer, Dec 11th, 2009 @ 6:57pm

    Please - stop killing Me and My family

    My kids are starving because of you pirates, have you no mercy? Please pay the big hollywood fat cats so that I may make a meager living and put food on the table. This winter my kids are going to have to walk to school and they do not have boots to wear and they will have to jump from fence post to fence post for many miles up hill both ways.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 11th, 2009 @ 10:12pm

    the INDUSTRY is killing the INDUSTRY. Nuff' Said!

     

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    Mosefund, Dec 12th, 2009 @ 9:48am

    The sooner Hollywood stops making generic mind-numbing crap, the sooner we'll take the chance and actually pay to see a movie.

     

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    identicon
    5-10 year copyright, Dec 12th, 2009 @ 1:17pm

    5-10 year copyright

    and imagine oif the CRIA paid its bills
    and didnt rip off canadians for the cdr levy which it doubled this year

    6 billion to artists 450 million to canadians

    yup 1st poster was right
    imagine if all there fraud was paid

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Andrew D. Todd, Dec 14th, 2009 @ 8:26am

    Look Up The Statistics

    If you look at the figures below, you will notice that theater admissions are essentially stagnant, and have been since the advent of the internet, well before many people had enough bandwidth to be torrent-ing movies. Box Office growth has come overwhelmingly from increases in ticket price. Significant numbers of theaters have gone out of business, even as the number of screens has increased. The average screen shows to something like a hundred people a day, or perhaps twenty people per screening.

    I suggest that what this means is that the movie _exhibition_ industry is "involuting," concentrating down around the multiplex at the shopping mall, prime thirteen-year-old-girl habitat, adjacent to the food court, catering to fewer, but steadier customers. This of course reflects itself in the trend to things like vampire movies. It has been noted that there is a certain sort of teenage girl who sees the current heart-throb movie, ten times running.

    My view is that the movie exhibition market doesn't have a whole lot to do with the movie-- it has a lot to do with renting chairs in a darkened room. That, in turn, has more to do with people's domestic circumstances than with anything else. People who attend really a lot of movies-- fifty a year, or more-- have something at home which they need to get away from fairly frequently.
    =================================================================
    2009 figures: Admissions, 1.4 billion; Ticket Price, $7.46; Box Office, $10.6 billion.

    http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/wireStory?id=9303449
    ============================== ==================================
    Selected Statistings, National Association of Theater Owners

    Year; Admissions; Ticket Price; Box Office
    2008 1.363 bil., $7.18, $9.78 bil.
    2000 1.383 bil., $5.39, $7.468 bil.
    1987 1.09 bil., $3.91, $4.25 bil.

    Year; U.S. Cinema Sites; Screens

    2008; 5,786; 38, 834
    2000; 6,992; 36,280
    1995; 7,744; 27,843

    http://www.natoonline.org/index.php
    =========================================================

     

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      identicon
      The Anti-Mike, Dec 14th, 2009 @ 8:51am

      Re: Look Up The Statistics

      Year; Admissions; Ticket Price; Box Office
      2008 1.363 bil., $7.18, $9.78 bil.
      2000 1.383 bil., $5.39, $7.468 bil.
      1987 1.09 bil., $3.91, $4.25 bil.


      pretty much sums it up, it shows that over 8 years, the movie industry isn't selling any more tickets, just selling them for more money. Considering it costs significantly more to make a movie in 2008 than it did in 2000, well... you can figure out the rest.

      Once again, it would appear that Mike over jumped the deal without checking the numbers.

       

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    identicon
    Brit, Dec 15th, 2009 @ 10:07am

    Once you adjust for inflation...

    Things aren't quite so clear cut as the article suggests. Once you include adjustments for inflation, things don't look as bright for the movie industry. In inflation-adjusted dollars, 2002 was the peak year. Here's my writeup on the box office numbers:
    http://www.atomicboysoftware.com/blog/2009/12/hollywood-box-office-numbers-and-piracy/

     

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    identicon
    online bollywood movies, Jul 26th, 2010 @ 5:49am

    It is true that there are too many films coming out and competing for the same amount of screens, so they spend less time in theaters. IMAX is also a basis for more and more fights for the location of the movie that the film increasingly taking advantage of these great formats.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    marilynmorado, Sep 2nd, 2010 @ 1:21pm

    Attendance Recording

    If you need an attendance recording system I recommend using http://www.ghg.com I use them for my company for my employees and when we have festivals to keep track of people, supplies, etc.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Best gaming PC, Dec 6th, 2010 @ 5:35am

    Piracy

    Instead of complaining about their movies being pirated, why don't the movie producers release the DVD copies about a day or two after the first showing? By then, pirated DVDs won't sell out, because the original DVD is already there. Best Gaming PC

     

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    Jamil, Dec 7th, 2010 @ 12:42pm

    Timesheet software

    Our company is small but growing fast, and outgrew our Excel timesheets. We are now using Pacific Timesheet Software for the last few months and it has really streamlined time tracking, time report and billing. We added payroll integration last month to integrate with our Lawson system, and have seen near 100% adoption across the company. I hope this helps! Jamil
    Pacific Timesheet - Web Time Tracking Software

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Ticket2movies, Dec 13th, 2011 @ 12:21am

    watch online movies

    A website where you can watch all the new movies, absolutely free!!!
    You can request for your favorite movies and we will upload them for you within no time. Both Hollywood and Bollywood movies are available.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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