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.

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Comments on “Video Games Don't Hurt Movie Sales If You Make Good Movies”

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Ajax 4Hire (profile) says:

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.

Matt says:

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.

Sean says:

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.

Pilotman says:

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.

Sean says:


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.

dorpass says:

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.

Chris says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: 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.

Jess says:

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.

John (profile) says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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

PaulT (profile) says:

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!

PaulT (profile) says:

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.

buckykat says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:


“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…

Inspector Gadget (user link) says:

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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