Hollywood Keeps Breaking Box Office Records... While Still Insisting That The Internet Is Killing Movies

from the because-if-the-story-sounds-good,-why-bother-with-the-facts dept

Hollywood is still 100% focused on trying to blame the internet for any of its woes, mostly with bogus attacks on internet companies it doesn't like. And yet... it seems to keep on setting box office records. The latest is that Universal Pictures has broken a new record in bringing in $2 billion in box office revenue faster than any other studio in history, pushed over the top by the successful opening weekend of "Straight Outta Compton" (a movie that seems to have some big fans in Silicon Valley).
Thanks to the overperformance of N.W.A biopic “Straight Outta Compton,” Universal Pictures is tracking to cross the $2 billion mark at the domestic box office on Saturday, setting a new speed record in doing so.

Universal’s historic climb will break Warner Bros.’ previous record of reaching $2 billion by December 25, 2009. The studio is also extremely likely to break the record for all-time domestic box office high, which was set by WB in 2009 with $2.1 billion.
That does not sound like an industry that is having a problem getting people into the theaters, even if the movies are available via infringement. But, people will argue, these services are actually harming the "home video" revenue stream. But that's questionable as well. First off, it was Hollywood that angrily fought against ever allowing a home video market in the first place (remember that?). And, more to the point, we've seen over and over again that when the industry actually adapts and offers content in a reasonable format at a reasonable fee, people will pay at home, just like they do in theaters.

But, of course, due to continued Hollywood confusion and jealousy, it's still holding back lots of movies from Netflix streaming -- one successful service that has shown that it's totally possible to "compete" with infringing content.

So, again, it's confusing as to what Hollywood's real complaint is. It's shown that if it makes good films, people will go out to the theaters to see them, rather than just watch them online. And if it offers them in a reasonable manner for a reasonable price online, people will pay for that as well. And yet, it doesn't do a very good job of this and then blames the internet for its own failures to adapt. Seems like a weird strategy. If I were an investor in those companies, I'd wonder why they've spent the better part of two decades so focused on "stopping piracy" rather than doing a better job delivering what the public wants.

Filed Under: adapting, box office, business models, hollywood, internet, movies, records
Companies: netflix, universal pictures

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  1. icon
    PaulT (profile), 18 Aug 2015 @ 6:39am


    "One factor inflation, ticket prices go up so, a film can break records and make millions cos a a movie ticket is 10 dollars vs 5 dollars in the 80s ."

    So? By definition in that case, they've increased their revenue even if they're doing so from a smaller number of ticket sales. In fact, this is by design, as one of the reasons for pushing things like 3D and digital projection is to allow them to charge more money for a lower long term overhead - even as many audience members feel they get a lower quality product as a result.

    The amount by which a ticket price has risen can be overstated (see http://www.boxofficemojo.com/yearly/) - it's certainly more than the 80s, but so is everything. Also, attendance is down compared to a peak in the early 2000s, but there's actually more tickets being sold than in the 80s. On top of that, there's more movies to watch in theatres. OK, there may be a lot of short run and limited releases included in that, but most of those films are using it as a marketing tactic rather than trying to break even on cinema tickets alone. That's not a bad thing.

    "They have given up renting or buying dvd,s .
    Its alot cheaper to subscribe to netflix or a movie channel than buy dozens of dvds"

    Now, here you have an actual point, but as you note, it's got nothing to do with piracy. There was a time where it could be almost as cheap to buy a new release DVD as it would be to rent a couple of times, especially when late fees, large store using them as loss leaders and other factors were considered. But today, most general audiences have realised they don't watch them enough to justify the prices after all, especially when there's Netflix and other services around. They're also lost a part of the market like myself, film fans who love to see documentaries, commentaries, etc. but got tired of being double and triple dipped. I tend to restrict myself to carefully considered purchases rather than buying a bunch of discs at once that lose resale value immediately and may take me a while to even watch.

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