Saturday, December 26, 2009

$10 Billion?

Over at Alt Film Guide, there's an interesting look at what this year's $10 billion box office really means. Is it a record year for film views, or is it a figure that simply hides the decline of the film industry as a cultural force?
While notes that there was a rise in ticket sales this year over last--a five percent actual rise--but that there was also a rise in ticket prices that helps mask any fall-off in sales. Box Office Mojo breaks it down into numbers of tickets sold; 1,403 billion tickets in 2009. But, to keep that in perspective, 2002 saw sales of 1,575 billion tickets. But (and this is a big but) back in 1947 when the population of the US was only 144 million, an estimated 90 million people went to the movies every week. That would translate into ticket sales of 4,680 billion, or three times the ticket sales of 2009. And that in a world without blockbuster or tentpole movies costing close to a half-billion to make (Variety reported that Avatar cost ~460 billion).

From, the top 10 films of 1947:

  1. Welcome Stranger
  2. The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer
  3. The Egg and I
  4. Unconquered
  5. Life With Father
  6. Forever Amber
  7. Road to Rio
  8. Green Dolphin Street
  9. Mother Wore Tights
  10. Cass Timberlane
I'm actually surprised at how few of these films I've seen.

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