Archive for the ‘Box Office’ Category

Why don’t American horror movies make more money internationally?

May 6, 2019

Why don’t American horror movies make more money internationally?

At The Measured Circle, we track the box office regularly. Here’s is our list for 2019:

2019 The Measured Circle’s Most Profitable Movies at IMDb

Movies have to make $40 million in domestic gross (I say “dogro”) to get on the list…there are 19 movies on there at time of writing.

No surprise that the top two movies, in terms of the amount of profit (we calculate profit based on the reported budget vs. dogro) are Captain Marvel and Avengers: Endgame. However, combine their two budgets, and it’s over half a billion dollars.

The third movie, Us, is in one of the genres with the best return on investment. That’s when you look at the percentage of profit, rather than the gross amount of profit. Us is Double Golden (on a reported budget of $20 million)…here is our scale on those awards:

  • Dogro 2X production budget = “Money”
  • Dogro 3X production budget = “Golden”
  • Dogro 30X production budget = “Platinum” (God’s Not Dead prompted the creation of this new award)
  • Dogro less than 50% of production budget= “Underperformer”

Captain Marvel has gotten to the “Money” level (which is a considerable accomplishment for a movie with an over $100m budget), and Avengers: Endgame will get there.

Every year, there are horror movies with small budgets that have a great ROI. They tend to be a flash in the pan…having a great opening weekend, then maybe riding for a week or two more, but that’s the bulk of it.

Recently, I’ve been looking more at the international box office impact. In July of 2017, we added the “Road Winner” award, for movies which make at least two-thirds of their box office with what Box Office Mojo (which is where I get these numbers) calls international.

Success overseas is definitely part of the Marvel story. Endgame’s dogro percentage is only 28.3% (this is all based on the updating I did earlier today), and Captain Marvel is 37.6%.

Four of the 19 movies on the list are Road Winners. More than half of the movies have a dogro percentage under 50%…they make more money internationally than domestically.

Two genres tend not to make much of their money internationally: comedy and horror.

Comedy makes sense to me intuitively. It is often very language-based, making translation or even dubbing a complex proposition. Puns, in particular, are going to be difficult.

The author Scott Calvin (who is my sibling)

Scott Calvin’s Amazon Author Central page (at AmazonSmile*)

suggested (when I posed the question about horror movies on Twitter) that it could be culturally based. What is scary in one culture might not be scary in another, perhaps due to familiarity with the subject. A car, for example, might be scarier in a society that doesn’t use them regularly (that’s my example, not Scott’s) than it would be for one where they are constantly present.

I’m not sure that’s it, though. Horror movies often take something very familiar and tweak it a bit. There are several American horror movies with cars/trucks as the “monsters” (Christine, The Car, Duel…).

I would also think that a slasher is scary in any culture.

Interestingly, I would say that foreign horror movies have done reasonably well in the USA, my guess would be as well as other genres. In the past decade or two, Japanese horror movies have done quite well here. There is a whole “school” of Italian horror movies called “giallo”. The British studio Hammer has made a definite impression here.

It occurred to me that maybe a movie like Us just isn’t released internationally, but that’s not the case. When I checked, it was released in more than 50 countries, and not dissimilar to Avengers: Endgame.

Humor and horror do have a lot in common. I’ve actually taught people about the use of humor, and I find the best way to understand it is that laughter is a signal that there is apparent danger (it can be social danger), but no real danger.

That’s very tricky even within the same general culture. People make jokes about their own group (using a stereotype, for instance), and it can be seen as funny within that group (because it is clearly seen as not really representing a danger). If someone from outside the group made the same joke to the same group, it might be seen as offensive.

That is similar to what Scott had said, although I think it may be have less to do with familiarity with the threat source than with the language subtlety around it (which would be like humor)…the threat might be imperceptible to someone without a thorough grasp of idiom and shared culture.

I’m just guessing, though. 😉

I still think it’s possible that there is some strategic decision made, perhaps not to spend much on promotion…but that might be based on past experience with low box office returns.

Any ideas? Why do you think American horror movies don’t make much of their money internationally? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

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Bufo’s Alexa Skills

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog.

Just published: The Measured Circle’s 2018 Box Office MVPs

January 25, 2019

Just published: The Measured Circle’s 2018 Box Office MVPs

Well, I’ve just finished crunching the numbers and published the

2018 The Measured Circle’s Box Office MVPs

list at IMDb!

That doesn’t mean that it won’t still change…there are certainly 2018 releases (especially those released late in the year) which are making money, and an Oscar bump could have an impact after those awards are announced on February 24th.

Still, it doesn’t look to me like people are likely to be added…more that standings might change.

The Mule is very likely to break $100m dogro (domestic gross), but I think the cast members of that movie who are to make the list have already done so.

The Oscar bump may bring some movies up to $40m which aren’t now but I think what you can see is going to be the vast majority of MVPs.

To briefly explain how you get on the list (the complete explanation is part of the list):

  • You need to be first-billed in a movie which dogros $100m
  • You need to also appear in another movie which dogros at least $40m, but you need not be first-billed

Our #1 MVP this year was…Letitia Wright!

Like several of her co-stars in Black Panther (the top four all appeared in that movie), she also appeared in Avengers: Infinity War. Unlike Chadwick Boseman, Danai Gurira, and Winston Duke, she had a third movie: Ready Player One. That gave her a list total of $1,511.6m ($1,511,600,000…give or take, since we round the numbers to a single decimal digit).

Congratulations, Letitia!

There are a lot of newcomers to the list, probably reflecting the more diverse movies last year.

Here is the list…the amounts are in millions of dollars of dogro for the qualifying movies:

Name 2018
Letitia Wright 1516.6
Danai Gurira 1378.9
Chadwick Boseman 1378.9
Winston Duke 1378.9
Samuel L. Jackson 1287.4
Chris Pratt 1096.5
Josh Brolin 1047.4
Angela Bassett 1038.1
Bradley Cooper 981.5
Benedict Cumberbatch 949.1
Sope Aluko 913.6
Paul Bettany 892.6
Michael B. Jordan 815.4
Sterling K. Brown 751.1
Florence Kasumba 751.1
Daniel Kaluuya 742.4
Chris Hemsworth 724.6
Craig T. Nelson 677.2
Holly Hunter 658.7
Randall Park 524.5
Toby Jones 516.9
Alan Tudyk 513.1
Patrick Wilson 493.1
Alec Baldwin 473.6
T.J. Miller 456.2
Tye Sheridan 456.2
Dolph Lundgren 432.2
Angela Lansbury 431.5
Woody Harrelson 427.3
Hannah John-Kamen 412.6
Carter Hastings 408.0
Emily Blunt 391.4
Judy Greer 375.9
Leigh Whannell 375.6
Michael Peña 362.9
Simon Pegg 357.9
James Corden 338.7
Mika Kubo 334.4
Walton Goggins 332.9
Kathryn Hahn 329.4
Rashida Jones 325.0
Julie Walters 324.0
Zoë Kravitz 320.9
Awkwafina 314.7
Laurence Fishburne 314.4
Ólafur Darri Ólafsson 304.4
Andy Garcia 287.0
Meryl Streep 281.8
Colin Firth 281.8
Liang Chang 280.1
Hailee Steinfeld 279.7
Kurt Yue 268.2
Chris Pine 262.4
Michelle Williams 262.3
Aidan Gillen 260.8
Michael Harney 247.2
Mindy Kaling 240.7
Taraji P. Henson 238.1
Henry Golding 228.0
Ken Jeong 221.2
Miles Robbins 219.6
Keegan-Michael Key 218.5
Taissa Farmiga 215.3
Chris Parnell 214.2
Deirdre Goodwin 209.7
Cate Blanchett 208.7
Drew Scheid 206.0
Victor Rasuk 198.2
Jack Quaid 184.3
Rose Byrne 183.0
John Cena 178.1
Omid Djalili 175.5
Dwayne Johnson 169.4
Elizabeth Debicki 157.6
Eric Johnson 153.9
Sakina Jaffrey 149.0
P.J. Byrne 143.9

For more details (such as which movies make up the number), please see that IMDb list at 2018 The Measured Circle’s Box Office MVPs.

Congratulations to all the winners!

Join thousands of readers and try the free The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard our The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project (AKA Enwoven)! Join the TMCGTT Timeblazers!

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog

2018 The Measured Circle’s most profitable movies: looking back

January 15, 2019

2018 The Measured Circle’s most profitable movies: looking back

For years, The Measured Circle has tracked not only box office, but profitability.

We do it at IMDb…this year’s is here:

https://www.imdb.com/list/ls022217945/

I like to take a look at it in the beginning of the following year, even though it will change quite a bit over the next couple of months. Some very big movies open very late in the year, and then there is the phenomenon of the “Oscar Bump”. This tends to benefit “art house” movies more than blockbusters, and that may be through getting a wide release after having a limited release. Still, that can make a difference of tens of millions of dollars.

I’m going to first reproduce the introduction at IMDb, then the values, and finally, I’ll give you some of my thoughts on it.


While tracking a movie’s box office is fascinating, The Measured Circle is also interested in how profitable a movie is.

This list of movies making a domestic gross (“dogro”) of at least $40 million in the USA in 2018 ranks them in order, based on their dogro against their rumored production budgets. Certainly there are other costs (including the not inconsiderable marketing budget) and other income (including foreign box office and merchandising), but this can give us an interesting picture.

Expect studios to look at these types of results, and sometimes greenlight projects based on them (although it’s hard to resist spending a $100 million on a possible blockbuster).

Note that recent releases will typically appear lower on this list than their eventual results. If they were in the top ten the weekend before the list is updated, they will normally be marked with “and counting”.

Movies where the rumored production budget is not available on IMDb (or elsewhere…we prefer using BoxOfficeMojo, which, like IMDb, is owned by Amazon, but which have dogroed at least $40m in 2017 in the USA appear at the bottom of the list. They may be more profitable than many of the movies above them, but we can’t do the math on them.

As a new feature (introduced in 2013), we’ve decided to label movies, to make this clearer. A traditional measure of success is the dogro being twice the production budget. Using that as a starting point…

Dogro 2X production budget = “Money”
Dogro 3X production budget = “Golden”
Dogro 30X production budget = “Platinum” (God’s Not Dead prompted the creation of this new award)

Dogro less than 50% of production budget= “Underperformer”

Starting in July 2017, we added another Measured Circle Award: Road Winner. These movies have at least 2/3rds of their box office from “foreign”, per BoxOfficeMojo. While we specifically focus on US box office, that can help explain why, for example, a sequel might be made to a movie which was an Underperformer. This number is also particularly unstable in the early part of a movie’s release, since movies don’t open in all markets simultaneously. For that reason, not every movie that qualifies may show the award, and it’s possible we’ll award a movie and then the percentages will change.


Title DoGro ProdBud Profit % Intl Award Road Winner
Black Panther 700.1 200 500.1 350% 646.9 Golden
Incredibles 2 608.6 200 408.6 304% 634.1 Golden
Avengers: Infinity War 678.8 300 378.8 226% 1370 Money Yes
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom 417.7 170 247.7 246% 891.8 Money Yes
Deadpool 2 318.5 110 208.5 290% 419.1 Money
Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch 269.6 75 194.6 359% 235.1 Golden
A Quiet Place 188 17 171 1106% 152.9 Triple Golden
A Star Is Born 203.6 36 167.6 566% 200 Golden
Halloween 159.3 10 149.3 1593% 94.3 Quintuple Golden
Bohemian Rhapsody 198.5 52 146.5 382% 553.4 Golden Yes
Crazy Rich Asians 174.5 30 144.5 582% 64 Golden
Aquaman 287.9 160 127.9 180% 732.4 Yes
Venom 213.4 100 113.4 213% 642.2 Money Yes
The Nun 117.5 22 95.5 534% 248.1 Golden Yes
Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation 167.5 80 87.5 209% 359.8 Money Yes
I Can Only Imagine 83.5 7 76.5 1193% 0 Triple Golden
Ocean’s 8 140.2 70 70.2 200% 157.5 Money
Peter Rabbit 115.3 50 65.3 231% 236 Money Yes
Creed II 114.9 50 64.9 230% 51.7 Money
Book Club 68.6 10 58.6 686% 0 Double Golden
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse 147.8 90 57.8 164% 154.6
The First Purge 69.5 13 56.5 535% 67.5 Golden
Ant-Man and the Wasp 216.6 162 54.6 134% 406
Night School 77.3 29 48.3 267% 25.6 Money
Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again 120.6 75 45.6 161% 274.1 Yes
Fifty Shades Freed 100.4 55 45.4 183% 271.5 Yes
Mission: Impossible – Fallout 220.2 178 42.2 124% 571 Yes
Breaking In 46.8 6 40.8 780% 4.6 Double Golden
The Mule 90.6 50 40.6 181% 3.6
The Equalizer 2 102.1 62 40.1 165% 88.3
Blockers 60.3 21 39.3 287% 33.7 Money
The House With a Clock in Its Wall 68.5 30 38.5 228% 62.9 Money
Overboard 50.3 12 38.3 419% 40.9 Golden
Truth or Dare 41.3 3.5 37.8 1180% 53.9 Triple Golden
Hereditary 44.1 10 34.1 441% 35.3 Golden
A Simple Favor 53.5 20 33.5 268% 43.5 Money
Tag 55 28 27 196% 23.4
Disney’s Christopher Robin 99.2 72.5 26.7 137% 98.4
Uncle Drew 42.5 18 24.5 236% 2.4 Money
Love, Simon 40.8 17 23.8 240% 25.5 Money
Tyler Perry’s Acrimony 43.5 20 23.5 218% 2.9 Money
Life of the Party 53.1 30 23.1 177% 12.8
Mary Poppins Returns 150.7 130 20.7 116% 137.2
Instant Family 66.7 48 18.7 139% 13.3
BlacKkKlansman 48.5 30 18.5 162% 40.9
I Feel Pretty 48.8 32 16.8 153% 45.7
Ralph Breaks the Internet 190.4 175 15.4 109% 243.7
The Meg 145.4 130 15.4 112% 384.8 Yes
Sicario: Day of the Soldado 50.1 35 15.1 143% 25.8
Den of Thieves 44.9 30 14.9 150% 35.6
Game Night 69.2 55 14.2 126% 69.2
Insidious: The Last Key 67.7 55 12.7 123% 100.1
Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween 46.7 35 11.7 133% 46.5
12 Strong 45.8 35 10.8 131% 21.6
Smallfoot 83.2 80 3.2 104% 130.9
Paddington 2 40.9 40 0.9 102% 186.4 Yes
A Wrinkle in Time 100.5 100 0.5 101% 100.5
Widows 42.2 42 0.2 100% 32.9
Maze Runner: The Death Cure 58 62 -4 94% 230.2 Yes
First Man 44.9 59 -14.1 76% 55.6
Sherlock Gnomes 43.2 59 -15.8 73% 47.1
Rampage 101 120 -19 84% 327 Yes
Red Sparrow 46.9 69 -22.1 68% 104.7 Yes
Bumblebee 108.3 135 -26.7 80% 258.1 Yes
Tomb Raider 58.3 94 -35.7 62% 216.4 Yes
The Predator 51 88 -37 58% 109.5 Yes
Ready Player One 137.7 175 -37.3 79% 445.2 Yes
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindewald 158.2 200 -41.8 79% 486.4 Yes
Skyscraper 68.4 125 -56.6 55% 236.5 Yes
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms 54.8 120 -65.2 46% 118.6 Yes
Solo: A Star Wars Story 213.8 300 -86.2 71% 179.2
Pacific Rim Uprising 60.3 150 -89.7 40% 231.1 Underperformer Yes

The first thing I’ll point out is that, in this group, close to 2/3rds of the money comes from international (61% of it…about a third are Road Winners, but those that are may make significantly more money abroad). That explains why some movies which don’t do that well domestically get sequels. While I haven’t specifically analyzed this, movies with a lot of dialogue don’t tend to do as well internationally as movies with action and visuals, which makes sense (although it’s possible that translation will get better in the future). Comedies tend to suffer from that: a comedy may not do as well in countries outside of its originating one…not just based on language. A joke which works in the USA may not work in the UK, and vice versa.

Within the use, the top ones in terms of gross profit are as you might expect: big budget and geek-friendly.

However, let’s look at this again, but this time, sorting by return on investment…percentages:

Title DoGro ProdBud Profit % Intl Award Road Winner
Halloween 159.3 10 149.3 1593% 94.3 Quintuple Golden
I Can Only Imagine 83.5 7 76.5 1193% 0 Triple Golden
Truth or Dare 41.3 3.5 37.8 1180% 53.9 Triple Golden
A Quiet Place 188 17 171 1106% 152.9 Triple Golden
Breaking In 46.8 6 40.8 780% 4.6 Double Golden
Book Club 68.6 10 58.6 686% 0 Double Golden
Crazy Rich Asians 174.5 30 144.5 582% 64 Golden
A Star Is Born 203.6 36 167.6 566% 200 Golden
The First Purge 69.5 13 56.5 535% 67.5 Golden
The Nun 117.5 22 95.5 534% 248.1 Golden Yes
Hereditary 44.1 10 34.1 441% 35.3 Golden
Overboard 50.3 12 38.3 419% 40.9 Golden
Bohemian Rhapsody 198.5 52 146.5 382% 553.4 Golden Yes
Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch 269.6 75 194.6 359% 235.1 Golden
Black Panther 700.1 200 500.1 350% 646.9 Golden
Incredibles 2 608.6 200 408.6 304% 634.1 Golden
Deadpool 2 318.5 110 208.5 290% 419.1 Money
Blockers 60.3 21 39.3 287% 33.7 Money
A Simple Favor 53.5 20 33.5 268% 43.5 Money
Night School 77.3 29 48.3 267% 25.6 Money
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom 417.7 170 247.7 246% 891.8 Money Yes
Love, Simon 40.8 17 23.8 240% 25.5 Money
Uncle Drew 42.5 18 24.5 236% 2.4 Money
Peter Rabbit 115.3 50 65.3 231% 236 Money Yes
Creed II 114.9 50 64.9 230% 51.7 Money
The House With a Clock in Its Wall 68.5 30 38.5 228% 62.9 Money
Avengers: Infinity War 678.8 300 378.8 226% 1370 Money Yes
Tyler Perry’s Acrimony 43.5 20 23.5 218% 2.9 Money
Venom 213.4 100 113.4 213% 642.2 Money Yes
Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation 167.5 80 87.5 209% 359.8 Money Yes
Ocean’s 8 140.2 70 70.2 200% 157.5 Money
Tag 55 28 27 196% 23.4
Fifty Shades Freed 100.4 55 45.4 183% 271.5 Yes
The Mule 90.6 50 40.6 181% 3.6
Aquaman 287.9 160 127.9 180% 732.4 Yes
Life of the Party 53.1 30 23.1 177% 12.8
The Equalizer 2 102.1 62 40.1 165% 88.3
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse 147.8 90 57.8 164% 154.6
BlacKkKlansman 48.5 30 18.5 162% 40.9
Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again 120.6 75 45.6 161% 274.1 Yes
I Feel Pretty 48.8 32 16.8 153% 45.7
Den of Thieves 44.9 30 14.9 150% 35.6
Sicario: Day of the Soldado 50.1 35 15.1 143% 25.8
Instant Family 66.7 48 18.7 139% 13.3
Disney’s Christopher Robin 99.2 72.5 26.7 137% 98.4
Ant-Man and the Wasp 216.6 162 54.6 134% 406
Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween 46.7 35 11.7 133% 46.5
12 Strong 45.8 35 10.8 131% 21.6
Game Night 69.2 55 14.2 126% 69.2
Mission: Impossible – Fallout 220.2 178 42.2 124% 571 Yes
Insidious: The Last Key 67.7 55 12.7 123% 100.1
Mary Poppins Returns 150.7 130 20.7 116% 137.2
The Meg 145.4 130 15.4 112% 384.8 Yes
Ralph Breaks the Internet 190.4 175 15.4 109% 243.7
Smallfoot 83.2 80 3.2 104% 130.9
Paddington 2 40.9 40 0.9 102% 186.4 Yes
A Wrinkle in Time 100.5 100 0.5 101% 100.5
Widows 42.2 42 0.2 100% 32.9
Maze Runner: The Death Cure 58 62 -4 94% 230.2 Yes
Rampage 101 120 -19 84% 327 Yes
Bumblebee 108.3 135 -26.7 80% 258.1 Yes
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindewald 158.2 200 -41.8 79% 486.4 Yes
Ready Player One 137.7 175 -37.3 79% 445.2 Yes
First Man 44.9 59 -14.1 76% 55.6
Sherlock Gnomes 43.2 59 -15.8 73% 47.1
Solo: A Star Wars Story 213.8 300 -86.2 71% 179.2
Red Sparrow 46.9 69 -22.1 68% 104.7 Yes
Tomb Raider 58.3 94 -35.7 62% 216.4 Yes
The Predator 51 88 -37 58% 109.5 Yes
Skyscraper 68.4 125 -56.6 55% 236.5 Yes
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms 54.8 120 -65.2 46% 118.6 Yes
Pacific Rim Uprising 60.3 150 -89.7 40% 231.1 Underperformer Yes

Doing that, the top ones tend to be lower budget (under $50m, certainly), and with horror movies (and faith-based, often) being the best investments. You need to get down to #15 before a movie which cost $100m to make gets our Golden award (profit three times production budget). Black Panther and Incredibles 2 (both Disney) are in that rarefied stratum: movies which cost over $100 to make (they both have reported estimated production budgets of $200m) but still got our Golden award.

Pacific Rim Uprising is an Underperformer (it’s too soon to make that call on Nutcracker), but it’s also a Road Winner, with hundreds of millions of dollars and close to 80% of the box office coming outside of dogro…so don’t be surprised if there is a third PacRim.

With so many other sources of income (streaming services, for one major one), movie studios seem to be figuring out how to keep from having big losers much more reliably.

See you in the movies!

Join thousands of readers and try the free The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard !

All aboard our The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Join the TMCGTT Timeblazers!

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog.

Box office 2018: A Year of No Flops?

July 19, 2018

Box office 2018: A Year of No Flops?

There have been some really big movie hits so far this year! We track the “most profitable” movies in this IMDb list:

2018 The Measured Circle’s Most Profitable Movies

That’s based on dogro (domestic gross) versus the production budget.

The most profitable movies by percentage don’t tend to be the most expensive to make…but this year, certainly, some expensive movies have been worth the investment.

  • Black Panther has an estimated production budget of $200 million…and has received our “Golden” award, for dogroing at least three times that. That’s not at all common for movies which cost over $100m to make, although it does happen (especially for Disney/Marvel movies)
  • Avengers: Infinity War, with an estimated production budget of $300 million, has profited over $300 million

Another category in the past few years has been relatively low budget movies which go on to break $100 million dogro. This year, A Quiet Place has a reported budget of $17 million, and has received our “Triple Golden” award (its dogro is more than 900 percent of its production budget).

However, something which has particularly stood out to me this year is the absence of what we call “Underperformers”: movies which dogro less than 50% of their production budgets.

After the Fourth of July weekend, there weren’t any.

While you might have guessed that A Wrinkle in Time, Rampage, or Ready Player One might have been on that list, they’ve all dogroed more than 50%.

Let’s compare that to other recent years.

2017: 2018 is continuing the trend of 2017, which had no underperformers at the end of the year.

2016:

Underperformer Sub-40s (budget at least $40.0m):

Gods of Egypt $31.1m (reported budget: $140.0m) | USA release date: 02/26/16 The Finest Hours $27.6m (reported budget: $80.0m) | USA release date 01/29/16 Ben-Hur $26.4m (reported budget: $100.0m) | USA release date 08/19/16 Free State of Jones $20.8m (reported budget: $50.0m) | USA release date 06/24/16 Keeping Up with the Joneses $14.9m (reported budget: $40.0m) | USA release date 10/21/16

2015:

Underachiever Sub-40s (prodbud at least $40.0m)

Seventh Son: $17.2m (reported budget: $95.0m) Blackhat: $7.9m (reported budget: $70.0m) Mortdecai: $7.7m (reported budget: $60.0m) The Last Witch Hunter $27.1m (reported budget: $90.0m) Pan $34.8m (reported budget: $150.0m) In the Heart of the Sea: $25.0m (reported budget: $100.0m) Point Break: $28.7m (reported budget: $105m)

2014:

Underachiever Sub-40s (budget at least $40.0m):

The Legend of Hercules: $18.8m= (reported budget: $70.0m) 27% I, Frankenstein: $19.1m (reported budget: $65.0m) 29% Transcendence: $23.0m (reported budget: $100.0m) 23% Pompeii $23.2m (reported budget: $100.0m) 23% Winter’s Tale $12.6m (reported budget: $60.0m) 21% Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return $8.5m (reported budget: $70.0m) 12%

2013:

We hadn’t by this point made the listing quite so easy to copy and paste, but there were severaL

  • Jack the Giant Slayer (34%)
  • After Earth (47%)
  • White House Down (49% when we last updated it….so it might have made it)
  • The Lone Ranger (42%)

It looks like 2018 proves that 2017 wasn’t a fluke…a flopless fluke, I suppose. 😉

What’s the reason?

My guess is that there are a few factors:

  • Movie studios may have become more cautious about what they release…there is a lot of competition now, and a lot of post-release value in movies. You want something that people want to stream later: a middling box office movie likely will be seen as a reasonable choice to watch at home, but a giant flop might not be
  • There are more data available to use to predict success…and it wouldn’t surprise me if algorithms are part of the prediction process
  • The studios have started to expand the audience, in part by elevating the prominence of the portrayal and production participation of various minority groups (not just ethnic)

I think it’s unlikely that we’ll see years in the near future with very many underperformers.

One other factor to note: the power of the international box office for American releases has been growing. In 2017, we added a “Road Winner” award, for movies that have at least 67% of their box office (according to BoxOfficeMojo) from “foreign” box office. That doesn’t change the Underperformer award, which is based just on dogro…but similar to the post-release value I mentioned above, a movie may do better in foreign markets if it did reasonably well in the domestic market.

I don’t think the strategy of going for “in the ballpark base hits” rather than swinging for the home run and increasing your strikeout risk has reduced innovation. The success of those low budget horror movies is based solidly on innovation…Get Out and A Quiet Place are well-made, original stories.

It will be interesting to see what happens going forward. Oh, and of course, knock virtual wood! 😉

See you in the movies!


 

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This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

Deadpool’s ROI is already 233%, beating all Marvel movies except…

February 14, 2016

Deadpool’s ROI is already 233%, beating all Marvel movies except…

Ryan Reynold’s R-rated Marvel superhero movie, Deadpool, has gotten off to a terrific start!

BoxOfficeMojo reports a weekend estimate (not counting Monday) of $135m dogro (domestic gross).

That’s really high, but it’s even more impressive when you consider that it was a relatively low budgeted movie for this genre, at $58m.

There were a lot of risks with it: the R-rating, Ryan Reynolds (who had had a disappointing starring role as DC’s Green Lantern before), the fact that it was in February, the lack of name recognition for the character (outside of the geek  community), the fact that this a 20th Century Fox movie (not a Disney Marvel movie), the weather back East…

This, though, is showing that Reynolds’ (who is also a producer) really hard work promoting the movie, as well as a solid marketing campaign, has paid off.

$135m is 233% of $58m (earning Deadpool The Measured Circle Award of “Money”)…and it’s just getting started.

Let’s compare that to other Marvel superhero movies.

Movie Budget Dogro Return
Spider-Man 139 409 294.24%
Marvel’s The Avengers 220 623 283.18%
Deadpool 58 135 232.76%
Iron Man 140 318 227.14%
X-Men 75 157 209.33%
Iron Man 3 200 409 204.50%
Guardians of the Galaxy 170 333 195.88%
X2: X-Men United 110 215 195.45%
Spider-Man 2 200 374 187.00%
Avengers: Age of Ultron 250 459 183.60%
Iron Man 2 200 312 156.00%
Captain America: The Winter Soldier 170 260 152.94%
Ant-Man 130 180 138.46%
Spider-Man 3 258 337 130.62%
Captain America: The First Avenger 140 176 125.71%
Thor: The Dark World 170 206 121.18%
Thor 150 181 120.67%
X-Men Origins: Wolverine 150 180 120.00%
X-Men: Days of Future Past 200 234 117.00%
The Amazing Spider-Man 230 262 113.91%
X-Men: The Last Stand 210 234 111.43%
The Wolverine 120 132 110.00%
X-Men: First Class 160 146 91.25%
The Incredible Hulk 150 134 89.33%
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 255 202 79.22%

That’s right…you would have gotten a better return on your investment on Deadpool than on any other Marvel movies except Spider-Man and The Avengers…and at a much smaller initial investment.

This is based on BoxOfficeMojo’s reported production budget versus their reported domestic gross (dogro). There are other expenses (including the marketing budget) and other income (including international gross), but this lets us do a consistent comparison (the other data is harder to get).

The odds are good that Deadpool will be the best ROI Marvel movie…by Tuesday. Not the highest grossing, or with the biggest profit, but big congratulations to Ryan Reynolds, Fox, and the rest of the team!

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This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the  The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

The Year Ahead in Movies: 2016

January 7, 2016

The Year Ahead in Movies: 2016

There is a lot to happen yet for movies released in 2015.

Some movies will still make significant money…there are some which will make more than half of their box office in 2016. That’s why we keep tracking them in

at least until no 2015 release is in the top 10…which last year was months into 2015. This year, it wouldn’t surprise me if The Force Awakens is still a domestic box office force (so to speak) into the summer blockbuster release period. Daddy’s Home and Sisters are strong rolling into the new year, and the Revenant and The Hateful Eight have just gotten started.

Oscar nominations (and to a lesser degree, other awards) can also affect it.

With the first releases coming this Friday, though, it’s a good time to look ahead.

2015 was the biggest USA box office year to date…and it’s quite likely it will be bested in 2016.

That’s not to say that any movie will have the excitement and cultural impact of The Force Awakens…I don’t see that happening.

However, when they figure the box office for the year, it’s not based on movies just released that year…it’s movies in the theatre that year.

Last year, American Sniper, released in 2014, contributed significantly to the 2015 box office.

This year, the same thing will happen with The Force Awakens…but even more so.

I expect The Force Awakens to make more than half of its domestic box office in 2016…which would make it one of the biggest movies of both years. One reason for that? I think Disney will keep it in theatres, and even “re-release” it maybe twice (it will really be resurges). I could see them running it as a midnight show all year. Then, resurging it (maybe with the first Star Wars movie from 1977) on May 4th (Star Wars Day “May the 4th be with you”) and as a boost for Rogue One, the first Star Wars “anthology” movie in December. Rogue One is very important to Disney’s strategy of releasing a main story movie in odd numbered years, and an anthology movie in even numbered years. If R1 flopped (it won’t) that would be a strategic challenge.

I’m confident that January 2016 will be a record January, and I think that winning streak will likely extend into February.

What about other movies?

One interesting lesson from 2015 was that delayed sequels can work very well…better, arguably, than reboots or immediate sequels (although some of the latter were very profitable). With a delayed sequel, you can still respect the movies people remember, while introducing new elements. The Force Awakens did that very well, but so did 2015’s second most profitable movie, Jurassic World

2015 The Measured Circle’s Most Profitable Movies

Based on that, we might expect big things out of delayed sequels, notably Independence Day: Resurgent and Finding Dory (the sequel to Finding Nemo).

However, I think there may be more to it than simply being a delayed sequel. I suspect that having less-well received sequels (or prequels) may also be part of it…a good delayed sequel can be seen as a redemption. I’m guessing people might be looking at a sequel to Jaws…

What about the new Ghostbusters? Well, it’s not really clear yet if that is a reboot, or a delayed sequel…some of the original stars are credited for the new one, but we don’t know how significant their roles will be (the original Star Wars cast was very featured in the Force Awakens, and B.D.  Wong significantly returned to the role of Dr. Henry Wu in Jurassic World).

Let’s quickly define some terms the way we use them, then take a look at a selection of other movies which will be released in the USA in 2016. Oh, and let me first explain why we are looking at the USA.

Certainly, the rest of the world is important to the movie box office…in a typical week, the top ten box office  movies worldwide include some which are not having an impact in the USA, and may not even have been released into theatres there.

Some American movies do better around  the world than others. Typically, less dialog is a good thing: action movies do better globally than comedies do. Humor, in particular, can be culture dependent, since it tends to refer to shared pop culture and experiences.

It’s simply that it is easier to focus on one country, and I can give you a more complete picture. I am in the USA, and even though it is definitely not the whole of what happens in the world with moviegoers, it does tend to have the biggest slice of the top movies.

Looking at the top ten right now, based on the

Rentrak numbers

seven of the top ten worldwide releases right now are American movies.

So, if you have to cover one country, the USA is the most representative.

Okay, those quick definitions:

  • Sequel: continues a story chronologically
  • Prequel: part of the same story, but happens prior to what we’ve seen before
  • Sidequel: in the same “universe” as what we know, but focusing on different characters or events…not part of the same through story
  • Delayed sequel: a sequel released after a significant gap of time (let’s call it at least five years)…this is a new definition for us this year
  • Remake: retelling a story, using the same characters and basic plot
  • Reboot: new actors, and may not follow the same rules as the previous work
  • Pedigeeked originals: original stories with filmmakers who have significant geek-friendly credits, or based on geek-friendly works (books, TV shows, toys, and so on)

Here we go!

Happy New Fear!

January has been a good month in recent years for one horror movie to make our list with at least $40m dogro…so that suggests that The Forest should do fairly well…although it could be The Boy later this month (or both).

Superhero round-up

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice can’t help but open big on March 26th…but I have to say, the trailers have not convinced me. Is this a $200m dogro movie? Sure. Is it a $500m movie? I wouldn’t bet on it.

The other big DC movie is Suicide Squad. While we can say this is a supervillain rather than a superhero movie, it feels a lot buzzier and original to me…this could be one of the top ten movies this year.

Over on the Marvel side, there are five (!) based on the comic books pictures:

  • Captain America: Civil War…expensive to make and an all-star movie, as well as introducing Black Panther. This is going to dogro a lot of money (as well as succeeding internationally)…but may not be the most profitable movie (Age of Ultron was number four on our 2015 The Measured Circle’s Most Profitable Movies, behind The Force Awakens, Jurassic World, and Minions)
  • X-Men: Apocalypse: directed by series auteur Bryan Singer, starring Jennifer Lawrence and The Force Awakens Oscar Isaac, this may do better than some might guess
  • Gambit: Channing Tatum
  • Doctor Strange: not your typical Marvel superhero, and with a different tone, this one does star Benedict Cumberbatch. Guardians of the Galaxy were less well-known, but that movie did very well. It’s not as big a question mark as…
  • Deadpool: an R-rated movie, starring someone whose last superhero movie did not win the hearts and dollars of the public, this one is clearly a risk. It’s unlikely that anyone else has promoted a movie as much as Ryan Reynolds has promoted this one, and it is going to have some X-Men crossover…but we just have to hope it doesn’t do to Marvel movies what Abbott & Costello did to the Universal Horror movies. I think that’s unlikely, but I could see this ending up with under $120m dogro

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are neither Marvel nor DC, but are comic book superheroes. This sequel to 2014’s reboot should break $100m, even if it doesn’t match the $190m of its predecessor.

Sequels

  • Star Trek Beyond: to quote the classic “other”, “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.” I want it to do well, I really do, but I’m unconvinced by the trailers or by the choice of someone perceived as an action movie director (Justin Lin of several Fast & Furious movies, but not the emotional most recent one). Star Trek has action, but is not an action franchise
  • Kung Fu Panda 3: it will clearly be popular
  • Ice Age: Collision Course
  • Now You See Me 2: is this going to capture the success of the first one? That would be pulling a rabbit out of a hat…part of the success of the first movie was due to the novelty and surprise, and that’s hard to replicate
  • The Divergent Series: Allegiant…YA adaptations have entered that awkward stage, but this series has done acceptably well
  • The Huntsman Winter’s War: an odd duck sequel without its top-billed star, but with a geek-friendly cast…this one risks being an underachiever in the USA, but should do well internationally and in secondary distribution (especially streaming services)
  • Alice Through the Looking Glass: Johnny Depp got respect for Black Mass in 2015, but has been a risk at the box office in the past few years (see Will Into the Woods reverse the Depp Dip? for details,  including a graph). Again, this can rely on international box office and streaming, but could be between $100m and $200m in dogro
  • Finding Dory: the sequel to Finding Nemo isn’t a guaranteed superhit, but should do quite well, especially with the promotional push from Ellen DeGeneres. This may look like a rebound from The Good Dinosaur, which still did fine. $300m? Yes, quite possible. $500m? Feels unlikely
  • Ride Along 2: this isn’t going for a homerun, and should hit its goals
  • Inferno: this fits our definition of a delayed sequel…it’s been five years since Angels & Demons, the last time Ron Howard directed Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon. Angels & Demons was not as well received as The Da Vinci Code…hm, I don’t feel the buzz, but this may outperform expectation
  • Matt Damon as Jason Bourne: it doesn’t have a title at time of writing, but does have Damon working with director Paul Greengrass again…it’s only been four years since The Bourne Legacy, but feels like a delayed sequel
  • Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising: it should meet its expectations…not beating its ancestor, but making a profit
  • Jack Reacher: Never Go Back. Don’t look at dogro on this, look at worldwide
  • Other sequels include: The Conjuring 2; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny; Barbershop: the Next Cut; The Adventures of Tintin: Prisoners of the Sun; The Purge 3; God’s Not Dead 2; Underworld 5; Bad Santa 2; Zoolander 2; My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2

Perhaps more to come in a part 2. I want to at least address January releases before they hit the theatres, and this is long enough for now. 🙂

January wide releases:

  • The Forest: January horror, maybe $40m to $80m
  • The Revenant released in 2015, should get boosted by Oscar noms and other awards…likely to go over $100m dogro
  • 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi: directed by Michael Bay, no box office stars (but not unknowns), tied up in politics, rated R…I could see this not doing well
  • Norm of the North: the first kids’ animated movie of the year, should do respectably, but I don’t expect a big hit
  • Ride Along 2: will hit its goals
  • The 5th Wave: YA adaptation…I think Chloe Grace Moretz is terrific, but I have my doubts on this one
  • The Boy: January horror, I like the commercials…maybe $80m to $100m?
  • Dirty Grandpa: Robert DeNiro and Zac Efron in an R-rated comedy…I’m iffy on this. Efron hasn’t been box office gold, and DeNiro is everything…great box office, and lesser performers (but that doesn’t mean lesser performances as an actor). I think this may be more of a secondary market movie
  • Fifty Shades of Black: parody comedy with Marlon Wayons…this one is very likely to be golden (dogro three time production budget)
  • The Finest Hours…feels like a serious movie for a January about an historical rescue. I’m thinking it’s not getting to my $80m slot, and could maybe get to the $40m
  • Jane Got a Gun: Natalie Portman is a star and producer of this Weinstein Company Western…I’d put it the dogro around $60m, although it could go considerably higher or lower
  • Kung Fu Panda 3: should be solid…I’d see it as $150m plus, but not $300m

I don’t usually make specific predictions like this, and it will be interesting to see how I do. 🙂

Join thousands of readers and try the free The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard 

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the  The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

Mid-year box office check 2015

August 2, 2015

Mid-year box office check 2015

We’ve gone through six months of the year, so it’s a good time to look at how the box office is going (based on movies released in the USA through the end of June).

It’s entirely possible that this year will have the largest dogro (domestic gross) to date (not adjusted for inflation), especially since there are some really big movies yet to come.

Breaking it down, what do we see?

Jennifer Lopez is a movie star

That might not be the lead in stories you’ll see in other publications about this year at the movies, but the success of The Boy Next Door is staggering, and largely due to J.Lo.

Oh, I’m sure some of you want to jump in and say that Chris Pratt is a bigger star.

Well, The Boy Next Door has a dogro of $35.4m on a reported production budget of $4.0m. That’s a return of 885%, nearly triple golden in our awards system.

It did that in part because of its star’s (and sorry, John Corbett and Kristen Chenoweth, but I doubt very many people went to see the movie who weren’t significantly interested in seeing J.Lo) smart and relentless promotion, appearing on TV shows, in magazines, and so on.

Universal has it figured out

Universal is one of the most geek-friendly studios ever (along with Hammer in England, and AIP). Of course, they had the famous horror cycle starting with Boris Karloff in Frankenstein and Bela Lugosi in Dracula, and continuing in that cycle until they may have killed it with Abbott and Costello Meets fill-in-the-blank. The list goes on and on from The Creature from the Black Lagoon and The Incredible Shrinking Man, to their relationship with Steven Spielberg, bringing us Jaws and E.T. This year, four of the top 5 of

The Measured Circle’s Most Profitable Movies

at time of writing are from Universal:

  • Jurassic World ($478m in profit, domestic gross ((dogro)) versus production budget…419%)
  • Minions ($201m in profit | 372%)
  • Furious Seven ($160m in profit  | 184%)
  • Pitch Perfect 2 ($154m in profit | 631%)

Those are four very different movies, with different target audiences. Yes, they are all sequels/prequels, but that’s certainly no guarantee of success (for an example from this year, Hot Tub Time Machine 2 didn’t domestically make back its budget…which was $14m). They did have a couple of misfires (Blackhat and Seventh Son), but they’ve more than made up for it.

So does Blumhouse

Universal has been investing money, and getting a return on it. Blumhouse, on the other hand, spends very little money…but has a higher percentage return than Universal…and they’ve been doing that for years. Looking at 2015:

  • The Lazarus Effect ($25.8m dogro on a $3.3m production budget | 782%)
  • Insidious: Chapter 3 ($52m dogro on a $10m production budget | 520%)
  • The Gallows ($21.9m on a $100,000 production budget | 21,580%) (note: this was released July 10th, so it’s past our cut-off…but it’s still a stand-out, so we’ll cheat a little) 😉

Golden movies on our list

To get to our list, a movie has to dogro at least $40m. We also give awards to movies, based on their returns…at least 300% return is “Golden” (double, and this is still dogro versus production budget, is “Money”). These movies are Golden this year:

  • Pitch Perfect 2 Double Golden (at least 600% return)
  • Jurassic World (highly unusual that a movie with a $150m budget to go Golden)
  • Minions
  • Fifty Shades of Grey
  • Magic Mike XXL
  • Insidious: Chapter 3

The $500 Million Club

We also track

The Measured Circle’s Box Office MVPs

To get on the list, an actor needs to be first billed in a movie that dogros at least $100m, and appear in at least one other movie that dogros $40m.

Eleven actors are on that list, and six of them have had movies on our list that dogroed at least $500m this year:

  1. Judy Greer: Jurassic World ($628.0m); Tomorrowland ($91.8m); Ant-Man ($120.0m) | Tentative total: $839.8m
  2. Hayley Atwell: Cinderella ($201.0m); Avengers: Age of Ultron ($456.0m); Ant-Man ($120.0m) | Tentative total: $777.0m
  3. BD Wong: Jurassic World ($628.0m); Focus ($53.8m) | Tentative total: $681.8m
  4. Stellan Skarsgård: Cinderella ($201.0m); Avengers: Age of Ultron ($456.0m) | Tentative total: $657.0m
  5. Samuel L. Jackson: Kingsman: The Secret Service ($128.0m); Avengers: Age of Ultron ($456.0m) | Tentative total: $584.0m
  6. Dwayne Johnson: Furious 7 ($350.0m); San Andreas ($151.0m) | Tentative total: $501.0m

Of these six, only Samuel L. Jackson is repeating from 2014…although Dwayne Johnson was on the list for 2013.

There you are…halfway through the year, and there is a lot more coming!

Join thousands of readers and try the free The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard 

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the  The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

 

2015 February geeky movie preview

February 4, 2015

2015 February geeky movie preview

We have already stated confidently that this year will have more $400 million plus dogroing (domestic grossing) movies than ever before.

One consequence of so many blockbusters is that they have to be spread out more throughout the year. Once a Star Wars or Avengers or Jurassic movie claims a weekend, well, you have to be either really brave or really counter-programming to go up against it.

So, you have to run for another weekend.

Some movies, of course, run out of time…and actually move to the next year.

Still, we think you may see several record months this year, as movies which might have gotten a prime slot in a past year shift backwards or forwards.

Let’s take a look at some of the geeky movies scheduled for release this month, February 2015:

February 6

Jupiter Ascending

Directed and written by the Wachowskis (The Matrix), and starring Channing Tatum, Mila Kunis, and Eddie Redmayne (who may win an Oscar for Best Actor while this is in theatres), it’s a big science fiction wide release spectacle.

The Wachowskis have arguably been coasting on The Matrix (and its offshoots), but this PG-13 movie may succeed on its own.

Seventh Son

Julianne Moore (another possible Oscar winner who would have a geeky movie in the theatres at the time), Jeff Bridges, Jason Scott Lee stars. Inspired by The Spook’s Apprentice by Joseph Delaney.

Not opening in as many theatres (but still a wide release), and won’t get the comparisons to Guardians of the Galaxy (but might to Into the Woods…you know, they both have a witch), this one is a bit of a longer shot than Jupiter.

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water

The most theatres of the bunch and budgeted at a moderate $66m, this could be the most profitable big movie of the weekend. Kids’ movies tend to have long legs (they keep making money for a long time), so if you’d had to invest in of these three, this might have been the safest bet. It doesn’t have the same blockbuster potential (even with Antonio Banderas as a guest voice), but should make Paramount happy.

February 13 

Kingsman: The Secret Service

Spy spoof with Colin Firth, Mark Hamill, Michael Caine, Samuel L. Jackson…and they have been promoting it a lot. Hard to tell with this one, but it may open big. 1st place this weekend is likely going to Fifty Shades of Grey, though.

What We Do in the Shadows

Small imported (from New Zealand) horror comedy with vampire flatmates. Some folks will love it…more of an arthouse picture.

February 20

Hot Tub Time Machine 2

The gang is mostly back (no John Cusack…see Maps to the Stars, below) in a sequel to the $50m grossing 2010 comedy. I’d say it would be a surprise for this to get to $100m dogro…but probably doesn’t need to do that to be a success.

February 27

The Lazarus Effect

Horror movie directed by David Gelb (Jiro Dreams of Sushi), and featuring Evan Peters, Olivia Wilde, Sarah Bolger, and Mark Duplass. We wish every movie well, but are concerned that this one may underperform expectations.

Maps to the Stars (2014)

David Cronenberg with a low $16m budgeted movie, and a cast including Julianne Moore (who will therefore likely have two movies in theatres at the same time), Mia Wasikowska, Robert Pattinson, and John Cusack. This one won’t be expected to have a huge dogro…this is art, people. 😉

Not bad for a 28 day month! Now, about March…

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This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the  The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

Who is really winning the box office?

September 4, 2014

Who is really winning the box office?

You have probably seen all those stories touting Guardians of the Galaxy as the biggest money making movie of the year so far.

You may even have thought to yourself, “I wish I’d had a piece of that!”

Well, while a profit (production budget versus domestic gross) of $111 million is certainly impressive (and there is more to come), it only puts it fifth so far on our list of most profitable movies of 2014:

http://www.imdb.com/list/ls059776125/?

Yes, it’s beaten by the following:

  1. The Lego Movie ($198 million profit)
  2. 22 Jump Street ($141m profit)
  3. Neighbors ($132m profit)
  4. The Fault in Our Stars ($113m profit)

It is likely to pass $300 million dogro. Last year, there were four movies that did…and three of them went over $400m.

If we go back to the idea of investing, though, even these numbers don’t show you the whole picture.

Let’s pretend that you had a million dollars to invest in the production of a movie.

It’s just going to be the production budget: the studio will take care of marketing (and will get any merchandising money).

This is strictly an American deal…domestic box office only.

For your one million, you’ll split a share of the profit.

If a movie costs $100 million to make (so there were 100 one million dollar shares out there), and it dogroed (had a domestic gross of) $200 million, you’d get $1 million back for your investment.

Looking at it that way, Guardians is way down on the list…it cost so much to make!

You would have made a lot more money investing in Tammy, for example, which I’ve seen described elsewhere inexplicably as having “tanked”.

Tammy cost $20 million to make, and has dogroed to date $83.8 million…you would have gotten $3.19 million back for your investment of $1 million.

How much would you get back from Guardians so far?

$650,000.

Tammy would have been nearly five times as profitable for you.

Looking at movies that dogroed at least $40 million, here are the ones that would have made a profit for you, with what your return would have been:

  1. God’s Not Dead $29.4 million
  2. The Fault in Our Stars $9.42 million
  3. Neighbors $7.33 million
  4. The Purge: Anarchy $6.90 million
  5. Heaven Is for Real $6.62 million
  6. Ride Along $4.36 million
  7. The Lego Movie $3.3 million
  8. Tammy $3.19 million
  9. About Last Night $2.88 million
  10. 22 Jump Street $2.82 million
  11. Let’s Be Cops $2.5 million
  12. Lucy $1.98 million
  13. Think Like a Man Too $1.72 million
  14. The Other Woman $1.1 million
  15. The Hundred-Foot Journey $880,000
  16. Non-Stop $830,000
  17. Divergent $776,000
  18. Guardians of the Galaxy $650,000
  19. The Nut Job $530,000
  20. Captain America: The Winter Soldier $530,000
  21. Maleficent $330,000
  22. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles $330,000
  23. Rio 2 $280,000
  24. Godzilla $250,000
  25. Transformers: Age of Extinction $220,000
  26. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes $210,000
  27. How to Train Your Dragon 2 $200,000
  28. X-Men: Days of Future Past $170,000
  29. Jersey Boys $170,000
  30. Planes: Fire & Rescue: $160,000
  31. Blended $160,000
  32. The Monuments Men $110,000
  33. A Million Ways to Die in the West $70,000
  34. Muppets Most Wanted $20,000

Let’s also say that they take your $1 million as an investment…but don’t make you responsible for any more than that. In other words, if a movie isn’t at break even, you don’t have to make up the difference.

The following movies that dogroed at least $40 million have not made up their production budgets yet:

  • 300: Rise of an Empire 96%
  • Into the Storm 85.4%
  • Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit 84%
  • Noah 81%
  • Mr. Peabody & Sherman 77%
  • Hercules 71%
  • Need for Speed 66%
  • Robocop 59%
  • Edge of Tomorrow 56%

For this last group that made it on our list by having a dogro of at least $40 million, we don’t have reported budgets.

  • The Amazing Spider-Man 2 dogro=$203 million
  • Son of God $59.7 million
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel $59.1 million

Clearly, some of these are going to still make significant money, and there are big money makers yet to come in the year.

Looking at this list, though, the message is clear: the biggest budget movies would not always be the best return on your investment…even if they also make the most money.

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This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the  The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

2013 The Year in Movie Box Office

December 29, 2013

2013 The Year in Movie Box Office

While I would be surprised if this year stands out in the history of movies the way that last year did, it was certainly interesting!

In this post, we’re going to do some analysis of the box office.

We have to first point out that the list isn’t final, and that there are some newcomers which will move up considerably (The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is still burning up the box office, and for a movie with a snowman main character, Frozen surprisingly has legs). 😉 We think that American Hustle could eventually top $100 million dogro (domestic gross), and Walter Mitty and Anchorman 2 are just getting started.

We’ll continue to update our 2013 box office page

2013 Movie Box Office: 40, 80, 1, 2 , 3

at least until no 2013 release appears on the IMDb top ten box office list for a week. If that happens before the Oscars (which are scheduled for March 2), we’ll probably keep going until then…the Oscar bump can have an impact.

That said, let’s look at where we are as of now. We are only doing this on dogro, although we’ll have something to say about international later. We also cut it off at the bottom at $40 million:

1 Iron Man 3 $409,013,994.00
2 The Hunger Games: Catching Fire $384,324,000.00
3 Despicable Me 2 $367,607,660.00
4 Man of Steel $291,045,518.00
5 Monsters University $268,492,764.00
6 Gravity $254,067,000.00
7 Fast & Furious 6 $238,679,850.00
8 Oz The Great and Powerful $234,911,825.00
9 Frozen (2013) $229,775,000.00
10 Star Trek Into Darkness $228,778,661.00
11 World War Z $202,359,711.00
12 Thor: The Dark World $201,727,537.00
13 The Croods $187,168,425.00
14 The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug $170,564,000.00
15 The Heat $159,582,188.00
16 We’re the Millers $150,394,119.00
17 The Great Gatsby (2013) $144,840,419.00
18 The Conjuring $137,400,141.00
19 Identity Thief $134,506,920.00
20 Grown Ups 2 $133,668,525.00
21 The Wolverine $132,556,852.00
22 G.I. Joe: Retaliation $122,523,060.00
23 Now You See Me $117,723,989.00
24 Lee Daniels’ The Butler $116,146,955.00
25 Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 $115,740,196.00
26 The Hangover Part III $112,200,072.00
27 Epic $107,518,682.00
28 Captain Phillips $104,287,640.00
29 Pacific Rim $101,802,906.00
30 This is the End $101,470,202.00
31 Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa $100,837,000.00
32 Olympus Has Fallen $98,925,640.00
33 $42.00 $95,020,213.00
34 Elysium $93,050,117.00
35 Planes $90,288,712.00
36 The Lone Ranger $89,302,115.00
37 Oblivion $89,107,235.00
38 Insidious Chapter 2 $83,586,447.00
39 Turbo $83,028,128.00
40 2 Guns $75,612,460.00
41 White House Down $73,103,784.00
42 Mama $71,628,180.00
43 Safe Haven $71,349,120.00
44 Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues $71,198,000.00
45 The Smurfs 2 $71,017,784.00
46 The Best Man Holiday $70,033,270.00
47 Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters $68,443,727.00
48 A Good Day to Die Hard $67,349,198.00
49 Warm Bodies $66,380,662.00
50 Jack the Giant Slayer $65,187,603.00
51 The Purge $64,473,115.00
52 Last Vegas $62,439,761.00
53 Prisoners $61,002,302.00
54 Ender’s Game $60,900,026.00
55 After Earth $60,522,097.00
56 Escape From Planet Earth $57,012,977.00
57 Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters $55,703,475.00
58 Evil Dead (2013) $54,239,856.00
59 Free Birds $54,089,000.00
60 Red 2 $53,262,560.00
61 Tyler Perry’s Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor $51,975,354.00
62 The Call $51,872,378.00
63 Pain and Gain $49,875,291.00
64 American Hustle $46,885,000.00
65 Gangster Squad $46,000,903.00
66 Jurassic Park 3D $45,385,935.00
67 The Internship $44,672,764.00
68 Instructions Not Included $44,467,206.00
69 Snitch $42,930,462.00
70 Riddick $42,025,135.00
71 A Haunted House $40,041,683.00

Some movies which may still make $40 million dogro:

  • Tyler Perry’s a Madea Christmas
  • 12 Years a Slave (especially with an Oscar bump, but even without)
  • Saving Mr. Banks
  • The Wolf of Wall Street
  • The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
  • 47 Ronin
  • There are some that could do it with an Oscar bump, for example, Philomena and Fruitvale Station

Counting Gravity as a geek-friendly movie (even though Gravity is not science fiction), the top 14 all qualify.

That’s just based on gross, though. Geek movies often cost more to produce, which reduces the profit. When we look at

The Measured Circle’s Most Profitable Movies of 2013

the top ten looks considerably different.

  1. Despicable Me 2: profit of $292m to date
  2. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire: $209m
  3. Iron Man 3: $209m
  4. Gravity: $154m
  5. Monsters University: $153m
  6. The Conjuring: $124m
  7. The Heat: $117m
  8. We’re the Millers: $113m
  9. Identity Thief: $99m
  10. Lee Daniels’ The Butler: $86m

As you can see, three comedies and a mainstream drama make the cut with those numbers (dogro versus reported production budget).

Like last year, the biggest losers were all geek friendly:

  1. Jack the Giant Slayer: -$129.8m to date
  2. The Lone Ranger: -$125.7m
  3. Pacific Rim: -$88.0m

We don’t know yet where 47 Ronin might end up, with an estimated budget of $175m…it is possible it will lose as much as Pacific Rim, but it is too soon to tell.

This year, we started a new feature. We label movies based on their dogro versus their reported production budgets:

A traditional measure of success if the dogro being twice the production budget. Using that as a starting point…

Dogro 2X production budget = “Money”
Dogro 3X production budget = “Golden”

Dogro less than 50% of production budget = “Underperformer”

Here are those groupings:

Golden (16 titles out of 69 tracked by us so far)

  1. Septuple Golden: The Purge: 2147%
  2. Quintuple Golden: Insidious: Chapter 2: 1,672%
  3. Quintuple Golden: A Haunted House: 1,600%
  4. Triple Golden: The Conjuring: 1053%
  5. Double Golden: Instructions Not Include: 890%
  6. Double Golden: Jackass Presents Bad Grandpa: 673%
  7. Despicable Me 2: 484%
  8. Mama: 477%
  9. The Best Man Holiday: 411%
  10. We’re the Millers: 405%
  11. The Call: 392%
  12. Lee Daniels’ The Butler: 387%
  13. Evil Dead: 387%
  14. Identity Thief: 383%
  15. The Heat: 372%
  16. This Is the End: 316%

Money (7 titles out of 69)

  1. Snitch: 286%
  2. Safe Haven: 255%
  3. Gravity: 254%
  4. 42: 238%
  5. Monsters University: 233%
  6. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire: 226%
  7. Iron Man 3: 205%

Underperfomer (4 titles out of 69)

  1. White House Down: 49%
  2. After Earth: 47%
  3. The Lone Ranger: 42%
  4. Jack the Giant Slayer: 34%

No question, horror (especially when we include the horror spoof A Haunted House) had the best return for the studios’ investment dollars. The Purge knocks it out of the park, and every movie that was more than Double Golden was a horror movie (again, counting A Haunted House).

Mainstream comedies also do very well, though, including Jackass, We’re the Millers, Identity Thief, and The Heat…proving that while it isn’t necessary to have Melissa McCarthy top-billed, it’s a good idea. 😉

Non-horror, non-animated geek movies don’t even make the Golden cut.  On the other hand, three out of four of the underperformers were geek-friendly (and we could debate the fourth).

Does that high risk mean studios should stop making megabudgeted geek tentpoles?

Nope. 🙂

There are a few reasons for that:

  • Even though Iron Man 3 wasn’t golden, it still dogroed hundreds of millions more for the studio than the production cost. That’s a lot of money! Profit matters, but having cash on hand counts, too
  • Lots of money on geek-friendly movies is made outside of the tickets for the initial theatre run. There are the merchandising bucks…how many licensed Halloween costumes from comedies are sold? Not that many, certainly compared to superhero movies
  • We have just been looking at domestic numbers so far…here’s where that international part comes into play. Comedies just don’t do as well internationally…humor is much harder to translate than explosions and special effects. 😉 Iron Man 3 made 66.3% of its box office outside the USA; The Heat made 30.6%. You’ll find similar numbers on other successful geek-friendly movies and mainstream comedies. As international box office becomes increasingly important, geek-friendly movies become more valuable

One other quick list: some geek-friendly movies which did not make the $40m dogro cut (and aren’t likely to do so):

  • The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones: dogro $31m, reported budget $60m. Even though we wouldn’t quite label it an underperformer, this is one of the ones that may scare studios away from young adult literature as source material. Not completely, of course, but it does make them a bit more cautious
  • Kick-*ss 2: dogro $29m, reported budget $28m. It did barely make a profit…did we witness the power of Jim Carrey’s not supporting the movie? If so, is that better or worse for Carrey: would you be more reluctant to cast Carrey knowing that, if the actor later decides the movie has a moral issue, you could lose promotional support?
  • The World’s End: dogro $26m, reported budget $40m. Don’t worry too much about this one: it will be profitable when everything is taken into account, and even if it wasn’t, we still love Pegg and Frost
  • Carrie: dogro $35m, reported budget $30m. It made a profit, but I think most people would have predicted more out of it
  • Machete Kills: dogro $7m, reported budget $12m. It’s not about the money with this one…
  • Beautiful Creatures: dogro $19m, reported budget $60m. A major underperformer…see Mortal Instruments above
  • About Time: dogro $15m, reported budget unknown. Our guess is this one was still a success, but we don’t know for sure
  • R.I.P.D.: dogro $34m, reported budget $130m if this one could have clawed its way to $40m, it would have been one of our underperformers. This was not a good year for Ryan Reynolds, although The Croods did well. This movie and Turbo, though? Not so much…we still love you, Ryan! Although, you know, maybe not like we love Pegg and Frost 😉
  • Jobs: dogro $16m, reported budget $12m. This one did okay
  • The Host: dogro $27m, reported budget $40m. We thought this one would do better: see Beautiful Creatures above
  • Scary Movie 5: dogro $32m, reported budget $20m. That’s good enough: expect a 6 at some point
  • Dark Skies: dogro $17m, reported budget $3.5m. Again, good enough

We’ll keep tracking 2013…and then on to 2014!

See you in the movies!

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.


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