Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Is 100 Million Dollars At The Box Office Still The Achievement It Once Was?

After reading a story about how The Help had made over 100 million dollars domestically, it made me start thinking about that particular accomplishment.

There was a time when having a movie make 100 million dollars at the domestic box office was a huge milestone and an indication that the film in question had made a major impact with audiences.

But I don't think a movie crossing that threshold is necessarily news anymore unless there is an additional reason why it might be notable. For example, low budget thriller Paranormal Activity making 100 million dollars domestically was indeed worthy of notice because of just how little it cost to make the movie in the first place.

Or from another angle, when My Big Fat Greek Wedding crossed the 100 million dollar mark, it was also worthy of a story because it had a really small opening and word of mouth turned the movie into a hit after a longer run.

I know not every movie makes it to 100 million, but it seems to be much more common these days so perhaps this isn't something that everyone should be celebrating, and the goal posts should be moved to reflect the effect of higher ticket prices and production costs. Like maybe a quarter billion should be the new achievement level that movies should be striving for, especially given their increasing costs.

Then again, I remember fellow pop culture blogger Jeremy Barker tell me as people outside of the industry, we shouldn't really care about the business end of things. How much money a movie makes doesn't and shouldn't ultimately determine the value of the actual movie watching experience for any of us. If a movie made a profit, there is an increased chance that it may get a sequel, and if it is a movie we enjoy, that is a good thing or if it is doing well at the box office, there is a longer window to see a particular movie on the big screen, but other than that, it is a largely inconsequential matter.

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