TV, Film, and Entertainment News Daily

Why The Box Office Doesn’t Matter Anymore

I think it was the news that the follow-up to Tron: Legacy was moving ahead, despite the relative disappointment of last year’s 20-years-after-the-fact sequel, that made me really stop and think: When will we all stop paying attention to the box office?

Here’s the thing: Tron: Legacy barely broke even at the US box office – I think it made $1 million more than it cost – which means that it actually lost money, when you factor in promotion costs. And yet, Disney pretty much had to greenlight the follow-up, because it had already invested so much in the brand (Not just Legacy, but the two separate animated series set to spin-off from it, the remastered reissue of the original on DVD and BluRay and tie-in videogames, comics and other material). Before the release of the movie, executives were talking about Tron being positioned as one of Disney’s major boy-centric brands, and apparently, not even a critically-panned, medium-level success movie can stand in its way.

Don’t worry; Legacy will be fine; it’ll make a reasonable profit now that it’s on BluRay, especially with the 3D BluRay edition. But that’s not anything new; there have been movies that have flopped in theaters but found audiences large enough on home release that a sequel has ended up happening (Why, Boondock Saints, how fetching and yet entirely unwatchable you seem today), enough to make me wonder whether box office even counts as the primary market for movies these days. After all, the longer shelf-life is home entertainment, and with studios already signed up to a premium VoD service sending movies to televisions just 60 days after theater release, that seems to be something that’s become even more the case, rather than going in the opposite direction.

(One of the reasons why so many studios – all of the majors save Paramount – have signed on to Home Premiere, the DirecTV premium VoD scheme is apparently that movies only have, on average, a 56 day lifespan in theaters. Which, let’s face it, isn’t very long at all.)

On top of all of that, looking at the box office as a gauge for success seems even less reliable when you consider two more factors: Multiple ticket prices and inflated demand. With IMAX and 3D in the mix, movies can take the top spot in terms of money earned in a particular amount of time without actually being the most successful movie in the same period, purely because IMAX and 3D tickets cost more… which kind of undermines the entire point of tracking box office take in the first place, surely. Not only that, but on the rare occasion when a movie is a genuine, honest-to-goodness hit, that’s something that can be entirely missed when looking at the weekly box office, because a steady, long-term earner can be eclipsed by the rush to see that weekend’s latest flash in the pan (See How To Train Your Dragon last year, for example).

So with all of these reasons not to focus on box office, what are the odds that the movie industry will look at the bigger picture when it comes to determining success or making decisions? I’d like to believe they’d be pretty good, but then I remember that there’s a third Transformers movie coming out this summer…


  • percane

    This article is very myopic. “Here’s the thing: Tron: Legacy barely broke even at the US box office – I think it made $1 million more than it cost – which means that it actually lost money, when you factor in promotion costs. ”

    it did NOT lose money. the US is not the only film market in the world.

    it made just shy of 400 million worldwide. that’s more than DOUBLE its production cost (not counting marketing.) even when you factor in marketing, it undoubtedly made a gross profit, even BEFORE blu-ray, dvd, merchandising, etc.

    i won’t dispute that its performance was disappointing, but you think a film making more than double it’s budget is a failure? really? i love CBR, and i follow it and spinoff, but this is a horribly thought out article.

  • Bass Guitar Hero

    I thought TRON: LEGACY made 399 million worldwide at the box office…

  • Eric Garrison

    I liked tron legacy. Amazing soundtrack. A lot of these movies will recoup on DVD and streaming. That gives life to franchises which were once almost dead

  • DMO

    Your analysis leaves out the rest of the world, where T:L grossed another $226.4 million, for a grand total of about $400 million worldwide. The film probably needed to gross $300-$350 million to be profitable, so it was quite well in the black before the DVD/BluRay release. I also don’t know how well its various merchandise did, but that also most likely boosted its profits. And, by the way, international markets are absolutely essential to the success of blockbuster films like this — the Iron Man films grossed $265m and $310m overseas, and Prince of Persia, considered a flop stateside, did $245m elsewhere (though its U.S. performance was anemic enough to make it only marginally profitable), and Avatar’s international take was nearly 3 times what it made here ($2b versus $760m).

    I too liked T:L, though that’s because I succeeded in turning it in my mind into the film I wanted it to be. In my mind, it has no scenes with Jeff Bridges musing on how his son was perfect.

  • Matchesmalone

    Of course the article never even mentions the fact Tron Legacy made 226 mil in foreign box office receipts on top of the US totaling almost 400 million without counting DVD sales.. Thankfully movie makers remember the US is not the only country in the world that watches movies even if the reviewer seems to forget that..

  • Alincia

    I thought Tron Legacy was amazing. I’m so happy to hear they haven’t stomped out any possibilities for them to take us back into the world of Tron, and it’s awesome that it’s doesn’t necessarily have to be a huge box office success to continue on. GO TRON <3 !!!

  • Bill Cunningham

    There are many examples of movies that have tanked at the box office and gone on to financial success – notably THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW. Hollywood has long understood that you have to make 3x your budget in order to see actual profit for a theatrical release, and that the real money is in TV, DVD, etc…

    And as you say, with all the new technology and delivery methods out there – the virtual shelf life makes the decision-making process all the more interesting. I would also point out that as interesting as this is for movies and theatrical releases, the same now applies to comics and the direct market.

  • Wildstorm

    Lots of movies find success AFTER being released in theaters. Look at Office Space and The Big Lebowski. That’s why studios don’t think about theater money as much as they used to. They can release crappy movies like G-Force and the Scooby movies. They know parents will have to take their kids to see them and buy them when they come out

  • tronprogram

    Hang on! Disney haven’t even announced a third movie yet. The only thing we know that’s coming for sure is the Uprising animated series.

  • DMO

    Twice the budget is usually enough to make a profit on most blockbusters (depending on how financing has been arranged). If it were three times, it would be virtually impossible for any film to make its money (including home video).

  • Stevethemovieguy

    One factor about International versus US box office. Receipts within the US return about 70% of the gross to the studio, while international box office returns less than 20%. The studio certainly lost money on the release of TRON:Legacy, but is making profits once you factor in ancillary items (i.e. games, licensing, etc.).

  • Dave Morris

    “Disney pretty much had to greenlight the follow-up, because it had already invested so much in the brand”

    No; whatever they already invested is a sunk cost. They would only press on if they expect to make money. And they do, because a breakeven or even a loss at US box office – or even at world box office – is not the only indicator of success for this kind of property.

    You have to see the theatrical release as a kind of massive marketing campaign for the brand – a campaign that at least partly funds itself.

  • BlueandGold

    Why Graeme McMillan doesn’t matter anymore.

  • Guest

    Whoever wrote this article did some incorrect research here, as others have pointed out. To claim that Domestic box office does not matter… since when does 100 million dollars not matter? Im sure that helped decide on the potential for a sequel. If not, you’d be waiting for DVD/Blu-Ray VOD profits to manifest before greenlighting a sequel. That could be a while.

  • MW

    I loved Legacy, personally. It surpassed all my expectations. I’m not sold on TRON 3, as based on Legacy’s ending it might not have Jeff Bridges. And Jeff Bridges is awesome.

  • Sixpack34238

    Its a shame box office didn’t matter back in 2005 when “Serenity” was released… the ‘verse woud be a shinier place. Still, good news for “Tron”.

  • Lesya


  • mark

    How was its performance disappointing? It was a sequel to a 28 year old movie barely anyone saw. The fact that they managed to make as much profit as they did is pretty impressive in my opinion.

    And yes, this article is horrible. Spinoff often is.

  • Passage

    Couple things to note. The studio receives roughly half of the overall box office take (foreign and domestic); the other half goes the exhibitors. Legacy made nearly 400 million, so that means the studio took in about 200. With a production budget of 170, that’s 30 million in profit (presumably, nobody’s getting first dollar or gross points on this thing). That’s not great, or even particularly good on its face, but it does show there’s a substantial interest in the property. Marketing costs, while real, aren’t typically seen as something the movie has to cover. With the ancillary market (DVD, cable) expected to do average to above, the movie will do fine financially. Certainly enough to justify building the brand further. If the box office were 150 million less, though, a third film would be unlikely, so yes, box office still counts.

  • JJ

    Seriously, this article is riddled with inaccuracies, contradictions and is utterly naive.

    Honest question… this a genuinely written article or is just weekly filler? I’m noticing this “writer” seems to write incorrect articles and I’m wondering if it’s don’t to motivate postings/traffic as others correct him.

    Did this guy ever write for Wizard? It’s that kind of futile reading experience.

  • Mdhdjdh

    Percane is right on the money. Whoever wrote this has no idea what they’re talking about. As a producer, the box office is everything. For anyone but a major, us BO determines worldwide sales, which as pointed out, this movie did very well overseas and abroad. Not to mention ancillary revenues, and the fact that Disney is a powerhouse, and if this movie HAD failed, it would have merely been a tax write off. Not many other majors at this moment can say that. Certainly not poor Universal. Also, to whomever said foreign sales only yield 20%, that is incorrect.

    I am not sure who is writing these articles, but please do your homework.

  • Jacob


  • Jacob

    When you factor in the marketing push it received, it should have done a lot better. It certainly did well enough, it didn’t fail, but they were expecting it to be Pirates of the Caribbean.

  • ecrm

    There’s another explanation; that the Disney execs are morons. These are the guys who recently brought out Mars Needs Moms after all.

  • Anonymous

    They actually did announce the 3rd one, apparently you didn’t read the first sentence in the article.

  • Justice Gray

    Graeme, allow me to say that I think your comic articles are quite good and I really wish you’d do more of them in comparison to these “Hollywood analysis” articles – they seem a bit forced in comparison to where your passions seem to be.

  • ATK

    Spinoff often has great articles informing us of upcoming nerdity, and occasionally they have opinionated articles that feel as though they were written by someone with no research skills but intense passion for a subject.

    I get it, you didn’t like Tron: Legacy and now you don’t understand that it is moving forward with more. Get over it. A lot of us thought it was great. Was it perfect, no. I liked it, but mainly because I am able to get over the picture I hold in my head over what “I” thought it should be and enjoy it for what it is. I watch movies, I don’t make them, and in that regards, yes, their are going to be differences in opinion about what I want to see and what happens. I wanted to see the resolution between Dudley and Harry in the Deathly Hallows but because it didn’t happen I’m not writing an article about it and trying to tank the franchise.

    In regards to movies being available after 60 days from box office release; welcome to the future: Yes if something is a hit I’m sure the theaters are going to play it out as long as possible, and it’s not like I’m not going to go to the theater anymore. I’m a pretty anti-social, fat-ass gamer and I still peel myself off the couch and go to the movies once in a while and plan to do so for several films this summer. The fact that we get them “In home” sooner just means we have less waiting time from release and it is still fresh in people minds instead of those of us who didn’t see “How to Train Your Dragon” in theaters having to wait 7 months from the box office release to the disc release. This will also help sales as people tend to forget things and it will cost less in advertising to remind people when something is available to buy.

    Oh…Boondock Saints is still totally watchable, it is you that has changed.

  • Anonymous

    If the number of dissenting views counts as a success, Graeme is a very successful writer.

    However, without insulting him personally (which seems a bit much, folks) I will say that I wish you would research these topics a bit more before posting an article. It just reflects poorly on you, not so much as a columnist, but as someone representing the website. A few seconds of research could help more than you know. Would it stop people from complaining? Of course not. But I have a tendency to avoid any articles written by Graeme McMillan for just that reason.

    Basically you come off like that fake movie reviewer guy in The Onion, and I don’t think that’s your intention. Or maybe it is. I’m just saying, no one can know every single fact or extra bit of nerd minutiae—but you’re not just a random blogger once you’re associated with a website. Doesn’t hurt to do the work.

  • Anonymous

    It was a disappointment. The amount of money Disney sunk into the thing (toys, merch, cartoons, etc.) was the kind of money that gets sunk into 300 million dollar domestic grossers get. They wanted a Pirates of the Caribbean style tentpole. They got a movie that did middling business.

    Also, the reason so much focus is on domestic box office is because international is an entirely different game. The distrubtor/exhibitor split is different. In many cases (although now this one), you have a third party doing distribution in international markets that gets a cut of the gross. It’s not really the same. If Movie X makes 200 million dollars domestic and 200 million dollars international, it’s very likely they’re seeing more money from that domestic gross.

  • Skeight

    Tr3n or as the rumors say it is named was probably green lit a while ago…
    Disney are building a brand they have released plenty of merchandise ( that sold really well relatively), a video game that was good and are working on 2 animated series.
    Given the domestic box office is not that great but the potential of the franchise is enormous.
    Plus the easter eggs and sequel hints were filmed a while ago so it looks as if Disney was thinking Franchise all the way… Not as main appeal as Pirates but it has a good fan base…

  • JMC

    Isn’t that only 8 million more than Superman Returns? And that was years ago.

  • JMC

    If Prince of Persia taught us anything, Box Office does matter.

    I think however that Disney believes that Tron has the POTENTIAL to become a franchise that can appeal to a wide audience. I saw Tron Legacy, but certainly was not a huge fan of the film or had any investment in the franchise per se. I was disappointed by much of the film, but it still interested and entertained me somewhat.

    Would I give a sequel a chance if they invested in a better script? Yes I would. The visual nature of the film, and the potential to explore that world is something that I would find interesting to see again.

    I think Disney has sensed that audience members such as myself can be swayed into seeing another film if they fix the previous mistakes of Legacy.

  • Anonymous

    Blog post like this that are based on a little information instead of being researched enough to speak accurately on the subject minimize the value of Spinoff.

    There are many places we can go online to get our Hollywood news, even geek focused. I’ve unfortunately seen enough like this from Spinoff to make me want to go elsewhere.

    Hopefully that’s constructive criticism for the writer and staff.

  • Zen Strive

    There goes my hope for seeing Thirteen ever again!
    Not that Martha M. Masters is not bad, but…oh well…

  • ghettojourno

    Besides the Tron: Legacy discussion and the correct use of Boondock Saints as an example, there is a point made in the article that is out of line. If one were to have been following weekly box office during the time that How to Train Your Dragon was released, then one would have definitely noticed its financial success. It was number one in its first week of release. The next 3 weeks were topped by Clash of the Titans and Kick-Ass, both financially successful films and by definition not “flash-in-the-pan” releases. Then, in its 5th week of release, HTTYD was number one again and was a box office news story. An article about the irrelevance of box office totals should be about flicks like Scott Pilgrim and maybe the original Tron, but not Tron: Legacy.

  • Badthingus

    Let me join the chorus and ask if you did ANY research before writing this article!?! And if you don’t think box office matters, ask Zack Synder about Sucker Punch.

  •!/BetterKevin Kevin Chin

    This is idiotic, the soundtrack made it to the 4th position on the billboard charts, and the movie made 400 million, and that’s not including the Blu Ray and other merchandise. Please do research before spewing this kind of garbage again.

  • Nicksmitty

    Yeah, except for the fact that Serenity failed to recoup it’s comparatively modest production budget ($39 million USD) with a total worldwide gross of only $38 mil.

    Tron: Legacy drew a significant audience turnout at no loss to the studio and Disney is logically building on that. Poor article.

  • Papaford81

    international sales. duh

  • Bill Cunningham

    With the exhibitor taking 50% +/- of the box office for the first two weeks and a slow sliding scale back toward the distributor after that — a film must make three times the budget on theatrical before it sees profit… I agree it used to be around 2 – 2.5, but the fiscal crisis has only heightened the barrier a theatrical movie must get over to see profit.

    That’s why they try and put the movie on as many screens as possible and make as big a splash as possible. Theatrical is ONLY an advertising campaign for the eventual DVD, VOD and TV releases, and yes, it is massively bad from a business standpoint.

    If a movie is made for $100M, then it must gross $300M before it sees a profit from the theatrical venture. That will cover all of the expenses related to theatrical and set up the awareness for the followup DVD / VOD campaign whereby the studio will on average make about $150 – 200M. But even that is being eaten away as DVD sales are slumping.

    And according to Warner Bros. they STILL haven’t made any profit on Harry Potter. Yes, part of it is hinky accounting, but it points to the gamble studios make when they release a movie theatrically. Because they can charge back expenses to a film’s revenues they see their overhead covered, but the people who actually made the film and who deserve a piece of the profits never see a dime.

  • Bill Cunningham

    Steve – the theatrical divisions of every movie studio would be cutting off their left testicle in sacrifice if they could get a 70% return on gross for domestic.

  • Bill Cunningham

    What the studios were doing for awhile is creating D2DVD sequels that they could market with the properties. Examples: DARKMAN, TIMECOP, all those animated sequels. That way they had the brand recognition with hardly any of the expenses. If they could tie the DVD in to a cable TV premiere (Like STARSHIP TROOPERS 2) their costs were covered and the home entertainment and TV divisions clicked their heels in joy.

    However because of the flattening of the DVD market – that isn’t happening so much anymore.


    Whats amazing is the lack of real…ya know…facts . I mean how can you ignore the growing overseas box office ? Which has grew over the last decade and made hits of movies . Also the 2nd life of a movie with the Home Video market , PPV, merchindice and Cable rights is another factor. Disney would not approve a movie that didn’t do well at the Box Office. Sorry , but Disney is a business . A business that wants to make money. Tron did some fantastic money as we saw…and they wanna make more with sequels.

  • Bill Cunningham

    We would have to look at the financing for this movie – how was it put together? Were foreign territories presold the theatrical or territory rights (the great German tax shelter way) or were they financed some other way?

    I can almost guarantee many of the major territories were presold to raise the production funds. Which means US Box office had little to nothing to do with worldwide sales. Those sales were already locked in long before the movie was released.

    Until we know exactly how the financing was set up – we won’t know EXACTLY the figure required to push the picture into profitability. BUT – we can make this educated guess: If it cost nearly $200M to make – then we can guess a ball park figure for it to make to see actual profitability is nearly $600M worldwide.

    To date it’s only made $398,423,271 ( ) worldwide.

    We can make the educated guess that the worldwide theatrical sales have not put this picture into profit. However it will be in profit after DVD, VOD and TV.

  • Deron

    You’re right, we do need to know what the financing structure was. However, you’re assuming some things that should not necessarily be assumed. For one thing, Disney distributes its own films internationally (through Disney Studios Motion Pictures International), which makes it unlikely that it sold off any claim to any international box office. Films aren’t sold directly to exhibitors (haven’t been for more than 100 years), so Disney wouldn’t even have anyone to sell its foreign claims to. And as someone else noted, it’s unlikely that any of the film’s talent has gross profit participation (Jeff Bridges would be the only cast member with enough of a track record to possibly command gross points but I doubt he could). Where the studios struggle to make profits are on films where the major stars have demanded enormous gross participation; in some instances (I think the most recent Indiana Jones film is one) the studio committed more than half of the gross to the stars, director and producer. *That* might mean a film needs to gross 3x its budget to make a profit, but not every film (and almost certainly not T:L) is so leveraged. Generally speaking, twice a film’s budget is enough to make it profitable — and some films don’t require even that much.

  • tronprogram

    The article is wrong. There’s been no official press release or anything sent out from the studio saying a 3rd movie is going to happen. All there’s been is loose talk.

  • MikeAB

    It’s time to see movies as a global enterprise. Critics still think of foreign box office as “bonus money” but movie executive don’t care where the money comes from.

  • Brian from Canada

    Bad as this article is, you’re all missing the main point — and that is the validity of the domestic box office as a signal of success. Hollywood’s turned the weekend box office receipts into that, and sent mixed signals about what is, and what is not, a box office success.

    And while Tron: Legacy did recoup its losses including foreign, let us not forget it was Disney’s tent pole release for the Christmas season and nobody — NObody — in the press was citing Tron’s numbers as fantastic and a definite sign of a franchise reborn.

    Still, some people use the numbers as guides for success and not the film itself, or its lasting potential. Transformers 2 was the highest-grossing film for that summer, yet it won the awards for worst film hands down and there aren’t many people — especially Transformers fans — citing it as a film that’s worth revisiting at the moment.

    Marvel did the corporate switcheroo with Hulk. Universal was disappointed with its profit on the first film, whereas Marvel claimed the second was a huge success despite doing similar numbers at the box office. WB thought Superman: Returns was good until Batman Begins came out, and with the $1B for Dark Knight there’s now an expectation that the biggest movies should get that number. (And their rhetoric then switched to needing a “dark” take on all their superheroes… until Watchmen tanked.)

    The real thing that should matter is whether the film itself deserves a sequel. In the case of many of the franchise pictures, that’s questionable — and the sequels themselves are often very, very poor. (For Tron: Legacy, the answer is that no sequel should be made UNLESS they can come up with a decent film because this one sucked story-wise and had lackluster acting from its lead.)

  • Deadpool_187

    The studio only sees a return of about 55% from ticket sales. Theaters themselves like to make money too. so whatever the worldwide gross is chop off 40-45% then subtract promotional costs add is actual production costs and find out if its a winnah.

    399M (Box Office) – 40% (Theaters cut, being generous to the Studio here) = 219M – 170M (Production costs) = 47M then one must factor in the unknown amount for promotional costs (likely to eat all remain profit to this point, it is Disney after all) and then wait for the likely huge dvd/blu ray/VoD haul.

  • DMO

    No, you have this absolutely backwards.

    The distributor (studio) takes the lion’s share of the box office in the first few weeks — 90 percent (less the “house nut,” or the amount the exhibitor keeps to cover operating costs) in the opening weeks. The sliding scale eventually favors exhibitors so that, in theory at least, the box office is ultimately split something close to equitably. But since most films are front loaded (the release strategy is designed to get most people into the theaters in the first weekend), the later weeks, where the exhibitors keep most of the money, see grosses that are less than 80 percent of what the opening week gross was. This is why the exhibitors are so upset over the decreasing windows between theatrical and home-video release; the recent DirectTV deal would offer movies less than two months after their theatrical debut.

  • Alex

    Here’s some news.

    1. Promotion costs are covered in the initial budget of a film.

    2. Tron Legacy cost $170 million to make (including promotional cost)
    and they netted just under 400 million at the box office world wide. Do some research.

  • Nickschley

    This article acts as if this is something new. Theatre releases rarely are used for the bulk of the budgetary income of a film. DVD (or now BluRay) has always been the cash cow. Much akin to TPB’s in the comic book market. The Theatre is hoping to make as close to the budget (if not more) as possible. With DVD and/or BluRay being the gravy with little overhead.

    Not really into Tron but it wasn’t a failure by a longshot. It profited at the Box Office and will surely sail skyward on DVD/BluRay

  • Bill Cunningham

    Excellent point – Disney keeping everything in house does give them the advantage in this regard.

  • Anonymous

    The big difference in boxoffice calculation now is BECAUSE there are so many other venues to see a film. Fifty years ago, the only way your could see a film was in the theaters, and then a few years later on television. If a film didn’t make a profit in the theaters, it was a failure, period. There are an long list of classic films that were boxoffice flops.

    As video started to come along (especially after people started buyine films on video as opposed to merely renting them), some films became more profitable as the home video numbers came in. But video was still considered icing on the cake; indeed, even overseas sales was a “round two” of money. The mindset was still that boxoffice would be the arbiter of “success” If someone said their film was a hit “once you added in video and international sales”, people would raise their eyebrow in cynical reply.

    Come the 80s and 90s, video sales and international receipts became more and more a requirement to make a film profitable, due mainly to the skyrocketing budgets. We also saw more films greenlighted BECAUSE of video sales. The first Austin Powers film came and went in the theaters, but found its audience on video, to the degree that a sequel was approved, which did quite well indeed. And the budgets went up, and more and more of what used to be considered “extra” money had to be added to the first round of tallying. Nowadays, they add in licensing revenue to “prove” how successful a film is.

    Next we’ll see how the sales on internet streaming sites and VOD services will be added in. And it’ll be interesting how long before the agents realize that much of the money is being made well after the theatrical release, and start making those back-end deal come from more an more sources. Gonegone are the days when the movie comanies could point at paltry ticket sales and claim, “Boy we really took a bath on this one, sorry there’s so little profits to share with you”.

  • Sborband

    Why do most articles on Spinoff always seem laced with the writer’s opinion? It’s like they can’t resist taking a shot at a movie just because it wasn’t to their liking. I liked Tron:Legacy. But to even take the time to knock other flicks like Boondock Saints and Transformers? It seems to me this site exists just for these people to have a platform to write about how much they disliked something. I’m not saying any movie mentioned here was an instant classic, but it always seems to me that the writer is trying to make you feel dumb for simply enjoying them.

  • Bhangraroots

    I agree and will add few points……couple decades ago….movies were considered successful if they could break the $100 million mark (domestically) and get some high marks from major TV stations and newspapers. Now some movies are needing IMAX/3D ticket revenue, overseas revenue, and cable/TV airing rights, social media hype, to offset their mediocre domestic revenue and general public reception. This is even before that movie hits RedBox, NetFlix, special edition and regular DVDBlu-Ray copies. Basically, movie business has more variety of ways to recoup revenue when the traditional domestic take doesnt pan out. That is why Tron will continue, that is why Superman is going to be redone again, and possibly every successive movie with some fan and/or nostalgic base will be made and spawn sequels. At the end of the day, the pride of stating a movie was very profitable and critically accepted, domestically, is not as important during this time period of myriad entertainment venues.

  • Norvandell

    Movies in the theatre any more these days are just adverts for the blu-ray/dvd’s. If studios were more original and stopped rushing remakes to the screen as quickly as they do, movies may have a longer shelf life. On average, the studios retain about 97% of the gross from theatres in the first week, and that percentage goes down slowly with each passing week a movie stays on the screen. Sad thing, is the number of movies that are pumped out, make it almost impossible for theatre circuts to keep anything past 2 to 4 weeks anyways. Longer the movie stays in a theatre, the people working behind the counters get to keep their jobs

    Cut back the number of releases per month, allow a people the chance to see a film or two, and you’d be surprised how much more money could be had from a film. Of course lowering ticket prices so people can afford to see movies, is a whole other matter.

    As for how disappointing or not “Tron” was, is a personal matter. I think too many people go into it with preconceived and high expectations, and not the attitude of just being entertained for the sake of having fun for what it’s worth. I dare anyone to raise the capitol and make a movie for 100 million and see just what people say about it.

    I’m 43, and spent over 22 years in the theatre business. Not saying I know all, and that my tastes in film out weigh others, but my advice is don’t believe anyone elses hype about a movie. Don’t waste you time with film reviews before the movie has even come out. Pay your money, and be entertained. if you like it, great, if not, chalk it up to experience. Could be, that you might not have theatres to go to in the future, and that will be a sad day.

    Sorry for the rant.

  • Mdhdjdh

    Why are you using an indie financial gap-model for a major studio like Disney? I can guarantee you that Disney did NO foreign pre-sales…based solely on their brand, they don’t have to. You need some friends at the big D, to explain to you exactly how they work…its quite fascinating.

  • Sborband

    Hear! Hear! That’s a nice rant I think. And you do have a point. Just how long will theatres be around so we can enjoy the big screen? Don’t take them for granted, because that’s when they’ll disappear.

  • JMC

    If we’ve learnt anything from this article it’s this:

    Don’t rile up Tron fans because they get very emotional (backs away cautiously)

  • Ray A

    My young son and daughter both loved the movie (and their father kind of dug it too), love the toys, and were left wanting more… I’m sure they’re not alone, and I’m sure Disney has gotten similar feedback. No, it’s not going to be Star Wars, and not even Pirates, but they realize that got a property with some long-term potential across a variety of media.

    Box office is only important to a degree. Why do you think they keep making Hulk movies, with him coming back in the Avengers? Because they sold a load of Hulk Hands, t-shirts, action figures, etc. etc., and they will again.


    If this is true, then why can’t we get Serenity / Firefly up again with a sequel? Browncoats are willing to give good money away to see a feature film again!

  • Jacob

    TO be honest, the only reason Serenity exists is because Fox decided it was worth the gamble. There was no logical reason to do it other than “Maybe the fans will actually come out and see it.” And then they didn’t, and that’s why no Serenity 2.

  • Jacob


  • Jacob

    Start checking the byline. It’s always the same guy. Everybody else reports news. He does editorials. His mood is constantly set to “Bitch.”

  •!/ David R. Schmitt

    Boondocks Saints unwatchable? Glad I don’t see it though your eyes.
    And Graeme, HELLO! Foreign box office? The world does not end at the U.S./Mexico and U.S./Canada border you know. Your opinion pieces kinda shows what uninformed opinions you develop.

  • Dan

    This article takes a pretty short sighted point of view. For all intents and purposes, Disney was launching a brand new franchise.

    And from a business standpoint, there are still a whole mess of reasons to look at Box Office. Try launching a franchise off a movie like Sucker Punch, which just bombed at the box office. While it may not be the main factor like it once once, the Box Office is still the springboard for the life of the movie, due to the fact that so many deals/ decisions are made off of box office performance.

  • JMC

    I did the opposite – I saw the film (had never even heard of Firefly), loved it, then went back and watched the series, had a cry when I realised it’d been cancelled, and then read the comics when they came out.

    It was an emotional ride, but worth it.