Hollywood, it’s more than a hint

Published 8:18 pm Wednesday, February 28, 2007

According to Numbers.com, a movie statistics website, the movies taking top dollar gross from 1995 to 2007 are PG-13 movies, with a whopping $48.55 billion from 1,247 PG-13 movies made since 1995. R-rated movies come next with $34.1 billion out of 2,321 movies made. Next in line are PG movies with 638 films grossing $19.9 billion and 207 G-rated movies making $6.35 billion. Do these stats turn on the lights in Hollywood?

Doing a little math, 2,321 R-rated movies, grossed just 30 percent less money than the 1,247 PG-13 movies. If we assume PG-13 movies are “family movies” (this assumption has been argued against by some top ratings critics), and we add in the PG movies and the G movies, we have a total of 2,092 movies, still less than the 2,321 R-rated movies made since 1995. The gross dollars made from “family movies” is more than twice what the R-rated movies grossed, even though there were fewer movies made.

Need more proof?

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There hasn’t been one R-rated film that has been in the top ten grossers since 1995. Eight PG-13 films, four PG films and one G (Finding Nemo) film made the number one spots for gross dollars culled.

It isn’t difficult for a person to say, “Well, that’s because twice as many people go to family-oriented films because Mom and Dad take the kiddies to see those films.” It has also been said that G-rated movies with theaters filled with kids paying half fare do not do as well as R-rated movies filling theaters with movie-goers paying full fare.

That isn’t exactly the case. “Finding Nemo” (G) was the top grossing film of 2003. That is the same year that “Pirates of the Carribean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” (PG-13) placed second, and “The Lord of the Rings” (PG-13), third, fourth was “The Matrix Reloaded” (R), fifth, “Bruce Almighty” (PG-13), sixth “X2” (PG-13), seventh was “Elf” (PG), number eight was “Chicago” (PG-13), “Terminator 3” (R) came in ninth, and “Bad Boys II” (R) landed in tenth place. Since 2003, only three R-rated movies have made it into the top 10. Last year no R-rated movies made it into the top 10.

The all time money maker in the film industry is “Gone With The Wind”, adjusted for inflation. Second is “Star Wars”, third is “The Sound of Music” according to Chasingthefrog.com box office.

In the past 12 years, Americans have spent almost $101 billion dollars on movie tickets. How does one put that in perspective? How much is just one billion?

If you were to go back in time one billion seconds, you would be in 1975. One billion minutes ago, Rome had conquored the world. It would take almost 94 years to count to one billion: say 435,345,999 real fast. It still takes more than a second to say it. It would take three 18-wheeler trailers packed to the ceiling with $100 bills to equal $1 billion dollars. Crunchweb.net says $87 billion would bury a football field in 55 feet of money, and we’re talking about a $101 billion industry in 12 years.

It isn’t enough to look at the gross dollars, because the gross dollars are divied up among producers, distributors, exhibitors and, lest we forget, the movie stars. Exactly how are the ticket dollars divided?

According to The People’s Media, Associated Content, the ticket price is typically divided roughly 50/50 between the distributor (studio) and the exhibitor (theater), however this differs according to negotiations and the type of film plus the percentages decrease for the distributor and increase for the exhibitor as the weeks go by that the movie is shown.

Out of the distributor’s money, the producer usually receives 70 percent. On the surface it looks good, but out of the producer’s cut comes the costs of distributions such as advertising, release prints, guild residuals and the like. Only about 61 cents goes to the actual filmmaker. This 61 cents is divided among the Executive Producers (17 cents each). The stars of the film, producers, director, screenwriter and director of photography receive about 3 cents each.

The question is, why don’t the theaters recognize which films are making them the most money and show only those movies? Maybe the bigger question is why don’t the studios recognize what kinds of films are making the most money and make only those movies?