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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Ground Level   » Where can I find Box Office performance listed in terms of attendance for the US.

Author Topic: Where can I find Box Office performance listed in terms of attendance for the US.
Kamakshipalya Dhananjay
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 190
From: Bangalore, India
Registered: Aug 2002

 - posted 07-05-2003 01:00 AM      Profile for Kamakshipalya Dhananjay   Email Kamakshipalya Dhananjay   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Box office data in terms of attendance :
Does ER or Nielsen provide this data to their subscribers ?

Or is there some place where this kind of information may be accessed ? Was there ever a time when Box office data was primarily expressed as number of ticket sales for the United States ?

I recently read a report that Steven Spielberg, among others, desired that the Box office performance for the United States should change over to reporting attendance much like the norm in the France, Belgium and several European territories. This led me to think that this information might not be generally accessible except to the Studios or insiders - and that the people who are in possession of such information do not wish to reveal such information to the general public. Just last week, I read a report that though Charlie's Angels : Full Throttle beat the opening record figures for its predecessor in the North America, the fact remained that the sequel was less watched by almost a million viewers.

There was another disturbing revelation in the Boxofficeprophets.Com that the most successful movie last year, Spiderman, was watched at movie theatres across the North America by less than 10 % of its population.

What is your take on all this ? Do you prefer Box office data should be expressed in terms of attendance for the US/North America ?

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Mike Spaeth
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1112
From: Hampton, GA
Registered: Jul 2000

 - posted 07-05-2003 01:56 AM      Profile for Mike Spaeth   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Spaeth   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The reporting companies (Nielsen, Rentrak) don't even ask a theater what their attendance was on a picture ... simply a gross ... so i doubt this information is available on any sort of large-scale.

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Nicholas Roznovsky
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 156
From: College Station, TX, USA
Registered: Apr 2001

 - posted 07-05-2003 10:04 AM      Profile for Nicholas Roznovsky   Author's Homepage   Email Nicholas Roznovsky   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Reporting attendance would certainly be a more accurate figure, as more recent films have the decided advantage of higher ticket prices. I don't think things will change, however, for a few reasons:

1) Dollars are flashier and provide a better news story. It doesn't help hype a sequel if it's seen by less people than the original. It does help hype a movie if it makes more money due to inflated ticket prices. If the average ticket price in America is $5 (a guesstimate used for the purposes of this discussion), reporting the gross gives them a number which is five times larger and flashier to report.

2) Studios don't care about attendance. They can't figure profit accurately just by knowing the gross number of folks over a weekend. Selling a million tickets for Finding Nemo and selling a million tickets for Terminator 3 is a quite a bit of difference in money because of the different admission prices for the target age groups and the matinee/night crowds. There's also a wide variety of ticket prices amongst individual theaters, with some charging anywhere between $4 and $10 for an evening adult admission.

3) The most important reason - that's the way it's always been done.

I have seen reports talking about the total number of admissions for a given year in certain almanacs and publications like "Box Office" magazine before, but I haven't seen it broken down by individual films.

The reporting companies (Nielsen, Rentrak) don't even ask a theater what their attendance was on a picture ... simply a gross ... so i doubt this information is available on any sort of large-scale.
While Mike is right that the reporting companies don't ask for attendance figures, we do all send in box reports with the attendance figures listed which make their way to the distributor eventually. If they really wanted to, the distribs could tally them up and report attendance figures, although I imagine it would have to be delayed until all of the reports had been received.

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