Numbers Racket

This past weekend the most anticipated film of the year, Avengers: Age of Ultron, opened to giant numbers. As of the time of this writing (Sunday May 3rd at approximately 11 PM Eastern Standard Time) it sits at around $188 million in ticket sales, making it the second largest opening in film history.

In the United States.

If you factor in the ticket sales from overseas the totals come to $627 million, which to my eye is a significant difference. It leads me to wonder why domestic box office grosses are the metric that the industry is still using to gauge success now that we’re ostensibly part of a global community and communication is instantaneous. If the bulk of the money is coming from overseas, why is it that the only money the industry rags and studios visibly care about is from here at home? Money’s still money.

It wouldn’t make any difference if they weren’t using it as a standard to determine overall success of a project. But there have been films which have been deemed flops in the United States which have been arguably huge successes in the foreign market.

Guillermo Del Toro’s Pacific Rim was considered a flop, making only $102 million on the domestic market, against a $190 million budget. A net loss…on its own. Add in the $310 million in foreign ticket sales and you have what anyone could deem a success. Pacific Rim is going to get a sequel in 2017 titled Solar Rim, but it is a fluke.

The time has come to get with the times and start treating the economic realities of filmmaking for what they really are. Global.

Keith Cunningham
Keith is a freelance writer at Black Powder Design and a graduate of Edinboro University of Pennsylvania with a degree in animation. Keith hosts a podcast on the Deliberate Noise Network titled The Keith Show Show starring Keith. He is also the illustrator and writer of his own comic series called Stale Popcorn.