Overthinking box office figures

I’ve recently discovered “Overthinking It” a brilliant blog specialising in over analysis of pop culture.

They don’t like Avatar much over there (and I must confess I still haven’t seen it).

But they make a good point about how unfair it is to measure movies by box office spend:

In 1997, I paid $7 to see Titanic.

In 2009, I paid $15 to see Avatar.

Even adjusted for inflation, this is insane.

I tend to like densely populated places, so these were both fairly high prices for movie tickets at the time, and location isn’t a major contributor toward the change in ticket price. Yes, I saw Avatar in 3D, but the 3D is there specifically to raise the price of the ticket, not because of the higher costs. It’s price inflation disguised as a “value-add.” For the sake of box office numbers, that doesn’t really matter, now does it?

Furthermore, according to the World Bank:

In 1997, combined global gross domestic product was $30.1 trillion in nominal terms.

In 2008 (the latest year of available data), it was $60.6 trillion.

So, between Titanic and Avatar, the price of my ticket more than doubled, and the size of the global economy also more than doubled. Talk about a fair fight.

But, to offer a little more insight, from the same source:

In 1997, the gross domestic product of China in dollar terms was $953 billion.

In 2008, it was $4.33 trillion.

That’s an increase of 354%.


The author

Nathan runs St Eutychus. He loves Jesus. His wife. His daughter. His son. His other daughter. His dog. Coffee. And the Internet. He is the campus pastor at Creek Road South Bank, a graduate of Queensland Theological College (M. Div) and the Queensland University of Technology (B. Journ). He spent a significant portion of his pre-ministry-as-a-full-time-job life working in Public Relations, and now loves promoting Jesus in Brisbane and online. He can't believe how great it is that people pay him to talk and think about Jesus.