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%.