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The Big Box Office Bamboozle

January 8, 2010 - rant

It looks like my prediction about Avatar is on track to come true, but the box office reports today reminded me just how pointless box office reports are. I already know the answer to this question, but why do these reports still use dollars instead of gross tickets sold? Hey James Cameron! Since you’re trying to revolutionize the movie industry with your work, how about doing something really revolutionary — how about you demand that your box office receipts be reported in numbers that actually mean something? Because, if you look at Titanic‘s box office take, it’s based on the cost of tickets in 1997 (about $4.50). Tickets on average today are about twice that much, so when Avatar‘s take exceeds that, it’ll be on half as many tickets. On the other hand, Titanic sold about 95 million tickets in 1997. That number still has meaning today. For example, the original Star Wars in 1977 sold over 160 million tickets in total. So if bragging rights are going to mean anything at all, everyone needs to be using the same standard of measure. Otherwise, just stop bombarding us with meaningless numbers!

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