Glossary of Movie Business Terms
Budget See production budget and Prints and Advertising (P&A) Budget.
Domestic Box Office
Total money spent on tickets by moviegoers in the United States and Canada.
Certain films have a very loyal following, usually due to their source material. These people will flock to the film as soon as it opens, either over the opening weekend or, more likely, opening night. This inflates these numbers, reducing both the Internal Multiplier and the overall Multiplier.
The Home Market refers to revenue derived from people viewing movies at home. It is broken down into three sections: rentals, sales and TV rights. Combined these bring in more than double the domestic box office and can turn a film that was a mid-level hit to a monster hit, or lift a film that struggled at the box office to one that shows a considerable profit. And to think, just a couple of decades ago studios were suing VCR manufacturers and Video Rental stores claiming they would kill the industry! Of course now DVD is king, representing more than 80% of rentals and nearly all of the sales.
The Hulk Effect
Back in 2003 when Hulk came out, the studio bowed to incredible pressure from fans and released early footage of the special effects. The plan was to get the fans talking and build up the word-of-mouth. However, the special effects were in the early stages and were so bad that the buzz it generated killed any chance the film had. More recently the same happened to Catwoman with the early look at Halle Berry's outfit. Just goes to show you, sometimes there is such thing as bad publicity.
A film's weekend box office divided by its Friday number. It's basically a measure of the film's word-of-mouth, with 3.0 being the best most films can get these day while 2.3 is generally the bottom rung. Certain films have an inherent advantage (like those aimed kids), while the Fanboy Effect can shrink the number as the hardcore fans flock to the movie on Friday.
International box office
Total box office from all nations outside United States and Canada.
Legs is a term used to refer to how long a film lasts in theaters.
A film's total box office divided by its opening weekend box office. Another measure of the film's word-of-mouth but with a much wider range of possibilities. Films with below 2.0 are not unheard of, while 6.0 or more are a possibility. Just as a side note, not too long ago films with a multiplier of 10 or more were quite common, but the economics have changed and a big opening weekend is too important to the studios and the home market shortens a film's legs.
Prints and Advertising (P&A) Budget
Prints are the actual physical film that are shown in theaters and are quite expensive to make and distribute, costing about $2,000 per print. Each theater needs at least one print and possibly more depending on how many screens the film is playing on. The advertising part of the budget is the amount spent on just that, advertising. Most of the money is spent on TV, but radio, newspapers and magazines, the Internet and in theater advertising are also very important. The average film spends $34.4 million on P&A, while some films have spent more than $100 million.
The amount of money it cost make the movie including pre-production, film and post-production, but excluding distribution costs. The average cost of a wide release is about $65 million, with the most expensive films topping $200 million.
Screens & Screen Count
The actual screen the movie is projected on. Most Theaters have multiple screens, with largest having two dozen screens or more. Screen Count is simply the number of screens a film is playing on, but this is rarely used domestically, but internationally it is used to measure how wide a release is.
The Sequel Effect, a.k.a. Sequelitis
Think of this as a sub-species of the Fanboy Effect specific to sequels. Such films have a built in audience due to the original movie (as otherwise making the sequel is pointless).
Theaters & Theater Count
A theater is any place a movie is showing from the smallest cinema on the art house circuit to the largest megaplex. A film's Theater Count is simply the number of theaters a film is playing in at a given time. Domestically Theater Count is used to measure how wide a release is.
Worldwide box office
Domestic Box Office plus the International Box Office.
The largest international box office market and one of the few markets where a movie can reach $100 million. Fantasy films tend to very well here, as do home grown films, especially Anime.
The biggest producer of international films in terms of worldwide appeal and another market where a film hitting $100 million isn't unheard of, although for a film to bring in $30 million is about as common as a film hitting $100 million domestically. Not only do they produce a lot of their own films, the U.K. also tends to be the international market that is most receptive to most Hollywood films, especially comedies.
Germany is a market in transition as recently homegrown movies have really dominated the German speaking markets. Low brow comedies tend to do well here, as do films aimed at an urban audience domestically. Austria tends to have very similar box office tastes as Germany, just with a much smaller box office; a typical film will earn 10% to 20% of what it made in Germany.
Similar box office totals to the U.K., but local films tend to dominate the box office more in France. Also, the foreign language films with the biggest domestic box office tend to come from France.
Eclectic tastes means films that received just a limited release domestically tend to do well here. Hitting $10 million here is about as common as films hitting $150 million domestically.
Similar to the U.K., with similar tastes, except the average film will earn just half as much at the box office. Also, the local film production industry isn't nearly as strong. Films tend to open in Australia and New Zealand either on the same date, or within weeks of each other.
Horror films are the biggest draw here. One of the smaller major markets with $10 million a major milestone for the market and very few making it to $20 million or above. Films tend to open big and drop very fast, 50% second weekend drop-offs are common.
Family films tend to rule the box office here, especially animated films. For a film to hit $10 million in this market is a big deal.