Unreported Story: 5 Years of Hollywood Box Office Misery

The latest round of war-movie failures, explained and discussed in more detail by Mark at Weapons of Mass Discussion this past Saturday, is just another episode in a five-year horror story at the box office for the US movie business. Despite the growth of DVD sales during most of that time and the potential for gold in downloads, the ongoing dismal results at the box office have to be causing headaches in Hollywood's executive suites.

Box office receipts have never really recovered from a disastrous 2005, barely beating inflation since then, while per-capita ticket purchases have stagnated:

HollywoodBoxOfficeTix2002to2007

What's more, while the US economy as a whole grew 15% in real terms from 2002-2007, the movie industry's box office contracted by over 9%:

HollywoodBoxOffcVsEconGrowth02to07

Ouch. When's the last time (or the first time?) you saw the industry's box-office situation portayed so starkly in the general or business press?

Additionally, DVD sales declined in 2007 for the first time. YouTube and other instant and/or "amateur" movie alternatives loom ever larger.

If there was a way out for the studios, it would seem to involve, among other things, not squandering precious resources on politically-correct enterprises that are guaranteed box-office duds. That idea doesn't seem to register -- which is why the executive headaches mentioned in the first paragraph will likely get stronger.

Data Sources: Box Office Mojo (Total Box Office and Tickets Sold); US Bureau of Labor Statistics (annual average inflation); US Bureau of Economic Analysis (GDP growth); Census Bureau (annual population estimates).

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.