Let’s Go To The Movies!

In times of stress (and when is life not a time of stress?), the movies are a great form of escape and uplift. One thing I think those of us that are Americans don’t realize is how much the movie business also uplifts our economy. And if we do realize this, movies are treated as an economic horse race with which a film “meets expectations” or the U.S. opening weekend gross is the sole determination of a movie’s success. Let’s step back and look at the bigger picture.

The numbers below are the actual weekly box office numbers for films distributed by U.S. studios. Each Sunday, Rentrak updates its website with the most current information collected 24 hours a day from theaters around the world. The table shows the worldwide, international and domestic U.S. dollars for the top grossing films through June 24. The movies are ranked in descending order according to percentage of international dollars.

Note the healthy amount of money being spent on just these top-grossing films – almost $4 billion. Also see that 57% of the money comes from outside North America, with seven major releases securing over 50% of their revenue from international markets – all of which helps our balance of trade. And, this is just the first window for a film’s release. Digital downloads, DVD rentals and sales, On Demand, and cable airings all follow. (All of which are only tracked by Rentrak.) This is truly the “big picture.”

In case you don’t know, I am Bruce Goerlich, Chief Research Officer at Rentrak, the global standard in movie measurement and your TV Everywhere measurement and research company. I have been in the research end of the marketing business for more than 30 years primarily on the ad agency side, with my last stint prior to Rentrak in the role of President, Strategic Resources Zenith Optimedia North America. Somewhere along the way I morphed from young Turk to old fogey. Now that I have grey hair and am horizontally-challenged, I can speak with some authority on advertising and research issues – which I will do from time-to-time on this blog.


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