☀️Summer 🎥 Studio Scorecard: Ranking ROI on Every Movie
Who made best use of their production money? A special edition
The Domestic Summer 2023 Box Office crossed $4 billion, +16% from 2022 👏.
Yes… it’s still down from 2019 and 2018, but keep in mind both of those summers had two of the highest-grossing movies of all time in the two Avengers movies.
The $4 bil also definitely did not get distributed in even proportions to all major studios (and our new friends at ANGEL). So… who won summer? And by what metric?
As Scott Galloway has said - at the core of their warm capitalist hearts… studios are ultimately arbiters of capital 💰, who are looking to get the best return on said capital 💰💰 (I think Scott stole that from Chaplin).
SO: Who allocated their production dollars the best this summer… and who would have been better off investing in NETFLIX stock? (+40% since the start of May) 🤑
Let’s dive into the ROI and see who gets the coveted Wakeup 2023 SUMMER BOX OFFICE CUP 🏆 (engraving costs extra).
This is based solely on global theatrical revenue.
Marketing spend is not included.
I’m excluding studio specialty division releases (FOCUS, SEARCHLIGHT, SPC), which… actually (and sadly) benefits our participants.
Obviously PVOD 💰 is also not included, which is an increasingly large revenue source for films.
If only studios wanted to, ya know, get credit for those numbers!
YES, I KNOW: Even though some films didn’t quite break-even theatrically (MI:7)… they will get into the black eventually via Pay-TV windows, digital downloads, int’l TV sales, etc.
But some (Indiana Jones) will very likely just be a loss no matter what (especially when you factor in marketing dollars, which you have to do in the long-term picture).
AND REMEMBER: a movie’s theatrical gross sets the baseline for what the movie gets 💰 in all of those other windows.
So, a low box office take has repercussions throughout the lifespan of the film.
AGAIN: This would be a reason in my mind for studios to report public PVOD numbers to potentially help that ancillary window revenue for years to come… but hey, whadda I know 🤷♂️.
AND: I’m basing my math on Studios getting a 60% cut of theatrical box office revenue.
Yes, 60% is probably a little generous - but rev share terms with theaters vary per film, and some films with legs (WB’s Barbie etc) get a considerable amount of their gross later in their runs, when the revenue splits favor the movie theaters… and some peaked early and fell away (The Flash), favoring the studios. So, I think 60% is fair if applied to everyone.
I’m also doing some slight rounding, since exact splits/revenue isn’t known.
Basically - this is ballpark, but all studios are playing by the same rules in the ballpark… so if you went with a 55% theatrical split, it wouldn’t change any of the below ranking.
BEST OF ALL - A POD OF RECKONING!
Your resident experts of myself, Richard and Elaine face the music on their “expert” Box Office predictions from Memorial Day weekend about the Summer Movie Season in a special Ankler x Wakeup edition of The Ankler podcast!
Plus a look at the lessons learned, why we all missed on MI:7, and what we found most surprising looking back on the summer of 2023…