A blueprint for success in the US film industry

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This article analyses motion picture box-office gross revenue using a cross-section of films from 1997 to 2001. The dependent variable is total domestic box-office revenue. The independent variables investigated include: production budget; peak number of screens that the film was shown on in theaters; Consumer price index for movie tickets; personal income; season and year of the release in theaters; a measure of pre-existing audience; aggregate critic rating; MPAA rating; genre; word-of-mouth recommendation; the presence of popular stars and the award nominations. A distinction is made in the analysis between information available to the public prior to the release of the film in theaters (ex ante) and information available to the public after the film opens in theaters (ex post). Results for the ex ante ordinary least squares (OLS) regression reveal positive impacts of budget, summer and holiday release dates, critical reviews, sequels and several genres on gross revenue. Significant, positive determinants in the ex post OLS regressions include budget, the peak number of screens, sequels, critical reviews, summer and holiday releases, word-of-mouth, award nominations and star power.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00036840601007351

Affiliations: Department of Economics, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, PA 15705

Publication date: February 1, 2009

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