August 2 2011

Harry Potter Joins the Billion Dollar Club

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part 2 has joined the ranks of the films to break the $1 billion dollar box office mark for global ticket sales, marking only the ninth film to do so. While impressive, it also shows that the measurement of a successful movie based on dollar amounts is hopelessly broken.

Over the past weekend the eighth and final film in the Harry Potter series became the first film of its kin to break the magical billion dollar mark, and while it leads the series in dollars, it does not lead in attendance records.  And that is why this “billion dollar club” has become a joke.

Four of the nine films to enter this pantheon were released in 2009 and 2010, and include extra income from 3D premium tickets, IMAX and ever increasing ticket prices.  The only film not released in this decade to be in top 10 is Titanic, and doesn’t any one else find that odd?

You look at the all time adjusted domestic box office chart which multiplies the attendance by current ticket prices, you see that Gone with the Wind is still the top grossing film and followed by others like Star Wars, The Sound of Music and other older films.  Why aren’t we tracking the success of movies by how many people it gets into the theater, and not what they pay for it?  What I pay in my little town right now compared to large cities is so vastly different, than even as an in the moment measurement system box office dollars simply don’t work.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon, the third film in that series, looks set to break the $1 billion in worldwide dollars by probably tomorrow, meaning that the top 10 films will all be in the billion dollar club, and the list will look like this.

FilmYear Released
3The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King2003
4Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest2006
5Toy Story 32010
6Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides2011
7Alice in Wonderland2010
8Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 22011
9The Dark Knight2008
10Transformers: Dark of the Moon2011

Notice the disturbing trend? Thanks higher 3D ticket prices for totally throwing this out of whack!

Congrats to these films for making it to these dollar marks, now if it only somehow reflected how many people actually saw them.

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