Space Ramblings

Movie Box Office vs Video Game Sales

These comparisons started with the Call of Duty series and its blockbuster sales. Take this from the Economist

“Black Ops” is not a film or a book: it is a video game. For comparison, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2”, the current record-holder for the fastest-selling film at the box office, clocked up just $169m of ticket sales on its first weekend. “Black Ops” stole the crown from its predecessor in 2009, “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2”. The latest instalment, “Modern Warfare 3”, released on November 8th, set a record of its own with $750m in its first five days.

Money is money, but in the number of customers, Harry Potter Whatever beat Call of Duty Whatever. Movie tickets these days are still mostly under 15 dollars (or maybe I’m wrong) and the price for something like COD MW 3 is probably going to be around 50-60 dollars. There are still theaters where you can see movies for 10 bucks or so. So Harry Potter scored several times MW3’s audience, MW3 just made money off a smaller group of people.

But box office sales count ticket sales no the total money spent, which with snacks is probably going to be double that, at least. Movie theaters make their money from snack sales. Studios make a sizable chunk of change from later DVD and Blu Ray sales. None of this shows up front. Games do have DLC sales but they’re still a fraction of the total. So the picture isn’t as unbalanced as it seems.

Games still cost less than movies to make and turn a larger profit. Especially with growing direct sales to customers and no need to split the profits with a theater chain. MW2 cost around 40-50 million but had a launch budget of around 200 million dollars. MW3 probably had an even bigger launch budget.

That 250 million for MW2 is Harry Potter and the DH2’s film budget (though not its promotional budget) which helps put things into proportion. Its total worldwide take was over 1.3 billion, most of that foreign. MW2 had over a billion in sales, but took in most of its sales in the US.

MW2 has the lead because it extracted more money from individual customers, but it has fewer of those and they are more localized. It probably has the lead in revenues since movie studios don’t make nearly as much from box office, especially foreign box office, but it also has to spend something like the budget for making a Potter film just to get those customers.

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  • Custom avatar
    Attah October 19, 2012 at 5:34 am

    AND NOW, as Hollywood’s made BILLIONS upon BILLIONScatering to the mass market deianl needs of history’s MOST awesomely genocidal regime ACROSS the Pacific-AND as millions are suffering and dying FOR REAL how about an homage to those who served and sacrificedon this, the once again mysteriously overlooked’ 60thAnniversary of the staggeringly relevant indeed, STILLunfolding KOREAN WAR!?NOT LOOOKIN’ GOOD AMERICA NOT LOOOOOKIN’ GOOD

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