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IMDB All-Time Worldwide Box office receipts


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#1 Keith Walters

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Posted 16 July 2009 - 10:20 PM

IMDB All time box office receipt s

This list is quite fascinating if you haven't seen it before.
It lists every film ever released that has taken more then US$200 million in box office receipts. It does not include home video or TV income.

The figures are not adjusted for inflation, so it is somewhat misleading as you go further down the list.

Here's the top 10 (out of 371):

1. Titanic (1997) $1,835,300,000
2. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) $1,129,219,252
3. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006) $1,060,332,628
4. The Dark Knight (2008) $1,001,921,825
5. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001) $968,657,891
6. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (2007) $958,404,152
7. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007) $937,000,866
8. Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999) $922,379,000
9. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002) $921,600,000
10. Jurassic Park (1993) $919,700,000

You can copy and paste the figures into an eXcel spreadsheet, so if you assume they all took the bulk of their income over the period of less than a year, I guess a keen figure-fiend with lots of time on his hands could work out an inflation-adjusted figure.

I produced some interesting data of my own.

The grand total is $139,360,470,960 ($139.35 billion)
Remember, that's a straight dollar count for movie tickets only, not adjusted for inflation.

Taking 1999 as the year when George Lucas decreed that Kodak/Fuji's services were no longer required, the total Box office receipts for live action (not cartoon animated) features released since then, was:

$77,449,946,255 ($77.4 billion)

Of this:

$2,467,275,601 (about $2.5 billion or 3.19%) was from digitally shot movies.

And of those
$1,886,231,963 ($1.89 billion) came from just three films:
Star Wars II
Star Wars III
Superman Returns
Which, lets face it, could have been shot on Super-8 for all the average fan would care:-)

Leaving just
$581,043,638 ($581 million or 0.75%!)
from "Mainstream" features shot on video.

Obviously there are some grey areas. I left out films like Borat and Blair Witch, because while they were shot on video, the cameras used don't really count as "digital cinematography" cameras in the Genesis/Red/D-20 sense.

Edited by Keith Walters, 16 July 2009 - 10:22 PM.

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#2 Keith Walters

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Posted 16 July 2009 - 10:29 PM

Leaving just
$581,043,638 ($581 million or 0.75%!)
from "Mainstream" features shot on video.

Before you jump in boots and all, remember, this is for "top shelf" productions that brought in more than $200 million. The total takings for digitally-shot movies will obviously be more than this, but the vast majority do not bring in over $200 million. (Or $20 million!)
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#3 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 17 July 2009 - 03:42 AM

I thought, allowing for inflation, "Gone With the Wind" was still the largest earner.
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#4 Paul Bruening

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Posted 17 July 2009 - 10:03 AM

A useful perspective, Keith. Thanks.
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#5 Rod Otaviano

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Posted 17 July 2009 - 10:06 AM

I thought, allowing for inflation, "Gone With the Wind" was still the largest earner.

According to this site, it still is:

http://www.filmsite.org/boxoffice.html

Edited by Rodrigo Otaviano, 17 July 2009 - 10:08 AM.

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#6 Thomas James

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Posted 17 July 2009 - 05:25 PM

One thing that seems to be ignored is that it is not known if any of these top ten movies had they been shot using digital cameras would have suffered from any loss of revenue. One exception could be the Dark Knight which was marketed as an IMAX movie and this probably helped generate more ticket sales.
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#7 Chris Keth

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Posted 17 July 2009 - 06:58 PM

For some more cool info, there's also the-numbers.com. This one is interesting because it also lists declared budgets, and some earnings lists can be displayed as % of budget.

Edited by Chris Keth, 17 July 2009 - 06:59 PM.

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#8 Keith Walters

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Posted 17 July 2009 - 07:34 PM

For some more cool info, there's also the-numbers.com. This one is interesting because it also lists declared budgets, and some earnings lists can be displayed as % of budget.

My figures aren't 100% accurate, as I was depending on another website for information on which pictures were shot digitally. Apart from having to wade through a vast majority of listings being for "features" that look like they had a budget of somebody's lunch money, it failed to mention "Don't Mess With the Zohan" was shot with the Genesis.

Nonetheless it still illustrates the level of skepticism in mainstream Hollywood over the value of all-electronic production.
I'm now doing a more elaborate spreadsheet that shows among other things how much income was derived from fully-animated features. The results so far are ... disturbing.
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#9 Keith Walters

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Posted 17 July 2009 - 07:52 PM

One thing that seems to be ignored is that it is not known if any of these top ten movies had they been shot using digital cameras would have suffered from any loss of revenue. One exception could be the Dark Knight which was marketed as an IMAX movie and this probably helped generate more ticket sales.

Just so. It is NOT known, and it would seem nobody is particularly interested in being the one to find out, particularly since there seems no practical advantage in doing so. This is 10 years down the track (20 if you count Sony/NHKs ludicrous posturings with their tube-based Hi-Vision cameras).
Plus, in general producers tend to want to be proud of their product, now, and maybe 50 years down the track.
Nobody knows exactly how much information can eventually be extracted from 35mm negative.
On the other hand, we know EXACTLY how much information can be extracted from a 10-bit 1920 x 1080 (or2K) video recording.
Now, and 50 years later.
OK at the moment the standard appears to be 2K- quality cinema projection. It would take a brave (or more likely, technically clueless) person to predict that that will never change. What company is going to risk the future-proofing of a nine-figure project, just to satisfy some airhead's technowank notion of Modernity?
THAT is the real issue.
Note that none of the top 10 was shot digitally. Also that Superman Returns is way down the list, although I don't know that that could be entirely blamed on the acquisition format :P
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#10 Thomas James

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Posted 17 July 2009 - 08:39 PM

However what is known is that for all of these billion dollar movies that you mentioned the only real competition was staying at home with your DVD player in which case it could be argued that going to the theatre resulted in better picture quality. But now that Blu-Ray has achieved significant market penetration with players available for only $98 and with this new technology people are starting to realize that they are getting better picture quality at home than they get at the movie theatre. Of course this does not necessarily mean the demise of 35mm film origination but vast amounts of movie theatres are in the process of switching to 2K digital projection.

The AMC theatre group has decided to go with 4K digital projection in an attempt to give movie goers an experience that they cannot get at home. So the question remains can a 35mm film negative hold up to 4K digital projection or will a larger 65mm format have to be used? Given the significant expense of 65mm film origination there will be tremendous pressure at least from an economic point of view to find a digital 65mm equivalent or at least a quasi equivalent.
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#11 Keith Walters

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Posted 17 July 2009 - 10:44 PM

So the question remains can a 35mm film negative hold up to 4K digital projection or will a larger 65mm format have to be used? Given the significant expense of 65mm film origination there will be tremendous pressure at least from an economic point of view to find a digital 65mm equivalent or at least a quasi equivalent.

If you're talking about a movie with a $200 milion plus budget, the extra cost of 65mm origination itself is hardly likely to ever be an issue, since the vast bulk of that is not going to be spent on image acquisition. Bigger issues would be the limited choice of cameras and lenses available, crew unfamiliarity, plus the lack of a readily accessible post-production infrastructure. But if it's deemed necessary, it will happen. If it does, my money would be some new version of the VistaVision format, since that's most compatible with the current processing installations.

As I have brought up in other threads, there does seem to be a direct correlation between the use of better quality origination, and the proliferation of affordable large-screen 1920 x 1080 TV sets. What looked OK on the average 20" NTSC TV can look quite shocking on a big-screen HD set.

And you're right, it's a serious problem for the cinemas if people can watch a better picture at home. I don't have a Blu-Ray player yet, but in this country at least, (supplied material allowing of course) Prime Time HD transmissions are of equal quality to Blu-Ray.
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