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(The Real) Everything you Always Wanted to Know About The Box Office But Were Afraid To Ask

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First a bit about the site.  The Box Office Theory was founded by Shawn Robbins in 2011, originally as a box office blog.  He created a different site for all of us to head to after Mojo decided to 86 their forums, which eventually became this forum community.  Many of us were at those forums from the beginning.  Along with myself, guys like Lilmac and Mike Q were at the forums at mojo from the start in 2002.  So some of us go back almost 15 years.  Shawn then got approached by boxoffice.com to take the forums to their site in 2012, although after a change in ownership they decided to no longer fund the hosting needs of a site as large as the forums had become. In late 2015, Shawn moved the forums back to BoxOfficeTheory.com, at which point they became entirely independent and member-supported through donations. 


Water Bottle is now the main guy here and Tele is the head admin.  They do a terrific job of keeping this place running.  We do survive on donations because it costs a fair bit of money to operate a site like this.  I think it's around $3000 or more per year.  By donating, you help keep the site going and in return you get more advantages.....more likes....a variety of avatar options and so on.  For more info on this, ask Tele or WB.  


Multiplier:  A multiplier for a film is when you take the opening weekend gross and divide it into the final domestic gross.  So for an example; The Force Awakens opened to 247.9 million and closed with 936.6 million.  That gave it a multiplier of 3.78.  


Internal multiplier:  This is the kind of concept but it is for the opening weekend only.  The internal multiplier is the opening day gross (including preview numbers) divided into the final gross for the weekend.  So for example:  The Force Awakens had an opening day of 119.1 and ended the weekend with 247 million.  That's an internal multiplier of 2.07.    Another example would be the Jungle Book.  It opened to 32 million on Friday and ended the weekend with 103.2 million.  That was good for a 3.2X.  One was front loaded, the other was back loaded.


Front loaded:  This is when a film seems to have a massive rush to see it opening weekend but then fizzles out a little faster than a film that is not front loaded.  Being front loaded often carries a negative connotation but this isn't entirely true.  Franchise films, especially sequels, have a lot of upfront demand.  Films like Harry Potter and Twilight were massively front loaded.  This can be attributed to their loonie fan base rushing out to see it as soon as they can.  Other times, a front loaded film can simply be because of negative word of mouth (WOM).  For example Batman vs Superman opened very strongly to 166 million and finished with a pathetic 330 million.  This was attributed to the poor WOM it had and because of it, it only managed a 1.99X, which is absolutely horrible.  


Cheap Tuesdays:  This is a phenomenon that started in the 1980's (if I remember correctly).  It then fizzled out and now it is back stronger than ever.  Tuesday's have gotten bigger and bigger every year for about the last 4 years.  This is when a theater will offer a movie at either half the regular price or at least discounted in some way.  This causes big spikes in Tuesday business compared to Monday and then it also causes big drops on Wednesday.  Of course, this isn't always the case....there are always caveats to anything.  One really interesting anomaly to the cheap Tuesday spike was when The Force Awakens was in it's first and second week.  Because the film was in such high demand, people were seeing it in record numbers every day of the week.  So on the first tow Tuesdays, because the tickets were so cheap, TFA actually dropped 7 and 5% respectively in week one and two.  While other films were dropping on the Wednesday, TFA actually increased by about 2% on teh first Wednesday.  TFA was a lot of fun to track and follow.


Our sources....our Gods.....our two ASGARD DEITIES:  RTH and Empirecity are our two inside guys.  We don't know who they work for and we don't ask.  But they have access to raw numbers from the theatres or from Rentrak or wherever they get them from.  When you see the name ASGARD OR ASGARD 2 in the title of a thread, that means it's from either of them.  IF YOU EVER OPEN A DAILY NUMBERS THREAD, NEVER EVER EVER........EEEEVVVVEEERRRR USE RTH OR EMPIRE IN THE TITLE.  The title is always with Asgard or Asgard 2.


Other sources are boxoffice.com, boxofficemojo.com, boxofficeguru.com, deadline.com, the-numbers.com.  All of these are excellent sources of news and/or numbers but keep in mind, they have to get their numbers from a source, RTH and EMPIRE are the source.  


Summer vs non summer:  In the summer, because everyone is out of school, the weekdays will obviously be much stronger than when kids are not in school.  This also means that the Friday increases will be much softer.  In the winter and spring and fall, you will see Friday increases that range from about 100-150%.  For films that have families as their main demographic, you might even see a 175-225% increase.  In the summer, you will see smaller Friday bumps that range from about 25% to about 65%.  This goes on for the duration of the summer...from about the end of June to the middle of August.  Once schools start up again, the Friday increases get bigger and bigger.


Original film or property:  A film that has no pre-existing material to it.  The Hobbit, Star Wars, Jurassic World, Beauty and the Beast are all examples of films with pre-existing material to it.  La La Land, Get Out and Life are examples of original films.


Holiday Mondays:  Often we have four day weekends.  This can be Easter (about 40% of the US and Canada have Easter Monday off), Independence Day Weekend, Memorial Weekend and Labour Day Weekend to name a few.  These are Monday's when the drops will be less than normal because a lot of kids are out of school and adults aren't working.  This also softens the Sunday drop and it causes Tuesday to see decreases instead of increases.


The domestic box office consists of both the US and Canadian markets.  There is never a split or breakdown between the two countries and currently no website keeps track of Canadian only numbers.  Generally speaking, Canada accounts for about 9% of the domestic box office.  There are anomalies for this as well.  For example, Return of the King grossed 377 million in domestic box office.  60 million of that came from Canada...meaning about 15% of the gross came from my home and native land.  Fantasy tends to do well here...horror and many films aimed at a black audience, for some reason doesn't do well here.  I might be the only white person in Canada who loves the Madea films.


The main forum is for all domestic box-office discussion, and it's a place to not only talk about the daily numbers as they come in, but also news about movies that've been released or are in production. Generally speaking, the main forum is not a place for spoiler discussion. Any sort of specific details about a movie that isn't out on home video should be spoiler-tagged (you can do this by either clicking on the eye icon in the posting menu or by typing [ spoiler ] whatever you want to say [/ spoiler] (without the spaces in the brackets).


The Numbers and Data forum is read-only for members. This is where we archive all daily and weekend number threads, both to keep the main forum tidy, but also to keep really old threads from getting bumped and confusing people. It's a great place to go if you want to check how the numbers came in on a particular day, or if you want to find an epic thread where people flipped out. Number threads get moved here a day or two after they're started. (So a weekend thread will get moved on Tuesday, for example.)

(end Tele addition)


We actually have some real Hollywood people at our sight.  I don't know all of them, but off the top of my head:


Telerian: an editor who has worked for Disney and independent films: 

Water Bottle is working on his first feature film

JayHollywood works on productions and is currently doing various duties behind the scenes

I have been in one feature film (a Canadian independent film that didn't get picked up unfortunately) and I wrote a book called Terrified and Defenseless.  I'm hoping it one day gets made into a film.


There are others of course.  Like I said, I don't know all of them.  But this is a well thought of site and it does have the occasional Hollywood person here.

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