The MPAA’s annual state of the industry report came out today (we know, we were psyched too), but the trade association has eliminated its most scrutinized section: how much the studios spend on making movies and whether those numbers have gone up or down.
MPAA CEO Dan Glickman said, “There is nothing conspiratorial about this. We don’t have the numbers. We didn’t do them. I’ve been concerned about the validity of those numbers for years.”
He’s right that it’s hard to get accurate budget figures from the studio (trust us): the moviemakers fail to report certain budgets (we still don’t know how much it cost to make the A-list ensemble comedy He’s Just Not That Into You), round down others and basically manipulate the numbers. As a result, the MPAA’s accounting has long been considered somewhat suspect because it was using these studio-supported numbers and because it’s hard to gather all of that granular data from around the world. But still, as The NY Times notes, this was one of the few official sources of this information.
And, if the MPAA suspects that its studios aren’t reporting accurate budgets, why doesn’t it try to force them reveal the true costs of their movies and insist on greater transparency? We’re sure the investors in those films would appreciate that, as would lowly journalists just trying to figure out how much it cost to make a certain film.
Oh, as for the rest of the report, it wasn’t totally devoid of useful info, even if it wasn’t that surprising. The global box office reached an all-time high last year of $28.1 billion, up 5% from 2007. The U.S. box office pulled in $9.8 billion, 35% of the worldwide total, up 1.7% from the year before.
But, as has been the case, higher ticket prices were responsible for these additional revenues. Ticket prices were up, on average, by 30 cents, to $7.18, while attendance for the whole year slipped to 1.4 billion.
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