According to The Hollywood Reporter Hollywood had a record box office year. This despite cries and complaints from the MPAA about piracy is going to kill this business. According to the article, ‘In 2008, about 1.36 billion tickets were sold in the US and Canada, which is actually down from the 1.4 billion tickets sold in 2007. Thanks to a 4.7 percent increase in average US ticket prices to $7.20, and despite a prediction of a “really hard year” from the National Associate of Theater Owners, 2008’s box office earnings narrowly edged out last year’s by two percent. 2007 was also a record year for profits, though, growing 5.4 percent over 2006 by grossing $9.63 billion. Now, that’s not so bad, is it?
No question that piracy in some ways can hurt a box office, but how much remains to be seen. It is also quite possible that the availability online allows and fosters conversations about a film (good or bad) and one can argue that this is itself publicity and marketing (word-of-mouth) for a film. Add in the social networks, fan pages, widgets and IM/test discussions, etc.
So speaking of piracy, I think I’ll take a peek at what’s up in the newsgroups all over the world, specifically looking for Academy Award screeners. I’ll post my findings here in the next day or two. Stay tuned.