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Box Office Baloney

Tuesday 5 April 2011, 15:21

Mark Kermode Mark Kermode

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The much-publicised flop of the new animated film Mars Needs Moms begs an important question. Since when did the US box office mean so much to us and should we really care?

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    Comment number 1.

    That old adage, "there's no accounting for taste" should be taken literally with box office figures. The box office is at least a good barometer for how successful marketing campaigns are.

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    Comment number 2.

    I've never once taken the box office revenue into account before seeing a film. I find it meaningless that magazines and newspapers fret and go into extraneous detail about box office figures as if it actually effects a movie goers decision on what film to see.

    The only time I care about a film's financial performance is if a movie series or production comany I like (Pixar for example) tanks at the box office.

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    Comment number 3.

    First of all, it's a shame that box office figures affect people's opinions of films. However, it goes beyond that, because those figures also determine which films are successful and which are not. People are much more likely to see a film that has already had millions of showings than a film that only had hundreds. Avatar is a perfect example of it - people only went to see the film because everyone else had, even if thy didn't know it was directed by James Cameron or "revolutionised 3D" or whatever.
    Box office figures are also bad because they determine what films get made and what don't Pirates of the Caribbean made a ton of money and it got two (much worse) sequels. But some director's, because of a box office flop, don't get another chance to direct a film, even if it was good.

    Despite this, I think there is a need to see box office figures, even just as a reference. I would say that they should release that information a couple of months after the film has been taken out of cinemas, to give other films a fighting chance.

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    Comment number 4.

    On the few occasions on which I visit the cinema my choice is usually governed not by box office figures, but by your good doctoring self.

    I'm sure this is preferable to being influenced purely by how much a film's taken across the Atlantic, but it's also preferable to the feeling of coming out of a dire screening eight precious pounds poorer and feeling as though I should have known better.

    I still haven't quite got over going to see 'Money Train'.

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    Comment number 5.

    Box office figures are just a big 'well done' or 'try harder' to marketing. They have nothing to say about film quality.
    You have to remember if lots of people see a film on the opening weekend this is because they liked the trailer/posters/etc. When you pay to see a film you do not know if you like it yet! Maybe there should be system for refunds (I'm thinking about Pirates of the Caribbean) for bad experinces, I wold walk out of more films if it meant even 25% of the cash back.
    High bock office just means more people gave it a chance, not more people actually thought it was good.


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