A little while ago, I said everyone has two businesses: their business and show business. This doesn’t mean they actually understand the business.
Chris Nashawaty wrote in this week’s Entertainment Weekly, “Universal spent $137 million on Ang Lee’s Hulk movie and it grossed $132 million. If I were a bean counter at Universal, I wouldn’t be bullish on that math.”
I don’t know why not. Hulk made another $113 million in foreign box office. Then there’s the ancillary markets– DVD, pay-per-view, video-on-demand, pay cable, regular cable, broadcast TV, airlines, downloads. And let’s not forget the merchandising.
Of course, there are costs beyond a film’s budget. Prints and advertising can often equal the budget, and DVDs cost a whopping 30 cents each to produce. On balance, though, Hulk was a money maker, like most studio movies.
What’s galling about all this is that Nashawaty is a reporter for a nationally published entertainment magazine. I don’t expect my mom to know this stuff; she’s got better things to do (like checking the ratings on my current show, praying that I’ll have a job next season).
If these movies weren’t making money, they wouldn’t be making more of these movies. It’s simple economics. And a writer at Entertainment Weekly should know that.