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Nobody Loses Money

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.

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6 Responses

  1. Maybe she was thinking that the studio loses money, which is true. However, the owning corporation makes a killing. Hollywood’s creative accounting. I estimate Hulk made a profit. Compared with Spiderman, X-men, and Iron Man, it made diddly-squat though.

  2. Keep in mind, Warner Brothers owns the original cartoon. This movie was an excuse to push those DVDs on nostalgic middle aged folks and ironic emo hipsters alike.

  3. They are going to do some serious creative accounting at Warner Brother to make it look like Speed Racer made any money.

  4. Hey, my local newspaper just did an article on beans… they come in many varieties. Funny thing, it was the same day we dunked our mayor at the Walk for Life (busy, busy), so I didn’t get a chance to post it. Maybe this will help you get a job, and center your mother’s prayers (hope she’s catholic!)

    I’m just so glad I thought to take a picture.

  5. Imdb shows worldwide gross as just approaching $242 million. The formula I’ve always heard says a film becomes profitable somewhere between 2 and 3 times the budget, so if Hulk is in profits, it’s not by much. Also, if it’s in profits, I’m sure it’s not the type of profits they envisioned when they approved that size budget. They expected a blockbuster and they didn’t get it.

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