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Box Office Billions

A Look Back at Film
Successes of 2015

“A million
dollars isn’t cool…you know what is?

11 billion dollars.”

35

years ago moviegoers were
all dressed up and lining up for days to see
Empire Strikes
Back
at their local cinema
(sound familiar?)
for a mere $2.69 per ticket.
Empire went on to push the

1980 yearly box office to around $2.7 billion.

It’s
now 2016. Movie tickets cost around
$9; but, you have options
(IMAX, Big D, D-Box, 3D,
exclusive
engagements, etc
). But, the staggering number that comes
straight from the
US box office is
the $11 billion that was earned in 2015.
You don’t have
to know numbers or be an expert
at math to see the substantial
increase over the last 35 years. You also
don’t have to be a neighborhood

Einstein to connect the dots that Empire Strikes Back reportedly

pushed the box office numbers
to an “all time high” in 1980, and now, in 2015,
The Force Awakens
(
another Star Wars film) has
assisted in pushing us
into a brand new all time high for the US box office:
$11

billion.

$11

billion. $11
billion
. Every part of me wants to keep
typing this out; because, as
a film nerd and filmmaker this
is surreal to me.
There are enough people in this world that will give their
time and hard-earned
money
to an industry of creatives who believe in the wacky, wild and
bat-shit insane world of wizards, Jedi,
monsters, superheroes and
spies. The craziest part is that
these movie goers
won’t see the film once…they will go two, three and four
times to revisit a film
that
resonated with them or helped them escape their own reality for a couple

hours.

Now, while this is an
absolutely incredible feat
(as previously stated); it also
says a lot when you
zoom out to see the bigger picture. Of the top 10
highest grossest films of
2015,
every single one of them is either an adaptation or sequel…except for one:

Inside Out. So, this
poses an entirely new question: Is the US box
office a place where original
films go to die?

While I agree with this
question whole heartedly, I
have
made peace with it. As a movie studio, you’re at risk for a financial loss

on an original piece of material
that is pumped onto thousands of screens. If
you adapt material or generate
sequels to things that already
have a built in
fanbase, you’re guaranteeing somewhat of a financial success
for the film you’re
pumping
millions into. This could be said about every other aspect of the
industry.
If you’re an up and coming
director and you have the choice of an
original film that will get a limited
release over an adaptation of a
beloved
novel or comic book, which would you take? Now restructure this
question for a
writer and an
actor. The logical answer (financially speaking) would be
to accept
the job on the production with the
built in
fanbase/audience.

This
creates a
concern that
originality is few and far between when it comes to feature films.
Studios
are less inclined to take
risks’ on writers or directors who
voice interest in an original
project…unless it’s a family film. I
know on the
surface this all seems like something that’s a threat to modern
cinema; but, the
reality is
that in the last 35 years only 11 out of 35 of the top grossing films
have
been original concepts/ideas. But,
films have existed for over 100 years
and originality is something
that is what drove the industry in
the
beginning. We, as the modern audience, have been born and bred to
believe that
if originality
is non-existent in the films we watch, it makes it a bad
film. Well, this
isn’t true. We live in a day and
age where creativity is
the driving force of the films we rush to the
cinema to see. With iPhones,

DSLRs, GoPros and store bought 4K cameras, there is a brand new
understanding of
the filmmaking process
amongst society.

So, all in
all, the bitter filmmaker inside of
me is slightly bummed
by the lack of originality and excuse for a boost in
studio production
adaptions,
sequels and remakes. But, when it all comes down to it, people are
going to
the movies again. They are buying
DVD’s and Blu Rays. They are
acknowledging creativity and talent. It’s as
though the film industry was

running full speed ahead and now they are re-learning how to walk before
they
start to run again.

The thing is,
it can only go
up from here. Star Wars, Jurassic
Park and Spider-Man are all
back in full effect as guaranteed money makers
for Hollywood. Could this mean

that taking a risk on an original (lower budget) film would be more
of a
chance rather than
a risk? I sure hope so, and only time will tell
how many
chances Hollywood will take. But, for
now we can all celebrate
an excellent year for the rebirth of essential
nostalgia based cinema and look

forward to what will probably be an even bigger year for
2016.

Sources: Box Office Mojo

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Comments

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Nick Floyd

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Beauty and the Beast was the first film he can remember seeing as a child. He used to listen to film scores in his front yard and recreate full scenes using only his “imagination.” The Goonies is a film he can quote from the opening credits to the end credits. He’s patiently awaiting the day when someone actually captures Sasquatch just so he can prove
his parents wrong about what he really saw run across the street
one dark and stormy night years ago. In 2008, he had a near death
experience/encounter with a moose on the Stampede Trail in Alaska. To this day, he’s trying to adapt it into a full length film.