On Movie Blockbusters and RoI
A typical “blockbuster” movie – that is considered extremely successful – only makes around ten times its budget.
Or: a 1,000% RoI. (One thousand per cent Return On Investment.)
Now that sounds okay, right? Making ten times your money means you made a 900% profit, right?
Movies (on average… ) usually need to make about 373% to break even.
Also – many so-called “blockbusters” are not `blockbusters’ at all – but instead are massive flops and lose money.
7 in 10 films lose money…. (Ouch!)
Let’s briefly look at the Most Profitable Movies, Based on Absolute Profit on Worldwide Gross:
Why are 2 of these films in green text? (i.e. Star Wars (1977) and ET (1982)?)
Answer – because they are also on this list:
And: this list – is possibly the list of films most worth studying if you are a filmmaker. (Or, are planning to become one).
It is the list of: the films that went most viral in the international culture…
These are: the most virulent film story memes. (i.e. That’s a good thing. As a storyteller, you want your messages to spread in culture.)
And furthermore: their story (in each case) is the key reason they all went viral.
And further still: they are actually, in about 30 ways, all the same story.
Also – this list is some of the data set, of my doctoral research study. (This list above is the top-20 RoI movies of the past 70 years. The other parts of the data set, is: the Bottom-20 RoI films… see the list below.)
When we do a comparative study of the Top 20 and Bottom 20 RoI films, some historic and surprising patterns result. (Keep watching this space…Or – by all means go to the weblog Index)
e.g. See, say:
- StoryAlity #50 – The StoryAlity Screenplay Syntagm
- StoryAlity #51 – The Universal Story Structure – and Story Memes – of the Top 20 RoI Films
- StoryAlity #52 – The Golden Ratio / The Golden Spiral / The Fibonacci Sequence
- StoryAlity #53 – The StoryAlity High-RoI Film Story & Screenplay Checklist
- StoryAlity #54 – StoryAlity Screenwriting Guidelines – for any aspiring Writer of High-RoI Films
- StoryAlity #55 – Patterns In The Top 20 RoI (Return On Investment) Films: On Frequency
- StoryAlity #56 – Patterns in the Top 20 RoI Films: # of Scenes vs Film Duration/Screenplay Length – and: Elliot Waves
On Memetics and Cultural Evolution:
- StoryAlity #130 – Why Some Things Are Popular (Velikovsky 2014)
- StoryAlity #131 – Why Things (like, some Movies) Are Popular – and – The Anna Karenina principle
- StoryAlity #132 – The holon/parton structure of the Meme, the unit of culture (and narreme, or unit of story)
…Thoughts, Comments, Feedback always welcome.
High-RoI Story/Screenplay/Movie and Transmedia Researcher
The above is (mostly) an adapted excerpt, from my doctoral thesis: “Communication, Creativity and Consilience in Cinema”. It is presented here for the benefit of fellow screenwriting, filmmaking and creativity researchers. For more, see https://aftrs.academia.edu/JTVelikovsky
JT Velikovsky is also a produced feature film screenwriter and million-selling transmedia writer-director-producer. He has been a professional story analyst for major film studios, film funding organizations, and for the national writer’s guild. For more see: http://on-writering.blogspot.com/