A new report from Exhibitor Relations, the company that makes it its business to track the business of the Hollywood box office, shows that our love affair with the cinema was more torrid than ever. According to the study, the movie industry should rake in more than $6 billion in ticket sales by New Year's Eve--a record. And that stat just isn't attributable to the $9 movie ticket: overall attendance at the movies (i.e., real, live human bodies) will approach 1.4 billion.
The biggest winner, of course, was the summer smash, Men in Black, which grossed $249.5 million. And, yeah, Lost World: Jurassic Park scored the biggest opening weekend--a cool $92.7 million over the Memorial Day holiday. But here are the really cool stats from the box-office survey, based on the receipts of 395 movies:
Smallest grossing film: Farmer and Chase, starring Lara Flynn Boyle. Opened (apparently) last February. Box-office take to date: a whopping $1,323. (Guess Kevin Costner shouldn't pull out his remaining hair over that $4 million dead-on-arrival debut for The Postman over Christmas.)
Longest theatrical run: Scream, 31 weeks. (A surprise contender: The reissue of Jean-Luc Godard's Contempt, which stayed in movie houses 26 straight weeks.) No. of Hollywood studio releases: 158. (That's versus the 160 of 1996.) No. of indie releases: 237. (That's versus 187 last year.) No. of movies that made between $75-$300 million: 13. No. of movies that made between $25-$75 million: 56. No. of movies that made between $10-25 million: 33. In the music world, year-end stats won't be made official until Wednesday, but the tracking firm SoundScan is already sounding the word of optimism. The company's CEO says he thinks album sales will be up 6 percent from stagnant 1996 levels when the numbers are finalized. "That's a significant increase," Mike Shalett tells today's Los Angeles Times.
Big winners: the Spice Girls, Garth Brooks, Hanson and LeAnn Rimes. A star under-performer: U2.
And on the Great White Way, a bounty of new shows (16--up from 3 last year, according to Playbill Online) has helped pushed attendance up 2.7 percent, and box-office grosses up 6.4 percent, through the first half of the 1997-98 Broadway season. These stats from a new report by the League of American Theatres & Producers.
The group's executive director estimates that come the spring, and the end of the current season, a record 11 million people will have attended a Broadway show.