ST Film Franchise By the Numbers (via Startrek.com)

Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies I-X' started by BigJake, Jan 3, 2014.

  1. BigJake

    BigJake Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2013
    Location:
    No matter where you go, there you are.
    Not sure if this has been posted here before but I don't see it, so I'll take the opportunity to link this interesting comparison of ST movie box office from the forums of startrek.com.

    What's interesting about it is that the poster sourced worldwide and inflation-adjusted data for all the films, and compiled a list --the only such that I've seen -- of how profitable the films actually were. This result is this table:

    Title..............................................Adjusted Profit
    Star Trek: The Motion Picture................$328,952,000
    Star Trek...........................................$261,403,995
    Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.............$229,044,800
    Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.............$227,701,000
    Star Trek: First Contact.......................$186,160,000
    Star Trek III: The Search for Spock........$163,047,000
    Star Trek: Generations.........................$155,554,000
    Star Trek Into Darkness........................$142,450,586
    Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country..$132,320,700
    Star Trek V: The Final Frontier...............$80,400,000
    Star Trek: Insurrection.........................$79,491,400
    Star Trek: Nemesis..............................$9,879,628

    There's more detail at the link, and also keep in mind that STiD may have moved up a rank or two since he posted this back in June of 2013. Nevertheless it is interesting to note that TMP was the most profitable film in the franchise, that ST09 was not very much more profitable than TWOK, and that STID in terms of profit comes somewhere in the middle of the pack.

    (The list also makes lamentably clear why Nemesis was a franchise killer.)
     
  2. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2005
    Location:
    Los Angeles, California
    This list, of course, assumes that profitability at the box office is where studios make their money. They don't. They make it on television.

    It also gets a few details wrong (The-Numbers claims TWOK cost $12 million, but it was actually $13 million).

    It also doesn't take into account the exhibitor's take of the gross.

    Still, as a measure of box office grosses against stated costs, it's reasonably accurate. I'm just not sure how useful that information really is.
     
  3. BigJake

    BigJake Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2013
    Location:
    No matter where you go, there you are.
    I hear tell doing well at the box office is pretty important both for recovering your production costs* and ensuring your movie will be popular enough to continue making money in other formats.

    (* Not to mention the marketing costs, which are not known and not factored in the above, that's the real X factor. Exhibitor's take of the gross is another factor -- but I understand concessions and advertising to be the primary ways theatres make money, so I'm not sure how significant it really is. Be interesting to see if anyone here knows?)

    (EDIT: HowStuffWorks has an interesting piece on movie budgets. According to them the cost of marketing is generally part of the production budget, and that reported production budgets can be... inexact.)
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2014
  4. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2004
    Location:
    Oxford, PA
    Wow. That's quite a drop-off with Nemesis.
     
  5. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2005
    Location:
    Los Angeles, California
    Oh, certainly. Television sales go up when you hit certain box office benchmarks, as per the deals the studios have with cable and other television outlets for their product (that's one of the reasons Paramount re-released World War Z as a double bill with Star Trek Into Darkness last summer, to push it over the $200 million mark).

    The exhibitors' take is complicated. It used to be that each week a movie was in release, the exhibitor took a little bit more percentage-wise, which is one of the reasons why the opening weekend has been so important to distributors (where the split was something like 90-10 in their favor).

    Apparently, those front-loaded deals have gone out of fashion in the past decade (after several theater bankruptcy cases circa 2000). Now exhibitors more often simply take a fixed percentage of the box office (between 45-50%). International exhibitors take more of that (as high as 60%).

    None of that, of course, deals with marketing costs, which can be difficult (read: impossible) to calculate.
     
  6. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2004
    Interesting to see TMP come out on top despite the fact that thenumbers and most other sources have TMP as pulling in 139 mill.

    Yet back in the early 80s (when Paramount had good reason to claim LESS profit or income in order to avoid paying net profit points) the figure bandied about most often was 175 million worldwide. TMP's domestic rentals (reported in VARIETY) were 55 or 56, and you can either x2 or x2.5 on that to get the ballpark on grosses, or that was the rule of the day back then.
     
  7. BigJake

    BigJake Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2013
    Location:
    No matter where you go, there you are.
    Harvey: 45-50% for exhibitors? Wow, really? I would have expected the distributor's take to be way higher, especially using a fixed-rate system.

    trevanian: Remember all these figures are inflation adjusted.
     
  8. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2005
    Location:
    Los Angeles, California
    It depends on the film, of course, and the studio. (You can bet that sequels to big blockbusters like, say, Avatar or Marvel's The Avengers have deals that are more titled to the distributor's favor) But, that's apparently a good average figure. This article, for example, indicates that 54.5% of Cinemark's ticket sales went to the studios according to the company's latest quarterly filing at the time (2011).
     
  9. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Location:
    Walking distance from Starfleet HQ
    [​IMG]
    I made this a few years ago as an example to illustrate how profitable or unprofitable the first 6 films might have been if you went on a few basic assumptions. I'm not saying it's accurate, as I don't know what the exactly box office splits were between the studio and the exhibitors (it was sometimes a sliding scale), but it gives a general idea of how it works. I believe I was only using domestic box office, as well.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2014
  10. Hober Mallow

    Hober Mallow Commodore Commodore

    I'm surprised at TUC's place.
    No joke.
     
  11. Commishsleer

    Commishsleer Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2013
    Location:
    CommishSleer
    STID 2013 figure is now $276 million profit so it moves up to number 2.

    Its really difficult to directly compare a 1979 movie with a 2013 one. TMP would have played for months and months at the cinema. I personally remember Star Wars being there over a year. How long was STID there - 2 months?
    And it doesn't take into account DVD/Blu-Ray/VHS sales which would have been negligible in 1979 but significant in 2013.

    There's also merchandising such as games and toys which unfortunately are probably negligible in any decade. :lol:
     
  12. BigJake

    BigJake Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2013
    Location:
    No matter where you go, there you are.
    That looks really interesting. Are there any details about the basic assumptions you used that aren't readily evident on that table? I'd be interested in subjecting the data here to that kind of treatment.
     
  13. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Location:
    Walking distance from Starfleet HQ
    Not really. It's just basic math in Excel.
     
  14. Botany Bay

    Botany Bay Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2004
    Location:
    shores of Australia
    Yep, great points.

    I think it's worth noting that the stated expenses are hard to take seriously. I remember in an accounting class a few years ago seeing an income statement for one of the Harry Potter films that made nearly $1 billion at the box office, yet according to the studio accountants, it lost hundreds of millions of dollars :lol:

    Why? By the parent company (studio), charging the subsidiary (the film) 'fees' for making the movie.

    The reason for this particular piece of 'earnings management' was to avoid having to pay people a % of net profits.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing BigJake. Taking these profits at face value, it must have been touch and go as to whether Nemesis was even given the green light after the dreadful performance of Insurrection. Bet they wish they hadn't bothered.
     
  15. 2takesfrakes

    2takesfrakes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2013
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    All of this use of Charts and Graphs is a little ... constipated ... doesn't it seem?
     
  16. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2008
    Location:
    #istandwithcbs
    Woohoo! *dances*
     
  17. BigJake

    BigJake Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2013
    Location:
    No matter where you go, there you are.
    You know, I heard a similar story to this with Forrest Gump, where the author of the novel that was the story's basis never saw a dime because the studio claimed the film had lost money.

    :wtf: That sounds like it should be kind of... illegal?
     
  18. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Location:
    Walking distance from Starfleet HQ
    The more famous case is Buchwald vs. Paramount (link) over related to Coming to America and Paramount's dubious "Hollywood Accounting" by which they claimed the hit movie never made a profit as defined by the terms of their contract with Art Buchwald.
     
  19. Botany Bay

    Botany Bay Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2004
    Location:
    shores of Australia
    I'm not sure what the US accounting standards are precisely, but internationally these 'fake' revenues and expenses from dealings between a parent company and subsidiary are not allowed, and will be struck out by the accountant or auditor so investors reading financial statements can be assured they're only reading about legitimate revenues and expenses from transactions with third parties.

    But for the Forrest Gump author, and Buchwald, a contract is a contract, and as long as the parties go into it with their eyes open (and there is no unconscionability or anything else that can have the contract voided in contract law, as there was in the Buchwald case), a deal's a deal, that's how the writer gets remunerated, so 'Hollywood accounting' lives on presumably.
     
  20. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2004
    Location:
    New Therin Park, Andor (via Australia)
    But, ST:TMP may have only been in one cinema per city for all those months.

    Here Down Under, TMP opened in Sydney at the Paramount Theatre - just the one - in our Central Business District at the end of December, and was still playing till just before Easter. Then it moved to do two- or three-week runs at several suburban cinemas at a time. By the next August, it was playing little country cinemas and those suburban school holiday makeshift theatres in civic centres and town halls. It was a wait of several years for it to reach (very expensive) home video.

    From ST V onwards, each Trek film was opening simultaneosly in every Sydney suburb that had a Greater Union-owned multiplex. In recent years, every multiplex seems to host every new big movie, but only for a few weeks. And in just a few months, the DVD/Blu-ray is out.

    I recall seeing a movie poster in the original CBD cinema showing it that boasted: "Our 14th big month!"