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Old 03-20-2012, 01:09 AM   #1
Aspiring Mogul
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"Peggy Sue got married"

I'm reading the biography of Francis Ford Apocalypse, and his movie, "Peggy Sue got married", was apparently a huge success. But, according to Wiki, it cost $18 million to make and had a domestic gross of only $41 million. If the theatres took half, and the distributor took half of the remaining half - ie, a quarter of the gross - that would leave only $10 million for the producer and investor. IOW, that would have been a big loss.

By the same token, "Apocalypse Now" cost $31 million to make, but apparently made a worldwide gross of $150 million. After splitting the take between the theatres and the distributors, and, considering bank interest, there wouldn't have been much left. So, again, why is it considered a success????

I'm baffled - is there an accountant who can explain this to me?
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Old 03-20-2012, 10:01 AM   #2
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For one thing, you're comparing US gross on Peggy w/worldwide on Apocalypse...2 very different things.
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Old 03-20-2012, 10:15 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mlesemann View Post
For one thing, you're comparing US gross on Peggy w/worldwide on Apocalypse...2 very different things.
Let's not get distracted . I believe the man has a fair point.

Let's assume Peggy Sue made 41mm worldwide and Apocalypse Now made $150mm worldwide.

The question is, does anybody know how these are accounting successes for the investor/producer?
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Old 03-20-2012, 10:15 AM   #4
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You're oversimplifying the numbers, and I don't believe your analysis to be accurate.

As I understand it, theater chains do not keep anywhere near half of the ticket sales. It's different for every movie, but they definitely don't get much. That's why they charge you $50 for popcorn, because concessions is how they stay in business.

The percentage that the distributor gets is also different for a lot of movies. And though this isn't always the case, sometimes the distributor IS the producer (technically under a different company name, but the money still ends up in their pockets).

And finally, like Ms. Lesemann pointed out, domestic gross isn't the only thing to look at. There's also foreign gross, and DVD sales (or VHS, back then).
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Old 03-20-2012, 10:18 AM   #5
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Is there a book that breaks down the film business from start to finish?
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Old 03-20-2012, 10:44 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by trueindie View Post
Is there a book that breaks down the film business from start to finish?
Yes, I just read "From Concept to Screen", and I should re-read it. Thanks for the suggestion.
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Old 03-20-2012, 11:03 AM   #7
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DVD sales (or VHS, back then).
Yeah, home video saved a lot of movies back in the day. Which is why the studios are fighting its demise. I for one am rooting for them.
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Old 03-20-2012, 11:16 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aspiring Mogul View Post
I'm reading the biography of Francis Ford Apocalypse, and his movie, "Peggy Sue got married", was apparently a huge success.
What was the context? Did the author say the movie was a huge
financial success? Or was the author speaking comparatively? Or
even critically?

As CF mentioned it's oversimplifying to say that the final number
is an exact 50/50 split between exhibitors and producers. Your
numbers will change if you do a rolling percentage over the theatrical
life of the movie. Do you know if that $41 million is domestic only
or does it include all revenue? Are all ancillary rights and fees included
in that number? When was that number applied? Is that the total
the movie has returned to 2010? Where, exactly, did the numbers
come from? Someone posted them on Wiki - are those numbers
accurate?
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Old 03-20-2012, 03:30 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by directorik View Post
What was the context? Did the author say the movie was a huge
financial success? Or was the author speaking comparatively? Or
even critically?
The author is Peter Cowie, and he didn't give any details other than to say that money was coming in, which helped with Coppola's financial issues regarding his studio, American Zoetrope. I don't have the book with me, but I can get details later today or tomorrow.
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