Archive

data



“Hollywood accounting” is so infamous that it deserves its own Wikipedia entry. One fairly recent example is the film franchise Lord of the Rings that earned $2.92 billion at the box office with a budget of $281 million (a 10x return on investment). Nevertheless, New Line Cinema claimed the movie made “horrendous losses”

On the opposite end of the spectrum, news reports of record breaking movie box office numbers roll in regularly. These figures are virtually always reported without regard to inflation, for example $1 in 1980 is worth $2.74 in 2012 dollars. Hollywood is getting better at producing top grossing movies, this much is true. But since 2000, the here are some of the top grossing movies in adjusted dollars in the top 200 are: Avatar (2009) at 14, The Dark Knight (2008) at 29, Shrek 2 (2004) at 32, so on and so forth.

Every year cannot be a banner year for Hollywood and the data reflects this. Here’s the inflation adjusted box office grosses for 1980-2012:

Box office returns 1980-2012 adjusted to 2012 dollars

And here is the cost of the ticket adjusted for inflation:

Movie ticket price 1980-2012 adjusted to 2012 dollars

Data in a handy table format

Year Gross (unadjusted) Gross (2012 Dollars) Tickets Sold Ticket price (2012 dollars)
1980 $2,749,000,000 $7,541,167,040.63 1,022,000,000 $7.38
1981 $2,966,000,000 $7,376,654,707.87 1,067,000,000 $6.91
1982 $3,453,000,000 $8,086,495,888.20 1,175,000,000 $6.88
1983 $3,766,000,000 $8,546,029,942.21 1,197,000,000 $7.14
1984 $4,031,000,000 $8,770,262,335.37 1,199,000,000 $7.31
1985 $3,749,200,000 $7,873,695,928.89 1,056,100,000 $7.46
1986 $3,778,000,000 $7,786,240,251.85 1,017,200,000 $7.65
1987 $4,252,900,000 $8,460,407,124.13 1,088,500,000 $7.77
1988 $4,458,400,000 $8,519,897,926.74 1,084,800,000 $7.85
1989 $5,033,400,000 $9,178,157,874.82 1,262,800,000 $7.27
1990 $5,020,000,000 $8,684,747,279.37 1,189,573,460 $7.30
1991 $4,800,000,000 $7,969,424,975.91 1,140,142,518 $6.99
1992 $4,563,000,000 $7,355,276,327.89 1,099,518,072 $6.69
1993 $4,897,000,000 $7,663,751,317.09 1,182,850,242 $6.48
1994 $5,184,000,000 $7,907,313,032.04 1,270,588,235 $6.22
1995 $5,269,000,000 $7,840,942,556.05 1,211,264,368 $6.47
1996 $5,817,000,000 $8,404,307,084.40 1,316,063,348 $6.39
1997 $6,216,000,000 $8,830,654,671.96 1,354,248,366 $6.52
1998 $6,861,318,000 $9,593,912,118.54 1,462,967,591 $6.56
1999 $7,330,101,000 $9,979,934,780.47 1,442,933,268 $6.92
2000 $7,512,110,000 $9,891,431,421.96 1,393,712,430 $7.10
2001 $8,115,520,000 $10,517,677,500.50 1,436,375,221 $7.32
2002 $9,099,020,000 $11,515,907,311.43 1,568,796,552 $7.34
2003 $9,158,090,000 $11,374,551,051.34 1,518,754,561 $7.49
2004 $9,295,420,000 $11,176,300,057.59 1,496,847,021 $7.47
2005 $8,807,690,000 $10,241,663,849.19 1,374,054,602 $7.45
2006 $9,174,350,000 $10,407,823,909.62 1,400,664,122 $7.43
2007 $9,626,270,000 $10,623,058,068.24 1,399,167,151 $7.59
2008 $9,630,390,000 $10,238,540,162.84 1,341,279,944 $7.63
2009 $10,605,110,000 $11,320,093,196.18 1,414,014,666 $8.01
2010 $10,570,500,000 $11,105,462,434.50 1,339,733,840 $8.29
2011 $10,185,610,000 $10,399,507,810.00 1,284,440,101 $8.10
2012 $10,811,240,000 $10,811,240,000 1,358,195,980 $7.96

1990-2012 Box office data courtesy of BoxOffice.com, 1980-1989 Box office data courtesy of BoxOfficeMojo.com, Inflation adjustment courtesy of Westegg.com’s invaluable inflation calculator.