We get regular e-mail updates from ClearPlay, and here is what they had to say recently:
Whether you enjoy watching the Academy Awards or not, the yearly celebration of Hollywood’s finest at the very least provides an opportunity to reflect on the movie industry and its trends, its successes and its failures. As we examine box office totals and the Academy’s choices for 2008, the numbers provide interesting insights and some fertile ground for discussion. Take the following statistics:
- Of the five movies nominated for best picture, four are rated R and one is rated PG-13. The average gross box office of the five movies was 50 million, skewed high by the sole PG-13 movie, Benjamin Button, which grossed nearly 123 million.
- Rated R movies accounted for 50%(!) of the rated movies released last year, but only accounted for 22% of the total box office revenue.
- Only 14% of the rated movies released in 2008 were G or PG, but they accounted for 23% of the total box office.
- PG-13 movies accounted for a whopping 55% of the total box office gross and were 36% of the movies released.
The numbers indicate to me that America has a thirst for movies in the “family friendly” G/PG category. I think the statistics show that people enjoy clean movies and want to see films with their families. But despite the overwhelming success of non-rated R movies, Hollywood still makes as many rated-R movies as it does all three of the other ratings combined! From a purely business perspective, sense would seem to dictate that studios need to shift resources away from the raunchy, profane, and violent. So why don’t they?
While the answer is likely complicated, the number of rated-R movies released and the Academy Award nominations may suggest that one factor is a values gap: those within the industry simply don’t share the same values, perspectives, and goals as the movie going public. The statistics demonstrate that we want more quality, clean entertainment, while some directors and studios may want to generate buzz by pushing boundaries, seeking for prestige among their peers, or releasing films that reflect their own morals and interests.