Thursday, September 5, 2013

No, this was not the most successful summer in Hollywood's history

It was, you might have heard, a summer of discontent for movie studios, as audiences endured (or, rather, ignored) flop after flop, like R.I.P.D., Turbo, The Lone Ranger, and White House Down. Does this represent the death of something more than Ryan Reynold's leading-man dreams? Is it the death of the entire modern Hollywood business model? "The summer-blockbuster strategy itself may have tanked," Catherine Rampell writes in the New York Times Magazine.  
But Hollywood's summer blockbuster strategy -- essentially: adapt books, make sequels -- didn't really "tank." In fact, it was the biggest summer in history, in nominal dollars.
Relatedly, in nominal terms, the most successful movies of all time were probably the German Expressionist masterpieces of the early 1920s.   Unless Zimbabwe has a film industry I don't know about.

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