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The Business of the Film of Industry / By: Oscar Boccelli


The Lord of the Rings, The Avengers, and SCREAM! Most people have likely heard or seen these famous movie series, but when you stream your favorite TV show or movie, you likely never stop to think about the business implications at play. When we begin to look beyond our screens, it’s apparent that two of the largest factors that play into a movie performing well are merchandising and high ticket sales.

A prime example of a film taking advantage of marketing genius is the Star Wars Series, which “brought in $700 million in retail sales in 2015” (Zipin, 2021). In general, famous movie series can take advantage of their fan bases. Matthew Steele, a Research Manager at ERm Research LLC experienced this firsthand, finding that “the average Mandolorian watcher owns six Star Wars toys.” Clearly, dedicated fan bases drive more value.

Another more obvious reason movies perform well is due to their efforts to drive up ticket sales, and the numbers are only continuing to grow. “In 2019, global box office revenue hit a record of $42.5 billion” (McClintock, 2021). Of course, ticket sales have obviously been greatly impacted by COVID. Ethan Moskal, a former Production Assistant at Michael Bay’s Ambulance emphasizes the importance of “timing and streaming in improving ticket sales.” With regards to timing, he has found that “holiday films tend to perform better than other times of the year.” Concerning streaming, it is important for films not to be streamable so quickly, otherwise, people have no incentive to go to the theaters and purchase tickets. That in turn explains why it can take several months, and even years before TV shows and other filmography become streamable.

Between all the efforts to improve ticket sales and merchandising done by successful films, it is apparent that many forces are determining whether a film will perform well or not. The next time you head to the movie theater, make sure to look beyond the screen!


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