The 2013 Business Oscars

We tend to believe that movie studios are really careful with what they produce and where their money goes. Then Jack and Jill comes out. All our hopes of getting an ever improving media fade away, because we realize that sometimes it seems that the only driver of this business is  money. Then we get The Artist. We recover our deepest beliefs and trust the studios again to produce high quality, engaging, insightful and beautiful films .

Whether or not we like it, business is a huge part of the film industry. Today I´m glad to present 2013´s Business Oscars, where we highlight the best and worst business related facts about this year´s movies.

Biggest Budget

Every year billions of dollars are spent by movie studios with the expectation of turning 2 hours of film into a worldwide phenomenon. When you reach the heights of Star Wars, Avatar or Lord of The Rings, budgets and box office results are no longer the focus. Brands are built and perennial money making machines are born. This year is no exception. Several films surpassed the now common 200 million mark in what continues the trend of ever growing budgets in an ever growing international market, and although box office results in America have been relatively stagnant, the growth of  key international markets such as China has helped the sustainability of this immense sums of money.

This year´s nominees for Biggest Budget are: Marvel´s The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Amazing Spider-Man and John Carter.

And the award goes to…


The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Moving a large crew to New Zealand for several months and amazing CGI don´t come cheap. And although there was a technical tie between this , The Dark Knight Rises and John Carter at $250 million dollars, the buzz going around The Hobbit´s budget (this includes later dismissed rumors of it being around $500 million)gave it the edge and ultimately the award for Biggest Budget. Honorable mentions: It was a close race with Marvel´s The Avengers at $ 220 million and The Amazing Spider-Man at $230 million, and of course The Dark Knight Rises and John Carter with $250 million each.

Biggest Flop

By now we should  expect  studios to know exactly what kind of movies people want to see, after all that´s what they are meant to do. But bad quality control mechanisms inside the studios, poorly targeted  advertising and high risk-taking can sometimes yield terrible results. This year there were bad performing movies and outright flops. For this category we consider not only the money side of business but also the quality and pre-release expectations for the movies.

This year´s nominees for Biggest Flop are: Dark Shadows, John Carter, Battleship, Rock of Ages and That´s my Boy.

And the award goes to…


John Carter

Disney took a big risk with this one, with acclaimed director Andrew Stanton´s jump to live action movies and what was supposed to be Taylor Kitsch´s big break. Disney´s executives considered a good move to go big with John Carter investing the now unbelievable amount of $250 million dollars. Of course, it´s easier to see the things once they have occurred but nonetheless it was a pretty bold move and it didn´t pay off. The movie only managed to get $282 million worldwide, and although it technically didn´t lose money, nearly 50% of the box office goes to the theaters themselves so it´s easy to do the math: Disney´s losses were big. (Dis)Honorable mentions go to Dark Shadows, flopping even with an all-star cast including Johnny Depp and director Tim Burton behind the project. Also to Rock of Ages and That´s my Boy, which managed to actually collect less than their production cost.

Most Bang for Their Buck Special Award 

Some movies  aren´t produced  with making money in mind or at least  don´t expect to become huge blockbusters. In this category we highlight this year´s movies that almost out of nowhere became huge either at the box office or at the awards season.

This year´s nominees for the Most Bang for Their Buck Special Award are: Ted, Silver Linings Playbook, The Devil Inside, Amour, Beasts of the Southern Wild and  The Intouchables.

And the award goes to…

the devil inside23

The Devil Inside

Although Ted´s success was bigger than expected, the names involved in its making would at least guarantee some degree of success. What The Devil Inside did was unbelievable. Following Paranormal Activity´s business model this movie was made with almost no money. Total production cost was a tiny $1 million, but it received the public´s favor with more than $100 million worldwide. With this results we can expect this business model to continue developing with movies like Paranormal Activity and The Devil Inside getting yearly sequels. Honorable mentions go to The Intouchables which captivated international audiences (even if americans didn´t quite dig it) and made more than $426 million worldwide and cost only an estimated $13 million. Also to Amour and Beasts of the Southern Wild which didn´t get to the box office heights of The Devil Inside but managed to score big at the awards season with little budgets but a lot of passion.

Biggest Worldwide  Box Office Success 

Making a Worldwide commercial hit is no easy task. From assembling an amazing cast, focusing on the smallest details, spending a lot of money or returning to its roots, these films made 2013 one of the best years for movie lovers across the globe not only in terms of money but also providing amazing experiences in the theaters.

This year´s nominees for Biggest Worldwide Box Office Success are: Ice Age: Continental Drift, Skyfall, The Dark Knight Rises, Marvel´s the Avengers and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

And the award goes to…


Marvel´s the Avengers

What happens when you put 4 of the biggest franchises of the past couple of years together? You top every known box office chart and get the Biggest Worlwide Box Office Success award. Disney´s latest years buy-out strategy has paid off big(and will continue in that fashion with Star Wars). And the decision of putting Joss Whedon in charge of the project was the best they could do. It´s no surprise that Marvel´s the Avengers was a huge success with audiences all around the world considering all that was involved but with previous experiences such as Catwoman and Watchmen anything could have happened in the wrong hands. We all thank every decision made and hope the sequel is even bigger and better.With $1.5 billion dollars Marvel´s The Avengers gets top honors and currently sits at the charts as the third biggest box office success ever only behind Avatar and Titanic.  Honorable mentions go to The Dark Knight Rises($1.08 billion) taking a bolder and more emotional approach, Skyfall(1.1 billion), focusing on the rebirth of the franchise and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey($960 million) for the beginning of what we hope will be a great new trilogy.

It has been an incredible year for movies. We got small and emotionally deep independent films such as Beasts of the Southern Wild and Amour, engaging and fun foreign successes as The Intouchables and The Impossible. Superhero movie fans got two of the best and biggest yet for the genre with Marvel´s The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises. Political thrillers were also present in the form of the perfectly crafted Argo and Zero Dark Thirty. And to top all that off box office was huge with earnings of more than $10.8 billion just in America. See you in 2014 and let´s hope next year is at least as amazing!

*credit for most data goes to the best site for box office numbers and analysis


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