Facts, Figures and Film

What is the true significance and relevance of declarations by the gross-obsessed consumer press on the release of a new film?

I’m talking about numbers. Facts and figures. Every time a film is released we are swamped with it’s successes in terms of money. Take two recent acclaimed films: Avatar and The Hurt Locker.

  • Avatar has grossed a worldwide total of over $2.723 billion
  • The Hurt Locker has achieved $40 million

I ask why the average consumer needs this knowledge? Sure, from an industry perspective the figures are all that matter – it’s imperative to see successes or otherwise, but do we want the press to dictate to the average consumer Tom, Dick and Harry – do we want them to dictate the films that are worth seeing or not? Isn’t it better that films start out with some degree of equality, the only influence on the public being the marketing and pr of the distributors? Whether we like it or not, the facts and figures will massively affect public response to new films and wouldn’t it be great for film makers worldwide if that was taken out of the equation? Consumers would go and see films based on their critical reception, not on their financial successes and how much of a storm they can create on their opening day/ weekend.

I shouldn’t think anyone would doubt that The Hurt Locker is as worthy a film to be seen as Avatar (or more so) and yet anyone looking at the above figures would be inclined to believe Avatar was in a completely different league. It’s misleading.

I think it’s important that film starts to take itself seriously as an art form, and as a platform for serious and meaningful expression, and to be respected as such by the public. That will never happen while we continue to influence public interest with financial figures and other ‘only-industry-relevant’ information.

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