Fact: Terminator Rise of the Machines almost broke even before it hit the box office. Next to public and critical acceptance, financial performance is part of what makes a film truly successful.
You might sit in awe at those figures you see in the entertainment news. Titanic and Avatar may come to mind, with over 2 billion each in worldwide sales, and more recently The Avengers with 1.5 billion. But what you see in the box office as success is not the full story…
Take terminator rise of the machines as an example. This film made almost half a billion at the box office, not bad on a 200 million budget, but did you know that the film had almost broken even before it was released?
In fact, it happens more often than you think. Studios don’t rely exclusively on box office sales. No matter the hype and promise for a movie, there’s no guarantee that ticket sales will meet expectations once the movie releases. For extra security, studios rely on selling distribution rights. Worldwide distribution can net figures in the hundreds of millions, and in the case of Terminator 3 the producers had made 85% of the production budget on distribution alone.
Next time you see a news story about the latest box office flop, take a thought for the complex financial arrangements behind the scenes. Maybe a huge loss at the box office is not all that it seems to be.