Consumers Gave Hollywood An Epic Year


The Golden Globe Awards saw its highest TV audience ever. Nearly 21 million people tuned in on January 12th. This may have surprised many who believe that the film industry is in a state of decline. It seems to be said often that we’re going to the theater less, caring less about movies and that the quality of film is declining. That’s what some say. But the truth is a different story.

The 2013 worldwide box office took in $10.9 billion, beating what happened in 2012 to become the highest grossing film year of all time. This is particularly impressive considering that in 2012 four films took in more than $1 billion each. So while Iron Man 3 was huge in 2013, it was a bunch of films that did really well, yet not necessarily attaining blockbuster status, that pushed the year over the top.

Year-over-year growth is not uncommon for the industry. For the last 30 years, 23 of them saw increases over the year prior while during the last ten, seven of those years were larger than the preceding one. And while ticket prices do indeed rise, the number of tickets sold every year remains strong. This is all particularly impressive given what’s happening at home as 25 percent of US consumers watched movies through a streaming service during the last 30 days.

There will be some who say that today’s movie industry is all about sequels. Yes, there are more today. But Hollywood has always been big on sequels, from Abbott and Costello to James Bond. And if you ask Vanity Fair, 2013 was a year in film whose quality compared with the epic cinema years of 1939, 1974, 1982 and 1994. So we can look with particular excitement for Google’s forthcoming 2013 Year in Film.

“The thing I tell young filmmakers is when you get going and you try to get money, when you’re going into one of those rooms to try and convince somebody to make it, I don’t care who you’re pitching, I don’t care what you’re pitching – it can be about genocide, it can be about child killers, it can be about the worst kind of criminal injustice that you can imagine – but as you’re sort of in the process of telling this story, stop yourself in the middle of a sentence and act like you’re having an epiphany, and say: You know what, at the end of this day, this is a movie about hope.”

-Director, Steven Soderbergh


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