A new piece of research by Forbes has concluded that if you want to make serious cash from a blockbuster movie then you need to be in the sequel business.
Taking figures provided by The Numbers, it analyZed a list of what it reckoned to be the most profitable films ever – albeit by a fairly crude formula, that we’ll come to in a second – and discovered that 15 of the 20 films concerned were sequels.
The crude formula? It took the estimated cost of production of the film concerned, a figure that in truth is impossible to gleam at the best of times, and took away the worldwide income to the studio. Income, though, isn’t the same as profit. $1 taken at the box office in the US returns more money to a movie studio than $1 taken at the box office in China, for instance. Then there’s the small matter of marketing costs, distribution and such like. As Forbes admits, this isn’t a perfect indicator. That doesn’t mean it’s not an interesting one, though.
On paper at least, it’s hard to suggest the ultimate findings, however they were reached, were too far wide of the mark.
The most profitable film, it argued, is James Cameron’s Avatar (a $1.267 billion return), with the fourth Harry Potter film next on the list. Frozen and The Avengers came next, followed by Jurassic World. In fact, the full top 20 reads:
2. Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire
4. The Avengers
5. Jurassic World
6. Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part II
7. Despicable Me 2
8. Fast & Furious 7
9. Pirates Of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
10. The Dark Knight
12. Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix
13. Toy Story 3
14. The Lion King
15. The Twilight Saga: New Moon
16. Avengers: Age Of Ultron
18. Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part I
19. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
20. Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World’s End
The full Forbes story is here. The bottom line of it? The reason movie studios keep making sequels, spin-offs and movie universes is because they tend to make a lot more money. And heck, we’ve not enough got the cash from all the action figures…