Gender Bias in Reading Box Office Returns

Posted on August 5, 2016 at 9:11 pm

Bravo to Manfeels Park, for this outstanding Tumbler post that makes clear the gender bias in reporting on what should be straightforward box office numbers.

Today’s news: Ghostbusters ‘tanks’, ‘stumbles’ with 53% drop in its second week.

Presumably that’s a bad performance compared to other action movies in their second week then?

Let’s check…

Captain America: Civil War: -59.5%
Dark Knight: -52%
Amazing Spider Man: -61%
Oh, and for an example of an actual ‘tanking’:

Batman vs Superman: -69%
Now, let’s examine all the reporting last week that Ghostbusters was going to struggle because of its first week multiplier against its budget…

Ghostbusters first weekend US figures: $46m
It had a $144m budget, so in its first week it made 32% of that.
Descriptions: ‘Lacklustre’, ‘problematic’, ‘will haunt Sony’

Star Trek Beyond first weekend US figures: $59.6m
It had a $189m budget, so in its first week it made 30% of its budget.
Reporting: ‘Dominates’, ‘wins big’

To be clear: there are articles describing both movies’ openings as ‘solid’. But there’s basically no one calling Beyond worrying or Ghostbusters a big win.

Related Tags:


Commentary Gender and Diversity Understanding Media and Pop Culture

This Week at the Box Office — The G Sweet Spot

Posted on November 8, 2015 at 4:20 pm

Why why why why why is it so hard for Hollywood to figure out that there is a wildly enthusiastic audience for G-rated movies? The only major G-rated release of the year is “The Peanuts Movie,” which opened last Friday (Pixar’s “Inside Out” and the upcoming “Good Dinosaur” are both PG). And even up against the new James Bond, it did very well, $45 million, one of the best openings of the year. (Bond did a respectable $73 million, less than expected but still very strong.)

Industry observer The Wrap attributes it to “masterful marketing, nostalgia and pitch-perfect reviews.” I’d put it differently: good quality, family-friendliness, and careful updating of beloved characters.

Studios are so cynical about the G-rating they intentionally put one word or joke into a film just to mak sure kids (or their parents) will not think it is too babyish. Here’s hoping the lesson, or I should say 43 million lessons from this week results in more G-rated films in the next year.

Related Tags:


Commentary This Week at the Box Office

This Week at the Box Office — Record-Setting Flops

Posted on October 28, 2015 at 10:35 pm

The Wall Street Journal reports that none of the new nationwide releases reached the top of the box office last weekend and one or two of them may end up breaking the record for worst-ever ticket sales.

A frightening showing at the box office this weekend featured five disappointments—including two of the biggest flops in history.

“ Steve Jobs,” “The Last Witch Hunter,” “Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension,” “Rock the Kasbah” and “Jem and the Holograms” all fell short, with only “Witch Hunter” cracking $10 million. “Kasbah” and “Jem” now rank among the worst openings of all time, and “Paranormal” missed expectations after weeks of anticipation over its divisive distribution strategy.

Instead, holdovers “The Martian” and “Goosebumps” came in first and second place, respectively. “The Martian” grossed an estimated $15.9 million in the U.S. and Canada, bringing the space drama’s total to $166 million.

What happened? There’s a lot of speculation. Poor reviews may explain the lack of interest in “Jem” and “Kasbah” and the weak showing for “Witch Hunter.” And the last in the “Paranormal Activity” series suffered from a dispute with theater owners, who were angry that it was being made available by VOD only 17 days after the theatrical release. The one that is hard to understand is “Steve Jobs,” which had mixed but mostly positive reviews and an all-star team on screen and behind the camera.

Related Tags:


This Week at the Box Office
THE MOVIE MOM® is a registered trademark of Nell Minow. Use of the mark without express consent from Nell Minow constitutes trademark infringement and unfair competition in violation of federal and state laws. All material © Nell Minow 1995-2024, all rights reserved, and no use or republication is permitted without explicit permission. This site hosts Nell Minow’s Movie Mom® archive, with material that originally appeared on Yahoo! Movies, Beliefnet, and other sources. Much of her new material can be found at, Huffington Post, and WheretoWatch. Her books include The Movie Mom’s Guide to Family Movies and 101 Must-See Movie Moments, and she can be heard each week on radio stations across the country.

Website Designed by Max LaZebnik