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On Fri, 14 Jul 1995 01:59:31 GMT lang thompson said:
>Does anybody know whether Variety get its information from the theatres
>or the distributors?  Billboard's info comes directly from record stores
>and not record labels and the NYT book figures from the bookstores.
 
The figures published in VARIETY are come from distributors and are
"distributors gross," the money forwarded by theaters as film rental.
The week-end flash figures are "box office gross," the money that came
in at the box office.  This explains the enormity of the initial figures
compared to the subsequent ones.  The arrangements for film rental vary
enormously; in the end the total distributors gross approximates half
of the box office figures.
 
Best seller lists whether records or books can be inflated by selective
purchasing of titles from the stores which contribute to the lists.
 
At one time everyone in the business knew which bookstores contributed
the figures to the NYTimes Best Seller list.  With this knowledge it was
easy to send people into these selected stores to buy copies of the book.
 
For years the rumor round-and-about was that Paramount had a warehouse
full of copies of GODFATHER purchased to get the book on bestsellers
lists as promotion for the film.
 
The only way these figures can be useful is as comparative numbers.  This
is the common practice in the film industry.  A film is sold on the basis
of having done X-% of a current top grossing film.
 
My guess is that at this moment there are films being promoted to theaters
on the basis that "this film did 80% of FORREST GUMP in test screenings."
 
These are useful historical comparisons, however.  In one study of the
coming of sound it was shown that JAZZ SINGER did well, but not as well
as the day-and-date release  the silent film  WINGS.  The numbers were
approximately JAZZ SINGER did 65-75% of the top grossing WINGS.
 
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