On January 4th, 2012 film financing consultant with R&R Consulting, Dennis Toth, posted his Box Office Report for 2011.
You should read Dennis Toth's entertaining and clear-eyed analysis for yourself: But, if you're pressed for time, here are some excerpts:
"[T]he Hollywood approach to the tent pole production isn’t working (don’t believe me, just check out a solid article by Oliver Lyttelton at IndieWIRE)." Nevertheless, "Hollywood is determined to dig itself in and rigidly stick with the current tent pole model. The indie system has been pressed to the wall and has virtually nowhere to go but online."
According to Toth, the numbers for Hollywood and indie films in theaters in 2011 were both terrible.
For Hollywood, Dennis Toth suspects the real box office numbers in 2011 were much worse than the record decline that has been officially reported by the MPAA. Instead of the 4% drop in box office revenue that the studios admit, Toth thinks the real slump may be more like 12 percent. And 12 percent actually understates the severity of the ongoing trend away from theaters - because foreign markets lag US markets in the shift to home and mobile device alternatives and the "majority of box office is now being generated overseas, often by a margin of 2 to 1 or even 3 to 1."
The indie market for theatrical release is no better - after Woody Allen's stunning success with Midnight in Paris (global take of $117.3 million) there is no indie film that was a break-out theatrical hit with great ROI.
And, as if the revenue numbers weren't bad enough on their own, Dennis Toth thinks the studios ability to change their production model is also suspect. He describes the studios' latest vow to trim down production expenses (from $250 million to $230 million?) as "like the alcoholic who decides that he will stick to a steady daytime diet of beer and save the whiskey and vodka for his nighttime drinking."
Thanks to Sheri Candler for passing along the link.