In the battle of the box office it wasn’t Pirates v. Ninjas this past week, but rather pirates taking on the webhead. According to box office results, Pirates did a very good job in its first six days in the box office, but Sony is claiming Disney/Buena Vista pulled out some fuzzy math to propel the pirate movie above S3.

Arguably, the flap originated when Sony opened “Spider-Man 3” on a Tuesday in 18 overseas markets and later claimed a six-day opening record of $232 million in addition to other more conventional landmarks.

Disney/BVI followed by heralding its “six-day” record of $251 million. But throughout the past weekend, verbal darts were flying — mostly off the record — about which distributor included or excluded certain boxoffice figures to bolster their respective claims.

As I’ve always said there are three kinds of lies; lies, damn lies, and statistics. Depending on which way each of these companies is tabulating their statistics on the box office draw, it could go either way. Instead of projecting figures, companies like Sony and BVI should use actual figures. This keeps them out of all sorts of hot water in reporting how much they owe their stars and such.

via Hollywood Reporter


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Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment. You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...


  1. Matthew Peterson on

    This may also explain why the box office records are broken about every ten minutes. All you have to do is massage the definition of “record.”

    I’d like to see all the box office records in terms of TODAY’S dollars, i.e. with respect to the actual value of a dollar in, say, 1939. That way I could see how things like “The Wizard of Oz” or “Star Wars” actually compare to a soulless marketing juggernaut like ‘Shrek 3.’

    Of course, it should be noted that one of my favorite movies is “The Black Hole,” a Star Wars knockoff from 1980 with little going for it other than I loved it when I was 9.

  2. I just watched the Black Hole over the weekend…it’s a great insomnia cure. I did like it as a kid though, but now its more fun to spot different things about the cheesiness of it… like the blatant wires on the robots, the homosexual subtext between Reinhardt and the Doctor that went COMPLETELY over my head when I was 5, the 2001-with-indigestion freakout ending (always like the bit with the human eyes inside Maximillian,) the what-is-he-doing character that Ernest Borgnine played, the terrible Luke-meets-Han character of Charlie, waiting for ol’ B.O.B. to say something like “Well boys, break’s over!,” and the fact that this piece of cheese actually had an OVERTURE! But I’m the one who bought it, so don’t think I’m being harsh on the flick…

    I think when they do adjusted dollars, “Gone With the Wind” usually ends up destroying every movie ever made, even “Titanic.”

    Oh, and “Pirates 3,” while very satisfying (much more so than “Spidey 3”) was about 30 minutes too long. “28 Weeks Later” was good too, but I hated the “shaky quick cut” action/horror scenes that allowed the audience NO idea of exactly what was happening, especially since the room was dark.

  3. Matthew Peterson on

    But you gotta love Slim Pickens and Roddy McDowall as V.I.N.Cent and B.O.B. I also love the sight of a cast with a pedigree like this in a bizarre eight year old’s nightmare movie. That said, I think it still has some nice moments, even if you don’t discount the horrible case of Star Wars envy…

  4. Movie financing and accounting is a black art that is probably the closest you’re going to get in terms of legalized criminality, but let me give some other things to think about:
    1. Ultimately, how much a movie brings in during its opening weekend is a meaningless statistic, because it doesn’t predict the long-tail valuation of the product. Granted, a bigger opening “suggests” a longer period of decline, but is no guarantee. The Lady in the Water is an excellent example – opened strong, dropped like a hot rock following weekend. In the opposite direction, My Big Fat Greek Wedding opened soft, but had long-term staying power in the box office.
    2. These days, DVD sales can also determine whether a movie’s ROI (Return on Investment) is a success. Smokin’ Aces did crap in the theatres, but its DVD sales was phenomenal. Austin Powers is another strong example of that trend.
    3. Your Official Scary Realization: If you’re wondering who is the truest example of a movie star, based on ROI and the business itself… it’s Adam Sandler. Really. An Adam Sandler movie usually can be brought in at less than $20mil, open phenomenally strong, and then return DVD sales/rentals go through the roof. Tom Cruise isn’t as strong as Adam Sandler in terms of bankability. Yeah, I don’t sleep at night knowing this, either.

  5. To segue from #3…

    Tyler Perry (you know, the guy who set African-American entertainers back 50 years by dressing in drag as an ornery, sexless, sass-spouting old lady–Madea from “Diary of a Mad Black Woman,” etc…) makes metric tons of money by slapping together dirt-cheap, derivative “comedy” productions with a few Jesus references throw in, advertising in churches and religious websites, and generally playing on decades of “black” comedy (not “black comedy” and I use the term loosely as Tyler Perry’s productions are largely NOT FUNNY) stereotypes both new and old to sell his cheap direct to DVD and now theatrical movies. As a whole, Tyler Perry is more bankable adjusting for budget vs. profit than Denzel Washington and Halle Berry put together. As disgusted as I am by it…I am jealous that I didn’t think of it first, of course.

    (For a little perspective here, one of Dave Chappelle’s alleged “last straws” that caused him to walk out on his multi-million-dollar TV contract was a disagreement over a sketch where Chappelle was to have dressed in drag. Supposedly, this was a line that the man had drawn for himself very early in the show’s production. To Chappelle and many, many other people, the idea of a black man in drag has for years been considered an example of “neutering” a performer as a black male and leaving them as a sanitized clown. Then again, Chappelle did go a little crazy.)

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