The Most Surprisingly Profitable Movie of 2013, So Far
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The Most Surprisingly Profitable Movie of 2013, So Far

By Dustin Rowles | Box Office Round-Ups | July 8, 2013 | Comments ()

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In last night's box-office take, we looked at the biggest flops of the year so far, and after discovering that only ten films lost money once worldwide grosses were accounted for, I noted that studio executives are, actually, surprisingly good at their jobs, as long as you assume that profit is more important than originality, creativity, or entertainment value. That is no more evident than in this list of ten movies which not only made a profit, but a surprisingly large profit, especially considering how mediocre some of these movies did stateside or how quickly they were forgotten. One example not on the list is A Good Day to Die Hard, the $92 million budgeted Die Hard sequel which only racked up $67 million in America. I think most of us understand how popular these movies are internationally, which is why it's not on this list, though I still found it surprising that the movie -- a bomb in America -- nevertheless raked in $212 million in profit when all was said and done.

These are the ten best examples of the year. The profit numbers were derived at by subtracting the movie's budget from its worldwide box office.

Oblivion -- $175 million profit


Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters -- $175 million


Mama -- $131 million profit


Now You See Me -- $94 million profit


Evil Dead -- $80 million profit


Warm Bodies -- $79 million profit


After Earth -- $68 million profit


Scary Movie 5 -- $52 million


A Haunted House -- $37.5 million profit


Movie 43 -- $23 million


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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • bowski

    Warm Bodies was surprisingly good. Sure, it didn't make a lot of sense, but it was charming, funny and heartwarming. Me like stuff that make me feel nice

  • Michael M

    EVERY TIME I SEE THIS MORONIC BOX OFFICE NUMBER INTERPRETATIONS - JUST PISSES ME OFF... Box office numbers don't work like that. The (distributor+studio) gets only 55% of North American numbers and only 30-40% of International numbers (depends on deals and country of showings).

    For Example,
    OBLIVION (2013) - (55% of 89 mil) + (40% of 196) = $127.35 mil

    The Cost of Oblivion = $120 mil (negative) + $130 mil (P&A) = $250 million.

    The Cost of The Dark Knight Rises = $250 mil (negative) + $200 mil (P&A) = $450 million

    The Cost of Paranormal Activity 3 = $5 mil (negative) + $80 (P&A) = $85 mil

    P&A stands for prints and advertising (a.k.a. marketing cost). The rule of thumb is 50% North American cost and 50% International Cost.

    The minimum P&A cost for a nationwide release is $30 million.

    Even if your movie cost $5 to make if you want to get a nationwide release, it'll cost you $30.000005. PERIOD.

    That's why if a nationwide-release-movie makes less than $40 million IT IS A BOMB. BOMB. BOMB.

    ONLY LIKE 5% MOVIES EVER MAKE ANY PROFIT FROM THE THEATRICAL WINDOW ALONE. The other 95% movies rely on dvd, blu-ray, vod, tv rights etc. to make profit or recoup their cost.


  • Philzilla

    Dustin Rowles, subtracting the budget from the worldwide gross isn't how it works. Do some research on film distribution cost, how theaters and studios split ticket revenue, the cost of advertising ... you get the picture right? But congrats on your ability to do simple math.

  • Long_Pig_Tailor

    How are these surprising? You've got three general categories here-- Shitty broad comedies that teenagers will see in droves (and hopefully not watch because making out is obviously preferable), low cost horror flicks nearly incapable of bombing (but which here were generally good or at least featured solid talent, producing even better profit), and then simplistic big budget actioners that play like gangbusters globally (because you don't need the language to understand grim Will Smith or thirty thousand Toms Cruise blowing shit up).

    The only really surprising one to me? Warm Bodies. And maybe Now You See Me, because it's not quite big budget actioner and there's no way it was low budget enough to be foolproof.

  • e jerry powell

    I'd like to see a list based on ROI, profit relative to budget ($ earned vs. $ budgeted). The lower-budgeted films above will still come out better, but I think ROI is a more meaningful number somehow.

  • Robert

    Didn't the horrors/horror-comedies on the list all top the box office their first weekend out? Cause I'm pretty sure that means their profitability isn't a surprise. Mama and Warm Bodies went two weeks each, right?

  • Juxyn

    I watched Movie 43 on a day when I was pretty optimistic, so I just kept telling myself that the next part might be good.
    I hate myself when I am optimistic!

  • OfficialGuest

    "Movie 43 is soooooooooooooo offensive and outrageous!!"....UK rating: 15 years old.

    If you're going to market it as that, make sure it gets somewhere close to being refused classification.

  • Steph

    That's some biting satire there from Scary Movie 5. I don't believe anybody's ever made that joke before.

  • beletseri

    I'm so sorry I saw Hansel and Gretel in the theatre!!!!

  • Classic

    Oblivion was doing great until the whole explanation of what happened, the voice overs, and the end...okay I retract it was doing great statement.

  • Untamed

    Damn international box office. Now these pieces of crap will never disappear. For years we've been sold a bill of goods, namely, that films made in other countries are superior to American films. If so, their audiences don't agree.

  • denesteak

    Ok, ALL of these movies showed in the local cinemas here in Cambodia (We have two!!) so I'm starting to understand how Cambodians choose movies to screen. (no Movie 43 though.)

  • apsutter

    Hansel and fucking Gretel?! I have to say that it has been a pretty weak year for movies so far. I literally didn't go to the theaters from December last year until May because it was just absolute dreck every weekend.
    This does remind me that I have to see "Mama" at some point. That looks freaky as hell.

  • Tinkerville

    Evil Dead was the most fun I've had in a theater in ages. That movie was fucked up and seriously awesome.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    I am always (stupidly) slightly surprised at how much we care/talk about box office numbers. Why is that? Why is it covered on the news? Why doesn't it just get relegated to one little box in the newspaper, like best seller lists and Nielsen ratings? Because unless you've got money in the game, it's not that interesting a subject.

  • ZizoAH

    I don't know how to say this, but... I... enjoyed... Movie 43
    Maybe because I was drunk, but still, I wanted to point that out.

  • Maguita NYC

    Darn it, now I'm gonna have to watch it.

  • $27019454


  • Maguita NYC

    There really is no other way.

  • asherlev1

    Nikolaj Coster-Waldau!! So happy for him.

  • TheOriginalMRod

    I have to watch Movie 43 so I will get all the random references my boyfriend keeps making... damnit.

  • Puddin really should just leave your boyfriend. It's cleaner that way.

  • Mrs. Julien

    I once read the complete Doonesbury series for a boyfriend so I'd be knowledgeable about it.

    I sense... a comment diversion.

  • $27019454

    Took up rockclimbing. Read all of Richard Brautigan's oeuvre. Invested in awesome albeit sketchy underwear.

    The things we do for lust.

    I do need to mention that every one of these abovementioned activities paid off huge for me. I love Brautigan AND climbing, and the underwear thing is just, well, why didn't I think of that sooner?

  • Mrs. Julien

    Could you please pop by on Saturday and repeat all that?

    Subject: Re: New comment posted on The Most Surprisingly Profitable Movie of 2013, So Far

  • Aaron Schulz

    Watched all of Greys Anatomy, well all of it that was on netflix, and then talked to her about it. It was like i took a bunch of wasps, glued nails to them, then snorted a line off the bathroom counter.

  • koko temur

    I posted the prediction about "after earth"s bankability months ago on pajiba facebook. You didnt had to know anything about film business though, just to look outside. Will and Jaden were on world promotion tour and South Korea lost its shit. thoroghly and creepily. Cruise and Smith are much, much more popular outside the US than in it.

  • cgthegeek

    In a way that's a good thing: Hollywood likes to say that Black actors "don't play well" overseas. It's nice that Smith defies that stereotype. Hopefully that will translate into something positive for Black action heroes. ::crosses fingers for a Black Panther movie::

  • Maguita NYC

    It always surprises me how well, and for how long, certain Hollywood actors fair outside the US. Take for example David Hasselhoff: He was a music mega-star for decades, even after his run on Baywatch has long ended.

  • koko temur

    i think its because they are less exposed to gossip and others making fun of them. It seems we frequently start hating on a person because its fashionable, sometimes completely subconciously.

    Plus Its easier to like a person when you know nothing about his private life. For example, Cruise is decent actor with entertaining movies. When you dont know exactly how batshit insane he is, his movies benefit from that greatly.

  • Maguita NYC

    Very true. However, I'm loving this age of over-information: Can you imagine if we defended the likes of Chris Brown and Roman Polanski based solely on what they're PR people put out there?

  • koko temur

    it has its positive sides, sure. But as those two still have careers, the positive doesnt outweight the negative for me personally.

  • marigi

    I can't say for Chris Brown, but as for Polansky, you'd simply admire his great movies without any fuss.
    Joking aside, why would you talk about defending? No one justifies what Polansky did, and he does hardly any pr when a movie comes out.

  • Maguita NYC

    Many had defended Polanski for very long: Blaming the mother for leaving her daughter (rightly so), or even the daughter for being a whorish Lolita asking for it. Start with The Smoking Gun for your search. Also, many justified that he had suffered and paid long enough for his raping a child and escaping justice (Hollywood petition circulating not long ago).

    Before the age of free information access, the public believed whatever Hollywood put out, for Hollywood used to be the bastion of morality (yes, snort). If we had no access to the described deeds of that night, as signed by Polanski's own hand, we would still not know the extent of his horror and would be victimizing the victim even more.

    Personally, I do not tend to encourage child-raping monsters in any shape or form. Even in the name of Art.

    And btw, those are not my downvotes. Just so you understand that I would rather express my disagreement with words.

  • There was a period a couple of years ago, when Polanski was up for an Oscar and the press were wondering if he would chance coming to the U.S. to get it. There was a glut of famous people falling all over themselves to say that the courts should let bygones be bygones and let him come to the Oscars because he had been outcast for years.

    I believe that is what Maguita NYC is referencing.

  • Maguita NYC

    Posted at the same time. Yes, exactly that petition I was referring to. I still can't after reading the pertaining documents and watching that documentary.

  • $27019454

    Even people who watch and appreciate his movies don't defend him.

  • marigi

    Exactly. I watch his movies, but don't condone his actions. I know it seems like in Europe we don't care about what he did just because we don't boycott his movies, but I don't feel that way at all.

  • Mrs. Julien

    People love Operating Thetans!

  • Harris K Telemacher

    Hansel & Gretel was fucking awesome.

  • Mrs. Julien

    The Evil Dead gif seems to have a minor SQUIRRELCANO!!!! issue.

  • BWeaves

    Snort! Hehehehehehheheh!

  • BWeaves

    Warm Bodies was so disappointing. The trailer was not only better than the movie, but contained the whole movie.

  • mats19

    SOOOO DISSAPOINTING. Also that gif is right after one of those moments in a movie where you just give up bc it makes no sense from any kind of logic stand point.

  • I enjoyed Hansel and Gretel quite a bit, and am glad it didn't tank. Can't say too much fro the others, but the Scary Movie gif is so on point, it isn't even funny.

  • duckandcover

    Oblivion probably saw a surge after the first weekend -- when people started spreading that Nikolaj Coster-Waldau's in the movie in tight clothing.

  • BWeaves

    He's in Mama, too. My husband is a GOT fan, and he didn't notice that it was Jaime Lannister.

  • duckandcover

    Oh my stars and garters.

  • IngridToday

    I'm waiting for Oblivion to come on dvd.... only because Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is in it. I checked the redbox release day... it's just a few weeks away.
    He's in tight clothing you say....hmmmm

  • duckandcover

    You can't really see, but

  • Sars

    WHAT? now I want to see it.

  • DarthBetty

    Oblivion made me remember that a science fiction based film can be boring in a BAD way. I'm pretty sure I was watching cut scenes from an old xbox game.

  • AudioSuede

    Evil Dead fucked my shit up.

  • Maguita NYC

    Evil Dead gif fucked up my lunch.

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