While it seems to be fading as streaming services take over, the box office opening weekend ticket sales of any movie used to be something you would hear about often. A measure of social proof of a movie’s success.
In reality, it was two things:
- The measure of the marketing success, rather than theatrical success
- The studio and producer’s measure of how much effort it would take to get the rest of their money back and turn a profit.
The first is because if everyone went on opening weekend, only some of that traction was coming from people sharing how good it was. Especially, before the age of the internet, cell phones, social media and texting.
The second because they created an asset. They made a movie that could be sold repeatedly. A soundtrack that could be marketed. The movie release is just the first part of their earning potential from the efforts put in.
There is no start and finish on these things. Disney still has people marketing videos that were produced 30, 50, and even 85 years ago. They may not bring in as much money as the newer stuff, but they still bring in something.
There is work all around us. Waiting to be done. Once you’ve finished building your asset, that is when you can start working towards profitability.