Showbiz Sandbox 293: Why Forecasting Box Office Has Become So Difficult

September 7, 2015


Though this year’s North American summer box office may wind up being the second biggest on record at $4.4 billion, movie studios are finding it far more difficult to predict opening weekend grosses. An article in the Hollywood Reporter details how tracking pre-release box office has become unreliable in an age when social media buzz and movie review aggregation have become so prevalent.

Word-of-mouth can now spread so quickly that movies like “Ted 2” can be doomed 24 hours after release, opening 33% below its estimated $50 million first weekend gross. And it’s not just flops that suffer tracking mishaps, as evidenced by “Jurassic World” bowing to $208 million, 60% more than originally anticipated.

Until now, Apple hasn’t had to worry about movie box office or even television ratings, but all that might change if rumors the company is getting into producing original content are at all true.

Of course we also cover the week’s top entertainment news including why Aretha Franklin wound up in court last week, why DreamWorks is leaving Disney and who the Academy selected to produce next year’s Oscar telecast.


Weekend Report -‘War Room’ Walks to #1

‘Welcome to Death Row’ Shopped as ‘Straight Outta Compton’ “Sequel”

Box Office: Universal, Disney Fuel Second-Biggest Summer Ever in U.S.

Summer Box Office Poised To Be 2nd-Best Ever, So Why Isn’t Everybody Happy?

Summer Box Office: How Movie Tracking Went Off the Rails

Opa! Get Ready For A ‘Mamma Mia’ Sequel

Matilda Reaches a Broadway Milestone

Steven Spielberg’s DreamWorks to Split From Disney, in Talks With Universal

Spielberg Plunges Into The Cold War

Oscars: David Hill and Reginald Hudlin to Produce

China Approves Film About Gay Love Story for First Time

Russian Filmmakers Set Sights on Alternative to Oscars

‘Concussion’ Director Defends NFL Drama, Admits Roger Goodell Scene Was Cut

Hulu Unveils Ad-Free Subscription Pricing

Aretha Franklin Granted Injunction to Stop Telluride Showing of ‘Amazing Grace’

Sydney Pollack’s ‘Amazing Grace’: The Tortured 4-Decade History of the Film Aretha Franklin Wants to Stop

Megyn Kelly Bests Bill O’Reilly in August, Topping Cable News in Key Demo

Tyler, the Creator Addresses U.K. Ban: ‘I Felt Like a Criminal’

Summer Concert Boom Marks Industry Turnaround

Black Sabbath Announces Final Tour, ‘The End,’ With Creepy Video

StubHub Drops All In Pricing As Promised “Ticketing Revolution” Fails To Materialize

Apple Eyes Move Into Original Programming

New Apple TV Will Feature Universal Search, Start At $149

New Apple TV Is Said to Focus on Games, Challenging Traditional Consoles

Dean Jones, Star of Classic Disney Family Films, Dies at 84

Being Alive – Company OBC, 1970 – Dean Jones


  • mgiltz

    Way to get the episode posted in record time Sperling! No one could have predicted that (though the holiday weekend helped). And no one can predict the weekend’s box office on movies any more, not with dependability. I blame the difficulty in polling (no land lines to pester) combined with social media letting buzz both good and bad travel faster than ever. Check out the rest of our latest free podcast on all things entertainment!