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You're Not Spending Money Fast Enough!

GreedichuThe latest iteration of the film King Kong opened on Wednesday and some are already lamenting its box office failure.  For a film with a $300 million budget on which the industry has painted a giant "summer blockbuster" label, the movie "only" took in $16 million during its first two days of release and "only" placed twenty-first on the list of all-time Wednesday opening days.  Opening weekend isn't even half over at this point.  Some analysts and fans are decrying the movie as a bomb, a dud, and a junker based on this initial information. 

What's the mentality here?  That if a giant movie doesn't bring in umpty-billion dollars on its first day, it's a dud?  The movie-going public has lives to live and seeingthe 187 minute King Kong probably isn't at the top of everyone's to-do list right now.  It's not at the top of mine right now.  I have a free promotional ticket to go see it and I'm not even sure if I'll get out to the theater.  Money is usually tight in December thanks to the holiday shopping season, and with Hollywood's recent track record most people are probably planning to just catch the film on DVD later.  There's nothing wrong with that.  We, the public, are able to spend our money how we please.

There's this criticism that Kong is a failure because we didn't spend enough money money money on its first day of release.  Hollywood seems to be under the impression that we should drop everything we're doing and scamper to the theaters in order to offer up $9.50 each (plus overpriced concession snacks) at their command, and yet Hollywood wonders why the world of video games is kicking its ass in terms of sales. Nobody slammed Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories because it didn't sell half a billion copies on its first day of release like its console cousins did.  Mario Kart DS is doing very well for itself so far, but I've never been under the impression that because I enjoy the game I have to go buy a second copy in order to increase the game's revenue share.  There are exceptions (such as Microsoft's insistence that Japan should fall head-over-heels for the Microsoft Xbox 360), but for the most part game publishers largely put a game out there, advertise it, and then wait for the sales to roll in, be they on day one or day fifty.  What else can a company do?  If sales projections do not match actual revenue then it's not the customers to blame, it's the analysts.

Somewhere along the way Hollywood started to believe that any movie that doesn't bring in the bucks on day one is a bomb and that audiences are somehow obligated to go see big budget movies in order to justify the film's expenses.  I do not get that vibe from the video game publishers with which I like to do business.  It's a lesson of which Hollywood (and its fans) should take notice.