The motion picture industry is a competitive business. More than 50 studios produce a total of 300 to 400 new motion pictures each year, and the financial success of each motion picture seems to vary considerably. The opening weekend gross sales, the total gross sales, the number of theaters the movie was shown in, and the number of weeks the motion picture was in the top 60 for gross sales are common variables used to measure the success of a motion picture. Data collected for a sample of 100 motion pictures produced in 2005 are contained in the Excel file named Movies.xlsx attached.


Consider the questions below from a non-technical point of view. That is, you don’t have to perform regression analyses or do any fancy statistics. What are your opinions and experiences? Have some fun!

  1. What are the top factors that influence a movie’s opening weekend sales? Try sorting the data in descending order of “Opening Gross” and exploring. Do these results match what your experience tells you?
  2. Skim through the list of movies. Have you seen any of them? If so, which ones did you like and why? Which ones did you not like and why? Do your preferences seem to match those of the general public (based on number of weeks in top 60)? [Yeah, I know that you were, like, 10 years old when these movies came out…]
  3. Are Opening Gross numbers always a good predictor of Total Gross? What factors might affect the relationship between Opening Gross and Total Gross?
  4. What kinds of movies are shown in many theaters? What kinds of movies are shown only in a few theaters? Why might a movie studio produce movies intended only for select theaters?

Rather than provide brief answers to all of the above questions, Pick two and digging deeper. Also respond to the post below, agree or disagree (discussion board).

Student post:

3.) No opening gross numbers for a movie are not always good predictors of total gross profit. The reason for this could be that not much is known about this movie and after a few people start seeing it and like it they can spread the word to their friends. A good example of this in our data is the movie Memoirs of a Geisha. During the opening weekend this movie made only $0.68 million. For total gross profit this movie ended up doing much better pulling in $56.07 million. My reasoning for this is that people were going off of recommendations of others whether it is friends, celebrities or critics who probably raved about this movie which got others to watch it.

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