Bad Girl, Good Business

Saturday Night at the Movies (Business of Fun #17)

Reading Time: 2 minutes

We love to watch.

When we aren’t attending festivals, listening to music, or traveling this summer, how else are we amusing ourselves?

Since 1905, people have been spending a day or night at the movies. Sitting (or sprawling — more about that later), we stare up at a big screen and laugh, cry, hold hands, squirm, and scream. High ticket prices and the availability of movies in your own home 24/7 are just a couple of the reasons that many people are no longer going out to the movies, according to a recent consumer research study. The number of tickets sold is definitely not on the upswing, but the cost of making just one movie can be almost half a billion dollars.

In 1956, The Ten Commandments was the highest grossing film, bringing in $43 million. This year our screen idols were a fish and a superhero. “Finding Dora” and “Captain America” both drew over $400 million each at the box office.

Here are 10 entertaining facts and figures about movie-goers and what they do besides sit.

  1. Popcorn became a movie theater snack during the Great Depression because it was inexpensive. Concession stand sales constitute close to 50% of a theater’s profit?
  2. As long as people are eating in theaters, new products and even booze have been introduced to drive those profits even higher. Here are just a few of the experiments, including edamame and White Castle Sliders.
  3. Plush seating and a 4D movie experience (with wind and special effects) are turning movie-going into an experience.
  4. Speaking of comfy experiences, the drive-in movie was introduced in 1933 in Camden, New Jersey. At one point, 5,000 existed throughout the U.S. Only 500 exist today, according to this website.
  5. The drive-in has been moved indoors at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida and luxurious movie theaters still exist around the world, including beds in one theater in France (oui oui!). View them here.
  6. Why do some folks like scary movies? According to this article, “Horror fans are often people who are considered to be sensation-seeking personality types—people who enjoy the intense response and high arousal.” You don’t need to skydive to get a thrill. You can just sit in one of the cars or beds described in #5 and get a rush.
  7. Rather watch smooching then slashing? Then the RomCom (Romantic Comedy) genre is for you. Here are the top grossing RomCom flicks of all time.
  8. But when does passion turn to porn? Censorship of movies began in 1907, right after the first theater and today’s rating system was introduced in 1968.
  9. Technology has, of course, had an impact on every aspect of the movie industry — from how movies get made and special effects, to how we buy tickets, to how consumers share reviews.
  10. Despite the evolution of the movie industry, some films will endure. The highest grossing movie of all time (adjusted for inflation) is “Gone With the Wind.”

Especially during hard times, movies have been a great escape for many people. Being entertained and inspired can be good for your mental health. But watch out for your physical health out the movies. These nutrition facts about concession treats may be scarier than that horror movie you’re going to see!

Coming Attractions: For more trends about business, consumer behavior, and trends, please subscribe to our monthly e-zine, getONit! (Here the Inc.  list of the 7 most motivational movies for entrepreneurs and here is Bloomberg’s list. Who says movies can’t be educational and profitable too?)




  1. […] Yesterday’s post was all about the fun we have going to the movies. But we also like to be entertained and escape from the privacy of our own homes, offices, gyms, and public transportation systems. […]

  2. […] you. After all, this entire August series is about the business of fun. And reading, like theater, movies, festivals, booze, and the 15+ other things we’ve written about so far can be really […]


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