How the movies make their money.

A few years ago I was working on a story about copyright law for a magazine. For a factoid in that story, I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out what proportion of the film industry’s revenues come from theater showings vs. video rentals. I wasn’t ever able to find a definitive answer, although it was pretty clear that video rentals have surpassed theater revenues for at least a decade. The point is significant, because when videotape technology first hit the consumer market, the movie industry freaked out — Jack Valenti, president of the MPAA, famously compared videotapes to the Boston Strangler, because of their ability to copy movies — and yet here they are, twenty years later, making serious buckets of money from the technology they opposed.

Well, thanks to a guy named Edward Jay Epstein, there’s a nice chart showing where the money comes from. In 2003, theater ticket sales were $7.48 billion and video/DVD revenues $18.9 billion — more than twice as much. That’s some serious change. (via BoingBoing)

How the movies make their money.