- A little fish named Nemo made some big waves at the box office, helping to lift this summer’s grosses to an all-time high-water mark of $3.30 billion — a stronger-than-expected increase of 4% over last summer’s $3.18 billion.
However, slightly higher ticket prices played a key part since estimated admissions for summer 2003 sliped by less than one percent to 548.7 million from 553 million last year. The summer record of 553.6 million was reached in 1999 when “Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace” was in theaters.
The top-grossing film of the season — as well as the year to date — is Disney’s “Finding Nemo,” from Pixar Animation Studios. Heading into the summer, no one predicted that it would do as well as it did. The CG-animated family film, which features the voices of Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres and Alexander Gould, has netted a hefty $332.4 million so far.
….A record five films grossed more than $200 million each, easily beating the previous high of three last year, and a record 15 films crossed the $100 million benchmark, compared with 13 a year earlier.
The other top-grossing films of the season were Warner Bros.’ “The Matrix Reloaded” with $279.6 million, Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” with $274.4 million, Universal’s “Bruce Almighty” with $240.9 million and Fox’s “X2: X-Men United” with $214.9 million.
Summer 2003, which officially began Memorial Day weekend, got off to a quick start, but its promising beginning proved short-lived. After the first three weeks of summer, the box office was up 21% from last year’s tally. But the following frames were less than stellar. Although a few weeks posted records along the way, many more generated lukewarm business. However, it was the last three weeks of the season — each posting record grosses for the comparable frames — that helped drive sales and admissions to respectable levels. [Hollywood Reporter]
The demand for film is still clearly in the theater, and then on the TV screen at home. I don’t see downloading having much of an effect on theater performance, but it may eventually impact DVD sales and rentals if they don’t come up with a simple, reasonable pay system with access to all movies in release.