STUDY: STUDIOS INFLATE BOX OFFICE ESTIMATES
A Stanford University study has disclosed that weekend box office estimates released by studios on Sundays are, on average, 6.38 percent higher than the actual ticket sales turn out to be the next day — with some studios overestimating their take by as much as 7.9 percent. While those figures may simply represent an overly optimistic view of the probable results, the study observed, “there may be some strategy behind the inflation.” It noted that the inflated figures generally are attached to films making their debut “when the incentives are greatest to generate positive word-of-mouth. Buzz for the film can be generated by a good first-weekend performance and drive viewers to the theater in subsequent weeks.” Weekend estimates generally include actual sales figures for Friday and Saturday and “educated guesses” for Sunday. But in many instances, only the weekend estimates are reported in the news media, while the final results, ordinarily disclosed on Mondays, are often given short shrift.