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How is the box office success for hit movies measured?

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Quick Answer

As of 2015, the most common measurement for a hit movie's box office success is its domestic ticket sale gross, and worldwide ticket sale gross is another common success measurement. However, many other factors, including a movie's budget and additional costs, influence the movie's true success.

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Full Answer

One of the first metrics used to measure a movie's success was its ticket sales. However, ticket sales peaked in the 1940s, before technology allowed people to watch movies at home.

Despite their frequent usage as success measurements, domestic and worldwide gross aren't necessarily accurate methods to measure a movie's success. Two movies that gross around the same amount do not make the same amount of profit if one had a significantly higher budget. The reason domestic gross is a more common measurement than worldwide gross is that studios receive a larger cut of the money from the domestic gross than the worldwide gross. Ticket price inflation has increased the average movie's box office gross, so gross numbers that are considered the mark of a successful movie often become outdated over time.

Another success measurement is the money spent by the studio per ticket sold. For more accuracy, the measurement must use all the money the studio spent on the movie. This amount is difficult to determine, because even though studios release budget information for movies, that information doesn't take into account other costs, such as marketing.

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