Box office equals coverage

Reports about big numbers make it a little easier to get attention

While the U.S. media worship at the altar of the box office, Europeans evaluate film grosses differently.

With critics being bombarded with box office blurbs, they will be more likely than not to see a Hollywood film that does great in the States. This certainly doesn’t mean the film will get a positive review, but it will certainly get play in all the papers.

Reports about big numbers make it slightly easier to get attention, one studio representative admits. “When a film sets a new box office record over the weekend, it gets noticed.”

Not only are European critics not influenced by box office but 20th Century Fox Intl.’s Hilary Clark contends, “Doing so would, in effect, go against their religion.” However, box office “matters hugely” to exhibitors, and consumers may see a film solely based on the pic’s popularity.

So does positive or negative box office matter to the moviegoing public across the Pond? In what Clark calls the prevalent “sound bite society” of “quick answers and quick fixes,” the answer seems to be a resounding yes.

“There is nothing we can do,” declares Hollywood-based Italian journalist Alessandra Venezia. “The American model is more and more and more important in every aspect of European life.”

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