What a Merry Christmas it must have been for the folks at Universal. It
appears they've produced the most popular movie ever to open on Christmas with
"Meet The Fockers". After all, it has been reported that this film is
the highest grossing Christmas opening of all time, so clearly, this is
Well, actually it isn't.
Each time (and it gets more and more frequent) you read about movies
breaking all records, none of these reports are taking into account
increases in population and inflation. According to the Internet Movie
Database, "Titanic" is the highest grossing film of all time, followed by
"Star Wars" at number 2, "Shrek 2" at number 3 and the rest of the top 10
features the likes of both Spider-man films, the third Lord of the Rings film,
and the much loathed "Phantom Menace."
By looking at this list, it would appear that the films
these days are only getting better as time and time again we are
cracking into the highest grossing films of all time.
The oldest film to fall into the top 50 is "Jaws" from 1973 at number
28, while "X-Men 2" sits comfortably at number 50. Twenty-nine out of
the top 50 films are from the last five years with films including "The
Incredibles", "Bruce Almighty", "How The Grinch Stole Christmas" and
another all-time classic "The Matrix - Reloaded". That just doesn't sit
right with me.
Well, maybe it does. By this logic, Abraham Lincoln earned a meager
$25,000 a year whilst I earned near $10,000 more than that in my
insurance job, so this must make me a greater success than Abraham Lincoln! I should
really boast about this more than I do...
Let's look then to another list on Box Office Mojo where we see the top
grossing films adjusted for inflation. "Gone With The Wind" still sits
above them all, including "Star Wars", at number 1. Yes, after all these
years and all these "record-breaking" films we keep hearing about, a
film that is sixty-five years old tops them all. The most recent movie
to make the list is "The Phantom Menace" at number 19. Before that,
there is nothing from the last five years. "Spider-man 2" which sits
proudly at number 8 on imdb.com's list just squeaks in at number 50 on
the adjusted list, below "The Towering Inferno" from 1974.
Hmmm, on further examination, while Lincoln earned $25,000 as
President, the average worker made around $500 a year. I guess I'm not
so hot after all. But I DID make more than $25,000 a year and hence I
made more than Lincoln. I'm going to stand by that achievement and hope
nobody asks too many questions.
After examining all this information, it only adds to my frustration
that every news program, paper and web site I have looked at since it's
release has made a point of informing me that "Meet The Fockers"
is the highest grossing Christmas opening of all time. These figures are
meaningless and are not worth reporting. They are a complete distortion
of success and should be ignored. The reason we are fed these lies is
because there are corporate interests at work to make us believe that
these films are more successful than they really are. If company who
made the film also owns a news network, you can be sure they will report
about these successes on their news. The other news networks don't want
to be left out of reporting the important "news", so they all follow
AP reports that "Box office receipts soar to record in '04"
But if you read on down the article, it tells us that attendance is
actually down again for the second consecutive year and that "the record
gross was due more to rising ticket prices than attendance." See how we
are being manipulated with these so-called figures?
But we can make a few adjustments to our movie going schedules to
prevent these lies from being told to us. Avoid opening weekend. Just
because you haven't been able to
avoid a "Meet The Fockers" billboard, commercial or news reports about
the premiere and Barbra Streisand's colon polyp removal which kept her
from the big night, does not mean you have to flock to the theatre the
day it opens. Wait a week. You might here from others who saw it that
it's not as good as the advertisements told you! Check out
rottentomatoes.com and you will see that of all reviews collected, "Meet
The Fockers" has less than 40% positive reviews.
Secondly, we need to appeal to our news sources to accurately report
this information to us instead of manipulating our interest with these
distortions. If 'Return of the Sith', the final Star Wars film makes
more millions of dollars than any other film ever, you can tell us that,
as long as you point out to us where it sits in the reality of all-time
movie going. I daresay, they will be less excited about the so-called
records if they were forced to report correctly.
If you would like to sign a petition which will be forwarded to news
sources and imdb.com demanding adjusted box office list reporting,
please click on the link below.