Special Summer-Movie Edition. What does — and doesn’t — sell in Hollywood these days. Plus, the management wisdom of Marilyn Monroe. And while you’re reading, please supersize the popcorn.

Sex doesn’t sell…

In 2002, none of the movies in the top 20 grossing films was rated R. Eminem’s R-rated docudrama, 8 Mile, was the top R-rated film, coming in at number 21.
Source: MPAA, USA Today


…But popcorn sure does

Popcorn debuted in movie theaters in the 1930s as an affordable snack. Today, 59% of frequent U.S. moviegoers purchase popcorn. That’s about 5.1 billion quarts of popcorn each year, worth roughly $15 billion. Overall, movie-popcorn sales account for about 30% of all U.S. popcorn sales.
Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune, the Popcorn Board

Hollywood on Hollywood

“Hollywood is a place where they’ll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss and fifty cents for your soul.”
– Marilyn Monroe

“Whew, this movie business is tough. I might just have to go back to loan-sharking for a while to get some vacation.”
– Chili Palmer (John Travolta) in Get Shorty (1995)


“Some of the best movies are made by people working together who hate each other’s guts.”
– Jonathan Shields (Kirk Douglas) in The Bad and the Beautiful (1952)

Have movies gotten that much tastier?

+59% -43%
Average price of a movie ticket in 2002 $5.81 Price of a Burger King Whopper in 2002 $0.99
Average price of a movie ticket in 1980 $2.69 Price of a Burger King Whopper in 1980 $1.40

*Adjusted for inflation. Source: MPAA, the New York Times

Hit List

Top-grossing U.S. movies of all time, by ratings (domestic box office only).

Rating Title Millions Date
G The Lion King $312.9 June 1994
PG Star Wars $461.0 May 1977
PG-13 Titanic $600.8 Dec. 1997
R Beverly Hills Cop $234.8 Dec. 1984

*Figures not adjusted for inflation. Source: MPAA