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Speedometer

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.

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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

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…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)

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“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).

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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