The thing you have to understand about how much a movie actually makes or loses in theaters is this... no one but the studio actually knows, and they don't often share it with the public. And the math is FAR more difficult than most people understand. Firstly, There is the misconception that a movie theater take any specified percentage of the films gross, when in fact theaters make very little from tickets sales, and the percentage they do get changes based on how long the film has been out and even changes based on the theater chain. Opening weekend, a theater may only keep as little as 5% of each ticket sold. Second weekend, it goes up to say 10%, and so on and so on. With each passing week, the theaters cut grows, but the rub is as each week goes by, a films weekly gross goes down. This is why theaters LOVE films like Avatar and Titanic, that have long legs and post solid high weekly grosses a month after release. It's also why we still see discount and dollar theaters. By the time a film enters the discount theaters, the theater is keeping the bulk of the ticket sales, making it a win for them even if they have lower turnout. It's a combination of all these reasons why theater concessions are so high. On average, a theater stands to make more money on concessions than it does movie tickets.
- You can disagree with my sources, I was just asking you to provide your own. Hell, I'm OK with agreeing that my sources are wrong... just prove them wrong instead of just saying they are.
- You have already admitted that your original math was wrong, so there was good reason for questioning your original post (and asking for you to provide a source to back it up). Now instead of saying FB2 needed to make $800-900 million to break even, we're just debating over a couple dozen million.
- Break even isn't the end of the world. A company isn't super happy on operating at a break even point, but break even does mean that everyone at the studio got paid. The investors will want to see a return, but they shouldn't be expecting a massive return on investment, otherwise everyone would own a movie studio (or a piece of it with stock).
- The 25% return from China does not consider any sorts of deals big companies make with the country. 25% is the minimum a company would receive, but likely this is higher for WB, Disney, Universal, etc.
- The box office is only one part of the profit of a movie, then you have the merch, royalties (like theme parks maybe?), dvd, streaming, etc. Even if the movie broke even, you could rake in huge afterwards. Horror movies don't do well at the box office, so you could say they're all flops, but they end up making money back on streaming. Something like Fantastic Beasts has great merch potential, and in this case, the movie itself is essentially a commercial for the product.
EU will not be judged on the box office of FB2, though it may be judged on the box office for FB3 (which is slated for Nov 2021). I'm hoping WB+JK realize where they went wrong with FB2 and fix it for the next one. If they do, hopefully FB3 does well and is generally well received by the critics/audiences.
Now the percentages above do change from movie theater chain to movie theater chain. Distributors negotiate with chains on a yearly basis, and even on a film to film basis. Bigger chains tend to get better deals. Smaller chains and independent theaters tend to get the worse end of the deal.
So yeah, it's a far more difficult topic than anyone seems to understand. And if you want my sources, here they are: my family owned and operated a theater outside of Chicago my entire life until a few years ago. I was part of those negotiations more than once. Sadly that theater is now a parking lot :-(
Now back to our regularly scheduled topic of Epic Universe!
Edit: RFRees my reply wasn't meant to disagree with anything you said (because we are right on pretty much everything you said), you just had the last post in this thread when I hit reply