The Dove Foundation’s 2006-07 Studio Report Card

Released on 10/31/08

Industry-wide statistics

In 2005 The Dove Foundation released its Film Profitability Study of MPAA-Rated Movies tracking 2380 major theatrical releases between 1989 and 2003. The results revealed that on one hand, Hollywood studios released 12 times more R-rated movies than G-rated films. At the same time, the average G-rated movie was 11 times more profitable than its R-rated counterpart.

As a follow-up to that landmark study, The Dove Foundation gathered domestic box office revenue data from all major releases during 2006 and 2007. Our analysis in this report presents total industry-wide numbers while focusing on each studio and how it performed comparing the number of films released in each ratings category with the average box office revenue of those same films.

Industry-wide results revealed trends similar to the 2005 Profitability Study. G-rated movies accounted for only 4% of the total film output for 2006-07 compared with R-rated releases which made up 35%. For the first time since the PG-13 rating was established in 1984, production of PG-13 films (40%) actually exceeded R-rated movies.

In spite of Dove’s findings in the 2005 Study Hollywood studios released 10 times more R-rated movies than G during 2006-07.  The production numbers tell us that many filmmakers still believe that the American movie-going public prefers Restricted movies over General Audience pictures. The average box office figures for that period reveal something quite different.

G-rated movies were the big winners in 2006-07 with an average domestic box office of $81.6 million.  Next in line is PG-13 with an average of $71.7 million, slightly ahead of the average PG film which garnered $68.6 million. R-rated films came in a distant 4th place with $36.9 million, or about 45% of the average revenue of G-rated films.

Studio Comparisons

The studios had varying results which reflects the market segment they were focused on serving.

Looking at each ratings category, it is no surprise that Buena Vista (Disney) produced the most G-rated movies (5) followed by Fox and Universal with 2 each. Weinstein Company and Paramount both released 1. Missing from the G-rated category were Sony, Warner Bros., New Line and Lionsgate.

Buena Vista had the most success in the G-rated arena with an average b.o. of $134 million, followed by Paramount($83 million), Universal ($46 million), Fox ($23 million) and Weinstein Company ($7 million).

In the PG category, Fox and Warner Bros. led the pack with 11 releases each, followed closely by Buena Vista with 10 and Sony at 9.  Thanks in part to mega-hit Shrek III ($321 million); Paramount had the highest average b.o. revenue of $137 million. Fox was second with $90 million average and Disney came in third at $81 million.

Studio Legend:
F=Fox, WB=Warner Bros., BV=Buena Vista, S=Sony, NL=New Line, PDW=Paramount/DreamWorks,
LG=LionsGate, MGM=Metro Goldwyn Mayer, U=Universal, W=Weinstein

PG-13 was very much a mixed bag. Sony was the most prolific studio in this category with ten more releases than Fox and Warner Bros. who were tied for second with 17 each.

The revenue picture was influenced greatly by a few statistical outliers like Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean” II and III released during this period with record box office receipts of $423 million and $309 million respectively.  Sony hit a home run with its third installment of Spider Man” at $336 million. Paramount/DreamWorks SKG also reached $319 million with Sci-fi action pic, “Transformers.” Warner Bros. had two $250 million plus hits which helped boost their averages – “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” and “I am Legend.” Taking those six pictures out of the statistics greatly reduces the box office averages for the remaining 116 releases which averaged only $58 million.

Studio Legend:
F=Fox, WB=Warner Bros., BV=Buena Vista, S=Sony, NL=New Line, PDW=Paramount/DreamWorks,
LG=LionsGate, MGM=Metro Goldwyn Mayer, U=Universal, W=Weinstein

The R-rated financial picture in this report closely parallels the 2005 Profitability Study.  The major studios released ten times more R-rated movies than G (106 – 11). The large number of R-rated releases did little to influence the box office revenues, when compared with G and PG films.  Universal, Fox, Sony led the industry in R-rated films during 2006-07. Warner Bros., however, had the highest per picture box office average from its 9 releases.  WB numbers were boosted by “300,” the only R-rated movie released by any studio during this period to exceed $200 million in domestic b.o. Of the 106 R-rated releases in this category, 87 failed to reach the $50 million mark.

Studio Legend:
F=Fox, WB=Warner Bros., BV=Buena Vista, S=Sony, NL=New Line, PDW=Paramount/DreamWorks,
LG=LionsGate, MGM=Metro Goldwyn Mayer, U=Universal, W=Weinstein

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