Menus Subscribe Search

Follow us


Hollywood’s Sigh of Relief

• March 05, 2010 • 11:00 AM

Globally, moviegoers’ tastes are becoming increasingly homogeneous, which is a very good sign for Hollywood.

Despite a record-breaking 2009, Hollywood is still roiling from shaky DVD revenues, a global recession, increased piracy, intense foreign competition and lingering questions about the dollar value of the medium. Although hope has now been pinned on resurgent 3-D revenues (and ever-rising ticket prices), insiders are still questioning whether the industry can remain a dominant force in worldwide movie distribution.

Perhaps a few of these fears can be put to rest.

A new study, headed by researchers at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University, finds that despite the challenges mounted by Bollywood and other foreign film enterprises, the global appetite for Hollywood films has only intensified over the past several years.

The research culled data from worldwide ticket receipts from 2002-2007 and examined 35 countries’ box-office revenues in comparison with each other and that of the United States. For every year, the grosses of all Hollywood films released to these foreign countries (ranging from 24 to 265 features) were analyzed and the similarities of consumption patterns were measured by the strength of the correlation between U.S. and foreign box-office receipts.

Although the countries that had the most similar movie consumption patterns as the U.S. were countries with large markets (Japan) or with similar cultures (Australia and U.K.), researchers found that even countries with cultures that have historically been hostile (Russia) or indifferent to Hollywood are being slowly but steadily won over by these features.

After performing regression analyses on the theatrical grosses in these foreign countries and the U.S. over this five-year span, the researchers found that cinema markets worldwide have become increasingly homogeneous. Not only have foreign countries become more similar in taste to the United States, they have in turn become more similar to each other.

Researchers noted that “the evidences for this tendency are limited to no particular region or subset of countries but suggest that world cinematic audiences have acquired increasingly indistinguishable preferences in choosing Hollywood features to watch.”

As far as box-office grosses are concerned, U.S. blockbusters have become the unifying force for theatergoers worldwide. Surprisingly, this win hasn’t necessarily come at the expense of native or alternative media offerings.

The study’s authors also found that Hollywood features (which are increasingly green-lighted with international appeal in mind) can effectively “coexist” (to some degree) with these competing enterprises. As a whole, the demand for film products worldwide is only growing — and both Hollywood and its competitors can reap the benefits from it.

Next up, how about resuscitating the flagging TV ratings for the Academy Awards?

Sign up for our free e-newsletter.

Are you on Facebook? Become our fan.

Follow us on Twitter.

Add our news to your site.

Erik Hayden
Former Miller-McCune Fellow Erik Hayden recently graduated from Pepperdine University with a B.A. in Political Science and a minor in Religion. He regularly contributes for a variety of publications including the Ventura County Star and the alt-weekly, VCReporter.

More From Erik Hayden

A weekly roundup of the best of Pacific Standard and PSmag.com, delivered straight to your inbox.

Recent Posts

October 1 • 6:00 AM

Would You Like a Subscription with Your Coffee?

A new app hopes to unite local coffee shops while helping you find a cheap cup of good coffee.


October 1 • 4:00 AM

How to Plant a Library

Somewhere outside of Oslo, there are 1,000 newly-planted spruce trees. One hundred years from now, if everything goes to plan, they’ll be published together as 100 pieces of art.



September 30 • 10:09 AM

Trust Is Waning, and Inequality May Be to Blame

Trust in others and confidence in institutions is declining, while economic inequality creeps up, a new study shows.


September 30 • 8:00 AM

The Psychology of Penmanship

Graphology: It’s all (probably) bunk.



September 30 • 6:00 AM

The Medium Is the Message, 50 Years Later

Five decades on, what can Marshall McLuhan’s Understanding Media tell us about today?


September 30 • 4:00 AM

Grad School’s Mental Health Problem

Navigating the emotional stress of doctoral programs in a down market.


September 29 • 1:21 PM

Conference Call: Free Will Conference


September 29 • 12:00 PM

How Copyright Law Protects Art From Criticism

A case for allowing the copyright on Gone With the Wind to expire.


September 29 • 10:00 AM

Should We Be Told Who Funds Political Attack Ads?

On the value of campaign finance disclosure.


September 29 • 8:00 AM

Searching for a Man Named Penis

A quest to track down a real Penis proves difficult.


September 29 • 6:00 AM

Why Do So Many People Watch HGTV?

The same reason so many people watch NCIS or Law and Order: It’s all a procedural.


September 29 • 4:00 AM

The Link Between Depression and Terrorism

A new study from the United Kingdom finds a connection between depression and radicalization.


September 26 • 4:00 PM

Fast Track to a Spill?

Oil pipeline projects across America are speeding forward without environmental review.


September 26 • 2:00 PM

Why Liberals Love the Disease Theory of Addiction, by a Liberal Who Hates It

The disease model is convenient to liberals because it spares them having to say negative things about poor communities. But this conception of addiction harms the very people we wish to help.


September 26 • 1:21 PM

Race, Trust, and Split-Second Judgments


September 26 • 9:47 AM

Dopamine Might Be Behind Impulsive Behavior

A monkey study suggests the brain chemical makes what’s new and different more attractive.


September 26 • 8:00 AM

A Letter Becomes a Book Becomes a Play

Sarah Ruhl’s Dear Elizabeth: A Play in Letters From Elizabeth Bishop to Robert Lowell and Back Again takes 900 pages of correspondence between the two poets and turns them into an on-stage performance.


September 26 • 7:00 AM

Sonic Hedgehog, DICER, and the Problem With Naming Genes

Wait, why is there a Pokemon gene?


September 26 • 6:00 AM

Sounds Like the Blues

At a music-licensing firm, any situation can become nostalgic, romantic, or adventurous, given the right background sounds.


September 26 • 5:00 AM

The Dark Side of Empathy

New research finds the much-lauded feeling of identification with another person’s emotions can lead to unwarranted aggressive behavior.



September 25 • 4:00 PM

Forging a New Path: Working to Build the Perfect Wildlife Corridor

When it comes to designing wildlife corridors, our most brilliant analytical minds are still no match for Mother Nature. But we’re getting there.


September 25 • 2:00 PM

Fashion as a Inescapable Institution

Like it or not, fashion is an institution because we can no longer feasibly make our own clothes.


Follow us


Trust Is Waning, and Inequality May Be to Blame

Trust in others and confidence in institutions is declining, while economic inequality creeps up, a new study shows.

Dopamine Might Be Behind Impulsive Behavior

A monkey study suggests the brain chemical makes what's new and different more attractive.

School Counselors Do More Than You’d Think

Adding just one counselor to a school has an enormous impact on discipline and test scores, according to a new study.

How a Second Language Trains Your Brain for Math

Second languages strengthen the brain's executive control circuits, with benefits beyond words.

Would You Rather Go Blind or Lose Your Mind?

Americans consistently fear blindness, but how they compare it to other ailments varies across racial lines.

The Big One

One company, Amazon, controls 67 percent of the e-book market in the United States—down from 90 percent five years ago. September/October 2014 new-big-one-5

Copyright © 2014 by Pacific Standard and The Miller-McCune Center for Research, Media, and Public Policy. All Rights Reserved.