BLOGS

Yes We Can! (Make More Money at the Box Office Next Year)

Since the news cycle is still pretty clogged with election results and stories (even Variety has an electoral map on their home page) and the rest of the world -- including Hollywood -- can't seem to get much of a word in edge-wise, I'm going to follow Odie's lead and report on a politics-movie tie-in. Over at The Hollywood Reporter's Risky Biz Blog, Steven Zeitchik explored the possibility of whether or not Republican Presidents are bad for movies. It turns out they kind of are.

In the last seven presidential elections, if you take a look at the numbers, box-office spiked 6.8% after a Democrat was elected (on average) but went up only 3.2% after a Republican took office. In the Bill Clinton years, particularly from 1997 through 1999, box office rose at least 7% for three straight years. Compare that to when Bush and Reagan got reelected, after which the box office saw its worst two years in the last 30. The "why" of it all is a little less scientific. Zeitchik's theory that most middle-class Americans tend to take a cue from Republican dogma and become a bit more fiscally responsible when that party takes office may be true. Then again, he also points out that Democratic administrations tend to be more be favorable to creative expression, which can create a "more robust filmmaking and moviegoing climate." That I'm not sure I agree with. I had some pretty creative expressions during the 2004 election, and Bush was still in office.

Really, I don't have a theory one way or the other. All I know is that if you're playing it by the numbers, I wouldn't be the least surprised if the bean-counters at the studios are chuffing sighs of relief in hopes that American consumers spend the change they could believe in on tickets to their moderately-priced shows.

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