5 The Markets: The Spin

Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.

—ACTOR JIMMY STEWART

You may view the 7.02 billion people in the world as potential moviegoers, but very few filmmakers expected to sell tickets to all of them—that is, until Jurassic Park pushed the box office frontier farther than ever before in 1993. It earned more than $750 million worldwide. You didn’t need to speak English or know anything about biology to enjoy this film. It had something for everyone who was old enough to watch it. Then, in 1998, Titanic racked up $1.7 billion worldwide.

On the independent side, the three films of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, released between 2001 and 2003, earned more than $3 billion worldwide. Then through 2011, ...

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