In Toy Story 3, Woody and the gang are donated to a daycare center where they are treated like outcast toys but, as of today, they will be treated like royalty – as they join the ranks of an elite group of films.
According to a Disney press release, Toy Story 3 has officially eclipsed the 1 billion dollar mark in worldwide gross box office receipts – only the 7th film in history to do so. What’s even more impressive, Toy Story 3 is the 2nd Disney film to surpass the 1 billion mark this year – Alice in Wonderland acheived the feat earlier in the summer.
With the latest entry, Disney can now boast that it holds 4 spots on the top 10 highest grossing films of all time list – Harry Potter holds two spots, Batman and Middle Earth each hold a spot, while James Cameron is king of movie mountain holding the top two spots with Avatar and Titanic respectfully.
Toy Story 3 will most likely move up a slot before it retires from theaters because it’s still banking anywhere between $2 and $5 million worldwide each week and only needs approximately $2 million more to surpass The Dark Knight. The film would have to add $24 million more to its animated coffer in order to beat Alice in Wonderland and take over the #5 position – but that is unlikely to happen.
While Toy Story 3 was lauded worldwide, and is arguably one of the best animated feature films of all-time (even though a few naysayers would say otherwise), what can’t be argued is HOW the film made a good portion of its money – through the up-charge in 3D viewings.
The fact that 3 of the top 10 All Time Worldwide Box Office Champs were in 3D cannot be ignored. Some people would argue that the 3D films in the top 10 – Avatar, Alice in Wonderland, Toy Story 3 – have “cheated” the system by the undeniable fact that a majority of their receipts came from over-inflated 3D tickets prices. In other words, they sold less tickets than a 2D film to reach the same milestone. When IMAX viewings are entered into the formula, the number of individual tickets sales needed to achieve the same $1 billion in sales drops considerably.
This is not to say that each film on the list doesn’t deserve recognition for reaching a monumental achievement; if anything, their ability to hit that number during a worldwide recession makes the feat that much more impressive. But honestly doesn’t it seem a bit, for lack of a better term, “unfair” to compare gross receipts of a 3D film to that of a 2D film?
The National Association of Theater Owners reports that the average cost of a standard movie ticket in 2009 was $7.50, while the L.A. Times reported back in May that tickets prices have jumped 8% so far in 2010. Assuming that figure holds, this means the average person pays $8.10 to watch a non-matinee 2D film. After $3 is tacked on for a 3D viewing, a 2D film has to sell 4 tickets to match the revenue generated by 3 tickets sold to a 3D film.
That doesn’t seem like a lot but when you figure a popular movie sells millions of tickets; the disadvantage is plain to see. The lopsided ratio of 2D tickets needed to match 3D revenue increases dramatically when a 3D film also releases in an IMAX theater at whopping $20 per ticket!
Again, this isn’t to take away from the fact that Toy Story 3 was widely accepted as a great film, or cast a dark shadow on the amazing box office numbers it has put up, but things should be kept in perspective.
After all, which is more impressive – 7 foot 7 inch tall Manute Bol dunking a basketball on 10 foot high goal or 5 foot 7 inch tall Spud Webb accomplishing the same task?
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