Corollary Question:

Even if a studio makes a movie  at little or no cost, can it still lose money on it?


Yes, even if a studio gets a movie for free, it has to pay to advertise, market, and distribute it.

In the case of Lara Croft:Tomb Raider, Paramount expended about $39 million in prints, advertising, and other marketing costs. To earn that sum back, the film needed to gross over $78 million at the box office (since the studio's share of that gross is slightly less than 50 percent).

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider did in fact make back its marketing costs, but most films do not. Last year (2003), the prints required for the opening of a studio film cost, on average, $4.2 million. The advertising cost another $34.8 million a title. And while the studios spent an average of $39 million per film, they recovered from the box office, on average, only $20.6 million.



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