Luxury products must be marketed successfully, which requires identification of audience tastes and the audience segments most likely to respond to a film. As an impulse buy, a film most be positioned via advertising and marketing mixes to appeal to a potential moviegoer more than alternative offerings available at competitive price points and with similar ease of access (Earnest, 1985).
Additionally, most films have a relatively short "shelf life," averaging about six weeks in all (Earnest, 1985). The market for films is characterized by quick entry and equally rapid exit and the majority of the box office gross must be made early given that box office take drops off 15 to 20 percent after the first week of release (even for a great film). A film made at a cost of $15 million must make at least $37.5 million at the box office to break even.
Filmmakers must also time release of a picture appropriately to generate maximum market penetration and sales. Earnest (1985) noted that seasons for release are associated with specific market demographics. For example, summer months represent the period when the greatest segment of the movie-going public, teens and college students, are out of school and likely to attend a film; films released during this three-month window enjoy the greatest opportunity for maximization of box office potential.
Another important characteristic shaping box office success, according to Earnest (1985), is genre. Movies are not like estab