Which Earns More: Box Office Movies or Stage Musicals?

Stage musicals often make more money than the movie versions in terms of box office gross earnings, which include only ticket sales for showings and do not include rentals or sales of recordings. Stage musicals tend to have built-in audiences, less competition and higher ticket prices, and they can run for much longer periods of time. It is estimated that less than 30% of stage musicals make a profit, but the ones that do succeed typically bring in higher gross profits than movies. For example, the Disney movie “The Lion King” made more than $950 million US Dollars (USD) at the box office and is the second highest-grossing animated film of all time, but stage productions of "The Lion King" have grossed more than $5 billion USD worldwide.

More about musicals:

  • Non-musical movies often are unsuccessful if they are turned into stage musicals. For example, the 1976 horror movie “Carrie” grossed an estimated $33 million USD at the box office, but its stage musical version made just $341,000 USD and is often considered one of the biggest flops of all time.

  • The most successful non-animated movie musical of all time is the 2012 version of “Les Miserables,” which surpassed "Grease" for the title and had grossed more than $437 million worldwide by mid-2013.

  • The average Broadway show costs about $10 million USD to make, while the average Hollywood film costs more than $100 million USD, including production, distribution and marketing costs.

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Post 3

I don't know about anyone else, but I find the third bullet point to be an irony of sorts. I guess it just goes to show that how much money it takes to make something, doesn't always mean that it's going to be high quality. This is especially true when it depends what you spend your budget on.

In fact, in some ways, it even seems like Broadway shows tend to have a much more of a consistent quality than movies, despite being made on a much smaller budget.

Using an example, let's look at the Michael Bay movie Transformers. Despite that film costing million and millions of dollars to make, the characters are one dimensional, and the plot is paper thin.

In fact, it almost seems like they spent their entire budget on the special effects, which seems to be the case for a lot of action movies. Does anyone else agree with me? It was something I learned in one of my college courses.

Post 2

In relation to the first bullet point, I think that one reason why non-musical movies are often unsuccessful when they're turned into stage musicals, is because nothing about them even screams "musical" in the first place.

Therefore, turning it into one, doesn't make much sense, and even more so, it just doesn't go well with the audience either.

For example, when movies like The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast were put on Broadway, one reason why so many people loved them in the first place, is because they had musical elements to begin with, which obviously wasn't the case for Carrie.

In my opinion, while it's not a problem to deviate from the original source material, on the other hand, deviating too far from its original content can definitely cause problems.

Also, considering how much of a flop Carrie was, it really makes me wonder what other Broadway shows ended up being a flop due not originally being a musical in the first place.

Post 1

Even though this is my opinion, I feel that one reason why stage musicals tend to make more money then their respective movie versions is because the theater version tends to be a lot more daring, and even more so, have some major changes to the original movie script.

After all, plays and movies don't always have to follow everything word for word, and that's very easy to see with the Lion King play.

For those who have watched The Lion King on Broadway, notice how there are tons of changes to the original story, and how some scenes are even scenes that were supposed to be in the movie, but ended up getting scrapped due to run time issues.

However, despite the fact that stage musicals tend to make a lot more than their respective theater versions, they're both something that one can enjoy very easily.

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