NEWS - Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Halo Effect Leaves Movie Industry Reeling

Halo 3, released on September 25, grossed a whopping $170 million in first day sales, a figure that had swelled to over $300 million by early October. In contrast, North American movie box office takings have been dwindling, reports Advertising Age, and Master Chief is being blamed by a number of film executives. Total industry film ticket sales were only $80 million for the Oct. 5 weekend, down a massive 27 percent year-over-year. According to research firm Media by Numbers that’s the industry’s worst performance for an October weekend since 1999. Fall domestic receipts are also down six percent compared to last year. The highly anticipated movie The Heartbreak Kid, which reunited Ben Stiller and the Farrelly brothers nine years after the wildly successful release of There’s Something About Mary, was expected to gross up to $25 million in its opening weekend but fell flat, taking just $14 million in the US and Canada. Paramount, the parent company of Dreamworks, the studio that released the movie, declined to discuss whether the Halo effect had been responsible for The Heartbreak Kid’s poor box office takings, although many film executives are reportedly convinced audiences stayed at home to play the Bungie-developed shooter. Microsoft was happy to comment on the subject however. Josh Goldberg, a Halo 3 product manager at Microsoft, said he wasn’t surprised that the game was successfully competing with blockbuster films. "We marketed it like a film and now we’re just as big or bigger than film." Janco Partners analyst Mike Hickey also noted, "The audience on this game is the 18-to-34 demographic, similar to what you’d see in cinemas," adding, "this could last for several weeks."


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