This summer, moviegoers will pay an average of nine bucks each to see the new Transformers movie or Public Enemies with Johnny Depp. Even though movie revenues are up 16% so far this year – the studios will be lucky to break even. Why? They spend so much money making and promoting the movies, they typically don’t make a profit until you buy the DVD, or the t-shirt, or toy that it spawned. So where does your $9 go? Here’s the breakdown according to Money magazine:

  • Of your $9, the actual movie theater will take $4. That’ll go toward maintaining the popcorn machines, to the air conditioning bills, and to the paycheck of the guy who tore your ticket. The theater really only makes money off the concession snacks you buy. In your average theater, popcorn is about 50 times as expensive as filet mignon, pound for pound. You may think you’re being gouged, but if the popcorn was cheaper – guess what would go up? The actual ticket price, from $9 to about $12.
  • So what does the studio make from your $9 movie ticket? $5, but it’s not profit. Take the movie Public Enemies. The studio is spending $100-million to make sure you know it’s out and want to see it. So about $2 from your ticket goes to funding TV, radio, and internet ads – as well as billboards and the making of the movie trailer.
  • $1.50 from the cost of your movie ticket goes toward the actual making of the movie – from the set, to the equipment, to the costumes and the filming permits.
  • 10% of every movie ticket goes back to the studio that made it - to cover distribution costs. That’s the money spent getting the movie reels to the theater you’re sitting in.
  • So what about the actors? About 5% of your $9 movie ticket goes toward their salaries or $0.61 cents. Johnny Depp was paid $20-million up-front to star in Public Enemies – Christian Bale made $10-million.

Feel free to share that intelligence with your friends as you’re munching your popcorn that pays for the seat you’re in.