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Very often when a film's success is being judged, its opening few weeks takings are considered. However many films and franchises also generate revenue from DVD/BluRay sales and merchandise.

What proportion of a typical modern action film's income comes from its box office takings?

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up vote 12 down vote accepted

The Creative Skill Set website breaks it down in general for you:

Theatrical (ie. cinema) revenues only account for about 25% of the total revenues, with video (including DVD) taking about 40%; television accounting for 28% and ancillary revenues the final 7%.

The website goes on to say:

How Revenue Flows Through the Marketplace

The main revenue streams for filmed entertainment are:

  • Theatrical exhibition
  • Video/DVD rental
  • Video/DVD retail (or sell-through)
  • Pay per View Television
  • Subscription or Pay Television
  • Free Television

The industry has created windows of exploitation to maximise revenues at each stage of the value chain and avoid any clashes in the marketplace. These windows are starting to close up as the non-theatrical streams start to eclipse the original release in terms of revenue generation (although the cinematic shop window still remains the main driver of revenues throughout the chain in most cases) but are roughly as indicated below:

  • Theatric: 0 - 6 Months
  • Video/DVD: 6 - 15 Months
  • Pay Per View: 15 - 18
  • Months Pay TV: 18 - 30 Months
  • Free TV: 30 + Months

The website has a lot more information on how and who makes money from a film.

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Excellent answer - thank you! –  Liath Aug 1 '13 at 10:40
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