Dumb Money - The madness of movie advertising. By Edward Jay Epstein:
"Consider the perverse logic of Hollywood: In 2003, the six major studios - Disney, Warner Bros., Sony, 20th Century Fox, Universal, and Paramount - spent, on average, $34.8 million to advertise a movie and earned, on average, just $20.6 million per title. Even if the studios had made the movies for free - which, of course, they didn't- they would have lost $14.2 million per film on the theatrical run, or what the industry calls 'current production.' Given the fleeting attention span of the target audiences (mainly TV-watching teens) and the unmemorable nature of the ad copy, the studios believe they must show the same ad on the same programs at least eight times in order to draw an audience. As a result, the studios spend more to lure a teenager into a theater than they receive at the box office, which is reminiscent of the joke about the idiot in the garment business who 'loses money on every sale but makes it up on volume.' "