April 25th, 2014

How Stanley Kubrick invented the modern box office report (by accident)

Stanley Kubrick’s reputation for micromanaging business matters relating to his films is legendary, as this fascinating story by Mike Kaplan illustrates.

Clockwork would be shown in standard cinemas as a quality platform release, which meant there were many options per city. I knew that Don Rugoff’s Cinema 1, the most prestigious cinema in New York, had to be the New York theater, but how to be sure that the film would be booked into the best cinema in Indianapolis or Cleveland or Atlanta? To choose the right theater in each city, we needed to know which cinema sold the most tickets to the most interesting pictures. But while a studio would know what its own films grossed, detailed box-office figures of competitive films were closely held secrets. There was no comparative information, and that is exactly what Stanley wanted.

Reminds me of the article “Citizen Kubrick” by Jon Ronson, about the vast amounts of memorabilia and resource material Kubrick kept in cardboard boxes at his Hertfordshire estate. Even the boxes were specifically designed to exacting standards.

About Bradley J. Dixon

Bradley J. Dixon is a freelance writer and blogger from Melbourne.

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