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Elvis Movie Statistics

Sat Sep 25, 2010 9:31 am

From Variety's annual Anniversary Edition, "the listing of the top pictures of the last year in terms of domestic market (United States and Canada) gross rentals. Figures are not to be confused with theatre boxoffice money, being instead the amounts collected by the distributors from exhibitors."

These lists appeared in the first issue of each new year. Some titles are missing and that is explained by this statement:: "Some pictures go into release too late in the calendar year and cannot be computed for inclusion."

The one glaring exception is KING CREOLE. It was released on July 2 but is conspicuously absent from the top grossing films of the year. I'm sure this was an oversight.

TITLE - RANKING FOR THE YEAR OF RELEASE - DOMESTIC GROSS RENTAL

LOVE ME TENDER - #10 - $4,500,000
LOVING YOU - #19 - $3,700,000
JAILHOUSE ROCK - #15 - $4,000,000
KING CREOLE - grosses not available. Released 7/2/58 but missing from Variety list.
GI BLUES - #15 - $4,300,000
FLAMING STAR - #48 - $2,000,000
WILD IN THE COUNTRY - #41 - $2,500,000
BLUE HAWAII - #14 - $4,700,000
FOLLOW THAT DREAM - #30 - $2,800,000
KID GALAHAD - #36 - $2,500,000
GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS - #21 - $3,600,000
IT HAPPENED AT THE WORLD'S FAIR - #55 - $2,500,000
FUN IN ACAPULCO - #33 - $3,100,000
KISSIN' COUSINS - #26 - $3,000,000
VIVA LAS VEGAS - #11 - $5,000,000
ROUSTABOUT - #29 - $3,300,000
GIRL HAPPY - #25 - $3,250,000
TICKLE ME - #30 - $3,400,000
HARUM SCARUM - released 11/24/65 - grosses n/a
FRANKIE AND JOHNNY - #47 - $2,050,000
PARADISE HAWAIIAN STYLE - #39 - $2,500,000
SPINOUT - #57 - $1,770,000
DOUBLE TROUBLE - #58 - $1,600,000
EASY COME, EASY GO - #50 - $1,925,000
CLAMBAKE - released 11/22/67 - grosses n/a
STAY AWAY JOE - #66 - $1,500,000
SPEEDWAY - #40 - $3,000,000
LIVE A LITTLE, LOVE A LITTLE - released 10/23/68 - grosses n/a
CHARRO - #69 - $1,500,000
THE TROUBLE WITH GIRLS - released 9/3/69 - grosses n/a
CHANGE OF HABIT - released 11/10/69 - grosses n/a
THAT'S THE WAY IT IS - released 11/11/70 - grosses n/a
ELVIS ON TOUR - released 11/1/72 - grosses n/a

As a case study of release patterns, here is how the films opened and their co-features in Jersey City, New Jersey. For reference purposes, Jersey City had a population of 276,000 in 1960. There were 3 major theaters in Journal Square: the State with 2,169 seats; Loew's Jersey with 3,300 and the Stanley with 4,300. The "A" feature on the program as indicated in the advertising is listed first.

12/5/56 - LOVE ME TENDER/Canyon River - State
7/17/57 - LOVING YOU/Dragoon Wells Massacre - Stanley
11/5/57 - JAILHOUSE ROCK/Action of the Tiger - Loew's
7/16/58 - KING CREOLE/Colossus of New York - Stanley
11/23/60 - G.I. BLUES/CHANCE MEETING - Stanley
12/28/60 - FLAMING STAR/Secret of the Purple Reef - State
6/21/61 - WILD IN THE COUNTRY/The Trapp Family - State
2/21/62 - BLUE HAWAII/Brushfire - Stanley
8/10/62 - FOLLOW THAT DREAM/Bus Stop (re-issue) - Stanley
10/24/62 - KID GALAHAD/War Hunt - Stanley
2/20/63 - GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS/Strategic Air Command (re-issue) - Stanley
5/29/63 - The Slave/IT HAPPENED AT THE WORLD'S FAIR - Loew's
1/29/64 - FUN IN ACAPULCO/Paris Pick-Up - State
3/18/64 - KISSIN' COUSINS/Boy's Night Out - Stanley
5/20/64 - VIVA LAS VEGAS/The Skydivers - Loew's
11/11/64 - ROUSTABOUT/Stage to Thunder Rock - Stanley
6/16/65 - GIRL HAPPY/Joy House - Loew's
6/30/65 - TICKLE ME/Gunmen of the Rio Grande - Stanley
12/15/65 - HARUM SCARUM/Ghidrah the Three Headed Monster - Loew's
7/27/66 - FRANKIE AND JOHNNY/Help (brought back by popular demand) - State
8/2/66 - Assault on a Queen/PARADISE HAWAIIAN STYLE - State
12/14/66 - SPINOUT/Marco the Magnificent - State
5/31/67 - DOUBLE TROUBLE/Three Bites of the Apple - Loew's
7/26/67 - Gunn/EASY COME, EASY GO - Stanley
12/16/67 - CLAMBAKE/THE HILLS RUN RED - Loew's
6/13/68 - SPEEDWAY/Sol Madrid - Loew's
11/6/68 - The Split/STAY AWAY JOE - Loew's
7/3/69 - Where Eagles Dare/LIVE A LITTLE, LOVE A LITTLE - Stanley
9/10/69 - A Fine Pair/CHARRO - Loew's
12/10/69 - Flareup/THE TROUBLE WITH GIRLS - Stanley
1/21/70 - CHANGE OF HABIT/House of Cards - Lincoln (Union City)

My research stopped there, so I don't know if HABIT played one of the 3 big Journal Square theaters, and I don't have the information on the last 2 concert films.

You'll note that WORLD'S FAIR was the first film that did not open as the main feature, and it was also the first Elvis film not to make Variety's top 50 of the year.

The July 1966 pairing at the State of FRANKIE AND JOHNNY with a revival of HELP (originally released August 1965) might have been a way to boost a dwindling boxoffice for Elvis films in the area. After that point, only 4 of the next 10 Elvis films opened as the main feature.

In addition, F&J began a decline in grosses with only PARADISE and SPEEDWAY making the top 40 in Variety.

Another important factor to consider when evaluating the boxoffice decline is that starting in the fall of 1966, Elvis films began premiering on network television throughout the country. Hal Wallis and Paramount requested that NBC delay their planned premiere of BLUE HAWAII in September 1966 so as not to compete with ticket sales of PARADISE.

An article in Weekly Variety dated 12/13/67 listed the 60 top rated network movie premieres as determined by Nielson. Elvis had 4 films in that list, more than any other star.

17. FUN IN ACAPULCO - NBC Tuesday night - 42.6 share
21. GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS - NBC Tuesday night - 41.6 share
26. VIVA LAS VEGAS - CBS Friday night - 43.4 share
41. PARADISE HAWAIIAN STYLE - ABC Wednesday night - 36.0 share

I hope you find this information interesting, and I look forward to any comments. Thanks!

Bob

Re: Elvis Movie Statistics

Sat Sep 25, 2010 10:12 am

Good work!

Thanks.

In NZ all movies were solo releases then and now........no double features on first release.

Re: Elvis Movie Statistics

Sat Sep 25, 2010 7:23 pm

Interesting info. Thank you for putting it together.
One thing that I have found in looking at older box office numbers for movies is that you don't always get real sense of how well the movie was distributed. When the studios owned most of the theaters, it was very easy for them to manipulate the numbers that were reported. The studios also had a large output of films that pretty much determined how long any movie would play in a theater.
Even with Elvis' popularity decreasing in the mid sixties, you can't really compare the box office numbers of one of his films that was distributed by Paramount or MGM to one that came from Allied Artists (Tickle Me). I am sure that both Follow That Dream and Kid Galahad reached fewer screens than Girls, Girls, Girls because of more limited distribution.
As we have learned in looking back on Elvis' career, the sales numbers don't always correspond the quality of the work.
Last edited by mjsantafe on Sat Sep 25, 2010 8:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Re: Elvis Movie Statistics

Sat Sep 25, 2010 8:08 pm

I do find this interesting! And I am a bit surprised that Wild in the Country did better than Flaming Star... I would have bet my money on Pacer's horse.

Re: Elvis Movie Statistics

Sat Sep 25, 2010 8:28 pm

Great stuff HoneyTalkNelson! Thanks for sharing! :)

Re: Elvis Movie Statistics

Sat Sep 25, 2010 8:36 pm

Great information!

Thank you for putting it together.

I'm surprised that Kissin' Cousins (a Sam Katzman quickie production) did better than Flaming Star, Wild In The Country, Follow That Dream, Kid Galahad and World's Fair.

Although Viva Las Vegas did very good, I believe if Viva Las Vegas was released before Kissin' Cousins it would have done better. But that’s another topic.

Re: Elvis Movie Statistics

Sat Sep 25, 2010 10:21 pm

You bring up a good point about the studio owned interest in the theaters, but don't forget that was primarily in the 30's and 40's. By the time of the Elvis films, they had been divested of their controlling interest. But I would bet that the two early UA films had less distribution than the Paramount, Fox and MGM ones.

I was a bit surprised at the lower performance of WORLD'S FAIR and the fact that a Steve Reeves Hercules clone was the main feature. Wasn't "One Broken Heart for Sale" also the first single that didn't reach the top 10?

The real decline begins to set in with F&J, but how much do you think the new exposure of Elvis films on TV played a part in that? After all, why pay to see him if you can watch at home for free?

So far as KISSIN', I do believe (based on the amount of odd memorabilia I've seen on that one) that it did receive an extra special promotion push from Parker and MGM. The same applies to TICKLE. It seemed the lower the budget the bigger the promotion. That equals more profits for all concerned.

Thanks for the nice words, I'm happy to share this research. I will ask that if anybody decides to utilize or share it, please give credit to this forum. I'd appreciate that.

I'll also be adding to this thread with more information on the Elvis films in the New York market.

Re: Elvis Movie Statistics

Sat Sep 25, 2010 11:46 pm

Elvis Meets the Beatles (in Jersey City, at least) July 27, 1966

Image

Re: Elvis Movie Statistics

Sat Sep 25, 2010 11:58 pm

This is a great thread.

Re: Elvis Movie Statistics

Sun Sep 26, 2010 12:38 am

HoneyTalkNelson wrote:
I was a bit surprised at the lower performance of WORLD'S FAIR and the fact that a Steve Reeves Hercules clone was the main feature. Wasn't "One Broken Heart for Sale" also the first single that didn't reach the top 10?

The real decline begins to set in with F&J, but how much do you think the new exposure of Elvis films on TV played a part in that? After all, why pay to see him if you can watch at home for free?
.


World's Fair was Elvis' weakest soundtrack he had recorded that far. One broken Heart for Sale was 11# at the charts, and it is a wonder it did that good. If you have the original vinyl of the LP, you can hear that it was terrible soundwise also. It Happens happens to be one of my favourite films, but it is no classic.

I don't believe that TV had anything to do with the diminishing popularity of Elvis films. The audiences just got tired of repeating the same formula that wasn't very good even in the beginning. Times they had changed. And, Elvis himself looks and sounds absolutely terrible in films like Harum Scarum or Double Trouble.

Re: Elvis Movie Statistics

Sun Sep 26, 2010 1:11 am

It's interesting to note one way that RCA and the Colonel tried to boost diminishing sales. Look at the amount of singles released per year:

1960 - 3
1961 - 4
1962 - 3
1963 - 3
1964 - 6
1965 - 6
1966 - 7
1967 - 4
1968 - 6
1969 - 6
1970 - 5

7 single releases in one year! I guess they were looking at quantity over quality. And who's brilliant idea was it to release "There's Always Me/Judy" in August of 1967? Nice songs, but with "Light My Fire" and "All You Need is Love" topping Billboard's Hot 100, I don't think a 6 year old ballad is going to have much impact.

Re: Elvis Movie Statistics

Sun Sep 26, 2010 2:47 am

Honey, your efforts are very much appreciated!

Re: Elvis Movie Statistics

Sun Sep 26, 2010 3:06 am

Here are the Elvis films as they opened first run in New York City.

11/13/56
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11/14/56
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11/15/56
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7/17/57
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7/17/57
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11/13/57
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11/13/57
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7/3/58
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11/4/60
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12/16/60
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6/19/61
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2/21/62
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8/8/62
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More to come...
Last edited by HoneyTalkNelson on Sun Sep 26, 2010 3:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

Re: Elvis Movie Statistics

Sun Sep 26, 2010 3:23 am

Are these ads too big? Please let me know. Thanks!

Re: Elvis Movie Statistics

Sun Sep 26, 2010 4:00 am

HoneyTalkNelson wrote:Are these ads too big? Please let me know. Thanks!


They look good!

Re: Elvis Movie Statistics

Sun Sep 26, 2010 4:12 am

LOVE ME TENDER - #10 - $4,500,000 = $36,117,794.12
LOVING YOU - #19 - $3,700,000 = $28,745,708.19
JAILHOUSE ROCK - #15 - $4,000,000 = $31,076,441.28
GI BLUES - #15 - $4,300,000 = $31,714,243.24
FLAMING STAR - #48 - $2,000,000 = $14,750,810.81
BLUE HAWAII - #14 - $4,700,000 = $34,316,602.01
FOLLOW THAT DREAM - #30 - $2,800,000 $20,443,933.11
KID GALAHAD - #36 - $2,500,000 $18,072,185.43
GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS - #21 - $3,600,000 $26,023,947.02
EASY COME, EASY GO - #50 - $1,925,000 $12,582,353.2
STAY AWAY JOE - #66 - $1,500,000 $9,410,000.00
SPEEDWAY - #40 - $3,000,000 $18,820,000.00

Using an inflation calculator you can see what some of the films made in todays money.... always thought they made more than that...movies today earn more in the first weekend !

Re: Elvis Movie Statistics

Sun Sep 26, 2010 4:16 am

EPA4368 wrote:
HoneyTalkNelson wrote:Are these ads too big? Please let me know. Thanks!


They do look good. I just finished scrolling through and got kind of overwhelmed -- and a little misty -- thinking of the time, energy, and money that went into these projects.

Yes, I do understand that the movies had their "moments," and for those I am grateful.

Re: Elvis Movie Statistics

Sun Sep 26, 2010 4:21 am

Dan_T wrote:LOVE ME TENDER - #10 - $4,500,000 = $36,117,794.12
LOVING YOU - #19 - $3,700,000 = $28,745,708.19
JAILHOUSE ROCK - #15 - $4,000,000 = $31,076,441.28
GI BLUES - #15 - $4,300,000 = $31,714,243.24
FLAMING STAR - #48 - $2,000,000 = $14,750,810.81
BLUE HAWAII - #14 - $4,700,000 = $34,316,602.01
FOLLOW THAT DREAM - #30 - $2,800,000 $20,443,933.11
KID GALAHAD - #36 - $2,500,000 $18,072,185.43
GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS - #21 - $3,600,000 $26,023,947.02
EASY COME, EASY GO - #50 - $1,925,000 $12,582,353.2
STAY AWAY JOE - #66 - $1,500,000 $9,410,000.00
SPEEDWAY - #40 - $3,000,000 $18,820,000.00

Using an inflation calculator you can see what some of the films made in todays money.... always thought they made more than that...movies today earn more in the first weekend !


When you have time, go back and figure the profit margin.

Re: Elvis Movie Statistics

Sun Sep 26, 2010 4:28 am

SUN Lover wrote:
Dan_T wrote:LOVE ME TENDER - #10 - $4,500,000 = $36,117,794.12
LOVING YOU - #19 - $3,700,000 = $28,745,708.19
JAILHOUSE ROCK - #15 - $4,000,000 = $31,076,441.28
GI BLUES - #15 - $4,300,000 = $31,714,243.24
FLAMING STAR - #48 - $2,000,000 = $14,750,810.81
BLUE HAWAII - #14 - $4,700,000 = $34,316,602.01
FOLLOW THAT DREAM - #30 - $2,800,000 $20,443,933.11
KID GALAHAD - #36 - $2,500,000 $18,072,185.43
GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS - #21 - $3,600,000 $26,023,947.02
EASY COME, EASY GO - #50 - $1,925,000 $12,582,353.2
STAY AWAY JOE - #66 - $1,500,000 $9,410,000.00
SPEEDWAY - #40 - $3,000,000 $18,820,000.00

Using an inflation calculator you can see what some of the films made in todays money.... always thought they made more than that...movies today earn more in the first weekend !


When you have time, go back and figure the profit margin.


Yeah lots of profit I'm sure.....Elvis's pay was high...his $250.000 pay day for Jailhouse Rock works out just under 2 million in todays money.

Re: Elvis Movie Statistics

Sun Sep 26, 2010 4:33 am

Dan_T wrote:LOVE ME TENDER - #10 - $4,500,000 = $36,117,794.12
LOVING YOU - #19 - $3,700,000 = $28,745,708.19
JAILHOUSE ROCK - #15 - $4,000,000 = $31,076,441.28
GI BLUES - #15 - $4,300,000 = $31,714,243.24
FLAMING STAR - #48 - $2,000,000 = $14,750,810.81
BLUE HAWAII - #14 - $4,700,000 = $34,316,602.01
FOLLOW THAT DREAM - #30 - $2,800,000 $20,443,933.11
KID GALAHAD - #36 - $2,500,000 $18,072,185.43
GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS - #21 - $3,600,000 $26,023,947.02
EASY COME, EASY GO - #50 - $1,925,000 $12,582,353.2
STAY AWAY JOE - #66 - $1,500,000 $9,410,000.00
SPEEDWAY - #40 - $3,000,000 $18,820,000.00

Using an inflation calculator you can see what some of the films made in todays money.... always thought they made more than that...movies today earn more in the first weekend !


You're forgetting the average ticket price in 1958, according to the National Association of Theater Owners, was 68 cents. In 2009, it was $7.50. That has to be factored into the calculation. These magazines and TV shows that list top grossing films by dollars never factor in the HUGE difference in ticket prices.

http://www.natoonline.org/statisticstickets.htm

Re: Elvis Movie Statistics

Sun Sep 26, 2010 4:35 am

SUN Lover wrote:
EPA4368 wrote:
HoneyTalkNelson wrote:Are these ads too big? Please let me know. Thanks!


They do look good. I just finished scrolling through and got kind of overwhelmed -- and a little misty -- thinking of the time, energy, and money that went into these projects.

Yes, I do understand that the movies had their "moments," and for those I am grateful.


Before I continue, would you prefer to see the entire page scanned or just the Elvis ad?

Re: Elvis Movie Statistics

Sun Sep 26, 2010 4:38 am

HoneyTalkNelson wrote:
SUN Lover wrote:
EPA4368 wrote:
HoneyTalkNelson wrote:Are these ads too big? Please let me know. Thanks!


They do look good. I just finished scrolling through and got kind of overwhelmed -- and a little misty -- thinking of the time, energy, and money that went into these projects.

Yes, I do understand that the movies had their "moments," and for those I am grateful.


Before I continue, would you prefer to see the entire page scanned or just the Elvis ad?


Hey, HoneyTalk. What you're doing is just fine for me. Thanks for asking. Enjoying the thread.

Re: Elvis Movie Statistics

Sun Sep 26, 2010 4:39 am

"You're forgetting the average ticket price in 1958, according to the National Association of Theater Owners, was 68 cents. In 2009, it was $7.50. That has to be factored into the calculation"

well, $1.00 in 1958 is equal to $7.55 in todays money

Re: Elvis Movie Statistics

Sun Sep 26, 2010 4:48 am

Thanks for the research. You'd think they may have gotten the hint a bit earlier about the dwindling quality of movie and dwindling box office returns.

Re: Elvis Movie Statistics

Sun Sep 26, 2010 4:54 am

Great post. Thank you. Inflation stats don't tell the whole story. Need to understand disposable income as well as population demographics. I remember reading once that Elvis sold more records players than record players-not true of course but the point is that teenagers didn't have record players etc of their own before Elvis. Numbers don't tell the whole story as the 50's and 60's were a different world.