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Big Broadway Dollars, Yay! (Don’t Look Too Closely!)

A couple of years ago, Avatar came out and started setting CRAZEE box office records, like that you’d maybe think everyone in America had seen Avatar at least once. (Not me, ha-ha! And yet, somehow, I know what a Na’vi is.) Oddly enough, the story had legs, a little, certainly more than the usual “That thing made HOW MUCH? Wow, Steven Spielberg is rich. Pass the ketchup,” probably because it just kept going, to the point where the worldwide theatrical take wound up at just a hair under $3 billion, which is of course a ridiculous number.

But! Though it really did make three billion bucks, and the total wasn’t inflated through any nefarious means, that didn’t account for the fact that many many MANY people saw Avatar in 3-D, or in IMAX, or in – I think they offered IMAX 3-D, which must have been nuts – and those tix were on average five bucks more expensive than standard movie tickets, the prices of which ostensibly reflect natural inflation, not new technology. All of which is to say that it’s not much of a coincidence that of the top 10 highest-grossing films of all time, all but two date from after Y2K, and those two are Titanic and The Phantom Menace. So maybe, when the Broadway League says that the 2010-11 theater season was the most lucrative in history, and set another record, we should maybe take a look at how they’re figuring that. (FULL ARTICLE: Patrick Healy, The New York Times)