Journal of Cultural Economics

, Volume 23, Issue 4, pp 237–256 | Cite as

The Determinants of Motion Picture Box Office Performance: Evidence from Movies Produced in Italy

  • M. Bagella
  • L. Becchetti


The paper provides an empirical analysis of box office performance for movies produced in Italy between 1985 and 1996. Descriptive evidence documents a decrease in the total number of films produced and a sharp reduction in daily revenues and per screen daily admissions during the sample period. In the econometric analysis various alternative hypotheses on the impact of the ex ante popularity of directors and cast of actors on box office performances are rejected in favour of a quadratic specification with positive externalities between the two factors. The econometric cross-sectional evidence also documents that the net impact of subsidies on total admissions is irrelevant and that the significantly lower performance of subsidised films depends on the lower ex ante popularity of their cast and directors. Results on the impact of specialisation genres and production houses show that very few of them (i.e., the comic specialisation genre and the Filmauro production house) have a significant marginal impact on box office performances after controlling director and actors effects.

box office performance superstar effect movie economics 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Bagella
    • 1
    • 2
  • L. Becchetti
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Università Tor Vergata, RomaItaly
  2. 2.Facoltà di Economia, Dipartimento di Economia e IstituzioniRomaItaly

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