1. Archive


Why is the weekly box office calculated by the value of movie tickets sold, not by the number of tickets? The way it is, newer movies will always beat older movies that were extremely popular. It would seem more fair to judge popularity by tickets, not ever-changing dollars.

Movies are judged by their box office revenues for a number of reasons, including promotional ones. It's more impressive to have money records continually broken (i.e. "Best weekend opening ever!") than to endlessly repeat, "Gone With the Wind was still bigger."

From a budgeting, profit and expense perspective, dollars also make more sense for studio and theater owners.

U.S. theater owners do count the number of tickets sold, but they don't share that information - they only share revenue data. But every quarter, most members of the National Association of Theatre Owners divulge their average ticket price, which allows others in the industry to estimate attendance overall.

Theatrical moviegoing has declined over the long run, but it's hard to say that movies are any less popular.

The peak in movie theater attendance in the United States and Canada was in 1947, with an estimated 4.74 billion tickets sold, according to, which compiles weekly box office stats.

Last year, theaters sold just 1.34 billion tickets. But 60 years ago, people didn't have TVs to watch older movies, video rental kiosks, DVDs, Blu-ray discs or the Internet. Movies also had several re-releases in theaters, something that is uncommon today.

Adjusted for inflation, the most-seen movies in theaters are Gone With the Wind, Star Wars, The Sound of Music, E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial, The Ten Commandments, Titanic, Jaws and Doctor Zhivago.

* * *

The deal with dual citizenship

I see the term "dual citizenship" in the media from time to time. Is this permitted in most countries? In the United States?

Dual citizenship simply means a person is a citizen of two countries at the same time. While U.S. law does not mention dual citizenship, and the United States does not encourage it, it is permitted under certain circumstances.

A person can be both a U.S. citizen and a citizen of another country if he or she is born in a foreign country to American parents, according to the U.S. State Department. A U.S. citizen can also attain citizenship in another country through marriage, or become naturalized and retain citizenship in his or her country of birth.

Other countries have their own laws governing dual nationality. Some allow it, some don't. For more information, we suggest you check this Web site: