In Hollywood, the math is never simple.
Worldwide box-office revenue rose to record levels last year, the studios' main trade group said Wednesday -- but a closer look at the numbers suggests a murkier picture of movie industry strength.
Movie ticket sales climbed to $9.6 billion in the U.S. and Canada and $26.7 billion globally, both logging 5% increases that demonstrated a "healthy" industry, said Dan Glickman, chairman of the Motion Picture Assn. of America.
The report tends to downplay the actual cost of making movies, however, along with currency fluctuations that benefited Hollywood because of the free-falling U.S. dollar.
For major studios, the average cost of producing and marketing a movie grew 6% to a record $106.6 million, the MPAA said. But that number -- based on a survey of trade group members such as Walt Disney Co., 20th Century Fox and Paramount Pictures -- reflects only the $70.8 million the MPAA said studios spent on a typical production and the $35.9 million they shelled out to advertise it and make prints.