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On Wikipedia there are two lists about box office bombs and highest-grossing films. On nearly every movie page on Wikipedia, there are two values: budget and box office, showing how much a film costs and how much it yields.

Is there something like this for anime, considering home videos, worldwide licenses and/or merchandising?

  • I would actually expect this information to be available for the analogue of the american films (anime movies), but not for television series. For one thing, it's so much easier to calculate for movies, since you have a simple single release and easily calculable box office receipts. (I do note, however, that Summer Wars has box office, but not a 'budget' entry on the wikipedia page) – Kiruwa Jan 2 '13 at 4:11
  • Right, here weekly results for Japan on Box Office Mojo (Imdb), here yearly results. As of 2012, One Piece Film Z, Evangelion 3.0 and a Smile Precure film are listed as #1 movies on a weekly basis. The budget part remains obscure for most titles anyway. – chirale Jan 2 '13 at 20:00
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I doubt that the budgets are available for every series. Studios rarely have any incentive to release these numbers, and it could make fans angry if they think the studio isn't giving their favorite series a big enough budget.

I was able to find some information. A single episode of anime generally costs around 10 million yen (see here or here, roughly $115,000 USD), though the exact number varies depending on production quality, voice actors, licensing fees, and other factors. The best I've been able to find is this, which really only has a few anime series from 2005 and earlier, and also includes a lot of western animation.

As a note, sales figues, unlike production figures, are widely reported. This forum thread has a lot of data related to that. This gives a sort of upper bound on the production costs, but it's not usually very accurate. For instance, the first season of Fate/Zero sold 52,133 bluray boxes at 39,900 yen each (roughly $496 USD), so the total revenue is about 2 billion yen, which for a 13 episode show corresponds to 160 million yen per episode. That's certainly way more than they actually spent.

  • To summarize: the rough equivalent of box office data for US movies are Oricon rankings like these, listing how much DVD / BD are sold weekly? This would cover the domestic home video market almost entirely. Are these data about sells public or confidential? It seems that Oricon has a contractual service on biz.oricon.co.jp so I'm concerned about the publicly part of my question. Thank your for your answer. – chirale Jan 2 '13 at 18:30
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    @chirale Technically, reproducing the rankings is violating copyright (see disclaimer at oricon.co.jp/rank/index2.html), but they tend to be widely quoted and easy to find regardless. I'm not sure whether they are freely available, but I haven't managed to access anything other than the TV drama rankings on the site itself (biz-m.oricon.co.jp/feature/2012autumn_drama/…)... – Logan M Jan 2 '13 at 23:22
  • ... However, I do know that most of the services they provide are quite a bit different. Specifically, they are intended for marketers in the content industry who want to use Oricon's data to analyze their sales figures e.g. to see what demographic groups they are reaching. Since the data they take is quite a bit coarser than what they publish in the rankings, this is still useful for marketers. – Logan M Jan 2 '13 at 23:23
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Logan M's answer covers most of the points. But you're unlikely to find numbers like this easily available because studios really like to keep these things under wraps and in-house. A recent article on ANN about licensing anime mentions how even in these contracts, costs are entirely covered in non-disclosure, so not even U.S. licensors are allowed to talk about how much they spent on a particular title.

There are cases where a gross or profit margins are published, or even production costs. But it seems mostly with titles that are screened in theatres (e.g. movies) where box office stats are tracked by multiple sources, and less likely with a TV series or OVA.

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