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Friday, December 2, 2022

The Film Academy Museum Establishes Connections With Visitors in Its First Year

According to Bill Kramer, the chief executive of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the museum opened in Los Angeles in September 2021 after a nearly comical series of setbacks. Since then, it has attracted more than 700,000 visitors, which is approximately 20 percent more than its pandemic-adjusted goal. He went on to say that according to attendance surveys, half of the museum’s visitors are under the age of forty, and that the other half of these visitors have also classified themselves as being from underrepresented racial and ethnic backgrounds.

The museum has been successful in selling 24,000 memberships, which range in price from $100 to $1,000 each year. More than one hundred private events have been hosted by the museum, bringing in additional money. A corporate membership at the museum begins at $10,000 per year, and an additional $50,000 is required to rent out the glass-domed terrace on top of the circular theatre structure. According to the academy, the restaurant within the museum that has received many positive reviews, Fanny’s, has served more than 150,000 customers. Prices for individual dishes vary from $16 to $90.

Kramer described the museum’s gift shop’s sales of almost $6 million as “beyond our wildest dreams,” and the figure was indeed “beyond our wildest hopes.” The Lego version of the Oscar, which can be purchased for $500, and the book for the Hayao Miyazaki show, which can be purchased for $50, have both been among the most popular items at the museum.

When charitable donations and additional revenue are factored in — for example, an opening gala brought in $11 million — the Academy Museum is easily covering its annual operating costs while delivering returns that will ultimately be used to pay down tens of millions of dollars in construction debt, according to Kramer.

The museum’s bright financial picture for the first year makes it something of an anomaly among nonprofit cultural organisations, many of whom are still struggling from the epidemic. At the very least, this makes it something of a rarity.

When it finally opened its doors a year ago, the seven-story museum was four years behind its original opening date. Its price had increased by a factor of ninety, reaching around $480 million. The discovery of mastodon bones by dig workers, squabbling architects, internecine strife over the curatorial emphasis, and the coronavirus epidemic were all examples of setbacks. During this same period of time, the leaders of the Academy were notorious for making a series of embarrassing mistakes in relation to their most publicised endeavour, the annual Oscars ceremony.

Antisemitic charges were levelled against the museum not long after it first opened its doors to the public. While the curators took great care to honour the contributions of women and artists of colour to the cinematic arts — accomplishments that have been long overlooked in an industry that has historically been dominated by white men — the curators excluded the majority of Jewish immigrants, who were all white men. These immigrants established Hollywood.

However, there were a large number of visitors right from the beginning. According to Stewart, the museum’s retrospective of Hayao Miyazaki, a leading figure in Japanese animation who is known for films such as “Spirited Away” (2001), was a key attraction for visitors. In its first year, the museum hosted 137 public events, some of which included onstage debates with directors like Spike Lee and performers like Denzel Washington. The museum also provides comprehensive public programming.

If nothing else, Angelenos now have a place to take tourists who are interested in Hollywood that does not include the terrible Hollywood & Highland retail mall or the sticky, stinking Walk of Fame. This is a significant improvement.

Officials in the tourism industry have high hopes that Los Angeles will have made a complete recovery by the year 2023, which would be beneficial to the museum. The number of tourists to the region, especially from other countries, is still much lower than it was before the epidemic. But there is also the possibility that a recession may impede growth.

In the next years, the Academy Museum will also have to contend with a higher level of rivalry. The nearby Los Angeles County Museum of Art is now in the midst of a massive expansion of its facilities. In addition, construction of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art has begun close to the city centre of Los Angeles. This museum will be home to the items that George Lucas has collected over the years. These items will include 20th-century American illustrations, comic books, costumes, storyboards, stage sets, and other archival material from “Star Wars” and other movies.

It is of the utmost significance to the school that its museum maintains its current strong financial position. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’s gross income, the most bulk of which come from the annual Oscars show, are being used to guarantee the construction debt. As a result of the declining number of people who watched the Oscars, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences saw their award income drop by 10.8 percent for the fiscal year that ended in 2021. Kramer is making an effort to diversify the organization’s income sources in anticipation of the possibility that the value of the broadcast rights for the event would continue to fall, maybe even by a significant amount.

Jonathan James
I serve as a Senior Executive Journalist of The National Era
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