Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Steve Carell Redefined His Career By Surprising Everyone in 'Foxcatcher' Steve Carell Redefined His Career By Surprising Everyone in 'Foxcatcher' Watch: Ellar Coltrane on the 'Brutal' Experience of Watching 'Boyhood' After Living It Watch: Ellar Coltrane on the 'Brutal' Experience of Watching 'Boyhood' After Living It Mortem Tyldum Explains Why Alan Turing Was the Right Subject For His First English-Language Film Mortem Tyldum Explains Why Alan Turing Was the Right Subject For His First English-Language Film Why Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is a Great, Unexpected Awards Season Frontrunner Why Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is a Great, Unexpected Awards Season Frontrunner Watch: Patricia Arquette on Stripping Away Ego to Get to the Heart of 'Boyhood' 
Watch: Patricia Arquette on Stripping Away Ego to Get to the Heart of 'Boyhood' 'Whiplash' Breakout Miles Teller Has Officially Arrived 'Whiplash' Breakout Miles Teller Has Officially Arrived Michael Keaton Dug Deep to Deliver the Best Performance of His Career in 'Birdman' Michael Keaton Dug Deep to Deliver the Best Performance of His Career in 'Birdman' Mark Ruffalo Explains Why Dave Schultz Was One of the Most Complex Characters He's Ever Played Mark Ruffalo Explains Why Dave Schultz Was One of the Most Complex Characters He's Ever Played Keira Knightley on 'The Imitation Game' and Why Awards Matter Keira Knightley on 'The Imitation Game' and Why Awards Matter Katherine Waterston On the Good and Bad of Working With Paul Thomas Anderson Katherine Waterston On the Good and Bad of Working With Paul Thomas Anderson Emma Stone Proved She Can Do It All in 2014 Emma Stone Proved She Can Do It All in 2014 Jon Stewart is Off to a Strong Start with Directorial Debut 'Rosewater' Jon Stewart is Off to a Strong Start with Directorial Debut 'Rosewater' Awards Spotlight: Don't Be Surprised When J.K. Simmons Takes Home Oscar Awards Spotlight: Don't Be Surprised When J.K. Simmons Takes Home Oscar Jessica Chastain Proved She's a Total Chameleon in 2014 Jessica Chastain Proved She's a Total Chameleon in 2014 Laura Poitras on 'CITIZENFOUR,' The Most Dangerous Work She's Ever Done Laura Poitras on 'CITIZENFOUR,' The Most Dangerous Work She's Ever Done Jake Gyllenhaal On Doing Very Bad Things in 'Nightcrawler' Jake Gyllenhaal On Doing Very Bad Things in 'Nightcrawler' Channing Tatum Explains Why It Took Him Eight Years to Have the ‘Balls’ for ‘Foxcatcher’ Channing Tatum Explains Why It Took Him Eight Years to Have the ‘Balls’ for ‘Foxcatcher’ Ethan Hawke Didn't Know That Richard Linklater Would Bring 'Boyhood' Home So Well Ethan Hawke Didn't Know That Richard Linklater Would Bring 'Boyhood' Home So Well Jack O'Connell Explains What It’s Like to Work For Angelina Jolie Jack O'Connell Explains What It’s Like to Work For Angelina Jolie 'Red Army' Director Gabe Polsky Reveals the Story of Soviet Hockey 'Red Army' Director Gabe Polsky Reveals the Story of Soviet Hockey How Felicity Jones is Getting Noticed This Awards Season How Felicity Jones is Getting Noticed This Awards Season Edward Norton Goes Full-Blown For Alejandro González Iñárritu in 'Birdman' Edward Norton Goes Full-Blown For Alejandro González Iñárritu in 'Birdman' How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking Oscar Isaac Explains How 'A Most Violent Year' Fits With His Other Roles Oscar Isaac Explains How 'A Most Violent Year' Fits With His Other Roles Timothy Spall Almost Went Mad to Play 'Mr. Turner' For Mike Leigh Timothy Spall Almost Went Mad to Play 'Mr. Turner' For Mike Leigh 'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross: How to Write a Score Without Seeing the Film 'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross: How to Write a Score Without Seeing the Film How to Play James Brown, By Chadwick Boseman: Study the Man, Listen to Drake How to Play James Brown, By Chadwick Boseman: Study the Man, Listen to Drake Chris Rock on Why Making 'Top Five' Was a No-Brainer Chris Rock on Why Making 'Top Five' Was a No-Brainer Steve James and Chaz Ebert Tackled 'Life Itself' Steve James and Chaz Ebert Tackled 'Life Itself' Bennett Miller Explains Why He Had to Make 'Foxcatcher' Bennett Miller Explains Why He Had to Make 'Foxcatcher' How Do You Roll Six Movies Into One? 'Wild Tales' Director Damian Szifron Explains How Do You Roll Six Movies Into One? 'Wild Tales' Director Damian Szifron Explains How Rosario Dawson Stole the Show From Chris Rock in 'Top Five' How Rosario Dawson Stole the Show From Chris Rock in 'Top Five' Alan Hicks: From Drummer-Surfer to Oscar-Shortlist Filmmaker Alan Hicks: From Drummer-Surfer to Oscar-Shortlist Filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu: 'Birdman' Could Have Been 'so wrong' Alejandro González Iñárritu: 'Birdman' Could Have Been 'so wrong' Amir Bar-Lev Likes to Make People a Little Uncomfortable Amir Bar-Lev Likes to Make People a Little Uncomfortable

Sure, 'Fargo' is Off to a Solid Start. But How Do the Ratings Compare to the Film's Box Office?

Photo of Ben Travers By Ben Travers | Indiewire April 16, 2014 at 5:29PM

The miniseries and movie may be two entirely different beasts, but did the existing property influence the ratings for FX, or are miniseries just today's hot ticket?
6
Fargo

Despite cold temperatures up north, "Fargo" got off to a hot start in the ratings with last night's (mini)series premiere grabbing more than 4 million viewers in three airings, and 2.65 million viewers for the first screening at 10pm. FX is pleased with the total number and will await week two's ratings to see if the audience responds as favorably to the pilot as critics

But was it the positive reviews, the star cast, or the existing property that drove people to give "Fargo" a glance Tuesday night? Certainly the reviews had to help quell any skepticism related to the project, and the presence of Billy Bob Thornton and fanboy favorite Martin Freeman (Watson! Bilbo!) couldn't have hurt either. Yet "Fargo" the miniseries wouldn't exist without "Fargo" the movie, and it's safe to say FX may not have moved forward with such enthusiasm had the show been lacking the existing property preceding it. So just how much did the 1996 film help drive viewers to the show? Let's take a look at the numbers to find out.

READ MORE: 'Fargo' Stars Billy Bob Thornton and Martin Freeman Discuss Re-imagining the Coen Brothers for TV

Disregarding the vast differences between film in the mid '90s and television today, the two "Fargo's" compare fairly well. "Fargo" premiered at 36 theaters in March 1996 to a healthy $730,265, or an average of $20,285 per theater. Including a two week run during Oscar season in 1997, the Coens' sixth feature film went on to gross just north of $24 million. That's roughly $46.4 million, when adjusted for inflation, off a $10.5 million budget (also adjusted). In comparison, Oscar winners "The Artist" (which, granted, took home more trophies than "Fargo" including Best Picture) made about $47 million with inflation and "Philomena" racked up $37.5 million this past year off a reported $12 million budget. 

Financially, none of these films are incredible triumphs. They are, though, solid performers with enough profit to merit a success story -- even if "Fargo" will most likely remain the favorite among film fans, mainly for the Coens' involvement. The same can be said for the miniseries. They're good numbers, but not even the best on FX. 2.65 million people tuned in for the 10pm airing of "The Crocodile's Dilemma," the first episode of the "Fargo miniseries." That's a slightly smaller number than the 3.04 million who watched "The Bridge" in the same slot in July 2013 and also less than the 3.22 million who watched "The Americans" debut in January 2013. 

"The Bridge" had a couple of hot actors (literally and figuratively) attached as well as an FX-friendly premise (Ethan Alter wisely pointed out today the network's propensity for regional crime dramas), and the same can be said for "The Americans." The only advantage "Fargo" had was its name recognition and that can hurt as much as it helps. Still, the numbers came out close to even in week one with much to be learned once week two rolls around. 

Another advantage "Fargo" has from here on out is its status as a miniseries. Between the FX staple "American Horror Story" continuing to expand its audience season after season ("Coven" drew almost 6 million viewers to its season finale, the highest rated "American Horror Story" yet) and the non-miniseries miniseries "True Detective" making headlines this week as the most watched freshman series in HBO history, miniseries are drawing bigger and bigger numbers. They're the hot ticket, and the appeal of "Fargo" has to be -- at least in part -- knowing it will end sooner rather than later. The draw low risk investments for high rewards -- 10 hours of your life vs. 10 years -- can't be overlooked, and networks are starting to notice. 

So tell us, dear readers: why did you watch "Fargo" last night? 

This article is related to: Fargo, Fargo, Coen Brothers, Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, Box Office, Ratings, FX, FX, Television






Check out Indiewire on LockerDome on LockerDome



Awards Season Spotlight

Contender Conversations

Indiewire celebrates the best and brightest from Independent film, Hollywood, and foreign cinema.

More