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Ebertfest revenue steadily falling, report says

Amani Ayad, a longtime Ebertfest staffer, hangs her passes around a statue of the late film critic outside the Virginia Theatre in Champaign on March 15. | John Dixon/The News-Gazette

A report has found that the total net revenue for the Roger Ebert Film Festival presented by the University of Illinois College of Media has declined in each of the last three years.

After viewing financial records, the (Champaign) News-Gazette reports that the 2015 event brought in about $111,105, compared with about $125,220 in 2014 and about $137,200 in 2013.

Four of the 37 films shown at the festival from 2013 to 2015 failed to generate at least $1,000 in ticket sales.All four of them were shown in 2015, but last year’s event also saw the biggest revenue-generating movie in the last three years, with $5,612 for the “The End of the Tour” showing.

Sales of all-session festival passes also have declined in each of the past three years, while individual ticket sales have fluctuated.


The 18th annual Roger Ebert Film Festival is set to begin this week at the Virginia Theater in Champaign. The event was founded in 1999 by Ebert, the former Sun-Times movie critic who died in 2013.