One of the most important resources I have come across in my research on blockbusters is a 2007 report on the economic impact of the King Tut exhibition at the Franklin Institute. Prepared by a firm called Urban Partners, the report includes statistics about the exhibition itself as well as the wider impact it had on the regional economic landscape. In exhibition’s eight month run, the King Tut exhibit drew more than 1,300,000 visitors, who came from all across the United States, Puerto Rico, and at least 13 foreign countries on five continents. Approximately 15% of visitors were residents of Philadelphia; the remaining 85% were visitors who traveled from outside the City to experience the King Tut exhibition. The report also goes on to publish specific amounts to track the exhibition’s economic impact to the region through several different areas, including increases in tourism dollars as well as employment and tax revenue increases.
It provides an excellent case for the positive influence of blockbuster exhibitions, especially in an up-and-coming cultural destination city like Philadelphia. It also provides an in-depth insight into one of my most important case studies.