Summer Flops Threaten to Push Hollywood Box Office to Lowest Level in Decade
It looks like Hollywood is headed for its worst summer box office in a decade and the films still left this season aren’t expected to fix the trajectory.
by Z Leeman
It’s now worth asking bluntly: Does the movie theater have any place in the future of our culture?
…Politics has also played a part in Hollywood’s box office decline. Many film creators have become more political than ever at awards shows, in interviews, and elsewhere. The effect is no doubt alienating a large portion of the potential audience.
…That said, more and more people are giving the cold shoulder to the theater — the best and most original content is online. And it’s cheaper. And there are more options. And the stars aren’t typically the A-list celebrities who insult those who vote differently than they do.
Aug 11, 2017
…Domestic box office revenue for the season is trailing last year by 11 percent and none of the major releases still coming are expected to change that trajectory.
In fact, things are likely to get worse for U.S. studios before the leaves change. Without a film debuting widely over the Labor Day weekend, BoxOffice Media predicts the film industry will end the summer of 2017 with sales down by up to 15 percent.
That’s a horror-film scenario that translates into roughly one in six American moviegoers choosing to stay home and stream Game of Thrones.
“It’s a dead zone,” said Jeff Bock, senior box office analyst at Exhibitor Relations Co. “In the next three weeks, there’s going to be a lot of doom and gloom.”
….The problem for major studios is that some of those films should never have been at the top of the list, money-wise. Many of the CGI spectacles and raunchy comedies that usually win the sweltering day in theaters flopped spectacularly.
“We had one of the best summers ever in terms of the content,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior analyst for ComScore Inc. “Smaller movies became very profitable, and the films that took risks were rewarded.” Translation: Formulaic, noisy, exploding blockbusters broke.
….A similar storyline panned out for the unsurprisingly bad “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales,” “The Mummy” and a string of R-rated romps led by “Baywatch.” “Sequels are generally the industry’s safety net, and that safety net isn’t holding anymore,” Bock said. “There’s a huge rip in the way Hollywood does business.”
Meanwhile, those few big budget productions that managed to win over critics, including “Wonder Woman” and the latest Spider-Man vehicle, were rewarded.
…These days, however, would-be ticket buyers don’t need to read reviews. They can just look at an approval score aggregated by a site such as Rottentomatoes.com, an IMDb property, or Metacritic, a unit of CBS Interactive.
Even the worst films used to at least get one solid weekend of sales before a poor reputation caught up to it on Monday.
Twitter and Facebook, however, have shortened that window to the point where a film like “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword” is pretty much dead on arrival Friday night. “Social media makes the water cooler effect immediate,” Dergarabedian said.
..Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at Boxoffice.com, calls it “the Rotten Tomatoes effect” and believes studios are finally beginning to pay attention to it. “The important lesson studios should be taking away is: Just because you put a bunch of franchises on the schedule doesn’t mean they are going to make money,” Robbins said.
In coming summers, he expects Hollywood to offer more horror films, which tend to be immune to ratings, and a greater share of inexpensive but carefully crafted dramas and comedies such as “The Big Sick,” an AmazonStudios project that parlayed Sundance praise and a limited release into a $35 million domestic haul.
6:40 AM PDT 8/15/2017 by Pamela McClintock
Summer revenue is already pacing 12 percent behind last year and could end up down 15 percent, one of the worst declines in modern history.
Call it the August Death March at the domestic box office.
Over the Aug. 11-13 weekend, revenue plunged 32 percent behind the same frame last year sans a successful August tentpole such as Suicide Squad (2016) or Guardians of the Galaxy(2014), furthering a steady erosion in ticket sales that has gripped the summer box office almost every weekend since War for the Planet of the Apes launched in the first half of July.
To date, revenue for the season is pacing 12.4 percent behind last year — and it’s only going to get worse.
The remaining three weeks of summer are notably bereft of potential big earners, and Hollywood has abandoned Labor Day altogether. There aren’t any movies opening nationwide over the holiday weekend now that STX Entertainment has taken action-thriller Renegades off the calendar and The Weinstein Co. moved up animated family film Leap! to Aug. 25.
Labor Day is always slow in terms of moviegoing, but it has been a quarter of a century since the marquee didn’t have at least one new wide offering.
…As a result of the downturn, publicly held theater chains including mega circuits AMC Entertainment and Regal Entertainment are taking a beating at the stock market.
Jeff Bock of Exhibitor Relations adds that the number of tickets sold this summer will hit a 25-year low when dividing overall revenue by the average ticket price, or around 420 million tickets sold. (Unlike overseas, there aren’t actual admission figures in the U.S.)
August will be especially brutal on a collective basis, according to Bock. “Hollywood totally missed the boat,” he says.
The month commenced with Sony and MRC’s event film The Dark Tower, which has limped to a 10-day gross of $34.2 million. And this past weekend, Open Road’s sequel The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature debuted to $8.3 million from 4,003 theaters, less than half the original 2014 film and the worst start ever for a movie opening in more than 4,000 cinemas.
by J. Hudson
August 15, 2017
Hollywood’s domestic box office receipts have tanked by more than 12 percent this summer over the same time period last year and could fall even further as the industry braces for a late-August schedule devoid of any must-see event films.
The films scheduled to hit theaters over the next two weekends lack the big-budget box office promise of years past, according to the Hollywood Reporter. And with just two of the six films starring A-list talent, and without a Wonder Woman or Guardians of the Galaxyin sight to save it, August will likely close the curtain on one of Hollywood’s worst summer sales slumps in years.
What’s more, in an ominous sign for the industry, there are no films opening in wide release during the already traditionally quiet Labor Day weekend — the first time that has reportedly happened in more than 20 years.
The ‘Rotten Tomatoes effect’ has hit poorly rated franchises, leaving critically acclaimed films in the money, writes Kyle Stock