Hollywood’s worst summer box office in 25 years


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Link here. The numbers and details are truly horrifying:

Even before this catastrophic Labor Day weekend is factored in (more on this below), the domestic 2017 box office is in hideous shape. This year is –6.3% behind 2016 and continues to fall behind 2015, 2013, and 2012.

If you figure in inflation, those numbers are even worse. For example, in 2012 the average ticket cost $7.96. Today it is almost a full dollar more at $8.89. Yeah, things are that bad and will look even worse on Tuesday.

With no apparent faith in their own product, this is the first Labor Day in 25 years where a new title has not been released on more than 1,000 screens. Over this weekend last year, the box office hauled in nearly $130 million. This year will do about a third of that. Summer attendance is at a 25-year low. The summer box office is down a whopping –16% compared to 2016.

The author provides some cogent analysis, all of which suggests things are going to get far worse for Hollywood in the coming years. The essence of the problem comes back to the same intellectual bubble that the elitists in Washington remain trapped in: A refusal to cater to the interests of their customers.

Unfortunately, this is the times in which we live. The dominate intellectual culture today is intellectually dishonest. The public has been making choices it disagrees with, and it continues to show an utter unwillingness to honestly assess those choices and figure out why. Instead, that culture, almost entirely leftwing and liberal in make-up, has decided that such dissent can only be the work of evil racists, an absurd conclusion that only serves to alienate that bankrupt intellectual culture more from the general public that is rejecting it.

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15 comments

  • Gary M.

    Worst summer box office in 25 years.

    University of Missouri Columbia enrollment down 31%.

    More evidence yet that the general public is indeed rejecting the bankrupt intellectual culture.

  • Garry

    I don’t disagree with the analysis, but I think the effect is amplified by some other factors.

    People like the convenience of getting entertainment on demand, and there are a lot more options. A lot of series on HBO, etc. have movie-quality productions; someone who decades ago would be a hard-core James Bond fan might instead be a hardcore Game of Thrones fan.

    Much like music, movies and shows have become much more niche-like. The entertainment industry is no longer dominated by a few rock groups / specific movies, and people tend to be more passionate about what they like. Overall, the entertainment industry is bigger by any measure, but without dominance. The beer industry has gone the same way, with the introduction of microbreweries. I like the trend of more choices.

    Hollywood has not responded to the changes; they continue to be dominated by movies either derived from comic books, or with simplistic, politically correct plots that would be more suitable to comic books.

  • pzatchok

    Star Wars was ruined for me with the new Super Super girl lead character.
    The same with Wonder Woman. At least no gay characters in the new movie.

    Seriously not every movie needs to have a strong female lead, a gay character or does it need to be expressed that a nonwhite race character is the greatest ever.

    And please stop changing leading white characters into nonwhite, female or gay for no real reason other than just to do it. Doctor Who and 007 James to name a few to.

    They will show everyone smoking dope but no one smoking cigarettes.

    And I am seriously tired of actors bitching about firearms and them making millions off of character that use them to solve every problem.

  • Commodude

    pzatchok,

    You hit a nerve. Dr. Who has gone full-on politically correct/check the box pandering with the poor lesbian black companion, and now a female doctor who will undoubtedly suffer from gender dysphoria to keep up with the sjw demands.

    It USED to be a good, edgy show.

    Warehouse 13 jumped the shark with the same type of pandering.

  • wayne

    Commodude/pzatchok-
    Good stuff, ref Dr. Who. (Give me the Patrick Troughton & Jon Pertwee era’s, any day.) I consider the current iterations to be pure junk and unwatchable.
    I’m wondering how CBS is going to completely ruin the current reboot of Star Trek?

    Garry–Good points.
    Hollywood is making the same mistake the music industry made with streaming. They are late to the game and other content-providers are stepping up.
    Now that Disney owns Marvel, expect to see them milk the genre into the ground. They want that Iron Man & Avengers cash flow as far as they can ride it.
    Print comics, btw, have morphed into pure social-justice crap-o-la, and would it surprise you that the print-runs are often less than 50K copies/month? (Minor Titles are in the 10K range.)

  • FC

    Yeah, the people in Los Angeles who make movies are so incompetent that they make bad television in London, but also television so good that people watch it instead of movies. They aren’t even competent at being incompetent.

  • Commodude

    FC, it’s an example of a trend seen throughout the entertainment industry, be it from London or Hollyweird.

  • wodun

    Meh, Wonder Woman and The Force Awakens were both great movies. Rogue Squadron wasn’t bad either. I care about good stories. Sure, there is a political SJW element but as long as the story doesn’t revolve around it, it doesn’t matter.

    The movie industry hasn’t been doing well for a while. Some of it is the politics behind the selection of movies but that isn’t the only problem and the narrative about this summer isn’t right, IMO.

    Hollywood has been making massively expensive movies. When one or two or three of these movies doesn’t do well, it distorts the entire industry’s performance.

    People are tired of the remakes and the superhero movies. Some of these will always do well but there is saturation right now and it takes a good one to make people care at this point.

    There are some big movies coming out later this year. I am sure some of them wont do well, like Justice League, but Star Wars is going to set records, Thor will probably do OK, and I am really hoping Bladerunner 2 will be good but I doubt it will slay the box office.

  • Commodude

    The story isn’t about profits, but rather box office a s a whole, which doesn’t include profits or losses as a result of ticket sales.

    Force Awakens was horrible, it was a poorly written remake of “A new Hope”. It had special effects. Yeay. I can get those from a video game.

    If Hollywood wants to make money, they need to find new material, not just remake old movies. Take Ringo’s Aldenata series and make it into movies (if he’d actually let Hollyweird touch it….) There are novels and short stories begging to be made into movies, and we wind up with remakes and rehashes of old movies and plotlines with a sjw rewrite. Not every cast and script has to be politically correct and socially inclusive, and they’d be much better off if that wasn’t part of the industry. Mel Brooks would have never shot one frame in the modern industry.

    With the cost of a ticket to go out to a movie, I expect more than they’re putting on the screen.

  • Cotour

    Hollywood related:

    I saw this picture of George Clooney and his wife Amal the other day, all polished and shined up, looking so very dashing and ………………Kennedy esque and wondered: Would the Democrat party who is so badly in need of a not so internal Leftist presidential candidate like the ones that are lining up seriously consider him and her?

    http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/hollywood-moms-baby-gallery-1.29461?pmSlide=1.3463410

    Cloonmal as they will be come to be known (?). Yes, its as scary as it sounds.

    Both pretty, “dynamic”, “humanitarian”, socially and politically active, Democrat, Liberal, Islamic wife / lawyer, twins, its the perfect Hollywood / Liberal / Democrat presidential candidate story board scenario. Could these Hollywood kinds of photo / imagery ops be turned into the foundation set ups that builds up to Clooney playing this part?

    The Democrats dream candidate and the compassionate liberal savior of their party and the world (Thats how it might be billed). He certainly has the ego, the money and the connections and has in the past spoken of such aspirations. A desperate move for a political party trending down might think in such a way in 2020? 2024?

  • Ted

    Not sure if this an answer to the declining box office, profits etc. But the wife and I usually go on Tuesdays which is senior day at the local multiplex. Saves a little money and it’s a night out.

    What is annoying and perhaps others will feel the same is the HUGE (Yuge) amount of advertising that blows across the screen during the preview section. Ok, I get it. Theaters have to make a buck. But between 20 minutes of Coming Attractions and 10 to 15 minutes of commercials (You can succeed at Community College.edu) I’m already tired. My diet Coke is half gone and all the buttery slop is at the bottom of the popcorn bag.

    We can drive up the street, grab a couple of movies from Red Box, a 2 liter of pop, or order in a pizza and sit down and enjoy a movie on our moderate sized screen. I can hit pause, grab another soda or make a trip to the bathroom and not miss anything. Tough to do at the megaplex.

    It’s just annoying to find out that I can learn welding at the local college, or watch people humping away on the screen and I had to pay to see that. Wife and I can cuddle on the couch and enjoy.

  • wayne

    Ted-
    good stuff.

    tangentially– the AMC theater chain is majority owned by the Chinese.

  • wodun

    The story isn’t about profits, but rather box office a s a whole, which doesn’t include profits or losses as a result of ticket sales.

    The two go hand in hand. With the increased costs for many of these movies, the lower ticket sales is especially bad for the bottom line.

    I agree that there needs to be fresh material but disagree on TFA. TFA was excellent fan service. The thematic repetition was intentional and not a remake.

    Something else to consider, foreign ticket sales. The Mummy didn’t cover its costs in the USA but internationally made a nice profit.

  • Richard Malcom

    “If Hollywood wants to make money, they need to find new material, not just remake old movies.”

    I would argue that it is precisely the growing competition from other media that is driving Hollywood to “safe” bets like comic book films and remakes and sequels to proven properties as tentpole flicks. Because audiences are more fickle and have more and more options, studios are less and less willing to take the kind of risks they took in, say, the 1970’s.

    I am not all that despondent about the coming downsizing of the movie industry. The emerging streaming industry allows a lot more creative possibilities for storytelling.

  • Matt in AZ

    The changing marketplace is largely why medium-budget movies have largely disappeared, leaving mostly blockbusters to make or break the film studios.

    Many of the directors, crew, actors, etc that would have worked on those films are instead busy with well-funded cable or streaming series that have seasons of 8-13 episodes. They can put much more effort and talent into those shows than is done under the outdated network TV model, which has has to resort to speedy productions, cheap filler, and overly drawn-out plotlines to pad out 20-24 episode seasons.

    Take a look at this year’s Emmy nominees, the major networks are barely even there: http://variety.com/2017/tv/news/2017-emmy-nominees-list-nominations-1202494465/

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