The poor US box office is the story of the summer. Weak slate or cyclical? Variety crunches the numbers, compares winners & losers and weighs the opinions. The good news is that “summer” matters much less than it used to and true to John Fithian’s wish, studios are now looking at a 12 month window of opportunity.
Despite an August thaw that saw “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” shatter expectations, the summer box office will likely finish at its lowest point in eight years. Ticket sales are running 15% below last summer’s.
Thanks to the magic of CGI, cities crumbled on a weekly basis, defended by a rotating band of masked superheroes. But are these scorched movie metropolises a metaphor for a business being bombarded by newer, snazzier forms of non-theatrical entertainment, or is this a momentary stumble for an industry that’s still soaring? LINK
Seeking Alpha has its take on the summer and it leans towards the ‘secular decline’ camp.
Clark Schultz, SA News Editor
- Cowen Research analyst Doug Creutz thinks the soft summer box office season this year is evidence of a secular decline in domestic attendance as viewing habits evolve.
- The analysis runs counter to the line of thought of some media analysts who think a weak and uninspiring summer slate is the culprit.
- Creutz points out that the number of summer releases is in-line with historical averages, while box office bulls note tent-poles are spread out throughout the year more than in the past making the summer compare tougher.
- On tap in 2015: Blockbuster releases next year include Star Wars: Episode VII (Lucasfilm), Avengers: Age of Ultron (Marvel), Fifty Shades of Grey (Universal), The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 (Lionsgate), The Good Dinosaur (Walt Disney Pictures), Bond 24 (Columbia).
On a brighter note, Italy was up in the first quarter this year compared to same period 2013. (No idea why they are flagging Q1 but not Q2.)
Italy was the only big EU market to grow in box office gross and admissions in 2013. Policy differences between Italy and Spain, discussed in the Q1 2014 Distribution Report, account for most of the box office and production growth.
- 30.3M Italians attended the cinema in Q1 2014, compared to 26.8M in Q1 2013. LINK
Yet The Telegraph reports that there are fears that the Italian film industry is ‘going into a steep decline’ as only three of the 31 titles in competition at this week’s Venice Film Festival are Italian.