America is falling out of love with the movies, and that is only because Hollywood fell out of love with us first.
- Attendance Hits 22-Year Low
In 1995, the American population was 266 million. Today’s population has increased by almost 60 million, to 325 million. Nevertheless, despite a 22% increase, movie attendance in 2017 is exactly where it was in 1995. With just 1.26 billion tickets sold, a 4 percent decrease over last year, the left-wing Los Angeles Times reports that movie attendance has hit a 22 year low.
The news is not all bad. With price increases, overall ticket sales should only be about 2 percent behind last year. The international box office should see an increase of 2 percent. The bad news, however, is very bad…
- The Shrinking Box Office Pie Creates Big Winners and Even Bigger Losers
To begin with, 51 percent of 2017’s total box office revenue was gobbled up by just 20 titles, leaving 145 wide releases to split up the rest. Two studios, Disney and Warner Bros., ate up 40 percent of the pie.
- The Serial-Killing of Golden Geese Franchises
The worst news, though, is the 2016 and 2017 deaths of a number of franchises, which represent the golden geese of Tinseltown, the irreplaceable brands vitally necessary in an industry releasing fewer and fewer titles while becoming more and more dependent on $250 million all-in gambles that require a global take of $600 million just to break even.
Dead or faltering franchises include — Pirates of the Caribbean, Transformers, Planet of the Apes, Blade Runner, Cars, Alien, xXx, Underworld, Resident Evil, Smurfs, Justice League, Saw, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Star Trek, Independence Day, Ghostbusters, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Divergent, Ice Age, Jack Reacher, The Da Vinci Code.
Franchises that exploded on take-off include — The Mummy, King Arthur, The Dark Tower, Valerian.
Oh, and 2017 also lost an entire genre — the R-rated comedy.
- The Rare Breed of the Movie Star Is Getting Rarer
Also damaged are a number of once-reliable actors who could at least ensure a respectable opening.
Matt Damon has three epic flops on his résumé this year, Downsizing (a catastrophe that opened wide Friday and will not clear $10 million), Suburbicon (total gross $5.7 million), and The Great Wall ($45 million). Damon had already lost the goodwill of Red America with his obnoxious politics. His recent statements downplaying Hollywood’s sexual misconduct scandal have probably cost him everyone else.
Add to that list Jennifer Lawrence, whose big, ignorant, bigoted mouth has turned her into box office poison. This year’s Mother! was a massive flop that opened to just $7.5 million and topped out at $17 million. Last year, her big-budget Christmas release, Passengers, crashed and burned with just a $14.8 million opening. X-Men: Apocalypse, Joy, and the final two chapters of the Hunger Games series all under-performed.
After the surprise success of Trainwreck, Amy Schumer seemed poised to own the comedy box office, but her own polarizing, ignorant mouth appears to have undone her career before it really began. Despite co-starring with the much-beloved Goldie Hawn in Snatched, the $42 million comedy lost tens of millions with a total worldwide gross of just $61 million.
Thank You For Your Service wisely hid Schumer’s participation, but word still leaked, and it is not unreasonable to believe that had something to do with its box office humiliation of just $9.4 million.
- Star Wars Stumbles
Even The Last Jedi, while still a smash, is under-performing. After eight days, the eighth chapter in the iconic franchise has grossed an impressive $321 million, but that is $120 million behind The Force Awakens, and even trails Jurassic World by $4 million.
The Last Jedi looks to be on pace to squeak over $600 million domestic, some $300-plus million behind its predecessor. Moreover, when you adjust for inflation, chapter eight will fall way behind the much derided prequel, The Phantom Menace ($807 million), and way behind The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi ($877 million and $840 million, respectively).
- Hollywood is a Den of Sex Abusers, Enablers, and Victims
Already we know of 108 alleged monsters in Harveywood, the talent drain is already unlike anything the industry has ever seen, and the scandal feels as though it is still only at the end of the beginning.