Summer Box Office Meltdown: Why the Movie Business Is Running Scared
Art and Experience: It wasn’t supposed to be like this.
Heading into the new year, box office analysts were bullish that 2019 would beat, or at least match, the record-breaking success of last season. Followups to “Avengers,” “Secret Life of Pets” and “Godzilla” combined with reboots of storied franchises such as “Men in Black” and “Shaft” would elevate ticket sales to new heights, theater owners and studio executives predicted. Alas, it was not to be.
Sure, everyone showed up to “Avengers: Endgame” to bid goodbye to Iron Man, but many of those other sequels sputtered out. They were derivative, shoddily constructed, and poorly reviewed. Midway through summer, things are looking decidedly bleak. Ticket sales are pacing 7% behind last year’s popcorn season, according to Comscore, putting the year as a whole nearly 10% below the same frame in 2018.
“When you put all your eggs in the sequel basket this is what happens,” said Jeff Bock, an analyst with Exhibitor Relations. ” Most of these movies feel like they came off of an assembly line. They’re not diving any deeper into the story. They’re not upping the ante. They’re not moving the needle as far as moviegoers are concerned.”