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“Sequels Signal Hollywood Box Office Misfortune, I Can Point to 16 YA Features that Flopped,” Michael Selseman.
The bad news is: “Avengers: Endgame” did well, but the other sequels did not. Halfway through Summer, things are looking dreary. Ticket sales are 7% behind last year’s, according to Comscore, putting 1-H of 2019 10% below the same week in 2018. Studio heads were hoping that this year would match the 2018 success of last Summer.
Sequels to “Avengers,” “Secret Life of Pets” and “Godzilla” “Men in Black” and “Shaft” would sell tickets. They were poorly reviewed. Said Jeff Bock, an analyst with Exhibitor Relations. ” …these movies feel like they came off of an assembly line.”
People avoid bad movies, but hey still show up for franchises: “Toy Story 4” did $500-M, “John Wick 3” still does business, and “Spider-Man: Far From Home” will lead on July 4th.
Said Paul Dergarabedian, a senior media analyst at Comscore. “If it feels like, ‘I’ve seen it before’ — that’s not good.” This Summer, “Godzilla: King of the Monsters,” “Dark Phoenix” and “Men in Black: International” all suffered from poor business because they weren’t high quality. Being part of a well-known franchise was not enough to save these turkeys, particularly when there are hit television shows such as “Game of Thrones,” “Big Little Lies,” and “Stranger Things”.
Moviegoers say that rising prices for movie tickets, refreshments, parking and babysitting are the cause.
“There’s so much content available at everyone’s fingertips,” said Kyle Davies, Paramount’s President of domestic distribution. “There is healthy competition for everyone’s entertainment dollars.
Those at the studios predict the Summer could still have a few hits. “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” the remake of “The Lion King” look to intrigue audiences. In August, Universal releases the “Fast & Furious” spin-off “Hobbs & Shaw,” with high hopes.
Studios are relying less on the Summer season to account for the bulk of ticket sales.
In 2018, sleeper hits came from slow months – this fall and winter, “It: Chapter 2,” “The Joker” with Joaquin Phoenix and “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” face release.
Eric Handler, an analyst with MKM Partners, thinks that 2020 will be a soft year and says that franchises may have a limited future.
Star Wars is losing the Skywalker clan saga with “The Rise of Skywalker,” the Avengers has lost some of its most popular characters, and there are only so many time dinosaurs can escape from Jurassic Park. “I don’t see any mega-hits coming in 2020,” said Mr. Handler. “It could be very challenging.” Disney, Warner Media, and Comcast are launching streaming services for a digital future.
The audience is telling the film makers it want good new movies, not recasts of old stuff…we hope that soon the suits will get it.
By Michael Selsman, President/CEO Archer Entertainment Media, Inc. (OTCMKT:AEMC).
Paul Ebeling, Editor
Have a safe and sane 4th of July
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