Even with an increase in ticket prices and an increase in the American population, the 2017 North American box office continues to deliver more and more bad news for Hollywood. For much of the year, the year-to-date box office has trailed behind last year, 2016 (-5.5%), but now it has sunk below 2015 (-0.2%) and is tied with 2013 and 2012.
This is especially awful when you take into account that the average ticket price, when compared to today, was nearly $1.00 cheaper in 2012 — $7.96 compared to $8.89.
What this means, obviously, is that while the dollar amount of the year-to-date box office might be tied, a whole lot fewer people are bothering to go to the theater. The American public is also not bothering to see any of these movies on home video. That market is in worse shape than the box office.
This weekend was another weekend of nothing special. The Hitman’s Bodyguard opened to a pretty good $21 million. On the other hand, Channing Tatum’s Lucky Logan, an apparent redneck version of Ocean’s 11 (both directed by Steven Soderbergh), opened on over 3,000 screens and bombed spectacularly with just an $8 million haul, about half of what was projected.
The future is not looking terribly bright, either. This coming Friday we get an animated movie from the Weinstein brothers called Leap!, and I seriously doubt anyone will. Blumhouse presents Birth of the Dragon on 1,500 screens. Anyone out there hot for that one? The following weekend is just as blah. It really isn’t until September 8 when It opens that anything with any real juice will offer any kind of hope to stop the slide.
Looking at the rest of the year …
Can a Justice League and another Bladerunner, Thor, and Star Wars turn things around? Can four titles fix an entire year? Probably not. And I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Bladerunner, Justice League or Thor fail to meet the hype.
Now comes the killer question. Where does Hollywood go if the $250 million franchise fails? What have they got left?
The movie star is dead.
Divisive and insulting politics has destroyed the industry’s goodwill with more than half of the public.
The film industry has been targeting teens for the last decade or so, meaning that the rest of the country has gotten out of the habit of going to the movies, found other ways to fill their time. Can they be brought back?
I doubt it.
And then there is the whole most-movies-today-suck thing.
Basically, Hollywood has painted itself into a corner, a predicament some of us saw coming years and years ago.
Too bad. Hollywood used to be great.