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Super Bowl Pushes Box Office Down 8%

The Carolina Panthers weren’t the only big losers this Super Bowl weekend.

New releases such as “Hail, Caesar!,” “The Choice,” and “Pride & Prejudice & Zombies” failed to connect with moviegoers, sending ticket sales tumbling 8% from last year’s Super Bowl period. Total revenue topped out at $93.5 million, down from $101.8 million in 2015 when “American Sniper” racked up $30.7 million, according to ComScore. Final numbers have yet to be released so the results could change slightly.

Thanks to the continued success of “Kung Fu Panda 3,” which generated $21 million in its sophomore weekend, overall ticket sales did trump the Super Bowl weekends of 2014 ($86.1 million) and 2013 ($88.7 million), although they trailed 2012, when “Chronicle” and “The Woman in Black” combined to lift sales to nearly $116 million.

“Hail, Caesar!” fared the best among new releases, making $11.4 million, but “The Choice,” an adaptation of Nicholas Sparks’ romance novel, and “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies,” a horror comedy for those who like their Jane Austen served up with the undead, both flopped, earning less than $7 million each.

There are problems on the horizon that dwarf the migration of consumers opting to watch the Denver Broncos win football’s biggest game. In a recent note, MKM Partners analyst Eric Handler wrote that the first quarter box office is down 0.2% and will likely keep dropping this month, as films such as “Deadpool” and “Zoolander 2” are likely to fail to match the big returns enjoyed by last year’s hits such as “Fifty Shades of Grey” and “Kingsman: The Secret Service.”

But hope springs eternal.

“Despite these tough comps, we are still projecting 7% box office growth and look for a strengthening in March,” wrote Handler.

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