×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Summer Box Office Officially Worst in Over a Decade

It’s official: The summer box office is the worst the movie industry has seen in more than a decade.

That’s without adjusting for inflation, or taking into account the rising cost of ticket sales. To make it very clear, a concerningly low number of people in North America went to the movie theater this summer. Big-budget flops and underperforming sequels were the main culprits as the summer season has finished with $3.8 billion in domestic ticket sales, according to data provided by comScore.

It’s a 14.6% drop from last summer, or one of the steepest declines in recent history. To find a summer season that earned less than 2017, one would have to look back to 2006 when the season posted $3.7 billion in grosses.

The horrific summer puts the year overall 6.5% behind 2016. That’s due to a winter and spring season that posted strong numbers thanks to record-breakers including “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Fate of the Furious,” and breakout hits, notably “Get Out.”

That’s also not to say that this summer hasn’t had some wins. “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” kicked off the month of May with a stronger start than the first installment. “Wonder Woman” showed that a female-centered superhero story was long overdue. And “Spider-Man: Homecoming” served up a young, fun, and ultimately profitable take on what could have seemed like an overdone property. Notice anything in common between those three films? There were less super, but still heroic entries as well, including Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk.” But those are the exceptions.

“King Arthur: Legend of the Sword,” was the first and probably biggest flop for its price tag — but it certainly wasn’t the last. “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets,” “Baywatch,” “Pirates of the Caribbean 5,” “The Mummy,” and “Transformers 5” were among the season’s underperformers in North America.

“The Dark Tower” signaled that the month of August into Labor Day weekend would be especially brutal. The recent holiday weekend earned $96.2 over four days, which is mostly chalked up to the fact that it was the first Labor Day since 1992 without any new movies in wide release.

After a cataclysmic summer, the studios are looking ahead to the final few months of the year, which will hopefully prove more fruitful. Up first is “It,” the big-screen adaptation of Stephen King’s popular book. The R-rated remake is expected to earn $60 million, or more, which would certainly be refreshing.

Further down the release schedule there are at least a few more potentially monster openings, including “Blade Runner 2049,” “Thor: Ragnarok,” “Justice League,” and “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.” Yes, all the aforementioned titles are reboots or part of a major franchise. Yes, that’s precisely what summer ticket sales indicate audiences are tired of. So, like all good stories, to find out how this year ends we’ll all have to wait — the industry will be on the edge of its collective seat.

More Film

  • Midnight Traveler review

    Film Review: 'Midnight Traveler'

    Refugees rarely get to tell their own stories, which means their stories get told for them — often inaccurately and with undue hostility. Lack of resources is one issue, but a lack of stability is another: Asylum-seekers are in a frightening state of limbo, fleeing the imminent dangers of their native countries only to suffer [...]

  • WGA Authorizing Managers, Lawyers to Make

    WGA Authorizing Managers, Lawyers to Make Deals if Agents are Fired

    The Writers Guild of America has authorized managers and lawyers to negotiate deals for writers in place of agents — if the guild tells members to fire their agents on April 7. The guild’s negotiating committee notified members of the plans in a message Wednesday. The WGA and the Association of Talent Agents having made [...]

  • Gone With the Wind Screening

    Film News Roundup: 'Gone With the Wind' Sets Event Cinema Record

    In today’s film news roundup, “Gone with the Wind” sets a new record, “Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles” is acquired, and Tracy Oliver signs with Topic Studios. EVENT CINEMA RECORD The 80th anniversary release of “Gone with the Wind” has grossed $2.23 million in six nationwide screenings on four dates — a record as the [...]

  • Made in Abyss - Journey’s Dawn

    Film Review: ‘Made in Abyss: Journey’s Dawn’

    It’s a Herculean effort to take a multi-volume manga like author Akihito Tsukushi’s “Made in Abyss,” adapt it into a popular anime television series, and then compress the show into a coherent feature (technically, two movies), but the folks at Sentai Filmworks have done just that. Part one, “Made in Abyss: Journey’s Dawn,” will screen [...]

  • HAF: 'Assassination,' 'Apprenticeship' Named Project Market

    HAF: 'Assassination,' 'Apprenticeship' Named Project Market Winners

    Eighteen prizes were presented on Wednesday afternoon at the closing ceremony of the Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum. The project market sits alongside FilMart as part of the Entertainment Expo in Hong Kong. “Wong Tai Sin Assassination” to be directed by Wong Hoi and produced by Derek Kwok Tsz-kin, was named the winner of [...]

  • Contract Placeholder Business WGA ATA Agent

    Writers Guild Makes Concession on Film Financing in Agent Talks

    The Writers Guild of America has made a concession in film financing in its negotiations with Hollywood talent agents — the second in six weeks of talks. WGA West executive director David Young said Wednesday that it had made a “significant move” toward reaching a deal with the Association of Talent Agents for a revamped [...]

  • Noah Centineo He-Man

    Noah Centineo to Play He-Man in 'Masters of the Universe' Reboot

    From a boy (who’s loved) to He-Man. Noah Centineo is in talks to take on the superhero in Sony Pictures and Mattel Films’ “Masters of the Universe.” Brothers Adam and Aaron Nee are directing the reboot. Mattel Films is partnering with Sony on the movie, which is based on Mattel’s beloved toy line that spawned [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content