×
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.”

Popular on Variety

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

  • Richard Jewell

    Box Office: Clint Eastwood Suffers Worst Opening in Four Decades With 'Richard Jewell'

    Clint Eastwood might end up with a lump of box office coal after “Richard Jewell” sputtered in its domestic debut. Despite critical acclaim, the drama about the security guard falsely accused by the media for playing a part in the 1996 Olympics bombing ignited with a dismal $5 million from 2,502 theaters. It’s a disappointing [...]

  • (from left) Tom (Henry Golding) and

    Emilia Clarke's 'Last Christmas' Crosses $100 Million at Global Box Office

    Universal’s “Last Christmas,” a romantic comedy starring Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding, surpassed $100 million in global ticket sales. The milestone is a win for original fare, one that is especially impressive considering the movie was skewered by critics for its wacky twist ending. After six weeks in theaters, “Last Christmas” has earned $34.4 million [...]

  • DSCF0855.RAF

    'Jumanji 2' Rules Overseas Box Office With $85 Million

    Sony’s “Jumanji: The Next Level” powered international box office charts, collecting $85 million from 34 markets over the weekend. The action-packed sequel kicked off in North America with $60 million for a global start of $145 million. “Jumanji: The Next Level” debuted in a handful of foreign territories last weekend, bringing box office receipts to [...]

  • Rey (Daisy Ridley) in STAR WARS:

    Disney Plus Signs Exclusive Distribution Deal With Canal Plus in France

    Ahead of its launch in France on March 31, 2020, Disney Plus has signed an exclusive distribution agreement with Canal Plus Group, the country’s leading pay-TV company. The deal, which was first reported in the French newspaper Les Echos and confirmed by Canal Plus Group CEO Maxime Saada on his Twitter account, marks a new [...]

  • French movie actress Anna Karina smiles

    Anna Karina, French New Wave Star and Jean-Luc Godard Collaborator, Dies at 79

    French New Wave star Anna Karina, who served as a muse for Jean-Luc Godard and appeared in eight of his films, has died. She was 79. France’s culture minister, Franck Reister, announced her death in a tweet, as did her agent, Laurent Balandras, who attributed the cause as cancer. “Her gaze was the gaze of [...]

  • Frozen 2

    'Frozen 2' Sets Record as Disney's Sixth Movie to Hit $1 Billion in 2019

    “Frozen 2” is the sixth Disney movie this year to hit $1 billion globally, strengthening the studio’s sheer dominance over the box office. Those ticket sales extend the benchmark Disney set over summer, with five other films — “Avengers: Endgame,” “Aladdin,” “Toy Story 4,” “The Lion King” and “Captain Marvel” — joining the billion-dollar club [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content