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(Time)   Movies had worst summer since 1997. Which is bad when you consider that the summer of 2003 had the blockbusters "Gigli", "Seabiscuit" and "Legally Blonde 2"   (time.com) divider line 162
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1967 clicks; posted to Entertainment » on 02 Sep 2014 at 11:50 AM (26 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-09-02 10:30:51 AM  
I've worked at the theater in various capacities since 2002, and this was probably the worst summer I've seen yet. Literally every movie expected to be a blockbuster fizzled. Every single movie it seems does 95% of all it's business in the first weekend. It's gotten to the point now that theaters have realized that overall business in dwindling, and the only way to survive, much less grow, is to pry more money out of a diminishing customer based through gimmicks like 3-D, premium experiences (ie: IMAX, proprietary large screen auditoriums), "luxury seating" (because that's just what people need, additional help in falling asleep during their film by sitting in a LA-Z Boy Recliner), and increased ticket and concession prices.

Based on my anecdotal experience however, customers are largely indifferent to the premium experience gimmicks, IMAX has a loyal fanbase, but they only turn out for certain films, and it's generally not worth the extra expense. They do everything they can to force people into 3D shows, but when given a choice between seeing a film in 3D, and not seeing it at all, or waiting for the 2D show, most people pick the latter two. Increased prices of course only lead to diminishing returns.

It'll be interesting to see where the movie theater industry ends up in a few years, if it continues to remain stagnant, or if they continue to diminish in popularity and remain only as a throwback novelty form of entertainment the way Bowling Alleys and Roller Skating Rinks have become in many places.
 
2014-09-02 10:42:14 AM  
Another thing, while the movie business may be in the dumps in the US, it's booming overseas. Everyone loves the stereotype of the uncultured Americans driving Box Office receipts for the latest popcorn flicks through the roof, while the Oscar winners make almost no money, but in reality Asians and Europeans love their Michael Bay and Sylvester Stallone explosion movies just as much, if not more than we do. Lately big releases have been getting released overseas weeks before the US, mostly just to get a step ahead of the movie pirates.

I'm not sure how sustainable this is however, I suspect that this may just be a short term trend spurred by places like China and Eastern Europe who are only now getting blockbuster films in quality movie theaters for the first time. Even the Chinese can only take so many Transformers sequels before they get tired of the same old thing.
 
2014-09-02 11:09:43 AM  
It was a crappy year. Only saw one movie this summer, and saw a handful last year.
 
2014-09-02 11:23:47 AM  
Saw Godzilla and Guardians in theaters this summer. Godzilla was fun and I'm glad I went to the theater to get that full sound experience from his roar. Guardians is my favorite of the year though. Perfect mix of action and comedy.

Only other movie I saw in theaters this year was Captain America 2. That one was also worth it.
 
2014-09-02 11:38:43 AM  
I guess if you are into action movies and whatnot, you might want to go to the theater for the big screen and loud sounds.  I don't really care about action movies.  There is nothing that the theater offers me for the types of movies I like that a TV doesn't offer.  And my TV isn't even particularly big.
 
2014-09-02 11:58:40 AM  
Maybe Hollywood should, you know, actually make some quality movies for people to see and not depend on reboots.

Marvel Studios hasn't had a problem printing money because they actually come out with entertaining films, maybe Hollywood should follow suit.
 
2014-09-02 11:59:34 AM  

spman: Another thing, while the movie business may be in the dumps in the US, it's booming overseas. Everyone loves the stereotype of the uncultured Americans driving Box Office receipts for the latest popcorn flicks through the roof, while the Oscar winners make almost no money, but in reality Asians and Europeans love their Michael Bay and Sylvester Stallone explosion movies just as much, if not more than we do. Lately big releases have been getting released overseas weeks before the US, mostly just to get a step ahead of the movie pirates.

I'm not sure how sustainable this is however, I suspect that this may just be a short term trend spurred by places like China and Eastern Europe who are only now getting blockbuster films in quality movie theaters for the first time. Even the Chinese can only take so many Transformers sequels before they get tired of the same old thing.


The Europeans don't really love the trashy movies and tend to have similar tastes to the US. It's the emerging markets, especially China and Latin America, that boost terrible movies like Transformers 4. But historically the US and Europe have been leading indicators, and series that were initially successful but started to decline in the US also began to decline abroad by the next few movies. Transformers 5 will probably drop internationally from Transformers 4. (Transformers 4 already dropped about $100 million overseas outside of China from Transformers 3, but it was up $150 million in China so it was up slightly overall overseas.)
 
2014-09-02 11:59:35 AM  
It's all pirates!!! - some studio exec.
 
2014-09-02 12:00:36 PM  
I make an ok living, but with three kids and the wife is easily overt $60 just to get in. Add food and I'm looking at $75 to see a movie that's either a reboot, not great reviews or 3D for no reason.
Guardians, Captain America and turtles were worth it but we waited for the others to hit the cheap theaters like Edge of Tomorrow, Godzilla (now with 20 percent less lizard! Glad we waited) and the usual Romcom. Ive yet to see a romantic comedy worth $11.00 admission.
Hollywood had new ideas, they're just not very good ones.
 
2014-09-02 12:00:40 PM  
It was a crappy year for blockbusters, but there have been good movies. Do yourself a favor and see Calvary.
 
2014-09-02 12:02:28 PM  
Movies got too damned expensive for me when they went 3d and stripped the 2d showings down to times that didn't fit my schedule.

Movies I wanted to see in theaters this year, but had/will have to wait for the DVD/Blu-Ray/Netflix:
The Fault in Our Stars
Transformers: Age of Extinction (I'm sure it will be crap, but I am an avowed Transformers fan boy)
X-Men: Days of Future PAst
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Only Lovers Left Alive
Godzilla

Movie I did see in theaters this year:
The Lego Movie
Guardians of the Galaxy
 
2014-09-02 12:03:14 PM  
Big TV, surround sound, PPV, and beer....

/who's going to kick me out now for scratching my balls and farting?
 
2014-09-02 12:03:31 PM  
Movies are increasingly being generated for an international audience. That means lots of action and splosions, minimal dialogue, broad comedy, male-centric plots, and few culturally specific references. That's fine if that combo hits your sweet spot. But it means the resources given over to movies that aren't those things is more limited. Fortunately, TV has taken up the slack. The writing for TV is much more creative right now than it is for movies. If good writing and good dialogue is your thing, you're more apt to find it on TV.
 
2014-09-02 12:08:05 PM  
Blah blah blah. Hollywood is cyclical, and articles like this come out like clockwork every time the industry is in a dip.

"Hollywood" knew it would be a weak summer. Guardians was a surprise success, and worthy of it. This fall will be big with Nolan's Interstellar (which you better see in a theater), a highly anticipated Hunger Games flick, Fincher's Gone Girl, Disney's first animated Marvel property, a great looking Brad Pitt WWII film, Carell looking excellent in Foxcatcher, and so on. For those of you who claim that "Hollywood is out of ideas," all but one of those is a new film not attached to a previous franchise.

And then next summer will be lights-out with a new Avengers movie, Jurassic World, a new PIXAR movie from the director that did Up, a new Terminator film, a Minions movie, a new Judd Upatow comedy, an Assassin's Creed film, Ant-Man, and so on. And we'll end 2015 with new Star Wars and James Bond.

And then 2016 is predicted to be possibly the biggest year in box office history with spill-over from Star Wars released a few weeks before the start of the year, a new Spider-Man, Avatar, Batman v. Superman, a new Ben-Hur, new Bourne, new Captain America, potentially a Marvel Dr. Strange film, new JK Rowling, sequels for Finding Nemo, How to Train Your Dragon, Ice Age, Independence Day, Legos, a King Arthur epic, a new Ridley Scott sci-fi, Mummy reboot, the first Star Wars spin-off, new Alice in Wonderland, new Planet of the Apes, a World of Warcraft movie, and another X-men. 2016 is just insane.

"Hollywood" has been doing this for 100 years. They know what they're doing. And remaking old titles, creating multi-sequel franchises, etc. is nothing new - they've been doing it since the Silent Era. It works.
 
2014-09-02 12:08:37 PM  
I am Groot.
 
2014-09-02 12:09:08 PM  
I don't go see as many movies since I got married and had a kid.  My 2 year old doesn't sit still long enough to go to the theater yet, but I can't wait to take him to movies in a few more years.
 
2014-09-02 12:12:44 PM  

I am Groot: I am Groot.


We are groot.
 
2014-09-02 12:15:33 PM  
My theory is that it's less about perceived quality, and more:

1) Nothing really seems unique anymore. A trailer with an impressive special effects shot of NYC being blown up used to be enough to put asses in seats. Today, we've seen that a hundred times -- every movie does it.

2) More and more people are willing to wait a few months for the rental, either because of cost or convenience.
 
2014-09-02 12:15:49 PM  

SirDigbyChickenCaesar: Big TV, surround sound, PPV, and beer....

/who's going to kick me out now for scratching my balls and farting?


This. I can stand to wait a couple months to enjoy the movie in my own home.
 
2014-09-02 12:19:11 PM  
Oh, boo hoo! Instead of BILLIONS you're only raking in billions...

38.media.tumblr.com

Start producing films worth watching again instead of taking the safe option over and over again. I can't recall the last time I've seen an intelligent comedy or major blockbuster full of complex character development and a captivating story line.

/Actually, the only movie in recent memory I can give credit to is Rise of the Planet of the Apes.
 
2014-09-02 12:21:47 PM  
The best selling movie of the year, while based off an obscure comic book, was original, well written, with interesting characters, and didn't pander or dumb itself down for the audience. Maybe people are just tired of remakes and sequels that are churned out by hacks and committees.
 
2014-09-02 12:22:22 PM  

omahatattoo: I don't go see as many movies since I got married and had a kid.  My 2 year old doesn't sit still long enough to go to the theater yet, but I can't wait to take him to movies in a few more years.


My son's first movie in a theater was UP. He was 3 at the time. Sat still the whole time and never talked. No snacks or anything. We love movies and found a theater a few miles away that does weekend morning shows around 10am for $6 a ticket. GoG cost $12 to see and $3 in dollar candy from Walgreens before we got there. Next movie he wants to see is Big Hero Six.
 
2014-09-02 12:22:42 PM  
The biggest problem with seeing a movie in the theater is all the noise. Does the volume HAVE to be full-blast? I mean c'mon, I'm on the phone over here...
 
2014-09-02 12:26:02 PM  

Sin_City_Superhero: The biggest problem with seeing a movie in the theater is all the noise. Does the volume HAVE to be full-blast? I mean c'mon, I'm on the phone over here...


It's also too dark. That's why I make sure to have my cell phone screen on full brightness so I can see.
 
2014-09-02 12:26:47 PM  

LucklessWonder: Movies got too damned expensive for me when they went 3d and stripped the 2d showings down to times that didn't fit my schedule.


Totally this. I haven't been to the movies in for a while but I wanted to see GotG and the regular showing is 1:45pm. Then 6 showings in 3D starting at 4pm. As expected, the 3D didn't do anything for me except make the screen slightly darker.

/fun movie. People clapped at the end
//haven't heard people clap at movies for about 25 years
 
2014-09-02 12:27:48 PM  
What was so shiatty about 1997?

Top Grossing Films:
-Titanic ($600 million. Sigh...)
-MiB ($250 million)
-The Lost World ($231 million)
-Liar Liar ($180 million)
-Air Force One ($173 million)

Looking down the list, we have Face/Off (at #11), Batman & Robin (at #12), Con Air (at #15), and The Fifth Element (at #26, followed by Mouse Hunt at #27). All 3 re-releases of Star Wars also came out that year, with ANH at #8, ESB at #21 and RoTJ at #46.

It seems 1997 was a stupid year for moviegoers.
 
2014-09-02 12:28:04 PM  
1. There was not much worthy of leaving the house.

2. Our home theater is fairly comparable to theirs (and more comfortable and better snacks).
 
2014-09-02 12:30:21 PM  

eagles95: omahatattoo: I don't go see as many movies since I got married and had a kid.  My 2 year old doesn't sit still long enough to go to the theater yet, but I can't wait to take him to movies in a few more years.

My son's first movie in a theater was UP. He was 3 at the time. Sat still the whole time and never talked. No snacks or anything. We love movies and found a theater a few miles away that does weekend morning shows around 10am for $6 a ticket. GoG cost $12 to see and $3 in dollar candy from Walgreens before we got there. Next movie he wants to see is Big Hero Six.


I think that's what we'll have to do to test the waters.   As it is now, he can't sit still long enough to watch a 30 minutes episode of Curious George.
 
2014-09-02 12:31:19 PM  
Maybe if refreshments weren't so goddamned expensive, I might head to the theaters more. $19.50 for a large popcorn and 2 sodas, are you farking kidding?

I only saw two movies in theaters this summer: Expendables 3 and the Ghostbusters re-release.
 
2014-09-02 12:33:05 PM  

Tyrone Slothrop: The best selling movie of the year, while based off an obscure comic book, was original, well written, with interesting characters, and didn't pander or dumb itself down for the audience. Maybe people are just tired of remakes and sequels that are churned out by hacks and committees.


There was only 1 part in the movie that I thought was insulting.

When they are trying to escape and rocket cuts the gravity and people start floating, gamora says "you cut the gravity everywhere but in this room ".

My first thought was "I can already tell that with what you just showed me." it just seemed dumb to include that line.

Now keep in mind, that is the only thing about the movie I could complain about. I have already seen it 4 times I. The theater. I love it.
 
2014-09-02 12:34:09 PM  

Bith Set Me Up: Maybe if refreshments weren't so goddamned expensive, I might head to the theaters more. $19.50 for a large popcorn and 2 sodas, are you farking kidding?

I only saw two movies in theaters this summer: Expendables 3 and the Ghostbusters re-release.


www.geekmelange.com
 
2014-09-02 12:40:56 PM  
The last movie I saw in the theater was Episode 3.
 
2014-09-02 12:41:36 PM  

Empty H: Tyrone Slothrop: The best selling movie of the year, while based off an obscure comic book, was original, well written, with interesting characters, and didn't pander or dumb itself down for the audience. Maybe people are just tired of remakes and sequels that are churned out by hacks and committees.

There was only 1 part in the movie that I thought was insulting.

When they are trying to escape and rocket cuts the gravity and people start floating, gamora says "you cut the gravity everywhere but in this room ".

My first thought was "I can already tell that with what you just showed me." it just seemed dumb to include that line.

Now keep in mind, that is the only thing about the movie I could complain about. I have already seen it 4 times I. The theater. I love it.


Ehh I thought with Gamora's smirk it was more of a "Smart thinking" acknowledgement than just a blatant description of what was happening.
 
2014-09-02 12:44:38 PM  
What really sucks is the new exhibition model at theaters.  Here's a typical sampling of movies at our local 11-screen multiplex:

Godzilla -   3 screens
Piece of Shiat II -  2 screens
Kid's Movie - 2 screens
Kid's Movie 3D - 1 screen
PG Teen flick - 1 screen
R Teen/sci-fi/horror - 1 screen
A decent comedy/drama/thriller - 1 screen

Fewer choices, fewer surprises, fewer movies that will give you anything more than what viewing the trailer will give you.
 
2014-09-02 12:45:58 PM  

I am Groot: I am Groot.


I agree up to a point. While video rentals did some damage to the industry, I think that damage was minimal, at best. People still had to go out to rent those videos.

The real damage to the industry, as you only mentioned in passing for some reason, is the availability of movies in short order online via Netflix or through their cable provider, coupled with the affordability of large screen TVs. This is the real problem Hollywood faces, and it will only to continue to get worse.
 
2014-09-02 12:53:49 PM  

spman: Another thing, while the movie business may be in the dumps in the US, it's booming overseas. Everyone loves the stereotype of the uncultured Americans driving Box Office receipts for the latest popcorn flicks through the roof, while the Oscar winners make almost no money, but in reality Asians and Europeans love their Michael Bay and Sylvester Stallone explosion movies just as much, if not more than we do. Lately big releases have been getting released overseas weeks before the US, mostly just to get a step ahead of the movie pirates.

I'm not sure how sustainable this is however, I suspect that this may just be a short term trend spurred by places like China and Eastern Europe who are only now getting blockbuster films in quality movie theaters for the first time. Even the Chinese can only take so many Transformers sequels before they get tired of the same old thing.


Explosions are a universal language.
 
2014-09-02 12:54:06 PM  

lifeboat: I am Groot: I am Groot.

I agree up to a point. While video rentals did some damage to the industry, I think that damage was minimal, at best. People still had to go out to rent those videos.

The real damage to the industry, as you only mentioned in passing for some reason, is the availability of movies in short order online via Netflix or through their cable provider, coupled with the affordability of large screen TVs. This is the real problem Hollywood faces, and it will only to continue to get worse.


I think IaG adequately addressed this in the second paragraph, but I agree with your overall point nonetheless. There is more than enough good content out there. The only people lamenting box office declines are people who make money off box office.
 
2014-09-02 12:57:58 PM  

hammettman: What really sucks is the new exhibition model at theaters.  Here's a typical sampling of movies at our local 11-screen multiplex:

Godzilla -   3 screens
Piece of Shiat II -  2 screens
Kid's Movie - 2 screens
Kid's Movie 3D - 1 screen
PG Teen flick - 1 screen
R Teen/sci-fi/horror - 1 screen
A decent comedy/drama/thriller - 1 screen


You forgot about "R-rated Judd Apatow/Seth McFarlane/Will Ferrell Gross-Out Comedy" and "Critically Acclaimed Art-House Film" (usually playing at a theater in the snooty part of town).

The studios have become niche-oriented. Universal seems to release 90 percent R-rated films, while Columbia is an outlet for scripts to be set in the "Sonyverse," where other electronics brands don't exist.
 
2014-09-02 01:02:29 PM  
Oh and also, an increasingly dumb public that continues to think they are at home.
Phones lighting up, loud takers.
The last films i went to i had to ask the knuckle draggers behind us to stop talking so loud.
 
2014-09-02 01:03:09 PM  
2003 does seem to stick out as sucking in every form of entertainment.
 
2014-09-02 01:03:51 PM  
I'm pretty disappointed more people didn't see Edge of Tomorrow. It was really good and pretty original, based off a Japanese novel. I guess they didn't market it very well.
 
2014-09-02 01:04:08 PM  
TV shows are a far better option for our viewing time these days. There have been so many excellent series produced over the past decade.
 
2014-09-02 01:04:10 PM  

shower_in_my_socks: Blah blah blah. Hollywood is cyclical, and articles like this come out like clockwork every time the industry is in a dip.

"Hollywood" knew it would be a weak summer. Guardians was a surprise success, and worthy of it. This fall will be big with Nolan's Interstellar (which you better see in a theater), a highly anticipated Hunger Games flick, Fincher's Gone Girl, Disney's first animated Marvel property, a great looking Brad Pitt WWII film, Carell looking excellent in Foxcatcher, and so on. For those of you who claim that "Hollywood is out of ideas," all but one of those is a new film not attached to a previous franchise.

And then next summer will be lights-out with a new Avengers movie, Jurassic World, a new PIXAR movie from the director that did Up, a new Terminator film, a Minions movie, a new Judd Upatow comedy, an Assassin's Creed film, Ant-Man, and so on. And we'll end 2015 with new Star Wars and James Bond.

And then 2016 is predicted to be possibly the biggest year in box office history with spill-over from Star Wars released a few weeks before the start of the year, a new Spider-Man, Avatar, Batman v. Superman, a new Ben-Hur, new Bourne, new Captain America, potentially a Marvel Dr. Strange film, new JK Rowling, sequels for Finding Nemo, How to Train Your Dragon, Ice Age, Independence Day, Legos, a King Arthur epic, a new Ridley Scott sci-fi, Mummy reboot, the first Star Wars spin-off, new Alice in Wonderland, new Planet of the Apes, a World of Warcraft movie, and another X-men. 2016 is just insane.

"Hollywood" has been doing this for 100 years. They know what they're doing. And remaking old titles, creating multi-sequel franchises, etc. is nothing new - they've been doing it since the Silent Era. It works.


"A new Ridley Scott sci-fi" is the only original idea you listed for 2016.
 
2014-09-02 01:04:46 PM  
What I hate now is that there are almost zero quality movies actually geared towards adults anymore. Almost everything gets dumbed down to ensure it will receive that coveted PG-13 rating, and what few R rated movies there are, are almost always bad horror, or comedies, and even though the Under-17 crowd isn't supposed to be allowed in, it seems like the majority of R rated films are marketed with a wink and a nudge towards that demographic indicating that they should get their parents to take them or sneak in. I miss the classic R rated films that Kids don't WANT to see.
 
2014-09-02 01:05:03 PM  

DesertCoyote: hammettman: What really sucks is the new exhibition model at theaters.  Here's a typical sampling of movies at our local 11-screen multiplex:

Godzilla -   3 screens
Piece of Shiat II -  2 screens
Kid's Movie - 2 screens
Kid's Movie 3D - 1 screen
PG Teen flick - 1 screen
R Teen/sci-fi/horror - 1 screen
A decent comedy/drama/thriller - 1 screen

You forgot about "R-rated Judd Apatow/Seth McFarlane/Will Ferrell Gross-Out Comedy" and "Critically Acclaimed Art-House Film" (usually playing at a theater in the snooty part of town).

The studios have become niche-oriented. Universal seems to release 90 percent R-rated films, while Columbia is an outlet for scripts to be set in the "Sonyverse," where other electronics brands don't exist.


Don't forget Transformers 1 - Quadzillion, where what a coincidence, all the car models are GM!!
 
2014-09-02 01:05:26 PM  
I would go to the movies more but I barely make enough to pay rent and buy gas. After bills and groceries I don't have enough to go to the movies.
 
2014-09-02 01:06:49 PM  
I don't care what the polls and numbers say.  I found this Summer to be excellent, movie wise.  I've never been to the cinema more in a Summer.

The main problem is the industry.  It costs a LOT to go to movies and get popcorn. And you can get films very quickly online or on redbox.

But Captain America Winter Soldier, Godzilla, X-Men Days of Future Past, Lucy, Guardians Of The Galaxy, Edge Of Tomorrow, all excellent summer action films.  I'm sure I'm missing some.

I'm just saying that I have had a LOT of fun enjoying films at the Cinema this Summer. The quality is there.  If the numbers are down it isn't because of quality.
 
2014-09-02 01:08:19 PM  
I don't even remember the last time I saw a movie worth downloading for free.
 
2014-09-02 01:09:37 PM  
just saw Guardians of the Galaxy , even better than I thought it would be
 
2014-09-02 01:11:22 PM  

I_Love_Cheesecake: TV shows are a far better option for our viewing time these days. There have been so many excellent series produced over the past decade.


The availability of these TV shows On Demand, or Netflix, or online, or wherever you can get them right now seems to me to be a bigger threat to movies than instant movie access.  I'm always a late adapter to technology, but when I browse On Demand because there is nothing on, I go right to the TV section, not the movie section.  There are dozens of shows out there I'd love to get immersed in.  Movies?  Not so much.  That may just be me, though.
 
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