Hollywood: Warning sign movies don’t sell tickets

A Hollywood agent once compared the brutal commercial reality of releasing a movie to jumping out of a plane: “It’s no different than someone skydiving. The success of the film is proven in just one attempt. If the chute doesn’t open, it’s dead Robert Evans, the producer of such blockbusters as “The Godfather” and “Chinatown”, told the British Time Kieran Southern from Los Angeles.

At that rate, the 2024 numbers are proving particularly deadly so far. This year’s box office total is expected to be up nearly 25% from last year, or $800 million, and 40% below pre-pandemic levels.

The latest projections come after the Memorial Day weekend box office posted its worst inflation-adjusted performance in 43 years. Ticket sales between Friday and Monday are estimated at $128.3 million, up from $205 million in the same period last year, according to Comscore data.

Anya Taylor-Joy and Chris Hemsworth starrer Furiosa, the Mad Max prequel, had hopes of success over the holiday weekend. The action flick cost $168 million to produce and many expected it to set the summer movie season on fire.

However, the George Miller film grossed nearly $32 million in North America over the weekend, a million more than “Garfield.” Other films that didn’t make the cut this year include the superhero adventure Madame Web (just one out of five stars from the Times), Ryan Gosling’s The Stuntman (two stars from the Times), but… the animated four-star. “If”.

Michael Niederman, a professor of film and television arts at Columbia College Chicago, said this year’s ticket sales “amazing” – but in a negative sense. “People don’t just go to the movieshe told the Times. An American expert believes that Hollywood is faced with a serious problem, because young people are not willing to buy movie tickets like their parents once, and now the audience is used to waiting for the movie to come on Netflix or Disney Plus, rather than running away to see it on the big screen.

«It’s abundantly clear that an entire generation of young people—those who frequent summer blockbusters going back to the first summer blockbuster, Jaws—aren’t going to the movies anymore.Niederman added that Hollywood is facing increasing competition from other forms of entertainment.

«If they don’t find a way to make movies more accessible, especially to young people, it’s going to become something like going to a play.he emphasized.

Sean Baker, who won the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival last week for his dark comedy Anora, expressed similar fears in France, saying the state of cinema is “very scary“.

David A. Gross, who runs the film consulting company Franchise Entertainment Research, noted that the reasons for the decline in box office revenues can be traced to the pandemic and holidays. Actors and screenwriters walked off the job for months last year in a battle over wages and working conditions that brought Hollywood to a standstill, movie theaters closed for months during Covid and many moviegoers never returned.5

«This is starting to sound like an old excuse, but it’s trueGross told the Times. “The studios’ most ambitious films take 18 to 24 months to plan, produce and release, and the process has been frozen for most of the pandemic and holidays. It will take another year to settle in and see where we end uphe emphasized.

Gross also expressed hope that some of this summer’s slate of films could suddenly become blockbusters, perhaps “Inside Out 2,” “Despicable Me 4” or “Deadpool 3.”

«We need them (successes), but it is more difficult to predict. It is impossible to know when they will come” he said, noting that few predicted the level of success of last summer’s blockbusters “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer”. However, the box office situation “depressedhe added. “A hole was opened in the first five months of the year“.

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