This summer has been the worst for the film industry in years. In fact, Labor Day Weekend was the worst for ticket sales since 2000. The top ten films grossed $47.6 million in ticket sales over the Friday to Sunday, September 1 to September 3, according to Rotten Tomatoes. Over the same time frame in 2000, films grossed just $44.7 million in ticket sales.
NBC News reported that summer box-office returns are slated to be the lowest in a decade. As of August 27, box-office receipts were down 14 percent versus summer 2016. Doug Creutz, a media analyst at financial firm Cowen and Company told NBC, “It’s been pretty dismal. I wouldn’t want to be a movie theater owner right now.”
What is causing Hollywood’s summer of discontent? NBC pointed to “sequel fatigue” as a possible cause. The American viewing audience may be tired of endless remakes, rehashes, franchises, and sequels. New films from the Mummy, Pirates of the Caribbean, Transformers, and Aliens franchises did not do as well as expected this summer; neither did Baywatch, the movie remake of the 1990s TV series. It is worth noting that the list of the top five films that did perform admirably over the summer includes four remakes or sequels: Wonder Woman, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Despicable Me 3. Dunkirk was the only one of the five best performing films which was not a remake, sequel, or part of a franchise.
The abundance of video streaming and other entertainment options may be the bigger influence in driving down ticket sales. With Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, HBO, and a myriad of other services offering hundreds of movies and original content (with original shows often having much better critics’ reviews and fan following than Hollywood’s latest rehash) charging $10 or so a month, who would shell out nearly the same amount to watch one movie? No doubt, Hollywood will be planning ways to attract customers back to the movie theater in the years to come.