Every year we hear plenty of talk about ‘summer blockbusters’ but this year there’s few in sight.
That’s according to Box Office Mojo, a website that monitors film receipts and cinema attendance.
It’s database shows that many less films than usual have been released over the summer period. Only 224 films have come out in American cinemas this summer. Usually that figure is over 250.
In addition, those films that did see a 2017 release haven’t exactly set the charts alight either.
This year the American box office made just $3.5billion. That might sound like a lot, but it’s the worst summer for box office earnings since 2005. For comparison: summer box office earnings in both 2015 and 2016 were around $4.4billion.
The season isn’t technically over until Labor Day on 4th September, but there seems no sign that 2017 movies will pick up the pace.
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In fact, this past weekend (26th/27th September) was the worst weekend for the American box office since 2001.
The poor performance of this summer’s movies is reflected in cinema attendance too, down 52% since last year. Only 385 million people went to the cinema this year, the worst attendance since 1992.
Perhaps one of the reasons why this year’s box office takings have been so comparatively poor is that people are sick of film universes and sequels.
This year only 35 percent of the top 20 grossing summer blockbusters were original stories with no ties to any cinematic universes.
That being said, that’s about the same figure as 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016, all of which outperformed this year. But then maybe that’s the evidence that proves the rule. Familiarity breeds contempt, after all.
Then again, maybe it was precisely because of the success of some of those big sequels that 2017 couldn’t compare. Over the past two years we’ve seen box office smash-hits like Jurassic World, Finding Dory, Captain America: Civil War, and Pitch Perfect 2. All were huge hits and nothing in 2017 could really measure up.
Still, with a new main-series Star Wars film, Bladerunner 2049, and Stephen King’s IT all coming out this year, there’s still time for the rest of 2017 to pick up the slack.
The news that this summer’s box office has been terrible probably isn’t the end of cinema as we know it. However, it might cause some studios to take a long hard look at what they’re putting out.