HomeLatest NewsWhy Hollywood’s Summer Flopped: Uncovering What Audiences Are Ignoring

Why Hollywood’s Summer Flopped: Uncovering What Audiences Are Ignoring

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The Associated Press was amusingly ignorant last week. The news network made a plea to Hollywood that it should address climate change in movies more often. The AP thinks it’s a good idea to sit back and watch a movie with a tub full of popcorn while being told that you are killing our planet. It’s a small matter, but the news outlet is corrupt in this case. They are being paid by climate alarmists for them to report this as “news.”

Anyone who thinks that giving stern lectures to our escapist audience is a winning formula is not only unaware of what audiences want but also ignorant with the current state of theaters. In 2024, theater owners will be struggling as a segment of the entertainment business that is still trying to recover from pandemic disasters has been in a slump. The problem is not getting better, but worse. Why?

This summer’s ticket sales have been dismal. They are down by more than 20% from last year. There haven’t been any notable hits this year, and finding a good film is difficult. “Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire” did well, and so did “Dune: Part 2”, “Kung Fu Panda 4,” etc. But when we look at the rest of the year, there are very few films that stand out. Looking at the prepandemic period, 2024 has been off by over 40% from the baseline of 2019.

The summer schedule has received a lot of bad press. “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga”, which was released on Memorial Day Weekend, led a group of films to one of the worst holiday frames for decades. The animated effort to revitalize a property “The Garfield Movie” was barely beaten by the dystopian action romp. The total take in theaters for Memorial Day was only $121 million. This is a figure that has not been seen since the 1990s.

The only standout this summer was “Kingdom Of The Planet Of The Apes,” a film that exceeded expectations and performed well. Studio executives and industry professionals have been trying to find an explanation for the lack of ticket sales. The release of “Furiosa”, which was highly anticipated, received rave reviews. “If” and “Garfield”, the only two family films, are not attracting many kids. The Fall Guy was the talk of film festivals and received high ratings from both critics and audience. Yet, few people came to see it.

What is the reason for this apathy amongst audiences? There are many theories that have been put forward, and they all influence to some degree. The R-rated “Furiosa”, which is a title that is aimed at a younger audience, is a factor in reducing sales. Other experts also note the impact of a female-centered, action film. While “Garfield” is a tired property that has already been adapted into countless films and television shows, it can still be viewed as a retread.

The dual strikes of last year also impacted the release schedules. However, this is not true when you look at titles that make it to theaters and are ignored. The streaming platforms are the biggest factor. This is something that studios created.

What is going on? Look at the summer of last year. In 2023, “Barbie” was the top film and “Oppenheimer” was second. Both films had high expectations and cultural impact. They were therefore required entertainment. The live-action version of “The Little Mermaid” was a big hit on Memorial Day. It had some baggage, but it still attracted enough kids to be considered a success.

People have become accustomed to waiting for a few weeks for a home streaming release of a movie, except for “event pics.” It was a necessity for the pandemic but the studios have gotten into a practice of having a fast turnaround in order to generate interest in the domestic market. The viewing habits of the audience have changed as a result.

Summer blockbuster season used to be a big deal. Kids were out of school and teens would make it their weekend activity. Adults even chose more mature films, sending the children to another cinema for animated releases. Moviegoers were in default mode during the summer. They expected to see a movie and chose what film they wanted to watch as a secondary consideration. Want to see a film? “Sure, what’s on?” was the usual response.

Prior to streaming, there was a strict release schedule for films. These included DVDs, pay-per view, and cable TV options on the secondary market. It was common to wait at least 90-days after a film left the theaters for it to be released on home video. The theatrical release was rewarded, and movie-going became more popular.

No longer. Studio executives have been reluctant to go back to the 3-month window of release since streaming became so popular. It is because studios have invested heavily into streaming and, except for Netflix most of them are losing money on these ventures. In a highly competitive market, having exclusive content is important to attract subscribers. This is why bringing titles onto digital platforms has become a necessity.

Take “The Fall Guy” as an example. Universal decided to release it on streaming services just two weeks after its theatrical release on May 21. This was an attempt to increase interest in home viewing while the film was still new. The exhibitors are left with a decreasing product. The movie theater lobby is becoming a cavernous space as people are accustomed to the idea that, with a little patience, they will soon be able to watch their favorite film in their own living room.

The summer has been a summer of anxiety for studios, and a summer that borders on panic for theatre owners. It remains to be determined if the titles that were sure-fire hits in previous years will still bring people into theaters in the coming weeks. The release of “Despicable Me 4,” “Inside Out 2” by Disney, and “Bad Boys 4” is on the horizon.

The only film that is coming out soon looks like a blockbuster. “Deadpool & Wolverine.” This movie isn’t due until July 26. It will be a stressful two months for anyone who relies on ticket sales.

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