2019 Summer Box Office: The Beginning Of Hollywood’s Decline?

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2019 Summer Box Office
Marvel Studios, Sony Pictures Releasing

Summer should be the biggest time for movies: kids are out of school, the grandparents are in town, and everyone’s looking for somewhere with air-conditioning. However, the 2019 summer box office isn’t doing as well as executives wanted. Is it just a one-off or a sign of something more troubling?

The Summer Box Office 2019 Earnings

Aladdin Money
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Every year, film critics, experts, and producers watch the summer movie season, from April to August, closely. And the 2019 summer box office is no different! As always, they compared it to previous years, determining the health of the movie industry as a whole. They also try and learn what works, what doesn’t, and what’s the next big thing. This year, however, the experts are thoroughly divided.

Last year, the 2018 summer box office ended with a near-record $4.8 billion in ticket sales. However, according to Comscore (SCOR), the 2019 summer box office is down roughly 7% to 9% in revenues from last year. To us, it might sound like a few percentage points; however, in the movie business, that difference could end up costing the industry billions. In fact, when all is said and done, experts predict the total loss this year will near $2.7 billion!

So what divides experts? Well, some are saying that a few poorly-planned duds are detracting from a mostly successful summer. Meaning this summer box office is just some temporary turbulence. Meanwhile, other’s aren’t as confident…

Most And Least Successful Movies Of The Summer

2019 Summer Box Office
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Of course, Avengers: Endgame leads the 2019 summer box office pack. After all, it earned the biggest opening in the U.S. and Canada ever, grossing over $848 million in sales. Meanwhile, Captain Marvel, another Marvel movie, grossed over $426 billion. In third and fourth place, respectively, are Aladdin ($323 million) and Toy Story 4 (nearly $317 million). Clearly, there’s a significant gap in sales between the Marvel universe movies and the Disney original properties. But, despite the difference, its clear Disney is the winner this summer.

However, as mentioned, while the 2019 summer box office has produced some hits, its also produced quite a few misses. Established franchises including X-MenMen in Black, and Godzilla all did so poorly in theaters they failed to make the top ten highest earning movies of the season. And there’s still a month to go! The newest X-Men film, Dark Phoenix, became the lowest earning franchise entry of all time. Men In Black: International, the latest entry starring Tess Thompson and Chris Hemsworth, has only made a little over $73 million in nearly a month at the box office. In comparison, the original earned $51 million during its 1997 opening weekend alone. That’s $81 million in today’s dollars!

So, what’s causing these franchises to flop, hard, this summer?

What’s Causing This?

So, what’s causing the 2019 summer box office sales to lag behind? Most critics and experts agree the issue is “franchise fatigue.” We see again and again companies relying on the same franchises, constantly pushing remakes, sequels, and spin-offs. Just take a look, there are almost no new fresh ideas this summer: Aladdin, The Lion King, Men in Black, Avengers, Spider-Man, and many more. However, the film that made the most against its budget? Jordan Peele’s Us, which is not a remake or a part of a franchise. It earned $175 million at the box office, more than Dark Phoneix, Men In Black, and other franchises.

As you can imagine, many viewers become tired of seeing the same brands and franchises over and over. You probably do too! However, a $3.03 billion summer box office take isn’t the end of the world. Clearly, these films still have some draw. We’ll need to continue to watch in the coming seasons and years. If the slow decline continues, then yes, Hollywood has to shake up its ideas. Audiences can only watch so many remakes of Spider-Man!