New Jack City: Looking Past a Disappointing 2014 in the Movie Biz

Transformers-4-Aera-des-Untergangs-Poster-723x1024Face it, 2014 has been a tough year for the movie industry…

Statistics show the domestic box office down some 7% thus far this year and 20 percent for the summer as of last week. That after enjoying four consecutive up years.

However many industries and sectors go through periodic peaks and valleys. I know the travel industry has, as has television, car sales—and of course, the stock market.

Fortunately the year isn’t quite over yet.

This past weekend’s $94 million opening of GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY is definitely encouraging. And there’s still quite a lineup of promising titles in the wings before year’s end.


But has it really been that bad of a year for Hollywood?

I don’t think so.

It’s the nation’s theater chains that have suffered the most.

The movie studios by comparison have enjoyed a banner year based on their output in the international marketplace of which China has become the most important. How can that be?

PHo41cdkypjjqu_1_mLet’s look at just one example.

Take Michael Bay‘s TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION which opened domestically on June 27. (Many other territories around the world wisely held the film until after the World Cup since it pretty well competed for a similar demographic.)

To date TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION has grossed $242 million domestically while internationally enjoying $764 million in ticket sales.

That’s in excess of a BILLION dollars, of which 75% came from the international box office. AMAZING! Breaking it down even further, $300 million of the $764 million international box office came from China.

Remember though the studios receive only about 50% to 60% of those total ticket sales, the rest stays with the theaters.

So is it doom and gloom for the domestic movie scene? 

Not by a long stretch, because 2015 could very well turn around the fortunes for America’s exhibitors. Checking out Hollywood’s advance release schedules seems to project one of the strongest years in recent memory—major movie franchises and all.

596146-uncleWhat follows is my list of 35 titles from next year’s total studio output.

It could make 2015 an $11.5 to $12 BILLION domestic box office year.

* JANUARY: ‘Taken 3″ (Liam Neeson) and “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” (Armie Hammer, Hugh Grant)

* FEBRUARY: “50 Shades Of Gray” (so spank me) and “Jane Got A Gun” (Natalie Portman, Ewan McGregor)

* MARCH: “Business Or Pleasure” (Vince Vaughn, Dave Franco) and “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel 2” (Judi Dench, Richard Gere)

* APRIL: “Fast and Furious 7” (Vin Diesel, Paul Walker) and “Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2” (Kevin James, Molly Shannon)

* MAY: “The Avengers: Age Of Ultron” (Robert Downey, Jr, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo) and “Mad Max: Fury Road” (Charlize Theron, Tom Hardy)

* JUNE: “B.O.O.–Bureau Of Otherworldly Operations” (Seth Rogen, Melissa McCarthy. Bill Murray), “Jurassic World” (Bryce Dallas Howard, Chris Pratt). “The Fantastic Four,” Pixar’s “Inside Out” (Amy Poehler, Bill Hader, Lewis Black) and “Ted 2” (Seth MacFarlane, Mark Wahlberg, Amanda Seyfried)

Terminator Genesis

Terminator Genesis

* JULY: “Terminator: Genesis” (Arnold Schwarzenegger), “Magic Mike XXL” (Channing Tatum), “Minions” (Sandra Bullock, Jon Hamm), “Ant-Man” (Paul Rudd. Michael Douglas), “Pan” (Hugh Jackman) and Judd Apatow’s “Trainwreck” (Amy Schumer).

* OCTOBER: Jon Favreau’s “The Jungle Book” (Scarlett Johansson) and a new Steven Spielberg Cold War thriller starring Tom Hanks.

* NOVEMBER: Director Sam Mendes’ James Bond # 24 (Daniel Craig, Ralph Fiennes), “The Peanuts” (animated with the entire Peanuts gang) and “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2” (Jennifer Lawrence).

* DECEMBER: Ron Howard’s “Inferno” (Tom Hanks), “Kung Fu Panda 3.” “Mission: Impossible V” (Tom Cruise), “The Revenant” (Leonardo DiCaprio), David O. Russell’s “Joy” (Jennifer Lawrence) and J.J. Abram’s “Star Wars: Episode VII.”

Star Wars VII

Star Wars VII

Other interesting 2015 offerings include another “X-Men” adventure, Tim Burton‘s “Big Eyes” (Chritoph Waltz, Amy Adams) and a still untitled Quentin Tarantino film.

So to the naysayers and doomsday disciples, the movie biz is kinda like the weather here in the midwest. Give it a few hours—in this case a year—and things may look quite a bit different.

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13 Responses to New Jack City: Looking Past a Disappointing 2014 in the Movie Biz

  1. chuck says:

    Taken 3?

    “Fu*k you dad, I am NOT going on vacation! Seriously! Where we going this time! Mogadishu?”

    What’s the story line on this one? After the last two vacations you couldn’t get Seal Team 6 outta Belton.

  2. mike t. says:

    heckuva line up for next year. i might actually have to go to a theater to see a few of those rather than wait for PPV.

  3. rkcal says:

    As far as I’m concerned, one phrase explains the state of the movie industry: “Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2”. I didn’t get a calculator, but I’m willing to bet that less than 10% of the movies you’ve listed are not a sequel, re-boot, or based on a comic book.

  4. randyraley says:

    They might as well make movies for the people in China. There hasn’t been one “must see” movie for me this year. The only “movie” I’ve seen has been the “Monty Python” stage show in England. The sound was bad, but I didn’t care. Retreads, repeats, smash them up special effects. How about a movie with a plot, good writing and acting. Hell, I’m in the demo that has some money to spend. Unfortunately, Hollywood doesn’t want mine. Man From UNCLE? Really? How original. I’m with rkcal. Paul Blart? No the first time. Hell no, now.

    • jack p says:

      Well you’re right Randy. But if I wa investing my OWN money I’d too play it safe with familiar, guaranteed properties. and like it or not but Paul Blart made a hell of a lot of money. Don’t forget it’s showBUSINESS.

      Looking for a nice ADULT movie? Then check out “THE 100 FOOT JOURNEY” this weekend. Saw it last night. Small picture/big fun. It’s co-produced by Steven Spielberg and Oprah winfrey and stars Helen Mirren.

  5. chuck says:

    I’m kinda surprised Jack didn’t review “Life Itself”.

    I thought it was good.


    • jack p says:

      I think it screened while I was on vacation. Sorry.

      There are also times when two movies screen on the same time. Like “THE HUNDRED FOOT JOURNEY screened last night. Look for my review tomorrow afternoon. Hearne covered to the other one also screening last night. His review of “INTO THE STORM” will probably also go up tomorrow.

  6. PB says:

    “Man From UNCLE? Really?”

    This is exactly the kind of stuff I don’t get. I get the tv series-to-big screen concept when it at least involves a property of somewhat recent vintage, but who the hell was screaming for a Man From UNCLE movie? How many young people even know that brand? I’m nor brainy studio exec, but I guess I just don’t see the advantage of dredging up a half-century old tv series that is only recalled by the nursing home set when they’d probably be better served just coming up with a more “original” spy movie that just borrows from a past project like UNCLE. On the plus side, I would think that it screams for a cameos from Robert Vaughn and David McCallum.

    • mike t. says:

      Vaughn could probably use the work, even if a cameo. last time I saw him, he was doing commercials for some injury law group. mccallum on the other hand reborn and doing nicely i’m sure these days with NCIS, or some show like that.

    • jack p says:

      21 A N D 22 JUMP STREET anyone? Pull up the Brinks truck to the box office!

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