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.
Movies like, THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY, PART 1, DUMB AND DUMBER TO, Christopher Nolan’s INTERSTELLAR, HORRIBLE BOSSES 2, THE PENGUINS OF MADAGASCAR 3D, ANNIE, EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS, NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: SECRET OF THE TOMB, INTO THE WOODS and THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF FIVE ARMIES, just to mention a few.
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?
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.
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)
* 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.”
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.